I feel like I have gotten to know a different Natalie these past few months and I have come to the conclusion that she is a very complex person. I find it interesting that the thing that makes her so unique is the fact that her personality is so intertwined with the influence of all four of her brothers. It is really amazing to see them manifest so strongly in who she is.
* Her thirst for knowledge, books, trivia, and really anything else that will expand her mind is so reminiscent of Derrick. I am truly amazed with Natalie's mind. She retains every detail and can call it up when it is needed.
* The little dance that Natalie does when she is just about to do something she is happy about, is a dance I have seen Brandon do many times. She and Brandon also have very similar sensitive natures,and they both enjoy their solitude!
* Everyday I experience Daniel's quirkiness as Natalie does "the Daniel voice and language" or repeats incessantly the phrase: "mommy do you like me", along with mimicking many of his other mannerisms. She is hilarious and has a sense of humor much like that of Dan.
* But the strongest influence that I see in Natalie is Travis. She is often silent, listening, reflective, quiet. I know she is deep in thought and trying to make sense of something, and like Travis, she tactfully states her views and stands by them.
I love the fact that Natalie possesses qualities that are the best of her brothers. It makes it fun and interesting to be around her. It also makes for a well-rounded individual who has an innate ability to love, assess, judge, and accept.
Those above mentioned traits lend themselves to the great spiritual gift of discernment and righteous judgement. I look at Natalie as a modern day Deborah. Deborah served as a righteous, highly esteemed judge equal only to Samuel and Gideon of old. During her reign as judge, the Israelites were less than valiant and in constant need of repenting. Deborah never turned her back on her beloved Isarelite people. She made difficult, but righteous judgments.
During Natalie's teen aged years, she had several very close friends who struggled at various times in their lives. I loved how she loved these friends. I loved how she prayed, sought and offered counsel, and when needs be, she distanced herself, all done according to her ability to discern and make righteous judgments. Never did she abandon, belittle, or condemn her troubled friends. She did all she could to help and guide them back to where they should be. And many times, her leadership and loyalty was instrumental in helping a wayward friend back on a positive path.
But there were times when her influence wasn't effective. I can think of three separate times when a sad, distraught Natalie came to me, concerned about a friend, but knowing that it would not be wise to continue their close relationship. The decision was not made lightly and on two instances, Natalie lost a best friend. Her ability to righteously judge these situations required difficult action. Like Deborah, she did not shrink from her judgments. And like Deborah, she did not shun those who were making wrong choices.
Natalie has a close friend who has taken a very different path since graduation; in fact, they couldn't be more opposite in values, politics, religious beliefs, and social views. Natalie's gift of discernment and judgment has led her to censor their media contact, but she loves and cares for her friend. She invites him over when he is in town. She remembers his birthday and things that they shared. As much as they are different, they still have much in common. And although this friend knows exactly where Natalie stands, he also knows that she loves him.
There can not be a more needful gift at this time in life, than that of righteous judgement. It isn't easily earned. It is entrusted to someone who is worthy of it's influence and power. I believe that this gift is bestowed to those who are spiritually mature and wise. This gift is not given to someone who esteems them self to be better or more valiant. Its recipient is humble, loving and accepting. Natalie, you are this kind of person and the Lord has entrusted to you this great gift. Your influence will be profound, not just on the people of Ecuador, but on the world. I really believe this! Happy Birthday dear daughter. I love you! Mommy