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God is Able // Natalie Reddell

God is AbleKaycie Vanden TopComment

Hello everyone! I am so excited to have the lovely Mrs. Natalie Reddell on the blog today for our third edition of "God is Able"! I am so glad to see what is already happening from this series, and I can't wait to see everything that God is still going to do! He has done some really incredible things in Natalie's life, and I am so excited for her to share them with you. Here she is!

When I originally committed to writing this post, I had planned to write about God’s grace and steadfastness in my recovery from alcoholism. I first shared the post on my sobriety in February of this year. I have been blown away by the reaction to it and cannot begin to tell you how many people have said it helped them, or a loved one with their own addiction. You can click here to read about it and please feel free to share. I think the only way to dissolve the shame associated with alcoholism and addiction is to share our stories of recovery. That, I know, is no small charge.  Everyone has the right to own his or her recovery, but for me, confessing it as sin, owning it and sharing with others to spread Hope has been such an amazing gift. I have faced a number of challenges and disappointments in my life, but God has carried me through and allowed me to grow in my faith.

One of the most painful of life events took place just this summer, so I feel compelled to share it with all of you. The past five weeks have been an incredible example of just how fragile life is. I choose the word “incredible” because the dictionary defines it as “impossible to believe” with synonyms like "stunning", "breath-taking" and "beyond-belief". My sentiments exactly…

This summer my family rented a house on Bald Head Island, North Carolina for our annual beach trip. Bald Head is a unique and pristine island on the east side of the Cape Fear River. It is just out from Wilmington and is accessible only by ferry. There are no cars on the island, so the rental homes usually come with golf carts and bikes. We rented a house with my parents and my sister's family. Our 16-year-old son, Schuyler, is an only child, so this year he decided to invite a friend to come with us and he naturally invited his best friend, Tyler. 

We were having an amazing week, when tragedy struck. Tyler and Schuyler were body-surfing with my dad, Poppy, in the ocean. Schuyler and Poppy caught a wave and rode into shore. When they stood up, they could not find Tyler. Schuyler, who is 6'-8" tall, spotted Tyler floating face-down in the ocean about 50 feet from shore. He swam out to him, flipped him over and carried him to the beach. Tyler was unconscious and not breathing and had turned blue. My father and another man on the beach performed CPR and Schuyler called 911. Tyler did start breathing again, as a result, but remained unconscious. He was air-lifted to the hospital in Wilmington, NC, where he remained on life-support for two weeks. Tyler was an amazing young man and fought a courageous fight, but finally went to Heaven on September 13, 2015. You can read more about Tyler’s amazing life, the accident, and the celebration of his life on the website created by his father. I also wrote two blog posts during the two weeks he was fighting for his life here and here I hope you’ll read them both because we could not have made it through without our faith and His presence is undeniable. Tyler’s mom, Michelle, and I have grown into sisters through this pain and loss and healing. Tyler’s sister, Emily, is like the daughter I never had and Schuyler finally has a sister. Tyler’s dad, Trey, is a brother to me and my husband. Tyler gave us each other.

In sixteen short years, Tyler's kindness and fun-loving spirit have made an incredible impact on our community and beyond. He has left many "gifts", but his mama and I treasure the last text he sent her just before the accident. It has helped carry us through this and we want to share in hopes that it helps carry you, too.

Fwd: Hey, mom. Just want to give you an update. I'm really having a great time here and Schuyler's grandparents love me and think I'm a really nice, laid back, and responsible kid (props to you) me and Schuyler saw a shark swim next to us yesterday which was awesome yet extremely scary. It's literally like you wake up at grandma’s house here because everybody's up and breakfast is cooking and everyone sits together like us and just eats and has really cool conversations. Schuyler's mom made this dip that is literally heaven and I'm getting the recipe so we can have it (it's heaven dip) the beaches are saltier than Peter Chen’s soup but that's ok cause they have the best waves to body surf in. I haven't found any sea glass yet but I'll find some eventually for ya. I have been super good at brushing my teeth (surprisingly) and have been showering like once a day. I love you and want you to know that I'm safe and am having a blast!

Finally, God gave us an amazing gift when we finally returned home. Five years ago, my husband and I found an awesome old life-saver in an antique store in Asheville, North Carolina. It was exactly what I wanted to hang over Schuyler’s bed. He had not yet been to Cape Fear, yet, but thought it was perfect in his room. He and Tyler had slept under it for years. I took the photo of the boat the day before the accident. None of us realized the symbolism of it all until we got home and saw the life-preserver again for the first time.

-Ephesians 3:20-

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.

Let this be a reminder to us all that God is always there.  He is truly the Alpha and the Omega.

Love, Natalie