I met Natalie Pagel a few years ago. I heard she was a writer and so the invisible spark of camaraderie bound us together almost instantly.
I soon learned from our circle that Natalie had written a book. She had finished it, bound it at Kinko’s and passed it around to her friends and family. I got her phone number from a mutual friend and she soon received a phone call from someone she barely knew (me) encouraging her to not spend any more money at Kinko’s when she could go to Create Space and publish her little book for free, and maybe have all those friends and family actually buy it off of Amazon.
(Please, authors! You are better than Kinko’s!)
Her story has lived through several transformations since then and is now (hooray!) available on Amazon.
I would like to introduce Ruins: The Perfect Place to Build Indestructible Life by Natalie Pagel!
I have read it through twice now, and have begun a third time. It by turns makes me cry and laugh out loud. I just made my husband listen to a particularly funny page. I won’t tell you what part (parts) makes me cry, because that would be a spoiler. But I will tell you the funniest part for me is right around rock bottom when she also gets ants. You know the kind of day she’s talking about, people.
It is Natalie’s story, and her family story. It begins with Natalie in a place of righteous self-assuredness, financial success, and a very sure view of God and the world. And, then life happens, as it does to most of us. But it seems to avalanche over Natalie and her husband all at once, tragically and, at times, comically.
To give you a sense of her journey I give you a piece of hers that I love called “The Grand Canyon”. She tucked it away at the end of her book:
The Grand Canyon
Everything was working against it, and yet for it. Violence and isolation, woven into endless stretches of time, were a part of the very intentional and very intricate process of its coming-of-age.
Shifting and reforming from below as foundations moved, and from above as suffocating deluges added insult to injury, its absolute rock-bottom gave way to new depths.
Relentlessly the elements persisted. Even its own crumbly-clay fabric was used to carve out its deep, deep chasms.
Yet despite its cursed existence, it is anything but a futile wasteland. No, it is a wonder of creation-inspiring and majestic. A banner of beauty. A fingerprint of salvation. Breathtaking from every vantage point.
Bidding still, that nature run its course.
Engraved by the hand of destruction at the hand of the Creator, it is not empty. Patiently and skillfully sculpted, it is not forsaken.
Its gashed and gorged landscape is full-teeming with color and light and life.
I absolutely love this. Because people come from around the world to see the beauty of a place so harshly brought about. Are we prettier for that which has been carved from us? Is the rebuilding of Jerusalem sweeter for having been in exile in Babylon?
And I like this version of testimony best, that tells the whole story, not just the pretty parts, which my honest and beautiful friend Natalie certainly does.
I’ll be popping on here this month to give you excerpts as I read through her book again.
In the meantime, head over to Amazon and buy it for yourself! And then, please, leave a glowing review! Also, head over to her blog at http://www.illuminatethetruth.com and follow her story as it continues to get written.