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For the Kingdom | Natalie Runion

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2023 1:51 am

For the Kingdom | Natalie Runion

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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May 21, 2023 1:51 am

This episode is with pastor, author and founder of @raisedtostay sharing how God has given her a voice to people to stay grounded in their faith and their relationship with God.

To learn more about Natalie visit


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Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillem.

And I'm Bernie Dake. Today in our series of interviews, we're going to hear a conversation with EB and pastor and author, Natalie Runyon. She's the founder of a movement called Raised to Stay. This movement is a call to believers who have been hurt in the past by a church congregation or church leadership as she was, to encourage them not to give up on God. In this conversation, EB will mention these black boxes that started this movement on Natalie's Instagram. Each box would pose a question or a hard truth she learned along the way and include an encouraging scripture.

To learn more about Natalie, visit We'll have links on our Words of Life page. Every day your life has so much purpose. We need what you have.

The kingdom of God's will you carry. This world needs your voice. Don't let anyone quiet you or silence you.

All right. So today I am here with the one and the only Natalie. Natalie, how are you doing? I am doing so well.

It's so good to be here with you guys. If somebody were to say, share a little bit about yourself, what would you tell them? I would tell them first, I'm a wife and a mom. That is my first priority and first ministry.

We live in Colorado from Cincinnati though. So from the Midwest in the spiritual, I'm a pastor's kid and a pastor. But in the natural, I'm a creative and I'm kind of quirky and a little awkward.

And I think that even being in this space that I'm in now feels clunky sometimes because I'm so highly relational and I can't get to everybody through the screen. So I just really honored that the Lord has entrusted me at 43 years old to still be here in the church, loving the people of God. And just, I sometimes just feel like a defender of the people, you know, I feel like a gatekeeper of the church. So I'm just really honored that he has chosen me for this time. If someone were to say, Natalie, what's your calling on life?

How would you try your best to define that? You know, all through my life, I thought it was worship. I was a worship leader forever. That was how the Lord, I think, kind of got me into ministry. I think he knew it was the only way that I would do ministry after being a pastor's kid. And now, you know, I grew up and if you've ever grown up in church, people will say things to you all the time.

But there was a common theme. When evangelists would come through our churches, missionaries, they would say, Natalie, you're going to have an end times ministry. You're going to have an end times ministry.

And I always thought it was worship. Like, I'm just going to like lead worship until Jesus comes back. But what I believe is, is that I, my job in the kingdom is to tell people we don't quit. That if Philippians 1.6 is true, that he who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it to the very end, that that's my role in the kingdom is to stand at the church porch step and tell people as they're coming in, look, it's going to be hard, but it's going to be worth it. Nobody quits. We're going to see this thing all the way until we hear well done, good and faithful servant.

So as you talk a little bit about that holy tension, so to speak, of just thinking like, what is going on? What was it in you where you're just like, I'm not going to give up? When I was 40, I probably had the worst church hurt of my life.

It was the most disappointing season. We had moved from Colorado to, or from Ohio to Colorado. I was living the dream. I was with New Life Worship. I was just finally feeling like I had arrived. And I get out here and I think, yes, all the hard work, all of the turmoil and leading churches that were tiny all the way to Bible studies and leading worship in hospitals and prisons.

It's finally made sense. And I get to Colorado, my family, we move far away from everyone we know. And I'm only in the position about a year and a half and they moved me out. And it wasn't my choice.

It was a structural change. It was, we want you to be in women's ministry now. And to be honest, I don't even like women. I wouldn't have chosen women's ministry.

I was never in a sorority. I'm not like a girl's girl. And I really fought that. I really fought this identity in me that was being challenged, that I was no longer a worship leader. And I felt like the Lord was asking me, do you trust me that I haven't changed my mind about you, but I need to change the method and how I use you. And are you willing to surrender your good for my best? He was just saying like, can I change how I want to use you? You're not a one trick pony.

I have more for you. And I felt in my spirit, this phrase come to me called just raised to stay. And so I just started that day writing these black boxes, which why did I choose black and white?

I don't know. But I just wrote one black box and I just thought, you know what, I'm going to write one a day to remind myself that I can't quit. And that's how this whole thing started was just me trying to tell myself not to quit. And then people started following me and joining me and saying, yeah, I don't want to do that. I don't want to quit either, but this is hard. And that's what I've been doing for the last three years is just showing up, telling myself I can't quit and taking as many people with me. What was that sense of encouragement for you in your walk or in your testimony where you're like, this is really what I should be doing?

Where do you feel like God affirmed that for you? Well, I'll tell you, it was a year of not feeling affirmed. I felt like every time I wrote something, I questioned it. The enemy was right there all the time to be like, nobody's going to understand this.

It doesn't make sense. And there were days that I would get five likes or 10 likes. And it was just like, man, I don't know how else to be obedient than just to show up in my own brokenness and show people that God is real.

If I can just point people back to Jesus and not to positions or churches, titles. Gosh, I want to say it was last year after writing these boxes faithfully for three years. And I got a concussion and I couldn't write anymore because I had so much vertigo. And I only had about 4,000 people in the community at the time. And I thought, Lord, if I don't keep writing, I'm going to lose my algorithm.

I'm going to lose the people coming. If I just stop writing, I'm going to lose followers. That's all I could think of, but I had no choice. And so I started reposting old stuff from the first year, second year, third. I would just repost. And then I had to walk away because I couldn't see.

I was so blurry. And it was in August, a month of just reposting that one day I woke up and I had 20,000 people following me in this Raise to Stay movement. And I realized it had nothing to do with me. It had nothing to do with my ability, but everything to do with what God chose to amplify. And there's scripture that says that the Lord will set up kings and He will also take them down. And I think we wonder sometimes, why does God choose to amplify a song or to endorse a person?

Why does it sometimes feel that way? And I am here to tell you that is only by His supernatural grace that He does that. Because my most growth and most encouragement came when I was physically out. He really had to show me that He had me, that it wasn't anything I could control. It was nothing about an algorithm or how many followers I had, but honestly that He was going to be the one that was going to promote if that was going to happen for this ministry. You know, you have a book coming out, Raise to Stay, right? What is it about this book that made you write it?

When I was in college, right after my parents had really gotten hurt by the church, I chose to go to a secular university, a public university. And my freshman year, I wrote a book called My initials are not PK. And I remember driving or riding my bike to the printing lab where I had to wait for this whole thing to be printed out. And man, I Taylor Swift-ed everyone. I told everyone, I was naming names. I was like wanting to see an entire denomination go down. I was so angry. And six months later, after stalking the mail room, I get a rejection letter from Focus on the Family.

That's where I had sent it. Someone had taken the time to write, your story's not over yet. And I was so mad because I thought, what do you know?

Like I got people need to know how bad ministry is. Like I was so ready to just be mad. And over the last 20 years, I kind of forgot about that. And when we moved to Colorado, my husband and I, we were looking for homes and we didn't realize Focus on the Family, their headquarters is here. We passed that building and I was kind of like a kid seeing Disneyland, like a church kid seeing Focus on the Family. And I heard the Lord say, we'll finish what we started here. And when I started writing these black boxes, a friend of mine who used to be on staff of Focus on the Family called me and said, hey, I have an agent in Denver who I worked with at Focus and he wants the material, would you be interested in making Raised to Stay a Book?

And it was kind of like, I remembered all of that. And so with COVID, mind you, I write this proposal and I send it up to Denver and within a week I had a book deal. And I want to say to everyone that this book is not Natalie trying to be famous.

This is not Natalie trying to prove anything from when I was a kid. This has everything to do with the Lord like in Habakkuk saying to write down the vision and make it plain and then to run with it. That's what I feel like I've done with this book is that I wrote down the words that he has given me.

And though it has tarried for 23 years, though it has felt like it would die inside of me, the Lord has given it new breath and it is now in this form of this book that comes out July 4th. For me, the goal is to just steward the message God has given me, not as a revenge message as I had written it in, you know, 25 years ago, but as a message of healing and wholeness. As a message of healing and holiness. If somebody said, what's your life verse or what are you clinging on to in this season?

What would you share with them? You know, for me, it's the Great Commission, Matthew 28. It's therefore go, go and make disciples. And you're going to do this through the power of the Holy Spirit that he has left with us. And I feel like, yes, Philippians 1 6 is that verse that really drives me every day to think, OK, God gave me lungs and he's given me air in me today and he's not done. But that mandate to go and to make disciples is really what wakes me up every day when I wonder, what is my job?

What is my role? And then that promise that he will never leave us and he will never forsake us. And he has left his Holy Spirit here with us to do the work that that is what I cling to.

We don't know who's going to tap in and who's going to listen to it. But if there's like just a parting word that you would want to share with our audience, what would that be? Your life is worth living, hands down. And God did not make a mistake when he made you male, female, when he made you creative or entrepreneurial. He knew exactly what he was doing with you when he made you. And he's very short of you. There is nothing about God that worries about you, that is fearful for you.

You can't do anything to take him off guard. And so every day your life has so much purpose. And so we need what you have. The kingdom of God needs what you carry. And this world needs your voice. And so don't let anyone quiet you or silence you. And don't let the enemy tell you that we don't need you because we do. Thank you for that. We need you. For those of you who this is maybe your first time hearing about Natalie, or this is your first time hearing about Raised to Stay, I encourage you to just go to your socials, especially on Instagram, Raised to Stay, R-A-I-S-E-D-T-O-S-T-A-Y. And you could just go to that.

And I'm pretty sure you just start looking at those black boxes with words in them. And I would hope that you would be encouraged and you'll probably even find yourself in some of those same situations. But we need you and we hope that you're here to stay.

We hope you guys enjoyed this episode of Words of Life. God bless. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit to connect.

Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store or visit to learn about more programs produced by the Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 02:19:13 / 2023-05-21 02:25:26 / 6

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