Today I get to write about my second child and first born daughter Natalie Warren Askew.
We were living in West Plains, Missouri when Natalie was born and her birth brought much joy to our lives from the beginning. Natalie was such a beautiful baby and I remember holding her for the first time and thinking, “God, you have great plans for this girl.” So I am not surprised at how much God is using her today as a servant for Him. That memory of holding Natalie in that moment affected me so much that when her daughter Esther was born and I held her, I couldn’t control my emotions as I looked into the beautiful eyes of Natalies daughter. I remember thinking, “the legacy is continuing” and of course, Esther has been a true blessing and seeks God with her heart. For me, having a daughter was a totally different experience as so many of her needs were “mom centered.” But one thing I always loved doing was sitting in an old canvas chair we had at the time and holding Natalie until she fell asleep in my arms. I felt like I was holding a precious girl that God wanted to bless for His purposes and that’s exactly what I was doing. From the time Natalie could understand words and then read herself, she has been seeking God. She accepted Christ as a child, but doubted her salvation as an older teen. During that time of turmoil a friend of mine, David Nassar had come to speak at our youth conference and Natalie was feeling unsettled and David talked with her and seemed to put it all into focus when he said, “I just think she wants to serve God so much, she is constantly wanting to be closer and closer to God. That desire is what is driving her and causing her to feel less than adequate.” He said, “she just has a true heart for God.” After that time of explanation and some prayer she was able to qualify her feelings and use it for pursuing God. Natalie showed great potential for singing when we lived in California and shined as a child with a beautiful voice and a heartfelt way of singing. When Natalie would sing, she would just let it fly and God would use it. She began to show interest in making this calling a career and I started letting her sing in larger applications and her largest audience at that time was in a student conference called Student Renewal where she and three friends had put together a Point of Grace type singing group and they were just teenagers. That year we had a large group of about 1,500 attendees and Natalie got up with not a thought about it and belted out a beautiful song with the other three girls. It was a hit and they left the stage to thunderous applause. I began to pursue ways to get Natalie where others could hear her sing and thus transition her to pursue her dream. I had three friends who were a singing group called Brother’s Keeper. We had become close friends through youth activities I had them sing at for me. These guys were the best and I called in a favor to get them to help me promote Natalie. They believed in Natalie like I did and helped me set up a time for Natalie to get to sing in front of Dana Key, A and R guy for Ardent Records in Memphis. They had started letting Natalie be the warm up act for their band, where she would sing a couple of songs before they performed. So we set up the “audition” at Union University in Jackson, Tennesse and Dana was going to come and hear this new talent. She sang her song and then we talked with Dana afterward and I talked numerous times with him after that. I told him, “Dana, you know she has talent, but I know that God has a purpose for that talent. If you will trust what I’m saying you will sign her and let the world hear her sing.” Dana agreed and set up a recording session, and he, being a Grammy Award winning song writer was going to write a song for her and then promote her. Natalie and I traveled to Memphis for her recording session where she sang some tracks, but due to artist changes (like them signing Todd Agnew because they wanted a male artist ahead of Natalie) all of that was put on hold. But we knew that if Dana Key believed in Natalie’s ability, we were on the right track. This only spurred her on to greater levels in singing and she went on tour with Brother’s Keeper on the Jam Tour, and began to be promoted by Halo Productions. She toured on the bus with them and took one of her female friends as you should do when you are a female touring with an all male group. She got to see the inner workings of touring and the music business and it further gave her wisdom about God using her in the music business. God was good to Natalie a little later to allow her to meet David Askew, who also had a love for music and they started dating on a regular basis, got married, and the rest is history. Today Natalie and David lead worship in numerous applications and serve God with hearts that want to lift up the name of Jesus. God was faithful to take the little girl I held in my arms and put her in a position to serve Him and hold her in His arms. He has
been a constant source of love and direction for Natalie and her living legacy is the love and care she is entrusting to her girls and the new baby on the way. As a father, I felt I could be a part of putting her in a place to realize her dream and follow a much more precious Father than me, her heavenly Father. I continue to marvel at how much God has done in her life and eagerly watch to see what else is on the horizon for her. It is my prayer that her steps will always be led by God and her path will be full of the great adventures God promises to those who seek Him. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” I trust Natalie will keep seeking and she will find a life that is full of God showing her His great treasures of wisdom that she will pass on to her children. I know I have no regrets in pointing Natalie to our Heavenly Father because He will not disappoint. Romans 5:5 – “And hope does not disappoint, because the the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” What a wonderful journey of truth we have with Natalie, and God using her to serve Him. That truth is the foundation of who she is and what she does and will be the guiding light of her and her children. That is something you can bank on. Natalie, our precious daughter who loves God with all her heart is a blessing to Andra and I and all our travels in guiding her have helped us develop our faith walk. Praise God for all He has done and is yet to do.
The Pilgrimage continues….