(Minghui.org) “If it were not for Falun Dafa, I would be in jail,” said Natalie, a young woman in Cologne. “I was around 16 years old when I started drinking and smoking. I just didn't care about anything.”

Natalie, a new Falun Dafa practitioner.

A Rebellious Age

Natalie and her two brothers grew up in a single-parent family home in middle Germany. Her family moved several times to improve their living conditions. Her performance in school suffered. She couldn't keep up and eventually started to skip school. Thus, her mother turned her over to a foster home. Natalie moved out at a young age and started working. She was a vulnerable teenager, without any goals or interests.

Having lived a childhood without a father, Natalie wanted to appear strong. She wore boys' clothes and kept her hair very short and dyed it. She also wore nose, ear and lip rings.

“I felt I was strong and wanted to show it,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I didn't feel safe, and worried that I would be hurt. I have witnessed domestic violence, and was worried that it would happen to me someday. I was especially worried about being hurt by men. I didn't think there was any safe place in the world.”

Life Turns Meaningful

Natalie shared, “I often asked myself why life was like this, and what's the meaning of life. Hardship and frustration can't be everything in life. There must be a reason. I was sure of it.” However, it took some time for her to find answers to her questions.

She started looking for the meaning of life during her spare time. One day in April, 2010, she ran into a Falun Dafa website. She was stunned by the information she found.

She asked herself, “Where did this group of people find the courage to face such a cruel persecution? I couldn't imagine that anyone could stay firm in one's belief and display such courage and power!”

Whenever her mother wasn't using the computer, Natalie read the online book Falun Gong, the Dafa introductory book, and Zhuan Falun the main book of Falun Dafa. After she had read them, she was thrilled to find what she had been looking for.

“Mystery solved,” she said. “Everything made sense. I immediately realized what I had found. No word can describe my excitement! I found that the meaning of life is to follow Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and be a good person. Like many people of my age, I never thought that being a good person should be my goal, because it just did not make any sense. I thought that it would be enough to not be a bad person.”

Like many other people, Natalie thought life was about making money and spending money, and working hard and helping others was not worth it.

However, Falun Dafa completely changed her. She said, “I learned from Dafa that one should be a good person, and that hardship happens for a reason.”

Happiness and Healthy Life

She continued to elaborate how she felt, “Dafa is something that makes me feel more fortunate than winning a lottery! I found the meaning of life! The stress on my heart was gone! I felt so relaxed! It's true that life has a purpose! Many people have asked this question, but quit looking for it. We accepted what society had told us, 'Live a better life. Enjoy everything. Gratify your body's needs.' After reading the Dafa books, I immediately knew that Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance are the correct answers to my questions. This is the kind of person I want to be.”

With Falun Dafa principles guiding her, Natalie felt an inner urge to follow Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.

She admitted, “Gradually, I found myself no longer angry when others treated me unfairly. One time, someone fabricated rumors, claiming I had cussed at someone, and incited my friends against that person. I realized it was a test of my character, so I wasn't bothered. I was sympathetic, because I thought he must have been driven irrational by his anger. If it had happened before my cultivation, I would have argued with him. I'm so happy I could handle it rationally.”

Changes in her attitude made Natalie an optimistic and outgoing person. She said, “I used to laugh when I saw that other people were in trouble, such as tripping over something or bickering with each other. After I started cultivating, I could let go of negative thoughts. I stopped picking and choosing house chores at home and at work. I continued to be kind to those who didn't treat me well. I also have positive thinking when I run into difficulties. It's a feeling I never had before!”

Gaining Responsibility and Feeling of Safety

Natalie used to care little about anything or anyone. Her family and friends noticed her changes after she started to practice Dafa. She is happy to spend time with her family and shares her thoughts with her mother. “My mom is so happy with my change. She often tells our family and friends that her daughter became a responsible young woman after practicing Falun Dafa.”

Natalie used to talk about herself all the time and drink alcohol with her friends. Now she listens to others and cares about them. Her change earned her true friendship from Falun Gong practitioners as well as non-practitioners. Natalie no longer feels unsafe around people.

She said, “I don't hold any fear as I did before and feel protected when I follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.”

Deep Gratitude to Master

Natalie sounds positive and confident when talking about herself, even when she recalls her unhappy childhood. She holds deep gratitude for Master's compassion [Master Li Hongzhi is the founder of Falun Dafa]. “I knew that He would accept me from the moment I learned Falun Dafa, no matter what I was like. The compassion radiated by Dafa is nothing I had experienced before I became a practitioner. I feel accepted and protected, as if a father took my hand and said, 'Come, let's grow up.' I feel safe every day. I'm so fortunate to find the true Way! If it wasn't for Falun Dafa, I don't know if I would be still alive. My gratitude to Master can't be described in words!”