Tuesday, September 08, 2015

This One's For Torny

{"Torny" is what I call Nathan Tornquist. I know it's weird, but there are many Nathan's in my little world, so that's what he became, somehow.}

Nathan is a student and friend at the school where I teach. This year, he should be enjoying his Junior year, playing soccer or shooting hoops, or just being a normal teenager. Instead, he's laying on his couch at home, patiently waiting for a miracle.

Around February of this past year, Nathan contracted mono. He went home and never seemed to get any better. He suffered from extreme headaches and fatigue, which kept him from simple tasks like reading, walking, and everyday life. That began his life of doctor visits, medications, and confusion about what was really going on. (You can read more at his CaringBridge website)

At the time of this writing, it appears he may have Lyme's disease that has gone untreated for a very long time. We continue to hope and pray along with his parents that this will end soon for Nathan. It's been a long, dark process of questions and tears.

Parents, can you feel this pain with me? Do you understand how difficult it would be to watch your son or daughter suffer and not be able to fix it? Some of you know. Some of you get it.

I've had sick children in my house, even to the point of a trip to the Cities for further testing, but nothing - NOTHING - like this. So, instead of really leaning in and praying for Nathan, I honestly stopped remembering to pray for this young man. It was too confusing and painful to think about.

But early this summer, Nathan sent me a Facebook message. A simple note reaching out for prayer and encouragement. It haunted me. It reminded me of one of my greatest fears: the suffering of my children. As I was driving after receiving that message, I felt like God said clearly to me, "Fight for Nathan." Three words. I had no idea what that meant, exactly, but I couldn't NOT do anything anymore.

I emailed 3 other people and asked if they would help me "fight" for Nathan. It simply meant we would commit to visiting with Nathan on a consistent basis, just going to his home to talk, pray, sing, read scripture, and encourage him. Can I be honest? I was scared. But all 3 people said "absolutely."

Hanging out with Nathan has shifted something in me. I go there to encourage him, to pray and talk about what he's going through, but I leave with a new sensitivity and understanding of what it means to FIGHT.

Fighting, in the spiritual sense, sometimes means simply SHOWING UP. It means, "I'm here. I don't know what I'm doing, but God does, and I know He's a good God." Listen, I have never been good at compassion and empathy. When my kids fall, I am a "eh, shake it off, kid" kind of Mom. This is WAY out of my comfort zone, which is definitely a good thing.

Would you pray for my Torny?
Would you simply listen for who God might be telling you to fight for?
And what if YOU are in the battle and your arms are weary? Pray for a few soldiers to come alongside you. Fighting is what soldiers do.

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