Dear Natalie

Dear Natalie,

I remember your first reactions. When you first tried to figure out what was causing your body to respond in the way it does. You never knew you would end up here. In your twenties and fighting for a quality of life that most people take for granted. Including myself. I often wish I had the words to express how much I think of you. How much your suffering crushes my heart. If only God would step in and lighten this load for you, make things even a smidgen easier... Wouldn't that be so much more survivable? This just feels like too much. Like more than one person should be able to handle. And definitely not the right story for someone as young and vibrant and humorous as you.

But suffering does not choose its victim based on temperament, does it? Most of the people that I know who are suffering and fighting for their lives everyday are the most grace-filled, funny, lighthearted and hopeful people that I've ever had the chance to meet.

People want answers for the why of their suffering. I'm sure you'd like some of those, but at the same time, I see that you keep moving. You keep living. Every time you're crushed, you get up the next day and choose to live again.

I often think you're too young for this. Why you? But I doubt that I will know the answer to that on this earth. And that is where I see you shine so bright. You see, if what happened to you had happened to me at your age, I don't know that I would have turned to God. I like to think I would have. But I just don't know. None of us know until we are faced with suffering what we're really going to do. But watching you cling to God and trust him in the midst of this hard--it's beautiful to see.

Thank you for being an example for others even though this life isn’t what you asked for. Thank you for fighting for God when so many people don't understand why you would.

This is my friend Natalie. She has Mast Cell disease. It's debilitating and life-threatening. It's horrible, but she is wonderful and brave and full of life.

We all know a young suffer-er. I'm sure your minds have been flashing to them during this post. Thank you, thank you to these young spirits for fighting so hard and for being so brave. Thank you for choosing to live another day. Thank you for being warriors when you shouldn't have to be. We are, most definitely, on your team.

In the comments or under the Facebook post, leave the name of the one you're thinking of and praying for. Let's pray over our young warriors together.