Spiritual and Physical Impact of Chronic Illness
Chronic illness is hard, but you are not alone.
Join fellow travelers on this journey through loss and grief, laughter and hope. For no matter how dark the days, how wild the storm, or how long the winter, there is hope. There is always hope.
About Chronic Illness
Chronic illness is broadly defined as a condition lasting one year or longer, requiring ongoing medical attention, and/or limiting daily activities.
Due to the challenges and unpredictability of chronic illness, those living with it often feel isolated, alone, and forgotten about. After turning down several invitations or cancelling plans at the last minute, the invitations simply stop coming.
The world can be an inaccessible place for those who live with daily pain or nausea, dysregulated blood sugar or body temperature, intractable migraine, bleeding disorders, GI issues, food allergies, environmental sensitivities, extreme fatigue, and more. Chronic Joy®
Chronic Illness Resources
Chronic means persisting for a long time. Chronic illness then, is illness that has persisted for a long time, and living with it isn’t easy. You can feel hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. Weary. Overwhelmed. And at the end of yourself.
But you are still here!
You have persevered through every hard day, stuck it out through each new symptom, endured appointments and pain, continued through countless frustrations, withstood tests and procedures, coped with loss, navigated medication changes, stuck with changing treatment plans, and persevered through exhaustion that felt like trudging through wet cement.
You have suffered and survived, persisting even when you didn’t think you could.
Perseverance is a powerful thing and something we don’t often celebrate.
But you didn’t.
Pastor Greg Laurie wrote, “I have seen Christians have the strongest faith in the hardest circumstances imaginable.”
Today, celebrate your tenacity.
You have persisted.
But what if you don’t feel peace today? What if you question whether you’ll ever again taste joy?
In this world, we will have trouble. But suffering isn’t the end of the story. Jesus has overcome the world. He endured. Survived. Persisted.
And there’s more! Ephesians 2:14 says Jesus is our peace right in the messy midst of it all – in the midst of illness, in the midst of suffering, in the midst of pain and unimaginable challenges, Jesus is our peace.
Today, we invite you step in, slip off your shoes, and stay awhile. Read. Listen. Explore. And discover.
Chronic Joy isn’t a place of quick fixes or savvy advice. We don’t offer pat answers or simple solutions. Instead, we invite you into community as together, we learn, share, wrestle, pray, and lean into the precious truths of Scripture.
Step through these doors and discover:
- easily accessible tools
- fantastic free printables
- encouraging images
- engaging books and Bible studies
- inspiring posts, prompts, and prayer guides
Come. Explore. And stay awhile.
We’re so glad you’re here. Welcome home!
How to Live Well with Chronic Illness
Living well with chronic illness begins with understanding who we are in Christ – God’s beloved, His masterpiece, created in His image, and filled with His Spirit.
The first step is extending compassion to ourselves, recognizing that chronic illness is hard, but we are still here. We have endured. Persevered. Persisted.
Instead, Jesus invites: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As we learn to release expectation and loosen our grip on control, we begin to sense God’s Presence in every heartbeat, His beauty woven through every atom of creation.
“Come,” invites the Prince of peace. Lean in, drink deep, and savor.
A PLACE TO BEGIN
Step in with our FREE printable: Story Matters – Writing the Story of Your Illness. Whether you see yourself as a writer or not, you have a story, and it matters.
Let the questions percolate. Remember where you’ve been, trace the moments that have prepared you for such a time as this. Esther 4:14
Brainstorm and bullet point as you journey back across the years the locusts have eaten. Joel 2:25
Seek God’s Presence. Listen for the dreams He established in your soul, the calling He wove into your DNA.
You are an integral, vital, and necessary member of the Body of Christ. Without you, the Body is incomplete.
Lean in and learn to thrive in a life with chronic illness.
- What are you passionate about?
- Who can you pray for?
- When have you felt most deeply connected to God?
- What skills, hobbies, gifts, or abilities do you have?
- Who can you encourage?
- Where did you find your greatest joy as a child? What brings you joy today?
- When do you sense God’s pleasure?
Creative Ways to Connect in Community
Use the questions in our Story Matters printable to step into story. Walk through the details, remember, and let pain do its work. Grieve. Celebrate. Smile. Laugh. And step into joy forged in the crucible of suffering.
Use the Creative Ways printable as a springboard. Brainstorm, dream, and open your heart to new possibilities. You are an indispensable member of the Body of Christ.
Don't let fear, doubt, or complacency keep you from the abundant life God wants for you. God wants us to dream ... to reach for the impossible.
So how do we live through disaster well? We take our terrifying anxieties and our aching sorrows and we choose to let despair draw us to Jesus ...
A long marriage doesn’t make or break one’s character; it merely exposes it. And failure or erosion of the relationship is not inevitable.
Cindee Snider Re
This 10-chapter study invites participants to experience radical hope and compassionate change in a life with chronic illness.
No matter how dark the days, how wild the storm, how deep the valley, or how long the winter, there is hope.
There is always hope.
Cindee Snider Re
What if purpose looks different than we believe?
This 10-chapter study invites participants to release cultural and traditional definitions of purpose, and instead, to embrace God's - a timeless definition rooted in His Word and as refreshing as a gentle spring rain.
Cindee Snider Re
This 10-chapter study powerfully reminds us that our value isn’t found in what we can or cannot do, but in Christ alone. Regardless of what we’ve lost through chronic illness, this isn’t the end of our story, for in spite of our circumstances, in the midst of the hard, when we’re not sure we can take even one more breath, God is still good.
Cindee Snider Re
REJUVENATE, REVTALIZE, REKINDLE AND RECONNECT
This insightful and enriching 10-chapter study, designed just for couples, offers you and your spouse a safe place to grieve, heal, grow, and begin to dream together again – to thrive as one – in sickness and in health.
Craig K. Svensson
How do you live well when the physical foundation of your life is crumbling? This is the challenge for millions who live with diseases for which there is no cure. These incurable ailments produce a life of constant pain, fatigue, numbness, dizziness, and other debilitating symptoms that create chronic suffering. Can you thrive in life while experiencing the suffering persistent sickness provokes? Drawing on his expertise as a pharmacist-scientist, as well as a fellow sufferer with several incurable diseases, he helps to steer readers through the twists and turns of life with chronic illness.
Suffering need not be a dark experience… While illness brings time to think, the natural tendency of our thoughts may not be comforting. Sickness may end activities we once enjoyed; it will make us dependent upon others; and feelings of pain, or of uselessness, or of anxiety about the future, may be very real.
Mary C. Earle
For centuries, Christians have turned to the Benedictine practice of lectio divina, or sacred reading, to pray the Scripture and deepen their experience of God’s presence in their lives. In this gentle book, Mary Earle, who has suffered with serious illness of her own, explores how this ancient practice can be used to “read the text of our illnesses,” and, in doing so, discover God’s presence and guidance even in the midst of pain and suffering.
Life can be tough. Stress, disappointment, heartache, hurt–all are part of the human condition. But while pain is unavoidable, misery is optional! No matter what your circumstances, you can choose to be joyful. Discover a powerful account of God’s working in one man’s physical and emotional suffering, helping him discover the real meaning of joy.
SHARING LIFE, DISCOVERING HOPE AND A FEW FUNNY MOMENTS
CHALLENGES AND JOYS OF LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS
THROUGH CHRIST, WE ARE STRONG
Joni Eareckson Tada
“I’ve got strength sent straight from heaven. Joy hard fought for and hard won.” Click here to watch and be encouraged from The Living Hope Conference, Diamonds 2019.
6 STRUGGLES WE FACE IN SUFFERING AND HOW THE GOSPEL SPEAKS TO THEM
Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell
“Loneliness strips away the external comfort found in those around me, driving to find comfort in Christ alone.” Click here to watch Gospel comfort from The Living Hope Conference, Diamonds 2019.
YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN
“Any activity, no matter how small, that fills your day that you do with a reliance on God and for the glory of God is the work of the Lord.” Click here to watch Esther from The Living Hope Conference, Diamonds 2019.