Chronic illness

is hard, but you are not alone.

Join fellow travelers on this journey through loss and grief, laughter and hope. No matter how dark the days, how wild the storm, or how long the winter, there is hope. There is always hope.

More than half of people live with chronic illness.

About Chronic Illness

More than 60% of the world’s population lives with one or more chronic illnesses. Almost 96% of those are invisible illnesses, meaning they show no outward signs.

What is 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. 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

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

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, 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.

Take a minute and think about this. What has it cost you to get to this day? How many tests have you endured? How much pain have YOU suffered? How many times have you wanted to give up?

But you didn’t.

Pastor Greg Laurie writes, “I have seen Christians have the strongest faith in the hardest circumstances imaginable.”

Today, celebrate your tenacity.

You have persisted.

What if you don’t feel peace today? What if you question whether you’ll ever again taste joy?

Jesus answered that in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In this world, we will have trouble — but suffering isn’t the end of the story. Jesus has overcome the world. He endured, he survived, he persisted.

There’s even more! In Ephesians 2:14, Paul writes that 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.

AN INVITATION

Today, we invite you to step in, slip off your shoes, and stay awhile. Read. Listen. Explore. 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.

Pause, rest, and care for your soul today. Nurture your heart and lean into the still small Voice that says, “You are my beloved and I delight in you” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Step through these doors and discover:

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: we are 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.

Let that backpack full of shame slide off your shoulders. Set down the heavy stack of pain. Drop your suitcase full of suffering, shake free from expectation, and release the dragging guilt.

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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

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, and 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.

Come.

Lean in and learn to thrive in a life with chronic illness.

Identify Creative Ways to Connect

Story Matters

Creatively Express Your Story

We can feel isolated and powerless when living with chronic illness, but what if your story begins to bridge those barriers?  What if your story offers a glimmer of hope to someone standing at the edge of hopelessness?

  • 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

Looking for creative ways to connect with others as you unpack the Chronic Joy studies? This FREE printable does just that and more!

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. 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.

Prayer for Chronic Illness

Chronic illness is hard. Often finding and/or being a part of a community when chronic illness is a constant companion can be even more challenging.

You’re invited to the Prayer Pond, your safe harbor, where you can share your prayer requests, updates, and shouts of praise. Whether a request, praise, lament, suffering, loss, hope, grief, or joy, each prayer ripples far beyond this day and the boundaries of our world.
 
How often we hear, “Prayer is the least I can do,” when in reality, prayer is the most we can do. 

Blog Posts

Living Happily at the Edge of the Cliff

In time I realized that I was never going to fall off a cliff; in fact, I was never going to even move, because the very foundation of my life is built on a rock — the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Rock of Ages! So now, dear one, regardless of your affliction, I urge you to run to Him. You will not be disappointed.

READ MORE

"He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved!" Psalm 62:6

Even More

Featured Books

Discovering Hope • Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

DISCOVERING HOPE: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

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.

LEARN MORE

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FINDING PURPOSE: Rediscovering Meaning in a Life with Chronic Illness

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.

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EMBRACING WORTH: Understanding Your Value in a Life with Chronic Illness

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 despite our circumstances, in the midst of the hard, when we’re not sure we can take even one more breath, God is still good.

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I TAKE YOU IN SICKNESS & IN HEALTH: Marriage with Chronic Illness

Cindee Snider Re

Rejuvenate, revitalize, rekindle, and reconnect with this insightful and enriching 10-chapter study (designed just for couples) that 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.

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Hurting Yet Whole: Reconciling Body and Spirit in Chronic Pain and Illness

Hurting Yet Whole: Reconciling Body and Spirit in Chronic Pain and Illness

Liuan Huska

What do we do when our bodies don't work the way they should? What is healing when one has a chronic illness? Can we still be whole when our bodies suffer? Liuan helps us redefine what it means to find healing and wholeness even amid ongoing pain.

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A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness

P.B. Power

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 and might make us dependent upon others. Feelings of pain, uselessness, or anxiety about the future may be very real. This book offers comfort for just those times.

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Broken Body, Healing Spirit

Mary C. Earle

For centuries, Christians have turned to the Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina (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 from 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 amid pain and suffering.

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You Gotta Keep Dancin': In the Midst of Life's Hurts, You Can Choose Joy!

Tim Hansel

Life can be tough. Stress, disappointment, heartache, hurt -- all are part of the human condition. While pain is unavoidable, misery is optional! No matter what your circumstances, you can choose to be joyful. In Hansel's powerful account of God’s working in one man’s physical and emotional suffering, he and we discover the real meaning of joy.

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Audio 

SHARING LIFE, DISCOVERING HOPE AND A FEW FUNNY MOMENTS

by Diane Bailey | The Consilium Lakeside

CHALLENGES AND JOYS OF LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS

by Our American Stories | Marriage On The Mind: Chronic Emotional/Physical Pain (Ep 1)

Video

 

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: Annual Conference, Diamonds 2019.

CHOOSING JOY IN SUFFERING

Vaneetha Rendall Risner

“Pain is what draws us to God.” Click here to watch from the Living Hope: Annual 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 me to find comfort in Christ alone.” Click here to watch and glean Gospel comfort from the Living Hope: Annual Conference, Diamonds 2019.

YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN

Esther Smith

“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: Annual Conference, Diamonds 2019.

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