“Handwritten notes encourage me and fill me with hope.” Elyse Ogbourne


The hardest thing about my chronic illness is the mental overstimulation that comes from the constant pain I experience, especially during a flare-up. The noise in my head makes it difficult to think. I struggle to keep up with the pace of simple conversations. I’m constantly worried that the discussion will veer off in a direction I don’t anticipate and leave my mind behind. Digital communication is even harder.

Instead of trying to keep up with face-to-face communication and texts, I put #PenToPaper. I write because it helps me process what’s going on and lets me control the flow of the conversation. During flare-ups, I write out assignments, create lists, and even make outlines for conversations I need to have. By putting pen to paper, I can process my day, sort my thoughts, and make room in my mind for something new. I recently found a new way to put pen to paper – writing letters to my friends.




Handwritten notes encourage me and fill me with hope. Once or twice a month, I get a note from either my mom or someone from my home church and they always brighten my day! These notes remind me I’m not alone on my chronic illness journey. Even when the sender doesn’t understand exactly what I’m going through, they can offer me love and support. That kindness has inspired me to write to my friends to encourage them as they walk through their own challenging circumstances.

I am blessed because even with chronic illness, I have Jesus. I have faith that He knows exactly what I’m going through. He experienced overwhelming pain on the cross, suffering separation and isolation from His Father. Even though I don’t always understand why I have chronic illness, I trust that God does. Though not all my friends have this hope, I can still encourage them with faith-filled truths and reminders of God’s love.




One of the best ways I have found to encourage my friends is to let them know what I’m learning from the crisis of the moment. We may have different illnesses, but we share similar experiences and questions both about today and the future. God’s truth speaks life. When I  encourage my friends with truth, I remind myself of the hope I have. I remind myself what I need to hear. I remind myself that I am not alone, even when my feelings tell me otherwise.

What I see as a weakness, God sees as an opportunity to spread His light.

God has given each of us a unique mission field based on our own life story. Those of us with chronic illness can offer hope to the hurting world around us. When a classmate, friend, or loved one is experiencing chronic illness or facing another difficult season of life, we have the power to speak life to those in need of truth, hope, and encouragement.


How do you offer encouragement and speak life to those around you?

Elyse Simon

Elyse Simon

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

Elyse is a recent graduate with a fondness for the outdoors. After a simple slip on the ice left her with chronic pain syndrome, she began to see how God does work all things for good. Armed with Biblical truth and her TENS unit, Elyse uses her experiences to encourage young adults with the message that they can thrive in the face of difficult circumstances.



#PenToPaper is a powerful, yet easy way to encourage one another and build each other up by fostering community, offering hope, and letting someone know they are not alone, that they are prayed for, cared about, and genuinely loved. Discover ideas to get you started, note starters (a few words to help you begin), and free, printable stationery.


Speak Life - Spark Hope Stationery

Speak Life, Spark Hope Stationery

#PenToPaper: Note Starters for Every Day


Note Starters for Every Day




Brimming with inspiration and chock-full of note starters: words of compassion, gratitude, celebration, grief, laughter, fun ways to write to a special child, and even for difficult relationships.

 Makes a great gift! 🎁 



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