The young adult years are filled with change.

Chronic illness complicates all of it – independence, education, employment, social activities, dating, and relationships with family and friends. But it can also cultivate both strength and resilience as we learn to navigate pain, loss, suffering, and adversity, discovering what really matters.

Teens & Young Adults

Our program grew from our desire to care for our teens and young adults in tangible ways, stemming from a delightful notecard set originally designed by one of our young adult Creative Contributors. A kind word when you are hospitalized, homebound, or having a tough time is a gift, reminding us that we are know not alone.

 

Empathy and kindness can make a big a difference in the lives of those affected by chronic illness. Old-school letter writing is a nearly lost art today, but through our #PenToPaper program, we hope to rekindle it! Our notecards and stationery might just inspire you to share a little bit of old-school kindness with someone on their own journey through chronic illness or pain.

 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thes. 5:11) Our Pass It On program is a perfect place to encourage and build each other up as we climb the difficult mountain of chronic illness. Do you have go-to books, blogs, podcasts and more? We’d love to know! Share them through Pass It On and help our resource listings grow!

CARD MINISTRY

Teens and 20-somethings would you be blessed to receive cards in the mail? Encouraging and inspiring #PenToPaper snail mail and other fun printed materials can find their way to your mailbox. Sign-up today!  (It’s safe and secure.) 

CURIOSITY NOTECARDS

This set of 4 Photography Notecards will bring a bright touch to anyone’s day. Send a note of encouragement or a handwritten prayer to let someone you know how much you care.

Click here to purchase.

“I was so incredibly touched when my daughter opened her #PenToPaper gift and handwritten encouragement card from Chronic Joy. When they said they wanted to encourage young adults living with chronic illness, I was super impressed … and so grateful when they included my daughter. Young women and men need to hear others care about them as they navigate the very disheartening struggles of chronic illness. My daughter just loved this and felt “seen” and cared about as soon as she opened it to her surprise.” ❤️❤️ Heather Mertens

Prayer for Teens & 20 Somethings

Chronic illness is hard. Often finding and/or being a part of a community as a teen and young adult with chronic illness as a constant companion can be even more challenging.
 
 
You’re invited to the Chronic Joy Prayer Pond, a community rippling with radical hope and compassionate change. A place 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. 

Sick Teens and Twenties with chronic illness.

Blog Posts

Featured Books

He's Making Diamonds

S. G. Willoughby

Are you a teenager trying to navigate faith through chronic illness? I’m here to tell you, you are not alone. When sickness takes over your life, it’s a never-ending battle to make it through each day. How do you cope? How do you keep fighting? Most of all though, how do you find God in the midst of the suffering? Through my own journey of sickness, I’ve struggled with the same questions—questions we all think but are afraid to ask. My name is Sara, and I’ve been sick with Lyme disease and more since I was fourteen. Those questions you’re afraid to ask? I’ve asked them too—as have many others. This book addresses topics and questions such as: Why is there sickness? Where is God in sickness? Resting in the storm How to deal with the way chronic illness changes you Joy and despair Hope Praying through chronic illness Relationships in the midst of chronic illness And more! The journey of illness is not an easy one, but hope remains. God hasn’t left us. He hasn’t forgotten us. On the contrary, He’s making diamonds out of us.

Emily: My True Story of Chronic Illness and Missing Out On Life (Louder Than Words)

Emily Smucker

Emily’s the sick one . . . all of the time.

Plagued with some sort of cold or fever or bizarre aches and pains for much of her life, Emily thought the dizziness and stomachaches at the start of her senior year were just another bout of “Emily flu.” But when they didn’t go away, she knew something was seriously wrong. Eventually diagnosed with the rare and incurable West Nile virus, Emily watched her senior year and the future she had planned for go up in smoke.

“I want a normal life for a teenager. I want to ache from a long day at work. I want to be so busy that I don’t have time to post on my blog. I want to run the race of life instead of being pushed along it in a wheelchair. I want to be on the ride of my life, you know?”

I Still Dream Big: Stories of Teens Living with Chronic Illness

Penny B. Wolf

Kelly was a seventeen-year-old star of her high school basketball team . . . Gevon was a twelve-year-old who played linebacker for his middle school football team . . . Crystle was a nineteen-year-old college student with big plans for the future . . . One day you’re hanging out with friends at the mall, playing basketball at school, dreaming about your latest crush, and the next you’re in the hospital hooked up to tubes and wondering whether or not you’ll ever feel normal again. Getting sick was never part of the plan. Lupus. Diabetes. Rheumatoid Arthritis. Crohn’s. Multiple Sclerosis. No matter what the diagnosis, teens with chronic illnesses share one thing in common: their lives have been changed forever by illness. Seventeen young adults share their personal stories in I Still Dream Big. Their tenacity and spirit are an inspiration to us all.

Journey of Faith: A Devotional for Young Women

Isabella Morganthal

Have you ever wondered if you were meant for more? More than what the world wants to offer you? Even more than what you have planned for yourself? Have you ever wished to live with more faith? In Journey of Faith, Isabella Morganthal wants to encourage you to live a life of faith that honors God. She has compiled some of the articles from her last two years of blogging and turned each of them into a daily devotional. Each devotion is meant to remind you that walking your journey of faith may not always be easy, but it is always worth it. Jesus is always worth it. Journey of Faith also features articles specifically for writers, special author interviews, and even some fun quizzes and resources. If you’re ready to start living with more faith, then start reading today. And let’s walk this journey together.

Even More

Millennials and Chronic Illness – 13 Things

 

With chronic illness, every day is an adventure! Some days, we’re on top of the mountain and others, about as low in the valley as we can go. It isn’t a life we would have chosen, but it is one we’re learning to walk through with courage, tenacity, humor, and grace. We are so much more than our illnesses!

“Some days I can conquer the world. Other days it takes me three hours to convince myself to take a shower.” Unknown

Chronic Illness – 13 Things That Might Resonate

  1. We never know how we’ll feel from day to day or even hour to hour.

    • “If opening your eyes, or getting out of bed, or holding a spoon, or combing your hair is the daunting Mount Everest you climb today, that is okay.” – Carmen Ambrosio

  2. Lists of intention, instead of lists of “to do” are a must-have tool! They keep us on track, get the details out of our heads, and are a great place to problem-solve.

    • Make a list of the things your illness actually does prevent you from doing, and then a list of workarounds for each limitation.” Linda Rodgers

  3. “Chronic” is a difficult word to accept and it requires both determination and courage. Tears are not only OK, they are a necessary way to work through the loss, grief, and trauma of chronic illness. 

    • “There is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bear witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” Viktor Frankl

  4. The words, “Have you tried…?” are an uncomfortable conversation-starter. If a treatment, medication, or supplement exists, we’ve probably either tried it or already talked to our doctors about it. There’s just no easy way out of that conversation. 

    • “Going through things you never thought you’d go through; will only take you places you never thought you’d get to.” Morgan Harper Nichols

  5. Some days are a struggle. It might be symptoms, pain, exhaustion, having to say “no” to one more invitation, losing a friend to illness, feeling trapped financially, too many appointments in a row … sometime it’s all just a lot to manage.

    • “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it …” Henry Ford

  6. The Pain Scale is a pretty ineffective way to communicate pain.

    • “We are conquerors, we are survivors, but we are also sufferers. It is commonly misunderstood that a person cannot be both, but I wake up and go through each day understanding the reality of my health circumstances, which includes being honest with myself and those around me.” Devri Velazque

  7. We want to be invited, even if we’re not able to go.

    “So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” Stephen Chbosky

  1. We would love to be spontaneous, and “live a little,” but we really do have to pay attention to what we eat, how much we drink, what we did yesterday or need to do tomorrow, sleep, medication schedules, temperature, sun exposure … the list seems endless, and it really is a pain!

    “Chronic illness is hard. It’s a new life. All I knew has gone. It’s different now. I’m not depressed, I’m grieving. There is a difference. And it’s normal.” Georgina E. Banks

     

  2. Dating is complicated. How much do we tell someone about our illness? When? First date? Second date? Not till we get serious? When do we discuss the impact of illness on marriage, children, finances, work?

    • “…to all the men and women out there who are daunted by illness, I encourage you to get to know a person whose health may not be perfect. No, it may not be the easiest life, but you may never know the compassion that humanity holds until you meet someone with a chronic illness.” Anand Omprakash

  3. College comes with so many questions! Can we manage a full-time course load? Should we attend part-time? Can we live on campus? What about roommates? Should we commute? What about food and managing medications? How will our bodies cope with less sleep? More stress? How do we manage appointments and treatments? What about hospitalizations?

    • “We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

  4. How will illness affect our ability to work? Live on our own? Afford insurance? Manage healthcare?

    • “Behind every chronic illness is just a person trying to find their way in the world.” Glenn Schweitzer

  5. We have hopes and dreams for our future even when we don’t talk about them. It just feels risky sometimes to put them into words in a life with so much loss.

    • “Hope doesn’t require a massive chain where heavy links of logic hold it together. A thin wire will do … just strong enough to get us through the night until the winds die down. Charles R. Swindoll

  6. Sometimes we’re quiet, not because we don’t want to talk, but because we don’t have the words to describe what we actually feel.

    • “Please be patient with me. Sometimes when I’m quiet, it’s because I need to figure myself out. It’s not because I don’t want to talk. Sometimes there are no words for my thoughts.” Kamla Bolaños

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove that we showed up for it.” Hannah Brencher

WEBSITES

ONLY 7 SECONDS

Only 7 SecondsRemember that time when you felt like disappearing and were sure no one would even notice? That moment was real. So real, that millions are experiencing the same moments of hopelessness in their daily lives. Your story is important. Isolation, depression and anxiety are real, and they have a bigger effect on our lives than we realize. It only takes seven seconds. Send one simple message. You could impact a life, forever.

“Because of everything my family went through with my son and what our small town had faced, I felt led to create a movement called #only7seconds.” The goal of the movement was simple: spread kindness through thoughtfulness. “Take seven seconds out of your day to send a text telling someone that you are thinking of them.” To Kristin, this simple thought meant everything. “You never know if that text could be the one thing giving them an inkling that life is worth living.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share with your friends!