Teens and Chronic Illness • Your life is changing. Jesus isn’t.

TEENS & CHRONIC ILLNESS

Your life is changing. Jesus isn’t.

The teen years are a kaleidoscope of change, especially when living with chronic illness. Yet no matter how much changes, one thing remains the same, Jesus. Hope, encouragement and resources for teens.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Chronic illness impacts 15-20% of all teens. Many require daily and lifelong treatment.
More than 1 in 5 people care for a loved one.

About Teens & Illness

Chronic illness impacts 15-20% of all teens. Many require daily and lifelong treatment.

Worldwide 50% of all mental illness begins by age 14 and most are undetected and untreated.

Because chronic illness is unpredictable, we can  feel isolated, alone, and forgotten. After having to cancel too many plans at the last minute, we can stop being invited altogether.

Teens and Chronic Illness

Our teen years are a kaleidoscope of change – schools, friends, activities, teams, performances, dating, driving, dances, first jobs, college apps, and so much more.

And if that crazy mix isn’t enough, our chronic illnesses add symptoms, appointments, tests, treatments, and hospitalizations too. And just when we think we have it all figured out, we graduate from high school and the kaleidoscope spins again.

Yet no matter how much changes, one thing is remains the sameJesus … always.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change …” Malachi 3:6

Jesus is the same today as He was on the day we were born. He will be the same on the day we walk across that stage in our cap and gown as He was on the first day we stepped through those high school doors. And He will be the very same through every, single step of our changing journey through life.

No matter what.

Jesus is the same whether we felt great today or we couldn’t climb out of bed. The same whether we cheered on our favorite team or snapped at our best friend. The same whether we’re sad, excited, lonely, or beyond angry. And the exact same whether we we’re dreaming of the future or even if we just want to give up today. Our moods, our actions, even our inactions don’t and won’t change Jesus.

God loves us as is – regardless of, in spite of, and no matter what. Always.

 

We are:

 

God cares about every detail of our lives. Not a single detail goes unnoticed. He knows every hair on our head Luke 12:7 NCV and every word before we speak it Psalm 139:4 AMP. Others might not notice when we’re exhausted, in pain, struggling, or lonely, but God does. Others might not seem to care that we’ve missed one more day of school, one more game, practice, performance, or dance, but Jesus does.

He is our strength when we are weak. And He promises that He will lead us, guide us, and pursue us every day of our lives. His grace is sufficient. And His mercies are brand new every morning.

We are His beloved, His delight, His masterpiece, and His magnum opus.

 

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
In his love he will …
rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Teens • In Our Own Words

I’m OK with being sick, because it’s given me a strength many people my age don’t have. I’m different now, but I’m still me. Joe T.

Celebrate the accomplishments in life, even the small ones.  Remind yourself just how worthy you are, even on the days when you don’t feel like it. Michaela S.

My illness has taken a lot away from me, but it’s also given a different perspective on life and what matters. It’s easy to get caught up in drama, but when you spend a lot of time at a children’s hospital, you quit focusing on the little stuff. My illness has also made me more empathetic, and it’s taught me to keep fighting. Ellie J.

Teen Toolbox • How to Live Well When Life is Changing

Words for the Journey • A Prayer for Teens 

 

God, please protect my heart and mind, and fill me with Your hope. When I am lonely and discouraged, help me cling to You and soak up Your strength. Teach me to raise a hallelujah even when I am down, even when I am in pain.

I am your child. I am so grateful that you know every single thing about me and love me completely as is. Help me to become who You created me to be. Help me to shine Your light into this world, to love others as You love them, and to serve You wherever I am, however I am feeling.

On the dark days, please fill me with Your hope. Remind me that You have a plan for my future. Protect my heart and mind from the pressure and stress of fitting in, making good grades, of having it all figured out. Remind me to rest when I need it, to pace me days, to soak up Your strength, and to raise a hallelujah even when things are hard, even when I am in sick, even when I am in pain. 

Thank you for loving me no matter what, and for never leaving me alone.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

 

Prayer for Teens

Chronic illness is hard. Often finding and/or being a part of a community as a teen with chronic illness as 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. 

Teen Blog Posts

Even More

 

#PenToPaper for Teens

You Get Mail!

You’re invited you to sign-up for #PenToPaper packets designed especially for you. Fun, edgy, and transformational snail mail will wing its way to your mailbox several times a year. Sign-up today, and invite a friend!  (Safe and secure.) 

{#PenToPaper not only encourages young adults with chronic illness; it also provides the inspiration to write letters to classmates, friends, and loved ones to remind them that they are not alone.
Elyse O.
Knoxville, IA
{Letter writing is such an easy, but powerful way to communicate love and encouragement to those who need it. I invite my generation of chronic illness warriors to risk reaching beyond their comfort zone to bless those around them.
Sara W.
Cotttonwood, AZ
{As a young person dealing with with many chronic illnesses, it can be all too easy to feel isolated. I'm so grateful for Chronic Joy reminding me I'm not alone at all. Scrolling the Prayer Pond, using the Printables, and seeing the daily social media posts all encourage me so much. I especially love the #PenToPaper program. I know how much fun it is to receive a letter or postcard when I'm not able to get out much, and #PenToPaper makes it easy to share the love with others!
Hailey H.
Cumming, GA
{As someone with chronic illness, I am very encouraged by the mailings from Chronic Joy. The information included in each mailing is always helpful and inspirational, and I love receiving the beautiful note cards on which I can write a special message of encouragement and pass on to others. The Chronic Joy team does an amazing job of connecting faith and Scripture with great resources that will bless all who receive these wonderful #PenToPaper gifts.
Emerson M.
Columbia, MO

Teen Books

Why Am I Feeling Like This? A Teen's Guide to Freedom from Anxiety and Depression

Dvid Murray

If you have experienced anxiety or depression, you may have asked yourself, Why am I feeling like this? You are not alone. Meet eighteen teens who have struggled with different types of anxiety or depression. This guide will help you discover not only the common causes but also the keys to unlock their chains. By utilizing God-given truths and tactics, you can experience new liberty, peace, and joy in your life.

LEARN MORE.

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.

LEARN MORE.

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

Penny B. Wolf

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. No matter what the diagnosis, teens with chronic illnesses share one thing in common: their lives have been changed forever. Seventeen personal stories will inspire us.

LEARN MORE.

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.

 LEARN MORE.

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.”

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