The teen and 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.

Our desire to care for our teens and young adults in tangible ways stemmed  from a creative 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 meaningful gift, reminding us that we are not alone and not forgotten. We are thought of, prayed over, and cared for.


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!


Ways to step into the Chronic Joy community:


Teens and young adults, would you love to receive encouraging and inspiring old-school, snail mail? Sign-up for #PenToPaper today!  (It’s safe and secure.) 


This set of 4 photography notecards by one of our 20-something Creative Contributors will bring a bright touch to anyone’s day. Send a note of encouragement or a handwritten prayer to let someone 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 & Young Adults

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

Teens and Young Adults with Chronic Illness

Blog Posts

God's Presence in chronic illness
Jesus, My Hiding Place

Jesus, My Hiding Place

The Storms of Chronic Illness   I lay in my double bed, the bed I had lived in for the past year and a half, and quietly watched the rain outside my bedroom window. For the last 24 hours, it had been pouring hard - so much rain, so many dark clouds. Usually the view outside my window is...

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. This isn’t a life we would have chosen, but it’s 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

For even more resources and printables visit: Teens & YA.

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