"I take solace in the fact that Jesus understands every pain and hurt anyone has ever experienced." Elyse Ogbourne

“I take solace in the fact that Jesus understands every pain and hurt anyone has ever experienced.” Elyse Ogbourne



Dear Emma,

I am writing this letter to tell you how much I love you and look up to you. You inspire me. Even though you are four years younger than me, I still aspire to be like you. We look like twins. We have been told this throughout our lives. People always joke about twins switching spots and tricking everyone. I wish we really could trade bodies so that you wouldn’t have to feel pain all the time, so you wouldn’t suffer. When I was really suffering in pain, I knew that it was for God’s greater good, even though I didn’t truly understand how. Now he has healed me, and a very large part of me wishes that I could stay sick forever and that you can get better instead.

You went to a new doctor today. It gave Mom hope. How did it make you feel? Did you fully open yourself to the possibility of healing, or did you stay guarded so that you would not get your hopes too high? I know that I have put on many false smiles and positive attitudes to convince the people around me that I am fine. I have hope in doctors – and I have hope in the plans that God will use this for good. That doesn’t mean I believe it deep down. I still have days when it’s hard to see the good when I’m surrounded by the pain in the world.

I take solace in the fact that Jesus understands every pain and hurt anyone has ever experienced.

When he died on the cross, he didn’t just take on my sins, and the sins of the rest of the world; he suffered in physical pain. It doesn’t take my pain away, but it makes it easier to give control back to him. So, you can open yourself up to the hope of this new treatment plan—that it will bring healing.



You mentioned that you are afraid that your friends will forget who you are. There is one who knows you. He knows exactly what you are going through now. He smiles with you in the good times and wipes away your tears in the bad. I’ve always looked up to how comfortable you are in your own skin. I’ve always been shy and didn’t know how to step into a new group confidently—especially after our brother moved to college. You are unapologetically you. When we join groups, even old groups of friends, you inspire me and help me to open up.

When we were kids, it seemed like you couldn’t stop eating sugar. Now you’ve gone 15 months without eating any sugar—even added natural sugars. Every time I talk to you, it seems like you have found a new food you cannot eat. You simply move on in hopes of future healing. Your friends don’t understand this. They ask when your parents will let you eat normal food again. And they don’t understand that you have given up sugar and dairy and so many other foods in hopes of one day having a slice of cake or a piece of Casey’s breakfast pizza.

They don’t understand how much pain you fight through every day while working to find a treatment to go into remission — but I do. Your suffering and determination don’t go unnoticed. Even when I am off at college, you are always in my thoughts.



Yet you have never let any of this dull your sparkle — and you have faced far more loneliness and uncertainty than anyone should have to face, let alone a seventeen-year-old. Yet you carry it all with grace, and you inspire me. I’ve never known how you do it. You will walk around the house with your arm in the air because it hurts so bad to set it down, yet at the exact same time, comfort me during a flare-up. You’ve told me that you think my chronic pain is worse than your chronic illness, but I could never understand that. You have felt more widespread pain and isolation than I could ever imagine, and yet you carry on.

You will apologize to me ahead of time for getting upset at me on a bad day. It’s okay to let it out, to wrestle with why you were chosen to endure what you are going through. It’s not disobedience to God—that’s what it felt like to me when I asked why I was in the pain that I was. Once I finally broke down and asked God why he would do such a thing, I was able to truly see the goodness of my situation, instead of merely accepting it as a punishment which I knew was for the greater good.

You are an inspiration—and not just to me.

I look up to you, and you inspire me. My friends have you in their prayers.

I love you, Sis!


All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Elyse Simon

Elyse Simon

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

Elyse has 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.

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