A Letter of Encouragement for Chronic Illness

This letter of encouragement for chronic illness is a little different than what I usually write about, but as someone who has struggled with a mysterious, debilitating illness for over five years, I can relate to many of the struggles others like me face on a daily basis.

I’ve experienced more ups and downs than I care to remember, and prayed more prayers for healing than there are stars in the sky. And while I wish I understood the “why” behind my illness, I’ve had to learn to simply trust my Creator and Sustainer more deeply than I ever thought possible. He is the giver of life and health and hope—and He is making all things new.

So please share this letter of encouragement for chronic illness with a friend who is struggling and could use a hug today!

A Letter of Encouragement for Chronic Illness

Encouragement for Chronic Illness: A Heartfelt Letter

To the girl struggling with chronic illness,

I see you.

To the girl whose pain is unseen,

whose illness is silent,

whose condition is undiagnosed and confusing,

I see you.

To the girl who’s been made to feel like she’s not enough,

who has been marginalized and left out,

who wonders if her illness is somehow her own fault,

I see you.

To the girl who’s had her heart broken by her friends,

who wants to be thought of as worth the extra effort,

who wants to be loved and accepted for who she is,

I see you.

To the girl whose pain runs deep,

who’s cried a million tears,

who feels like no one understands,

I see you.

To the girl who wishes she was the person she used to be,

who feels like a shadow of herself,

who doesn’t recognize her own reflection in the mirror,

I see you.

A Letter of Encouragement for Chronic Illness

To the girl whose illness has been trivialized by others,

who has been looked down on for being weak,

who has been accused of not trying hard enough and not wanting to be well badly enough,

I see you.

To the girl whose life has more ups and downs than a rollercoaster,

who’s tired of false hope,

who doesn’t know which way to turn,

I see you.

To the girl who feels like she’s tried everything to heal,

who’s tired of trying supplements, restrictive diets, and treatments,

who doesn’t want to see another doctor or take another blood test,

I see you.

To the girl who wants it to all just disappear,

who wishes she could make herself well again,

who wants so badly to get out of bed and off the couch,

I see you.

To the girl who’s uncontrollably sobbed in someone’s arms,

who’s been held up by those closest to her,

who would have given up long ago if that certain someone hadn’t kept encouraging her to keep fighting,

I see you.

To the girl who wants to accomplish great things for God,

who wishes she was able to care for others the way they care for her,

who has more dreams and plans than strength and energy to see them through,

I see you.

I am you.

And I’m here to tell you that you are not alone.

A Letter of Encouragement for Chronic Illness

Don’t Give Up

You might be tempted to give up on yourself, but don’t. You might be tempted to believe that God has given up on you, but don’t.

On your darkest days, in your bleakest moments, He still loves you. He still cares for you. He’s still sustaining you.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10

A Letter of Encouragement for Chronic Illness

When Others Don’t Understand

During the course of my illness, I have often felt lonely and have sometimes been looked down on, yet God has never left my side.

It’s easy to feel self-pity when you’re dealing with rejection on top of abiding physical pain. And it’s true that most people will have no concept of what you’re going through.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Keep in mind that those who have not dealt with chronic illness themselves will not be able to completely understand what life is like for you. Just like getting married, having children, and losing a loved one, chronic illness is one of those things that you have to experience for yourself to truly understand.

It’s not so much that other people aren’t empathetic and don’t want to understand—it’s more that they just can’t. (And hopefully never will, because being chronically ill is rough!)

I say this to remind you not to take people’s careless comments and skepticism personally. Most of your family and friends will want to support you on your journey and will love you unconditionally, but some may not.

It’s a hard truth to accept, but there it is. It took me a long time to come to terms with it!

Some people will think you need to grow up and get your act together, will assume you’re being overly dramatic, or will see no need to be empathetic.

After all, you look fine, so you should feel fine, right?

Well, not so much. Appearances can be deceiving.

Learn to let these people’s words and assumptions go.It can be hard to do, but it is important!

I’m so thankful for the family and friends who have supported me, cared for me, made special food for me, watched my baby for me, encouraged me, and just all-around loved on me!

But over the years, there have been some who just didn’t care to keep up a friendship through the trials I was facing. And while it was sad and difficult to process, God eventually brought people into my life who weren’t afraid to swim through deep waters with me.

If someone clearly doesn’t understand where you’re at, but is making an effort to show you love—appreciate them, love them back, and don’t be offended by something they say that hurts your feelings. Focus on their heart and give them the benefit of the doubt!

A Letter of Encouragement for Chronic Illness

How to Be Strong

Ironically, chronic illness is not for the weak.

(In my personal experience—and possibly unpopular opinion—it makes childbirth look like a walk in the park!)

It’s an exhausting road, filled with pain, loneliness, uncertainty, and the like—and it frequently has no end in sight. But on this road, we learn to fill ourselves with Christ—his strength, his grace, and his mercies.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” —2 Corinthians 12:19

Meet with God every day, and lean on his strength—not your own. Ultimately, have faith in him—not your treatment plan.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” —Philippians 4:13

A Letter of Encouragement for Chronic Illness

Your Secret Weapon

Through your daily trials, hold on to joy!

Joy may not come easily—you’ll likely have to work on being joyful every single day.

On days when I feel better, joy is rarely a problem for me! The world is a beautiful place and difficulties roll off me like water off a duck’s back.

But on the days I’m struggling? It’s an ugly battle. It’s difficult to smile and be cheerful when you’re in pain and wish you could crawl into a hole.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” —Proverbs 17:22

So how do you hold on to joy when life is hard? Gratitude.

Gratitude is the very best way I’ve found to combat self-pity, frustration, sadness, and anger.

Remember 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 from a few paragraphs back? Gratitude isn’t just a good idea—it’s a command! “In everything give thanks!” Colossians 4:2 and Ephesians 5:20 reiterate these wise words, and provide so much encouragement for chronic illness.

Thankfulness is good for your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. When you’re searching for joy, write in a gratitude journal or speak things you’re thankful for out loud!

Keep your mind centered on the gifts you have been given, and make gratitude your body’s natural response to feelings of discouragement.

The Lord holds you in the palm of his hand, and he will not let you go.

Much love,


More Encouragement for Chronic Illness

If you’re looking for more encouragement for chronic illness, I would highly recommend these three books: Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Paul Tripp, The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances by Alistair Begg, and Trusting God by Jerry Bridges.

I also wrote a post with some of my favorite Christian songs to help you get through the hard days if you’re looking for a little musical encouragement!

I’d love to carry on this conversation in the comments below, and I’d love to know what encourages you most on your difficult days.