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Published on February 9th, 2017 | by Kristin Renfer

4 Lessons For Teens Struggling with Sickness or Physical Suffering




Editor’s Note: This article is longer than most that we usually publish on TheRebelution. Yet Kristin’s piece is unusual – she tells her deeply personal and difficult story of physical suffering and requested we publish it as one post. I encourage you to spend the extra time to read this incredible testimony. — Jaquelle (Editor-in-Chief)

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.

So reads the title of the book, the start of a rebelution. It’s challenging. It’s exciting. It’s world-changing.

But for some of us, it’s not reality. For some of us, doing hard things doesn’t always mean rebelling against low expectations but rather merely meeting them.

Now before you stop reading, let me explain.

I agree that we are all called to do hard things. However, for some of us, those hard things are not necessarily big things.

In fact, they might be ordinary, mundane, supposedly “normal” things, but they’re hard for us.

Now the “us” I’m referring to is not the typical, everyday teenager or young person, but the one navigating physical affliction and suffering whether it be cancer, Lyme’s disease, juvenile arthritis, autoimmune disease, or any other chronic illness.

Can you relate?

My Story: Mono, Misdiagnosis, and a Systemic Autoimmune Disease

This is my story. My teenage years started with a bang.

In 2009, right before I turned thirteen, I experienced the onset of what was originally diagnosed as JIA (juvenile idiopathic arthritis), but after a rough bout with mono and three years of worsening symptoms, it has now progressed to an undiagnosed type of systemic autoimmune disease.

Within this time frame, I heard Alex and Brett Harris speak at a homeschool youth conference, read their books, and was challenged by the message of Do Hard Things.

However, due to the chronic and debilitating nature of my physical condition, I quickly felt like I was not living up to the message since I couldn’t do anything big, noteworthy, or expectation-defying in my teen years. But after much time and immersion in the Word and many hours running to the foot of the cross, I realized that even though my “hard” things would be “normal” things for most, they still qualified as hard things because they were hard for me.

Now you might be thinking, “What exactly is she talking about?”

So let me give you a few examples.

Some days my “hard” might be merely getting up in the morning, getting ready for the day, not taking a nap (or maybe two) in the middle of the day, making dinner for my family, leaving the house for an errand or appointment, generating enough mental focus to do school, or going outside for some physical exercise.

These things may not defy culture or be amazing and world-changing, but they are still hard for me and are things that I strive under Christ’s strength to do.

And this, in essence, is the true message of Do Hard Things: tackle things that are hard for us individually, not hard for someone else.

Words of Wisdom From One Suffering Young Person to Another

So if you’re like I was and struggling with discouragement surrounding the rebelling against low expectations concept, I have a few words of wisdom to share—from one physically challenged young person to another—about lessons I’ve learned along my Do Hard Things journey.

1. Don’t compare yourself with others.

This is the most important piece of wisdom I can pass on to you, and is one you’ve probably heard a gazillion times before. However, we always need reminders in this area because comparison is too easy to fall into.

The truth of the matter is that though your life may not be “normal” according to the world’s standard, it’s what’s normal for you right now, in this season.

And God is calling you to be faithful and do hard, good things right now, right where you are. And if those hard, good things are “expected” and “normal” for others your age, don’t be discouraged!

They are still hard for you, and that’s all that counts!

The whole concept of “normal” comes from the world, which is trying to mold us into perfect look-a-likes with no variables or differences. They bombard us with messages about how we should look, act, what we should be interested in, what we should do with our life, how to become successful, what successful really means and looks like, what we should have, when we should have it, where we should be at each stage of life, and the list goes on.

We’re introduced to the concept of comparison at a very young age. From age five till the end of formal education, we’re given a standardized number, letter, or grade affixed to all that we do, and based upon these we either pass or fail.

Or maybe we’re graded on the curve, and thus experience even more heavily the weight of comparison.

Then, moving into the adult world, we’re categorized according to income bracket, hours we work, number of products we produce, type of job we have, etc.

Can’t you see how our whole culture, economy, society, and world at large is based completely on comparison and how one lines up in relation to others?

At each stage of our lives, we operate around a set standard: those who meet it are labeled as “normal”; those who exceed it are “amazing”, “super talented”, or “remarkable”; and those who don’t…well, they’re kind of overlooked, ignored, and forgotten about.

This is the world we live in, the environment we’re raised in, and consequently the mindset we have. No one can escape it—whether you’re homeschooled, Christian schooled, public schooled, raised in a Christian home or not, been churched throughout your life or not, attend college or not, become a stay-at-home parent or join the workforce, work at home or in a skyscraper.

No one can escape or avoid the effect of comparison. Therefore, when we approach a message like Do Hard Things, we enter already reaching and searching for the measuring stick. Add in physical affliction and pre-established feelings of “abnormality,” and you have a recipe for discouragement, despair, and depression.

But this isn’t how God intended things to be!

God created each one of us unique and individual with different callings and plans for our lives; therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised if our life looks different than someone else’s.

In the Bible, God never uses the word “normal” when referring to us, His children. Instead, He uses descriptions like “chosen,” “prized possession,” “special,” “hand-fashioned,” “fearfully and wonderfully made,” “unique,” “bought with a price,” “treasured,” “beautiful,” and “precious.”

So guess what? According to God, no one is “normal!”

He doesn’t line us up next to Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament, or David, the man after God’s heart, to see if we make the grade. Nor does God compare us with our fellow Christian peers to determine our worth.

No! Rather, He tells us that our worth and value is found in Christ and that we are ALL dearly beloved children of the King of Kings.

So as princes and princesses of God’s kingdom, which is not built on comparison, let us not live our lives governed and dictated by the corrupted world’s concept of “normal.”

2. Don’t give up your dreams.

The wisest man in history wrote, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).

Life is full of various seasons; some of them may be good while others are comparably miserable. So when you’re caught in the middle of a seemingly endless period of misery, remember that it’s just a season and that God has better ones around the corner.

That corner may be far away or near, but trust God that He knows where it is and will bring you safely around it.

Since life is full of seasons and your particularly difficult season is just one out of many, don’t close your ear and heart to projects God is calling you to. Whether they are long held dreams, recent stirrings of your heart or things you’ve put on the back burner for a while, don’t give up on them!

They are things God has put on your heart for a reason.

So when you’re feeling desperate and entering the slough of despond, remember the words from Ecclesiastes that there is a season for everything and don’t give up on your dreams. For who are we to question the God-given wisdom of Solomon?

3. Plug into the Power Source.

Our culture bombards us with messages like “follow your heart” or “find your inner strength” that tell us we are self-sufficient.

Even the church tends to promote a message of “you can do big and great things for God.”

However, the truth is that none of us have strength on our own and we can only do significant things for God through the power of God. This is especially evident in times of physical hardship.

As the Apostle Paul testified: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9) and “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

So as we come to grips with the pitiful weakness of our own strength, we must plug into the power source: God.

It is God’s grace that is sufficient for us, and it is His power that is made perfect in our weakness. This also implies that when we are strong—or at least think we are—God’s power cannot become perfect within us because our pride is in the way.

When we think we’re something great and have all the energy and ambition to do something big for God on our own, we are not giving God room to work and fill us with His power, and will, therefore, only have a fraction of the strength we could have if we just acknowledged our weakness.

So this applies to everyone, not just those struggling with physical challenges. We must all bow our knees, humble ourselves by accepting our weakness, and fully rely upon the One from whom all power flows.

Just like a lamp cannot light a room unless it is plugged into an outlet, so also we cannot become strong unless we plug into our Power Source.

4. Look for the blessings God has for you.

Yes, you read that correctly. God has numerous blessings for you within this season–did you know that?

Often, in the hardships and struggles of everyday life, we forget or overlook the blessings God brings into our lives. And during a season of physical suffering, a few of the blessings the Lord has for us include:

  • Maturity beyond our years. We are forced to grow up and mature faster than our peers, because we’re dealing with adult issues.
  • Greater awareness of our weakness and God’s strength. Those of us who live with physical affliction experience the blessing—yes, it really is a blessing!—of realizing our pathetic, broken, and powerless weakness at an early age. Each and every person who lives and breathes on planet earth is in a perpetual state of physical weakness. However, many aren’t ready to acknowledge this humbling fact, and this is especially true of young people since they’re mostly strong, at their physical peak, and feel self-sufficient. But because these things don’t necessarily apply to us, we are more willing to acknowledge our weakness before God and thus experience God’s power in a real and tangible way.
  • A heightened anticipation for eternity. When our lives are stricken with physical affliction and we feel more personally the imperfections of our sinful world, it makes us more aware of the temporariness and brokenness of this life and long more deeply for the perfection of heaven and glory of the Lord’s presence. So we eagerly await the Lord’s return or when He shall call us home—for the day when there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more sorrow, and when we will see our Savior face to face. Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
  • A closer relationship with God. As the prophet Elijah could testify, God doesn’t often speak through strong winds, earthquakes, or fire, but rather in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13). We often miss this small voice when we’re bustling about the business of life; however, in a place of physical weakness we are forced to slow our schedule down, and in that stillness, when the Lord speaks we can listen and sit at His feet. And that stillness and time spent with the Lord forges a strong, close, and solid relationship with the Giver of all things. This is the best blessing we can receive from our trials and times of physical infirmity. For an intimate relationship with the God of the universe is one of the only things that will last into eternity and something that will pay incalculable dividends throughout our entire life. Plus, a close relationship with us is what God desires most. And, I would even say, is one of the main reasons God allows difficult things to come into our lives that they may draw us closer to Himself. So I challenge you…on those days when all seems to be falling apart and the world is a hopeless place, cling to the One who holds all things—including you—in the palm of His hand and draw ever closer to Him who out of His unfathomable love, gave His life for you.

If you have not yet experienced these blessings, I hope and pray that you will look more closely for them and that God will bring them into your life.

For our God is a God who loves to make beauty out of ashes, give strength to the weak, be close to the brokenhearted, and have an intimate relationship with all who will make time for Him.

So when you’re feeling down or having a particularly hard day, look for the blessings of God in the midst of the storm, sit at His feet, and simply be still and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10).

I Don’t Know the End of My Story

Now you probably want to know the end of my story, but guess what…I don’t even know it!

But I do know that God is currently writing an amazing story in which His all-sufficient grace, power, and love is starring and I—with my limited strength and power—am staying in the background in complete awe at what He is doing despite my all-consuming weakness.

How that currently looks is that He’s led me to start a devotional blog for believers of all ages and seasons of life, serving in my church’s youth and worship ministries, and privately teach nine music students a week.

All this is only accomplished by looking to Christ daily for His power that is made perfect in my weakness.

So there’s my story to date. And I know that God is orchestrating a similar plot in your life even if you don’t realize it yet, because stories showcasing His grace and perfected power are His favorite kind to write.

Therefore, keep an eye out for God’s fingerprints, be open to all that He calls you to, and be amazed as you watch Him strengthen and empower you with what you need at the exact moment you need it.

I pray that you will powerfully experience the God of Isaiah who “gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength” (Is. 40:29).

For “even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Is. 40:30-31).

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Photo courtesy of Vanes Hud and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the Author

(21) has a passion for God’s Word and encouraging other believers to deepen their walk with God. You can read more of her writing on her devotional blog/website So I Fix My Eyes… Kristin also enjoys cooking, blessing others with music, and drawing believers before God’s throne through worship.



  • So much rich truth in this amazing story…

    And this, in essence, is the true message of Do Hard Things: tackle things that are hard for us individually, not hard for someone else.

    In the Bible, God never uses the word “normal” when referring to us, His children. Instead, He uses descriptions like “chosen,” “prized possession,” “special,” “hand-fashioned,” “fearfully and wonderfully made,” “unique,” “bought with a price,” “treasured,” “beautiful,” and “precious.”

    So as princes and princesses of God’s kingdom, which is not built on comparison, let us not live our lives governed and dictated by the corrupted world’s concept of “normal.”

    However, the truth is that none of us have strength on our own and we can only do significant things for God through the power of God.

    For our God is a God who loves to make beauty out of ashes, give strength to the weak, be close to the brokenhearted, and have an intimate relationship with all who will make time for Him.

    Thank you, Kristin for such an important reminder of how God uses our hard times for good. Just like God used Joseph being sold into slavery to save his family from starvation in a famine, God can use the hardships we’re going through for great purposes for Him. Very well thought out and insightful article.

    • You’re very welcome, Trent! Thanks for reading! Job has been a book God has greatly used to encourage and remind me that all things (including the bad and difficult) are used by Him to bring about good and growth in our lives. To God be all the glory!

  • Jonathan Staebell

    That was such a beautiful story!

    • Thanks, Jonathan!

      • Jonathan Staebell

        I will also be praying for you.

  • KatelynS

    Kristin, thank you for sharing your story – it’s beautiful! It brought an amazing amount of encouragement to me :)

    • Thanks, Katelyn! Praise the Lord! I’m so delighted He used it to encourage your heart!

  • Brock

    Thank you so much for this, I really needed it.

    • So glad God used it to encourage you, Brock! Keep pressing into Him who is always faithful!

  • Eliza Downer

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too, have a chronic illness. Yet, He is faithful

    • Isn’t He?! I hope and pray that our gracious Lord is drawing you closer to Himself through your own journey of chronic illness. Thanks for reading my story and testimony!

  • Christina McCarty

    This is a wonderful encouragement to me, and I’m sure to anyone else with a chronic illness. Thank you for the bit about comparison. You’re right, our hard things look quite a bit smaller than the hard things others accomplish, but they aren’t LESS.

    • Thanks for reading, Christina! I’m glad the Lord used it to encourage you in your place and season of life. Yes, the comparison trap is so easy to fall into. But it’s important to remember that in God’s eyes, all things done for Him are equal!

  • Mary B.

    Whenever i come to to this website, i read the article but a never comment. But this article made me cry, it perfectly fit my life right now.. Thank you!! I wasn’t down in the dumps today, i was perfectly content but this past year has been a long and weary road. I really needed to reminder to not give up on my dreams. Some days the future feels so uncertain.
    And you are spot on with the blessing! Honestly, those blessing are the reason i would not trade this past year for anything else. Completely worth it! I really have fallen more in love with God and i long for heaven so much. The day pain and tears and evil are gone and i can see and touch my Best Friend, Father, and King.
    Thank you sister! May God bless and use you to do great things :)

    • Mary,

      Your comment almost made me cry (I know it effected my mom!). So thanks for taking the time to comment! Praise the Lord that He’s used this to speak into your situation. The rollercoaster of emotions during physical challenges is tough. But God is always faithful, and He sustains us through those down and blue days.

      Some personal background to this article..the past six months have been especially difficult for me and my family as I’ve been experiencing new and concerning symptoms. It was during this time that my doctors moved away from my original diagnosis and left me in the murky waters of the unknown. Also within this time, I participated in DHTU and was inspired to write this article as I met and heard from other young people struggling with physical hardships. So I’m so grateful that our loving Father is using my story to encourage and bless others in similar situations (like you!), and point them evermore towards the perfection and all-sufficiency of His Son.

      Continue to fight the good fight of the faith, sister, and never give up on the good and wonderful plans God has for you! You never know how God is using you, this experience, and your story right now to impact His kingdom and glory.

      “O LORD, walking in your ways we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” ~Isaiah 26:8 (NIV 84)

      • Mary B.

        Good verse <3
        Thanks for the encouragement! I haven't been able to go to church for the past couple months and i only recently returned. I forgot how beautiful and needed it is for one believer to encourage another and in turn, knowing that someone was helped, the original encourager is encouraged (hope that makes since).
        I pray God shows you the answers to your health problems. I know how confusing it can be to wonder what's wrong but i'm glad God has given you another blessing through DHTU.
        I know God is going to do awesome things through your suffering (and mine too)!

  • Anna

    This was SO good! God really used this article to touch me in some areas that He’s been working on in me. Thank you, Kristin, for writing this inspirational, deeply encouraging article. :)

    • You’re very welcome, Anna! Thanks for reading. And praise the Lord that He used it to confirm His work in your life!

  • Meow Meow

    I keep trying to type a compliment ,but I just don’t have words to express how amazing and talented you are. I will be praying for you.

    • Oh, thank you! I have to say that writing hasn’t always been my strong point. Actually I was a VERY reluctant writer when I was young, but God touched my heart to use the written word for His glory and as a conduit for His purpose. So all glory to Him!

  • This is so encouraging. Some days are just down right difficult. None of us knows how the story pans out but I hope that the old story finishes and the new one begins for you with the words ‘well done good and faithful servant’.

    • Amen! That is truly the end goal! Thanks for reading, Cara!

  • Paige

    Kristin, thanks for sharing your story. I know you are encouraging others in difficult situations. Thank you for letting God use you for His glory. <3 ~Lisa

    • Thanks, Mrs. W! You were one of my first writing coaches, and I thank you for your time and input in my life. Glad you were blessed by this humble offering!

      • Paige

        Thank you for the kind words. Love to you and may God
        continue to strengthen you. -Lisa :)

  • I know I’ve told you already, but this is a theme and question I have been pondering lately, and you did such a wonderful job of answering it! This article blessed and challenged me so much! :)

    • Thanks again for your encouragement and wonderful feedback, Sara! It was great meeting you and getting to know you recently, and I’m so glad that God put us together within DHTU! Continue to plug into to our all-sufficient Power Source!

  • This nearly brought me to tears. You have no idea how encouraging this was to me, Kristin. Thank you for writing your story and sharing it with us.

  • Haven Asnip

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Kristin! That was beautifully written.

    • You’re welcome, Haven! Glad you enjoyed it, and were encouraged by my testimony to God’s faithfulness and never ending grace.

  • Josiah J.

    I love that you point to Christ for the answers!

    As a side note: I must admit that I am concerned about the health awareness in the US. (not to suggest that the author’s condition is at all related…) The education system has postulated many skewed or even false information about health and the maintenance there of, as far as I see it. It is a treat the symptoms approach to health that comes with great costs to society… On the bright side, some people are becoming more aware of the value of natural health and not isolating health to merely say that mental, spiritual, and physical health aren’t interrelated (because they are interrelated…). Again, this is just a side note that doesn’t necessarily relate to the author’s original post…

    • He’s the One with all the answers! Thanks for reading, Josiah!

      As for your side note: I agree. Our healthcare system is predominantly focused on symptom treatment versus overall health and big picture. While this is very frustrating for those trying to get answers (myself included!), it’s given me a greater opportunity to trust the Great Physician. The One who made our intricate, fearfully and wonderfully made bodies is really the only One who can fix them. So may we always look first to our loving Jehovah Rapha, and faithfully trust Him with our health!

      • Josiah J.

        I agree, God does have all the answers! However, I think, God gave us a mind to use wisely. If we ask God to bless a bottle of poison before we drink it, hopping that He will transform it into something edible, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work. God is all powerful, but He also gave humans a certain amount of responsibility for their own actions and choices. On the other hand, there is a balance and worshipping our own feeble attempts at health while disregarding the One who gave us our health to begin with is another mistake.

        That being said, I am quite disturbed by the seemingly growing decline of discernment, wisdom, and logic in the culture of today. Vile disregard for language and modesty, among other things. Lies like Darwinian evolution and other more subtle lies leach so easily into even Christian homes. However, I joyfully see those who so boldly stand in stark contrast to the cultural whims of the day, proclaiming truth with the impending threat of persecution and hatred. How deceived are those who proclaim a ‘neutrality’ when the Bible clearly indicates that “your either for God or against Him, gathering or scattering.”

        The social changes in the US are also strange to me. Why is it that some people’s idea of socializing is watching a movie together without any verbal communication? What happened to sitting down and talking? There are so many things that don’t make sense to me when it comes to people of today. I am not saying that there aren’t people fired up about God out there, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in action.

        The whole don’t judge thing is a bit irksome as well, God doesn’t tell us not to judge people. What He does say is that we aren’t to judge people lest (in case) we be judged the same way. Context is important, not just pick random verses out of context, hoping we won’t confuse ourselves and others.

        OK, I did my rant… lol! But seriously, I am a bit wondering how to impact people positively in today’s society?

        PS: I noticed that you copied my format when you replied to me. It might have been unintentional, but I still find it amusing. God best you, Kristin. Have a good day!

  • Paige

    Thank you for sharing your testimony and the wisdom you have gained through the hard times. I pray that it will encourage many in similar situations – it looks like it already has made an impact! :) You will be in my prayers, and I know the Lord will continue to teach you many things!

  • Angela R. Watts

    Thank you for sharing your testimony… God bless you! This post encouraged me and there is so much truth and wisdom in this writing! Yahweh God is bigger than any sickness or hardship Satan can throw at us… Our flesh may be weak, but our spirits are strong. YHVH bless, thanks again.
    -Angela | thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Angela! Praise the Lord that He used it to encourage and speak into your life! Yes, our God is bigger, greater, more powerful, and far above all that Satan could intend for evil. Blessed be the name of our God!!!

  • Oh my goodness. This is so encouraging, Kristin. I’ve been sick for almost exactly a year now with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease (I’ve had all the tests–asthma, Lyme, MS, allergies, sarcoidosis, Sjorgen’s, absolutely everything–and still no answers). It has impacted every part of my life and it was very hard for me to come to terms with the word “chronic” and its implications. Thank you for your article.

    Hailey
    haileyhudson.wordpress.com

    • Thanks for the feedback, Hailey! Praise the Lord!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your difficult journey! I can totally relate (tested for everything: mixed connective tissue disease, Sjogren’s, pulmonary hypertension, lupus, etc. and all “normal”). My family kind of jokes that I’m the “normal” girl who doesn’t feel so normal! :)

      Keep hanging in there and relying upon God. At the end of the day, the answers are not found in a doctor or medical professional, but in God alone, our Jehovah Rophe. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And that’s a promise straight out of James chapter four. Our loving Father has a supreme and master purpose for this season in your life, so keep trusting Him to work it all out according to His will and timetable.

      You’ll be in my prayers!

      Kristin | soifixmyeyes.com

      • Exactly; my doctors shake their heads and say that there’s nothing wrong with me, yet this morning it took me two hours to get out of bed after waking up because my legs were numb and I couldn’t walk, combined with a sharp headache. I don’t know anyone else in person with a chronic disease, and I certainly don’t know any teens with chronic diseases; so it’s so nice to know there really are others out there! I am praying for you as well. =)

        Hailey
        haileyhudson.wordpress.com

        • It’s frustrating, isn’t it?!

          Well I’m glad we were able to connect here on TheReb, because it can be really discouraging when you feel alone in a sea of teens and young people who all have full, busy, and healthy lives. Things will get better!

          Thank you for the prayers! It has been a rough week for me as well…I’m thinking it has to do with spiritual warfare, because my symptoms flared the exact same day this article went live. Interesting timing…

          • Ugh flares! So sorry, Kristin. :( praying for you!

          • I am glad we could connect, too! I wish there was some sort of website or blog or forum, where teens with chronic illnesses could share stories and encouragement. Do you know of anything like that?

          • No. I don’t. But we could start one! :)

          • Let’s! Even a group email or something would be nice.

          • Eliza Downer

            YES! Let’s

          • Okay. I started a Google+ community so that we can continue all this wonderful communication and conversation in a bit more of a private place. :) Hope to see you ladies there!

            https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111482971735944601089

          • Great! I’m not super familiar with Google plus, and it says it’s a private community and I need an invite to join… so, here’s my Google + account

            https://plus.google.com/u/0/103921532720234302416

          • Eliza Downer

            It won’t let me join either. MY name is Eliza Downer. Could you send an invite?

          • Sure…I just need your email address. You can send it to me via my website’s contact form. (www.soifixmyeyes.com).

        • Eliza Downer

          Hey, I know that problem. I am undiagnosed too. I am in a wheelchair, because I can hardly walk. I am praying for you!

          • I’ll be praying for you, Eliza!

          • Eliza Downer

            Thank you, Hailey

          • Praying for you too, Eliza!

          • Eliza Downer

            Thank you, Kristin.

        • Hailey I’m so sorry about your difficulty in getting a diagnosis. You’ll definitely be in my prayers. I was just recently diagnosed with lupus after a few months of different symptoms. Its such an encouragement to me to run into other teens with chronic illness, but even better to have sisters in Christ to encourage one another!

          • Thank you Haylie! I’m glad you were able to get a diagnosis–I think it would be so much easier to live with my illness if I just had a name to put with it, haha–and I’ll be praying for you also.=)

          • I can imagine the frustration… Which is why even tho I’m in pain, I’m very grateful for the diagnosis. Thank you for the prayers!

          • Aaaaand now i’m treading the waters of mis-diagnosis. Things change so quickly lol

          • I’m so sorry! Been there…it SO frustrating!!! God knows what’s going on though…

          • Thank you for the encouragement! <3 Now I'm looking at an amplified pain syndrome diagnosis.

          • Hmmm…I think that’s their go to answer. They tried to label me with that…as if my pain is “amplified” for no reason. I haven’t really agreed with it… :(

          • Yeah. That’s rough. I’m sorry :(

          • I had sooo many misdiagnoses last year, so I feel your pain.

  • Elaine

    I can’t say how encouraging this article was! As someone who has had various health issues from the day I was born, which only intensified in my teen years, I could relate extremely well. Accepting the many many closed doors and when simply getting out of bed is an accomplishment it can be very discouraging when you want to do so much! But it is so true how you said we realize how weak we really are and how much we need God’s strength. After six years you would think I would have learned that. But recently one of my illnesses has intensified to the point where I have no control. Each morning I pray that God would make my body work, and each night I pray God will carry me through safely. It has created a beautiful reliance on God in my life.
    Thank you so much Kristin for sharing!

    • You’re very welcome, Elaine!

      Wow, your story sounds so much more difficult to navigate than mine! Thanks for sharing the details of your current season of physical challenge. You are most definitely in a place of complete reliance and dependence upon God. And like you said, it can be difficult to have to say “no” to things you’d like to do, but the intimacy with the Lord is of much greater value and importance. It is the one thing that will never fade away.

      Keep calling upon the Lord each morning and watch Him give you the strength and grace you need for each day, each hour, and each moment. God is doing an amazing work in you, and will use your life to testify the power of His might and grace. So keep running strong, and don’t lose heart!

      Below is a passage that has ministered to me numerous times over the years and is what I call my “life passage.”

      “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” ~Hebrews 12:1-3

      You also will be in my prayers, dear sister!

      Kristin | soifixmyeyes.com

  • Kristen! This was fantastic in so many ways, and I actually I wanted to apologize, as I had little idea that you struggled with these things. Thank you, lovely lady, for sharing your heart and battles with others to encourage us! And yet I wanted to thank you as well, for not only being faithful in your normal-hard things, but in big hard things as well! You run a blog full of wisdom and encouragement, you’ve aided your siblings in their BB journeys, and you’ve always been such a source of light, joy, and encouragement to all around you. Keep shining His light so well as you do, and thank you for this wonderful article!

    • Thank you, Belle! And don’t worry about it! I’m glad you didn’t know about my struggles. By God’s grace, I try to keep this part of my life private and away from the public eye unless I feel people will be blessed and encouraged by my story. I don’t want to let it define me or become my identity.

      Thanks for your words of affirmation and encouragement! It is truly a blessing. And I’m so thankful that God has used me to bless and encourage you! I’ll keep shining my light if you’ll do the same… :)

      Press on to know the Lord, dear sister, and seek His face!

  • Hi All!

    For young people suffering with chronic illness, I’ve created a Google+ community for the fellowship, edification, and encouragement. It’s a private community, but if you’d like to join you can either contact via my website contact form or request access via the link below.

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111482971735944601089

    God bless you all!

    Kristin | http://www.soifixmyeyes.com

  • Emma

    So I read this article a few weeks ago, and couldn’t put my thoughts into words, both to thank you for writing this, and to tell you how much I needed it! Two weeks later and I still can’t really put it into words. I have osteoporosis and Patella Femoral Syndrome; I am physically challenged all the time. Your article was a blessing to read, and I thank you for reaching out to all of us who struggle physically, both with this article, and the community you started. I’m praying for you! God bless!

    • You’re very welcome, Emma! Oh…well thank you for trying and taking the time to read and reply! It’s been a mutual blessing. I pray that you’ll find even more encouragement through the community. Keep pressing in to the One who holds all things in His loving hands!

  • Thanks Kristin! Congratulations to you for your courage in both writing and sharing this article. :) I know how difficult it must have been.

    I hope someday I can write about some of my experiences like that, in a way that is both healing and encouraging to others who can relate to them, and honoring to God.

  • Katharine Ingalls

    Thanks for this article, it’s really good! And it’s a great encouragement to me, in my different health issues. It’s a beautiful story! =)

    • You’re very welcome, Katharine! I’m so glad the Lord has used this to bless and encourage you in your journey of physical hardship. To God be all the glory!

  • Nelani

    “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”

    It just seems like every season is just the next season is a harder version of the pervious sesion, or a different type of pain than the next season. It seems when you have a sickness, chronic pain, or disability you just never get a break. At least Job got an amazing and relaxing life before and after his suffering. Paul had a childhood and teenage years to reminise and years of travling before he got a thorne in the flesh.
    I know that normal is a illusion: what is normal for the spider is caos for the fly…I know we can still learn from their stores… But it just stinks.

    Also, how do you respond when people tell you that you are “too young” to be sick. Or “just have more faith”.

    Thanks for the article. This website is the first that I’ve seen truly tackle the topic of physical sickness in teens.

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