A Conference for Chronic Illness Warriors: Exhausted People Who Feel Invisible

My mother can’t listen to music and talk to us at the same time. It’s not because she’s elderly or because she’s out of her mind. She has a mild case of tinnitus – a chronic illness, and people with it feel pain whenever they hear loud noises. People with extreme tinnitus feel pain whenever they hear something.

But tinnitus isn’t the only chronic illness. There’s chronic fatigue syndrome, POTS, multiple chemical sensitivity, Lyme’s disease, chronic pain illnesses, bouts of temporary paralysis, Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, autoimmune diseases. The list goes on. Some people go undiagnosed for years before finally finding out what they are sick with after visiting the 12th (or more) doctor. Most chronic illnesses don’t go away.

It’s hard. And that’s an understatement. 

I have a dear friend named Sara Willoughby. She’s the author of He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness. It was published two and a half years ago. She now hosts an annual online conference called Diamonds for chronically ill Christians. 

God is working through her work. Many chronic illness warriors can’t even go to church – and encouragement is hard to find. That’s often because these illnesses are usually invisible. People don’t know these warriors are fighting. 

So once a year, Sara brings a lapful of encouragement right to them. 

This year, Diamonds 2021’s theme is Purpose In Affliction. The conference focuses on chronically ill people’s identity in Christ and how illness strengthens their relationship with Him. 

Here’s some quick info:

What is Diamonds 2021?

Diamonds is an annual online conference for chronically ill Christians. Millions of chronically sick people battle impossible trials every single day – but so many of them feel alone. The speakers of Diamonds 2021 want them to know they aren’t — not by a long shot. 

When is Diamonds 2021?

Diamonds 2021 occurs this weekend — from Friday the 22nd through Sunday the 24th. You can join live for free, and if you miss anything, you will still be able to view the recorded version by purchasing the all-access pass.

Who is speaking at Diamonds 2021?

This year, they have twenty speakers from around the world. Each of these fantastic people has a special message of hope and compassion to share with you out of their own experiences with long-term illness.

What does Diamonds 2021 cost?

Because they know that many chronically ill warriors face burdensome medical bills, and their goal is to uplift instead of adding just one more thing, Diamonds 2021 is 100% free while it’s live. 

After that, you can purchase the all-access pass to gain lifetime access to the conference content along with some exclusive bonuses. 

Where is Diamonds 2021?

Diamonds 2021 is entirely online. They know that traveling with an illness is difficult, so they want to bring this right to you — even if you’re in a hospital bed or are housebound. You can register for Diamonds 2020 for free here.

Does the conference have a Study Guide?

Absolutely! They have a beautifully designed study guide with take away points from every talk and reflection questions and resources for further study. You can buy the e-book or paperback copy here

Friends, this is extremely important. Many chronically ill people are discouraged and depressed, and exhausted because they don’t have encouragement. This conference will fill that gap extravagantly. 


Please spread the word. If you know someone who is very sick or is chronically ill – send them this blog post. Send the registration link. The world needs these messages of hope!

Truth4TCKs: My Plea to TCKs + ANNOUNCEMENT

I am a Third Culture Kid. I am ethnically American but have grown up in another country most of my life. I am a bridge between cultures and languages, not belonging to either side. 

A Third Culture Kid is by definition, “ a person who spends a significant part of his or her first eighteen years of life accompanying parent(s) into a country or countries that are different from at least one parent’s passport country(ies) due to a parent’s choice of work or advanced training.”

This kind of upbringing is increasing rapidly as the world globalizes. More and more people are moving overseas (wherever that may be), and their kids are moving with them. 

When one is raised in constant, daily contact with several cultures, it impacts them tremendously. They do not feel like they belong in one country, or people, or culture. 

Why does this matter? 

Because the increasing number of TCKs means an increasing number of Christian TCKs. 

Christian TCKs are a very unique, special group of people. They are passionate about the nations, love cultures and languages, and see the world a bit differently than their monocultural brothers and sisters in Christ. 

I want to encourage and challenge that group of people. 

Christian TCKs are given their unique upbringing by God for a reason. They understand multiple cultures, languages, and have a more global world view. They don’t belong in any one place, and so they feel as if the one place they will fully belong is in heaven. They see the differences between Christianity’s culture in various nations and often know how to spot ethnocentricity. TCKs act as cultural brokers, bridging two or more groups who normally wouldn’t understand each other. 

If someone is a follower of Jesus Christ and is a TCK, they cannot waste their God-given abilities. 

If you are a follower of Jesus and are a TCK, I repeat, you cannot waste your God-ordained abilities. 

You uniquely see the world. You are empathetic and diverse. You love many cultures and you love learning new ones. (Yes, learning culture is a thing, y’all.) You have such wonderful things given to you intentionally by your Father in Heaven. 

Please don’t waste them. Please choose to use those abilities for the glory of God and the good of others. The world needs people like you. 


Also, I have an announcement! I will be posting interviews soon that I have done with Christian TCKs. I’ll ask them about their struggles. We’ll be talking about the way their upbringing has molded them to see the world. And last but not least, how they’ve used their abilities to glorify God and impact others. I can’t wait for you to hear their stories. Ciao, my friends!


School photo created by drobotdean – www.freepik.com

My Newest Endeavor: Organization and Productivity

When I started up school about a month ago, I knew I was in for a challenge. I had just discovered the world of online writing. I was excited and had posted biweekly on my blog all summer long. I had big plans. Then I realized that school was coming up. What had started as a summer hobby had become a passion, and I didn’t want to stop. 

How was I going to maintain my writing while juggling eleventh grade? I’m not homeschooled. I don’t have the most flexible schedule in the world. Then it hit me. The one major area I lacked in was organization.

Organization: Why It Doesn’t Come Naturally To Me

I am a creative and spontaneous person. My mother will be the first one to tell you that I’m horrible at finishing what I’ve started. I always have a new project to work on. I get so excited about the project that I don’t strive to complete the first one. She’ll also tell you that I think deeply, and she has me repeat instructions to make sure I’ve heard them. Otherwise, I’ll continue on in my own world without realizing what she’s said.

With a personality like that, you can do great things, but you also have many struggles. You guessed it, a significant one is organization. With such a spontaneous personality, I am apt to forget, get lost in some thought or activity, or be lazy. Often because I think a structured schedule would be too hard to maintain. It’s not that I couldn’t do it, it’s that it’d be especially demanding and difficult. 

Organization: Why It Matters

I could just say, “Well, I’m bad at organization. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m not one of those people.” Most of society would accept that excuse. After all,  (1) I’m a teenager, and (2) it’s not part of my “personality”. Why in the world would I try?

My writing instructor on YWW (the Young Writer’s Workshop), Brett Harris, encourages teens to rebel against the low expectations the world has for us. My thought was that I couldn’t organize, schedule, and plan easily and therefore I shouldn’t be expected to ever be successful in that area. 

But I needed to answer God’s calling to take on responsibility. I was being lazy. I was making excuses for myself. That’s not the kind of Christian I want to be. 

Productivity and organization isn’t about getting more done. On the surface, yes, that’s the goal. However, what I am learning is that our ultimate goal in organizing our time, energy, and productivity is to serve others as we glorify God. If I have done everything on my to-do list but haven’t served others or done it to the glory of God, it’s been a wasted day. 

That’s a huge struggle. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I waste my day. I’m lazy, or I am productive but for wrong reasons. I want to belong, or be known, or make a mark. 

But what if work and productivity was about creating beauty, serving others, and learning to be humble? What if organization was a tool to be a good steward? What if I was gifted in a certain way so that I could bless others and point them to Christ – not so I could draw attention to myself? What if my driving force in everything I did was that I was not my own? That the Creator has given me a tiny piece of His clay to help shape?

Organization and Productivity: What I’ve Done To Achieve It

I am just starting this journey. I am not an expert on the top five ways to structure your week or what timers you should be using. 

However, there are tiny steps I have been implementing in my days and weeks. Every little thing helps. Here’s what I’ve done so far…

  1. I’ve started a morning routine. My ideal morning routine looks like this: I get up at 6:30 am, make my bed, grab a cup of tea, and sit on the balcony to have devotions. After a half an hour or 40 minutes, I sit down to write for 15 minutes. This 15 minute writing session was inspired by Cassie Watson, a fellow YDubber who’s been doing a class on productivity. Although I often fail to implement this step, when I do, it’s extremely rewarding. I find that I have a ton of mental energy in the mornings so my writing sessions are more productive than a 30 minute session after school. I then go on to have breakfast, get dressed, and sit down for online school.
  1. I’ve bought a paper planner. People structure their time in different ways, but I decided to buy a paper planner this year, and I’m so glad I did. I’m still figuring out all the ways I can use it but it’s helpful to have all your organization & to-do lists in one place. It’s also aesthetically pleasing – a.k.a. happiness.
  1. I’ve made an ideal week schedule. Also inspired by Cassie Watson, I’ve created a Google Sheets schedule of what an ideal week of mine would look like, from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm. It’s color coded, and I have school, lunch, writing sessions, breaks, family time, and other things planned out in blocks. The idea is to plan my actual week around this schedule. I’ve yet to do this – it is a recent addition to my productivity endeavor – but I’m hoping to use it next week, and if I stick to it, for months after that. 

Those are three things I’ve tried to do to help myself out, but there are many other tricks and tips. I’d love to chat with you all about organization and productivity. What do you do to manage your time? What does your schedule organization look like?