Exhausted. Weary. Stressed. How much more does this have to go on? How many more rounds does it take before my kid can finally be set free from this madness?
You’ve evaluated your options. You have done your research. You might even have great counsel. But in the end, there is still a battle within your teen that lingers on.
You know your stuff when it comes to programs and talking to the experts. You have so much knowledge that you could actually teach a class on the type of crisis your teen and other teens like yours are dealing with. However, you are still in the same place you were a month ago, 6 months ago, or even a year or more ago.
Many times as parents, we sit across the room and look at our teen and can’t help but think what the next round will look like or what trigger will catapult them to another relapse and take even longer to heal.
What I have learned really changed my perspective on how I could minister to my teen. For the longest time I would just look at her and all I could see were labels – self-harmer, depressed, suicidal, etc…. I would study her and think to myself, “Why?” I was so busy focusing on her crises that I had forgotten about what I was really dealing with.
You see, it took Ephesians 6:10-18 for me to really understand what I was missing.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Parents try to gain control of the crisis’ and heal their teen through all various means because they are confronting it in the flesh. What parents neglect to see is that it is much deeper than this. Your teen’s issues are at the root – the things unseen, not the symptoms of what is seen.
Secondly, in verse 12, you are dealing against many powers and spiritual forces of evil that are integrated into your teen’s mind and thoughts on a daily basis. Anyone who has dealt with issues of eating disorders, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, and addictions know that every day it is a constant battle of the mind.
I am a big proponent of not just working on the physical and mental state of a teen but just as imperative, the spiritual aspect needs to be addressed as well. They go hand in hand. Programs and rehabs are wonderful and such a great resource of help, support and hope. However, if the spiritual side is not being looked at and worked on, our teens could easily relapse back into their crisis in the future.
In the past, I did all that I could regarding the necessary steps for my teen’s self-harming, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts. I got her out of crisis first, then started the process of inner healing.
The biggest changes that I came across didn’t happen until I started to pray the scriptures more heavily and seeking God to break the very chains of those disorders and illnesses. It wasn’t until then that I began to see a metamorphous take place. In fact, that is when I began to see the power of God move in a way that a program couldn’t.
In the end, we need to take a good look as to how we respond when our teen is in crisis.
1. We need to let them know that they are loved unconditionally.
2. It is imperative to get them the appropriate help they need (Rehab, Treatment, Support, Counsel).
3. We need to pray for and with them.
4. Using the scriptures as part of your prayers breaks chains, and strongholds while encouraging the renewing of the mind.
5. Work together as a family. Many times it is not just a broken teen but also a broken family.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 2 Cor. 10:3-4
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