While being busy at home, I received a phone call. Saying hello several times and not hearing a reply, I listened to see if I could figure out who was calling. To my surprise it was someone that I knew. They had no idea that their cell phone accidentally automated my phone number.
After yelling in the phone to gain their attention, I quickly realized that my voice was too weak to be heard. Without being nosy, the sound of a parent’s voice unveiled their struggling crisis.
The parent was telling a family relative how embarrassing it was to have their teen in a mental hospital because they tried to commit suicide. They used the words “loony bin” and “crazy” to define their teen’s situation. The relative was compassionate, understanding and supportive but couldn’t supply the answers this single parent needed.
It was obvious that this parent was now in a battle against a mountain of emotions and future decision making. Not wanting to infringe on someone’s privacy, I chose to not listen any longer and hung up the phone.
My heart sank and I felt so burdened for this parent. They were grieving in so many ways. It boggled their mind in questions as to why their teen would even think consider suicide when their large family had so much love to give to this teen.
When a parent deals with a situation such as this, there is this overwhelming feeling of failure. You thought you did all the right things in raising them. You made sure you met all of their needs and left the door of communication open to them. You tried to read all the signs to make sure you were on top of the game and whenever you had any glimpse of something wrong, you brought in the troops of good counsel to help them out. But even in all of those steps, you still felt you missed something truly imperative to their well-being.
These feelings are not unusual in this type of crisis. There are many who feel the same when they have their life spiral out of control because their teen tries to take a leaping jump into the finality of no return. You start to question yourself as a parent. What did I do wrong? Did I not love my child enough? Did I push them away in some way that hurt them tremendously? Why did I not see the signs?
First the shock comes, then guilt. Soon following, the shame and embarrassment of the situation and how others will think of you if they find out. Feelings of judgment often are next. Sometimes that judgment is from your own peers, your family and even yourself. Somewhere along the line the feelings of inadequacy float in your mind and you begin to question what kind of parent you are.
Parents, if you feel lost on how to cope with this roller coaster ride you are on, I can tell you this; you are on the right path. I would worry more if you didn’t have any of those reactions. That says you are a human. However, there comes a time where we have to put those emotions aside and make our teen’s health and welfare the priority.
That particular parent didn’t give up. They didn’t stop getting help. They stepped up to the plate and did whatever was necessary to fight for their teen and support their teen. Was it hard? Yes. But they never wavered in the promise to be there and walk with their teen through the difficult time they were having.
Despite how this parent was feeling at the time, they rose to the challenge and began the difficult task to bring about restoration for their teen. They laid the foundation for other parents in similar situations to not be afraid and do whatever is necessary to rescue that teen. After all, that is what love is all about.
This parent is very thankful to the Lord for giving them the strength and encouragement they needed to start the healing process. They were brave to be out front and say, “My teen needs prayer and help, will you support me in this?” This young teen has come a long way and in a better place. And this parent has learned that you don’t need to walk alone in your crisis.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.