Parents who struggle with a teen in crisis find it extremely overwhelming to get through the holidays. Although Thanksgiving has passed, another holiday is around the corner – Christmas.
While every other parent around you is singing in holiday cheer, you are thinking about how you can just get through the day. While your co-worker or friend talks about how excited they are that their child is coming home for a holiday visit, you are thinking more about how to help your child in crisis. Maybe you are faced with a child who needs to get into a detox program. Maybe you need to figure out how to get your child to eat that holiday dinner when they struggle with an eating disorder.
And let us not forget those parents who have teens who have suicidal tendencies or mental health issues and are not into celebrating any holiday.
How does a parent with heartbreak, discouragement, anger, and other emotions cope with the holidays?
In all truth and honesty, it’s hard. In our hearts we’re mourning over the decisions that our children have made or we are saddened that our children battle with mental illness which is not their fault. We shake our heads at their destructive behavior that has affected everyone around them or we cry when we see our child suffer from an illness that they can’t control.
How can we move forward with hearts that are heavy for our children?
We do it with a heart of gratitude and thankfulness. We can thank the Lord that our children are living and breathing and loved. We can give thanks that we are not alone in this journey. God is there right along with us. We can have gratitude that God has given us provision in many ways, and will continue to do so, not just for us as parents but also for our children.
God gives us His Word to give strength each day as it comes. It is our daily bread that feeds us when we are going through the storms of parenting. The Holy Spirit meets us and is our comforter in the times we are so desperate to find peace for our anxious thoughts and worries.
I have learned that it is okay to not be cheery 24/7. God understands my heart and sees my child in crisis. It is okay to not be joyful and glowing when there is a holiday. I treasure God’s rest and moments of contentment despite being in the midst of the storm. In those things, God brings me to a place of serenity that He is in control. It is then that I can submit over my concerns, fears, and disappointments.
So how do you get to that place of relinquishing all of the heavy burdens you carry?
- Read daily His Word that brings rest to your spirit, strength for your weakness, and wisdom in your confusion.
- Listen to uplifting music that encourages you to praise Him even in your difficulty. By doing so, you will find yourself refreshed in the spirit and renewed in your faith.
- Remember that the Lord is listening. He has not turned a deaf ear. He is working on your behalf and your child’s. You don’t have to be eloquent with your words. Just pour out your heart. Take hold of God’s promises. There are many throughout the Bible that you can write out and memorize to remind you that He is near and will deliver you in your time of stress.
- Take time for yourself. Parents need to get renewed and refreshed too. Get a cup of coffee, take in a movie, or spend time with a trusted friend.
Don’t live in holiday misery. Give thanks, for Jesus is the reason to rejoice!