Parents of teens and young adults in crisis dread the holidays. Let me repeat that again. Parents of teens and young adults in crisis DREAD the holidays. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say, “Truth!” to that statement. How do I know? I have lived it for years.
Even despite those very difficult times, I loved my child. My heart was broken because of their pain as well as their rebellious and destructive lifestyle and poor choices.
Thousands of parents across this nation are hurting for their child. They desire healing, health, wholeness, and reunion. Unfortunately, these same moms and dads are struggling to hope for their child to get better as their child spirals out of control in front of them. Parents have tried counselors, rehabs, therapies, and countless other resources for help. While their son or daughter runs off or falls into traps around them, the window of hope is closing before them.
Here is the good news! God is NOT finished with His plan. I never thought after fourteen years that my daughter would finally find her way in life and learn from all of her mistakes, bad choices, and grow up. Guess what? She did! Today, my daughter continues to say thank you for always praying for her and being patient, forgiving, and sharing the Word of God with her.
Painful were the years of various issues, disorders, and destructive behaviors such as drugs and nearly sentenced to twenty years in prison at the age of seventeen. Yet, God’s unconditional love brought her through it. She looks back now and sees God’s forgiveness and constant rescue to bring her back home into His fold.
This is a reminder of God’s protection, compassion, and faithfulness towards our children and us. This in itself is enough to be thankful. One of many lessons I learned as a parent was the more I praised and thanked God even in dire circumstances, God’s faithfulness to answer our prayers were over and over. It wasn’t always overnight. In many cases, it was weeks, months, and years.
God’s answers are not the same as ours. In fact, many prayers that I prayed were responded to in a way I never suspected. God works wonders and miracles in His timing and in His plan.
When you start to have those feelings of “dread” as we approach Thanksgiving, begin to be thankful and rejoice. Here are a few things I learned about giving thanks.
- Being thankful reduces depression – something many parents of children in crisis go through.
- Being thankful reduces physical and mental health problems.
- Being thankful helps you to deal with negative people better (including your own child).
- Being thankful helps you fall asleep better, longer, and quicker. (Many were the days of no sleep due to worry and fear)
- Being thankful reduces stress and trauma. (Stress, the number one ailment that many parents are faced with)
As you prepare for your holiday meal, think of this one wonderful reason to be thankful. Having Jesus as your eternal Hope in a world that is hurting.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18