Sometimes struggling through the darkness can feel a lot like floating out to sea. We feel hopeless, adrift, disconnected, and out of control. It leaves us looking for anything to hold us steady—an anchor to keep us from getting lost in the sea of darkness. And while we might hope that anchor would be God, sometimes tragedy leaves us wondering if God is even with us anymore. The apostle Paul had reason to feel the very same way. He faced hardship, suffering, and loss throughout his life and ministry, yet somehow managed to never lose his anchor of faith in God. As we look at what Paul tells us about finding faith in the midst of the darkness, we’ll see that there’s no amount of tragedy that can separate us from the God who loved us enough to experience it here on Earth alongside us.
PARENT TOOL // CRISIS GUIDE
With teenagers, the pressure seems to increase as their responsibility does. The potential for them to experience a crisis-- whether from bad decisions, rejection or trauma-- also increases. Sometimes it's easy to want to jump in and fix things, but supporting their efforts to handle their crisis helps them more.
Be aware of the signs that your teen is experiencing a crisis and don't take them lightly. Try to understand more than you feel like you know. See them for the adults they are becoming, be careful to respond, and offer more help if they need it.
We've attached the following Crisis Guides for parents of middle schoolers and high schoolers. We hope that you check them out and come alongside your kid(s) as they walk "through the darkness."
Have your kids ever hurt your feelings? I don’t mean their critique of your clothes, cooking, or stupid jokes. I mean the thing they say that just cuts to the quick.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my boys said something and it hurt so much, it felt like the wind was knocked out of me. He’s young enough where I don’t think the words were said with the intention to hurt, and he was oblivious to how hurtful his words were. But I am not naïve. I know a day will come when my boys will know the power of their words. And then they’ll use those words to cause pain on purpose.
Family is messy. At this stage, most messes come in the form of food under the kitchen table, diapers in a full diaper genie, and endless leaves, rocks, and flowers filling my counters. But at some point, I know the messiness will come in the form of verbal shrapnel. I know the messiness will be less literal and more figurative. (Or maybe with two teenage boys by that time, it’ll be both.)
And I knew from a couple of weeks ago, when the words from one of my kids hit me like they did, that I had better figure out what I was going to do when those moments come.
At the time, I shut down. I got him ready for bed and I read him books. I was present physically, but emotionally distant. But when it was time to pray, to sing, and close up the night, I realized something had to give. He may not have known I was holding back, but I did. And I decided then and there to do what felt like the exact opposite of what I wanted to do.
I decided to move close. To not let careless words create a rift. To not let hurt feelings dictate my behavior towards him. To move towards the one I felt inclined to back away from.
I decided to be a peacemaker.
READ MORE ON THE PARENT CUE BLOG