I need to have a hard conversation with you folks today. A serious conversation. One that I’ve tried to have with you since last week. So, I’m trusting that if you are reading today, you need to be reading today. It’s a challenge for us all. One that can no longer go unnoticed. An area that we are all failing in. A problem of epidemic proportions.
Meet my one of kind teen daughter, Katelyn. Katelyn is unique and spunky. Katelyn is beautiful and talented. Katelyn is funny and creative. Katelyn is strong (or strong-willed, I haven’t decided yet) and Katelyn is a fighter. And like most teenagers of this generation, she has an affliction. A real, loud, harmful struggle that the enemy is causing and the world is ignoring. And yes, even for those teens who have loving parents and are continuously pointed to the cross, the struggle is real. Don’t be naive.
Hopelessness that is drenched in depression and anxiety. Unworthiness that is masked in compromises.. Loneliness disguised with social media statuses and harmful relationships. They are screaming for help and we are letting them down.
Working in the local middle school and high school, having a teen child myself, and my goodness, just scanning the endless updated statuses of broken little hearts, it’s evident that there is a real call for action. A plea for help. A scream for someone, anyone, to comfort. And good grief, somebody to just give a hug to a wounded spirit.
If you don’t believe me, just ask. Ask a teen. Ask your child. Look at social media. Watch tv. Look outside the window of your neighborhood. Look within the walls of your church. And don’t even dare think you are off the hook if you don’t have children of your own either. If you are a child of God, you have a responsibility to step in. To be a role model. To encourage and be an example of what Christ is really all about. To be the hands and feet of Christ. And if we continue to turn our heads in the other direction because it’s too hard, too annoying, or too much of an inconvenience, God help us all. We will have to answer for it.
Don’t believe me? Take a look. Here’s some statements I found while searching different media sites.
“I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.”
“I want to crawl in a hole and never come out again.”
“I can’t take this anymore.”
“I can’t trust anyone.”
“I’m so alone.”
“I just can’t do this anymore.”
And for those of you who think it’s all about attention, you may be right. But why do they need attention so badly in the first place? Why are they so desperate for attention anyway? There’s still a problem. They still need help.
Self harm. Sex. Compromises. Self hatred. Confusion and doubt. Eating Disorders. Drug and alcohol addictions. Depression. Suicidal thoughts. It’s real people. It’s in our communities. Its in our schools. It’s in our homes. And God help us, it’s in our churches. It’s time to step up and do something about it.
How in the world do we expect teenagers to become grounded, solid Christian adults when we don’t teach them? How do we expect them to make good choices and find their identity in Christ when we don’t show them? How do expect them to take responsibility for their own actions when we don’t ourselves? How do we expect them to be any different when we don’t do anything about it? How do we expect them to understand the grace and mercy of a loving Father when we continue to hide behind our own sin?
If we believe that God will never leave us nor forsake us, why aren’t we telling them this? If we believe that God’s love for us is unconditional and there’s absolutely nothing we can do that will seperate us from that love, why are we not explaining this to them? If we believe that with Christ’s help we can do anything, why are we not proving this to them? If we believe that hope and a peace that surpasses all understanding can only be found in Christ, why aren’t we teaching them this? If we believe that grace and mercy and forgiveness is abundant, why aren’t we doing the same for them? Really. I’m serious.
It’s a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of them cutting their bodies or not. It’s a matter of them having sex or choosing abstinence. It’s a matter of them standing firm and strong or caving in weakness and hopelessness. It’s a matter of them finding joy and peace in life regardless of their circumstances or them contemplating suicide. It’s a matter of them finding escape in the high of a drug or finding help on their knees in a desperate prayer. It’s a matter of them cowering in defeat and shame or running to you for help and guidance. How will they know they have a better choice if we don’t tell them? If we don’t help them?
So, let me ask you. What are you going to do about it? If you don’t know where to start, I’ll help you out. Pray. Pray fervently for their lives and their future. Pray that God would show you a wounded spirit that needs nurturing from a Christ follower. Then, would it be so hard to offer words of encouragement or even a hug? What about a movie or a fun night out on the town? What about a meaningful gift that shows them someone cares? What about a laugh or two or maybe a compliment? I promise, it will go farther than you can even imagine. It’s up to us as parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, neighbors, and my word the church to show them the love of Christ. Only then will they understand who He really is.
I’ve included a video below from Katelyn’s Youtube Channel. Katelyn’s goal is to help others with her videos that struggle in life with similar issues as hers. With humor or seriousness, she hopes that it will not only be therapeutic for herself but will make a difference in the lives of others as well. I’m making this easy for you. Here’s the first thing you can do before even leaving this site today to make a difference in the life of a teen. Watch her video. Leave an encouraging comment here or below the actual video. Subscribe to her Youtube Channel. And please, pray for her sweet soul.