How is God Working in My Teen's Depression?

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When my husband and I were thrust into our teen’s battle with depression, we never felt more ill-equipped to respond. Though I myself have sailed the seas of sorrow many times in my teen and adult years, I never imagined our child would take such a journey.

It broke my heart to discover she was walking down a road that I had traveled. I felt guilty, as if I could’ve done something to protect her from the melancholy. I felt regret, as if my history with depression had infected her emotional and physical composition.

Most of all, I felt helpless. I wondered what God was doing in the midst of my teen’s inner turmoil. As days passed and heart-breaking conversations ensued between us, the Lord began to show me just how little control I had over my teen’s experience of despondency. The complicated nature of depression, coupled with my inability to fully understand my teen’s inner turmoil, tempted me to become impatient and bitter about the situation entirely.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, rather than stew over what we did not have the power to change, my husband and I turned to what we could know about the work God was doing under our roof and in our hearts as parents. Over time, we found our footing by focusing on key biblical truths about God’s will for us in the context of the challenges our teen was facing.

If you’ve found yourself caring for a depressed teen, maybe you’re wondering what God is up to in the midst of this heartbreaking time. While we cannot know all the ways that God intends to work in your teen’s despondency, the Scriptures do tell us what his goal is for you in this season: your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Here are four ways (though certainly not all the ways) God is working in this situation to bring about your spiritual maturity in Christ:
Serving your teen as a spiritual first-responder will require sacrifice on your part—it will constantly challenge you to lay down your life, alter your plans, and swallow your pride for the sake of another. Through this, God intends to train you to walk by the Spirit, in love, as Christ did when he humbled himself to a cross and surrendered his life for yours.
How is God Working in My Teen's Depression?
Christine M. Chappell
Christine is the author of Clean Home, Messy Heart and Help! My Teen is Depressed. She hosts IBCD's Hope + Help Podcast and is passionate about advocating for biblical one-another care and discipleship in the context of the local church. Her writing has been featured at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Servants of Grace, and other Christian platforms. Christine blogs regularly at and lives in South Carolina with her husband and three children. 
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