Life-Changing Family Advice for Those Hurting

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Are you looking for life-changing family advice? Perhaps you struggle with getting along with difficult people in your family.

If you are like me, you may have even shaken your fist at God in anger when you felt helpless. Yeah, I did that. And I am still alive…whew. (FYI: God can handle our anger.)

I didn’t think God loved me when my family problems started. In fact, I was incredibly angry at Him. Perhaps you are too.

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The biggest thing I can tell you right now is to run to God with your pain. Not away from Him. I know it is hard, and maybe even seems ridiculous, but He is there waiting for you with open arms. He knows you are hurting.

In fact, He wants to show you how much He loves you, even in the midst of your family problems.

In this post, I am going to share the most life-changing family advice for those who are hurting from family problems. And how you can trust God’s plans to be good because of His love despite other’s behavior. 

Related: The Most Effective Way to Heal Broken Family Relationships


Family Problems

Family problems are hard to navigate!

If you have been reading some of my other posts, you may already know I was estranged from my family for seven years. Sadly, it was one of the hardest things my family and I have ever lived through.

I hated the feeling of things not being right. I know my parents hated it too.

My parents did such a great job of bringing us all to Christ, but somewhere along the way, our wires got crossed, or uh, burned.

Frankly, our wires were so hot it about burned our house down (figuratively).

Unresolved hurts, expectations, and bitterness clouded our interactions with each other. Over time, it became a part of our family narrative.

The most puzzling piece to this puzzle is that we were all Christians when it happened. In fact, my family had been in Christian ministry for over 30 years. We knew better.

Unfortunately, it still happened.

Perhaps you know what I am talking about. I can’t tell you how many Christians I have talked to that are either barely speaking to their family members or there is a full-blown estrangement.

My question is, “Why are there so many difficult people in our families, especially when everyone claims to be a Christian?” Perhaps we need to go back to square one.

That is what I had to do. Go back to the beginning and find God’s love. It sounds strange, but that is where I started.

Related: Estranged: 3 Things You Lose When Your Family Stops Talking

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Life-Changing Family Advice

The most life-changing advice I can give you is to pray for God to show you His love. And then put down your expectations of how it will happen.

I was expecting Him to come in and save the day like a king on a horse. I wanted Him to miraculously fix my family situation and make things right.

Sound familiar? Maybe you want Him to show everyone who’s boss too. But that is not usually how it works.

Jesus came as a servant, not as a king on a horse. And that is how He still comes today–quietly loving you even though you may not love Him.

He doesn’t usually come in and fix everything like a magic genie.

Instead, He works on us daily through a process of growth and learning. And that includes working on the difficult people in our family. (You could actually be one of them!)

Related: 5 Greatest Lessons You Can Learn From Suffering

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart

 Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

God’s Love is Radical

You see, God loved me in my horrible health crisis, in my anger, bitterness, and even my feelings of unforgiveness. The whole lousy mess. And then showed me a way out slowly. This is a radical concept that he would love me in such a state, but He did.

What is great is He can do the same for you.

Once you truly embrace how much He loves you, you can learn to trust His plan. When you release Him to work in the way He sees fit…things happen. Good things.

I let go of my plans and let God be God.

More importantly, He took my hand and helped me walk through my family problems to the other side. Not just as a Savior but as a friend. Side by side.

Related: How to Forgive Those Who Hurt You and Let Go of the Past

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Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book with tree in middle and dry parched grown at bottom. Life-Changing Family Advice for Those Hurting


Your Family Problems

Perhaps you have some family problems that need to be resolved. Start with yourself and find God’s love. Work on your relationship with Him. If you are listening, He will guide you through your own healing and restoration, even if you don’t reconcile with your family. (Hopefully, you do…)

If it worked for me, and I know it will work for you.

For more in-depth inspirational family advice, check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

This book will give you my story plus actionable steps to help you get along with difficult people in your family. And heal your own wounded heart in the process.

Do you have life-changing family advice for those who are hurting?


Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book with a single tree on the book

Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

A farm scene with a farmhouse upside down sitting on a grass field with a lake in the background.

Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.

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Julie Plagens


  1. Jessica Goodpaster on March 10, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Thank you for being vulnerable with us about your family issues. So many Christians have the false idea that being a Christian means we don’t have problems, but it’s often the opposite. Sharing your story is going to give so many hope!

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 11:54 am

      Jessica, thanks for reading this. I have read quite of your posts and love your site. I am praying God will use this book to help families start talking and the scales will fall off their eyes. Only the Holy Spirit can do the work, be He is mighty.

  2. Lynelle on March 9, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    I loved your post! Your story is very inspirational and I’m glad that you reunited with your family. Family issues are always hard but I like your advice: “start with yourself”.

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 11:55 am

      Thanks, Lynelle. Yes, at the end of the day, we can only change ourselves. Unfortunately, so many people think the other person needs to change first.

  3. Janene Eldred on March 9, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Families are interesting things, don’t you think? I lived in a combined family where my step-dad adopted my mom’s four kids. It was not a Brady Bunch TV show, let me tell you! I tell my sibs now that my dad would have known how to deal with us, if we had been born “adults”. He was very authoritarian, tough on my brothers, and none of the 6 of us have many good memories of our growing up years. Yet, God is amazing. My dad is now almost 92. He has been in and out of the hospital, and ALL 6 of his kids have made sure they were a part of his care. Yet, we still can’t think of many happy memories growing up. Amazing. God bless you!

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 11:58 am

      Janene, God will bless you for the care of your dad. This is a way to honor him despite his behavior. God knows your pain, and forgiving him will help you not to pass the bad behavior down to the next generation. It doesn’t mean that what he did was good or right. Your pain is validated. God knows. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Robert on March 9, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for your honesty in sharing your journey and struggles. I’m glad you were able to also write a book about your experiences to help others facing similar struggles. I think it extends beyond blood relations however, and also to relationships with other members of the body of Christ. When these are strained, the enemy always sows the seeds of mistrust and suspicion both towards other people, and more specifically towards God. I can relate to wondering whether God loves me in these times, and many of the other thoughts that typically go through your head.

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm

      Robert, this is so true! It isn’t just family members. We seem to have a hard time getting along with people period. I think we have forgotten so many basic rules of courtesy, respect, and just plain kindness to others. Thanks for your insight.

  5. Gloria on March 8, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing your life lessons with us and also I will say it’s so hard to have family issues as is so difficult to handle ! Have been there too before . I love your post .

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      Gloria, thanks for your comment. I know it is difficult for many people to see God’s love when we can’t see it in other people. Especially in other family members.

  6. Myrelle on March 8, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    I love this – ” You don’t have to be “cleaned up” before you approach Him. He wants to meet you right where you are and start working. Let Him do the changing.” It’s so true. I love that God is not afraid of hearing our anger, frustrations and all the other emotions. He still loves us no matter what.

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 12:03 pm

      Myrelle, I am glad our God takes us “as is.” This is true love. He knows us and wants us to start following Him no matter what we have done. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Lisa on March 8, 2019 at 9:36 am

    I am so happy to see someone sharing there struggle with faith and finding there way in the end. I have had many of struggles with my faith through out my life but gods love never waivered and in the end of all my struggles my faith in him was even stronger.

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Lisa, I am so glad to share my struggles with others. I want my life to be used for God’s glory. I always love it when others open up about their pain and how they worked through it. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Kay on March 7, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Family issues are one of the hardest relationship issues to get through. You really do have to let go and trust in God. Thank you for this, your book sounds great, I really want to hear your story!

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      Kay, thanks for commenting. It is a pretty great story. God is good, and He gets the glory.

  9. Courtney on March 4, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Ahhhh family issues can be so hard to resolve!!! You just have to have faith and things will all work out 🙂

    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      Courtney, yes, what we do without faith in our God. He is the one who brought me back to my family. I am so thankful for his redemption and forgiveness. Thanks for reading.

  10. Louise Smith on March 4, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    When there’s a family argument it can be SO hard to feel like God loves us. I think we know deep down that he does though. And as long as we can still feel that little bit of hope, it will get us through 🙂


    • Julie Plagens on March 16, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Louise, I have really struggled with God’s love. It seemed it was good for everyone but me. I wasn’t worthy or good enough. I have since grabbed on to the truth. He loves everyone including me despite my family issues. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Jasmine Hewitt on March 3, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Family issues should stay within the family as much as possible. Outside influence should be done delicately.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 10:54 pm

      I totally get that. This book does tell about some of the things that I felt, but it mostly deals with family issues in general. And steps to help you heal.

  12. Nati on March 3, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    We are living quite a delicate situation in our couple right now, but I have faith that we’ll solve this one as we’ve been solving all our problems since 1998. Your article has been very inspiring and thought-provoking.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 10:55 pm

      Nati, I am sorry you are having a difficult time. I pray God will touch your hearts and help you to find a way to work together.

  13. Terri Steffes on March 3, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Talk about family issues, I just finished Educated by Kara Westover. What a powerful book on the impact of family.

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 10:56 pm

      A healthy family life is so important to the development of a child. We can all learn how to behave in situations so as to foster good communication.

  14. Kara on March 3, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Family issues is always a tricky one. We try and stay out of arguments now, but it is not always easy

    • Julie Plagens on March 3, 2019 at 10:56 pm

      Kara, I really hate having family issues. It is hard to know what to do. Thanks for your comment.

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