Q: I don’t know what to do anymore, sis. My family is a mess. It seems like we all hate each other. My parents fight about everything, my brother has problems, and my mom puts me down in every way possible. I can’t even say hi to them anymore—it’s that bad. I’m sick of just locking myself in my room and crying, but I feel like that’s all I have to choose from. It doesn’t help that neither of them go to church or anything. Sis, I’m going crazy—I need your help!

I wish I had a three-step solution to make all the hurt, drama and frustration go away. Family life can be downright ugly sometimes, and having parents who don’t make Christ the center of the family just makes everything harder. While I don’t have a perfect solution, I do have a few things I hope will encourage you to pick up and keep pressing on.

1) God didn’t put you in the family He did on accident. And while I can’t tell you His reasoning (um, because I’m not Him!), I do know from His Word that He has a purpose for everything He does. It’s up to you to open your eyes to see that purpose and obey His calling on your life.

2) If we’ll let Him, God draws closest to us when we feel like we can’t go on; when we’re at the end of ourselves; when our hearts feel like they’ve been shattered into a thousand, tiny pieces. (Psalm 34 comes to mind. Will you read it today?) While your relationship with your family is on the rocks, you can let your relationship with your God be at its best ever.

3) While you can’t change your family’s feelings toward you, you can do your best to be lovable and to show them Christ’s love. Here’s my favorite passage on the subject:

Live in harmony with each other….Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:16-21)

When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them. (Proverbs 16:7)

Hang in there, sis. I honestly don’t mean to sound trite, but often family life does get better as you get older. (I guess we all get older and wiser… even our parents!) I didn’t have a great relationship with some of my family members until I moved out. That’s not to say you should give up hope now, of course. Just be encouraged that you never know when things will get easier.

Love,