Dear Suzie,

I have a family relationship with someone who is manipulative and cruel with words and actions.  When I set boundaries, my family did not react well.  They saw her pain, and reacted with anger toward me.  I have now had to create very strong boundaries so that this person will stop abusing me, and will not be able to manipulate my children with lies and confusing mood swings.  It has resulted in isolation from the rest of my family (my father, my siblings, and their children).

This person continues to send cruel messages and cause great pain. I was always the optimist, the child that found the best in everything, the one that believe for the best, and now I feel broken. I need to know how to be a great woman of God. I know what NOT to do, but I am not sure how to fill in the gaps. I would love prayers of comfort, of continual conformation that God is with me, and that he loves me.

Your friend, Anon

Dear A,

It’s hard when others have families that seem perfect, and yet yours is not. But I want to applaud that you are choosing to keep your family, your children, safe within healthy boundaries. It’s something that I determined a long time ago, that my family would be safe, there would be laughter, and that regardless of whether anyone else changes in my extended family, I would change. I see that in you — that you are drawing a line in the sand that says “it ends here”.

We can’t take personally someone else’s shortcomings. We can’t fix them. We can’t change the past. But we can see ourselves (and our loved ones) through God’s eyes. You are His girl. Your life is wrapped in His plans. You can forgive. You can let go so you can move forward. You can set boundaries, not to punish, but work toward the healthiest relationship possible. And when you have to, you can love from a distance if a person crosses those boundaries. You can love and forgive with intention, not taking personally the fact that your siblings and family is confused. You see, an old pattern has been broken, and that is confusing. But continue to love, to pray, to be open to a relationship as a new pattern is established.

Your prayer was to be the woman and mom you want to be. I’d love to send you a copy of my book called The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future. In it, I talk about a lot of things you expressed.

I also longed for a mentor as a young mom. God filled that gap for me. I read books. I spent time with women I admired, who were strong women of faith. I unpacked unhealthy patterns to repack healthier ones. And sometimes I failed, but I got back up and learned from those mistakes, or I tapped into the grace that Christ offers each of us. It sounds like you are that same girl, longing for all that God has for you. Run, sis, run! There’s so much He’s wanting to show you. Separate from your past and even with broken people around you, God always saw you and loved you and has His mark on your life.

He’ll redeem the past. It’s His specialty.

I am praying God’s grace and presence to be so rich in your life that others can’t help but see Him through you.



Sometimes we don’t know how to take the next step. These are books that will help. I’ve walked this. I’ve lived it. Let me walk with you.

The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above the Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future

The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places

The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness