About the Author

A writer of faith by day and mystery by night, Patricia Raybon is an award-winning Colorado author, essayist, and novelist who writes top-rated books and stories at the daring intersection of faith and race. More at patriciaraybon.com

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Reader Interactions


  1. Patricia,
    “Leave them with Him.” Amen! I’ve tried so many times to extend the olive branch of peace and to reach out, only to be rebuffed. I’ve prayed that God would soften hearts, but then I realized that was sort of a selfish prayer. Did I want that for my good or their’s? I’ve realized that there are some things I’m just not going to be able to fix and perhaps God needs me out of His way in order to work. Before my children were ever mine, they were His. There is some “parenting” that only a Heavenly Father can do. My job is to be in relationship with Him and to pray for my loved ones. I’ve heard it said that “hurt people, hurt people.” And so I trust, pray, and continue to lean into Him. I NEEDED this post, Patricia! Thank you.
    Bev xx

    • Your wise comments are a blessing, Bev. I wrote this before the Covid-19 outbreak, and I almost switched it with something more current. I decided to stick with this topic, however, because family struggles don’t go away in a pandemic, they may intensify. So, thank you SO much for affirming what I was attempting to say in this reflection — that when family dynamics test our faith, God is our refuge and strength A very present help in times of trouble. Family trouble, included. Thank you for affirming that truth with me here today. If this blessed you, and any others who may read it, I’m so grateful. He is our comfort and peace. Let’s keep running afresh to Him! Sending much love today, Patricia xoxo

  2. Patricia you’ve said it all.. wise and in truth.. I needed this also because my children are estranged with each other now for 4 years. No family party’s here anymore. It’s taking me years now of praying, weeping, begging, praising.. to realize my Father is their Father.. He knows what’s best for everyone. I had a estranged dad as did my children. Yes Bev.. hurt people hurt people.,
    My life is pouring into my church and my community.. of course my children and grandkids as I am able.. but the load is lighter than most days now because I do leave it at His feet…
    blessings to and through you as we navigate the journey of here and now until the Lord’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven \0/ ❤️

    • Amen, dear Sadie. We all want perfectly “perfect” families where all is well, everyone gets along and every relationship in our kin circle is beautiful. For most of us, however, that is an unrealized fantasy. How wise, in the meantime — as we keep praying and believing — to find joy, as you have, in pouring into places that receive your gifts. Then leave the rest at His feet.

      And speaking of His feet, I was reminded that when Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” encountered the risen Jesus, “they ran to him and grasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid!'” (Matthew 28:9-10). Sadie, that little portion of Scripture just blesses my soul. As we leave family hurts and worries at His feet, then may we worship Him, accepting His command not to fear. Alleluia! I pray His freedom from fear on all who follow Him today — including you and yours! Thanks so much for your wisdom and insight. With His great joy!

  3. It hard when we have family a member who words can be hurtful. Especially when they are not saved. We have too forgive like Jesus would want us too do. Hand them over too Jesus pray for them. I know it not easy. As if we wanted we could have said alot of things back to them or text them. As I been there with one of my sisters. With them something too me in text. I had to do the Christian thing just let it go. If I wanted I could have text a nasty text back to her she is not saved like me. Said your word what you said very hurtful and you don’t know what I am going through. I just sent a nice text back didn’t get into a row with her. As she would has texts me back with answer to my texts. I did what Jesus would have said and that is just pray for her forgive her. Then left her in Jesus hands. I was hurt at what she said I did cry. My Husband was proud of my way I dealt with it. I still love her. I moved on. I did the same with the words of two Christian friends of mine one time. Somes time you think they should know better when saved. As they be ones that should think before they text you with anything they say or the person say out their mouth words they should not say that especially when saved. I was in tears at both theses people who where saved. But I was nice back to both of them and I prayed as God to help me forgive them. I moved on. Now when I see them and my sister their words the way Jesus would and what they said does not hurt me anymore. I move on as I left them at the foot of Cross with Jesus. They can me very Hard-Hearted and they are the people who will always see they have done no wrong. Never say sorry to you. When you know you are the one who said nothing wrong or done nothing wrong. You have big and brave and big enough to do what Jesus would want you to do that is Pray for them forgive them. As if you don’t it will only eat you up. Satan the Old Devil will be having the last laugh. They that are Hard to Love and Hard-Hearted. Will not be giving you a second though not caring that what they have said or done is still hurting you. You yourself will feel a million time better and glad you did. God will be proud of you for doing so. Patricia I am still praying for your Daughter and her Family and the kids. That she will see the light so will the family. I read the book. It broke my heart for you. Dawn Ferguson-Little Enniskillen Co.Fermanagh N.Ireland xxx love today’s reading

    • Amen, dear Dawn. Why give Satan the last laugh? May God strengthen us to forgive, love, and move on in His way. Thank you for shining His light in Northern Ireland and in this community. Thank you also for you prayers. The Lord is faithful to hear, kindly helping in all our situations. May He bless you in your family and friendships. He is so good! With his great love! In gratitude for you, Patricia

    • Susan, thank you so much. To God be the glory. He knows what we need! (And when we need it.) His love and kindness on you and yours today! Warmly with His love, Patricia

  4. Very good and wise words! Although it can be very difficult to do, we must always strive to be like Jesus. Thank you for this important reminder today.

    • Joan, thank you! Your wise reminder is so timely and instructive — a lovely reminder that, on our life’s journey, even including family heartache, we’re learning to be like Jesus. It invokes that verse in Hebrews about “those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10: 14). Or, as Paul said, we “who are being saved.” Oh, what a process! May the Lord hold us close as we seek to be like Him! Warmest thanks for inspiring our efforts today. With kindest thanks and love!

  5. Thank you for the reminder to “leave them with Him.” As an abusee I would welcome any advice on a particle level. Spiritually, I’m doing pretty well, physically & m/e not so great. If you are familiar with the ancient practice of a whipping boy, that seems my role in my family. I am also the most devout among them, obviously for good reason. 😉 I don’t say this as a pity invite. I can do all things in Christ, but in truth the practical day to day is getting more difficult with every passing day of this pandemic. Prayers are much appreciated too.

    • Em,
      Your pain is palpable to me. I can only imagine how the pandemic has worsened a bad situation. I don’t pretend to have answers for your situation, but I do care. I am praying for extra wisdom and discernment to guide you through this gauntlet. God sees and cares too.

  6. I hear you, Em. It sounds so hurtful what you’re going through and, as you say, beyond offering “pity,” I thank you for inviting prayers for you. Indeed, I lift you now, asking the Lord to hold you close, ministering to your hurt and anguish with His healing love, and His comfort and assurance — easing your burden and lighting your way, encouraging you to hand over everything to Him, especially now but also always.

    I think of what Paul told Timothy, that “in fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” by trouble-makers and “evildoers” (2 Timothy 3:13).

    But being a “whipping boy” for other people isn’t God’s will for us. Not as I understand it, anyway. I’m encouraged, therefore, that Paul told Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of” — reminding Timothy to keep returning to the Scriptures for encouragement and “training in righteousness.” We do this, Paul says, “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (vv. 17). Indeed, Em, I pray Paul’s reminder is practical and helpful.

    In fact, that’s why I shared those psalms that David wrote. Often, during family tensions, the best practical thing to do is turn from the drama, find a quiet place, and sit with the comfort of God’s Word. Then leaving our struggles with Him –by writing in a prayer journal, for example (even just a sentence or two) — we can leave the drama with the Lord and get on with our life with more peace. If that sounds helpful, I pray you’ll try that tactic.

    Another practical thing is to “budget” your worry time. Allow on so much time (a few minutes a day, for example) to actually focus on the tension. Then, when time is up, go on with your life, spending time and energy with people who support and affirm you. Because, to repeat, being a “whipping boy” isn’t the Lord’s will for us. He’ll fight this battle, however, as we leave our struggle by spending time with Him. Thus, may you be encouraged as you abide in Him! He is our Rock and Anchor! I pray these ideas are helpful! Sending His strength, peace and love!

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, and of course your prayers. They in fact describe my survival tactics to a tee. Though I often feel guilty that my pray journal seems more like a complaint diary. 🙁 I long for His return reign when ALL His redemptive restoration will manifest!

      • Amen! One day, all these pains will be behind us! Thanks for receiving my rambling so kindly. (I also went back in and added one other suggestion — to “budget” your worry time, so you only allow so many minutes a day or every other day (or however you budget it) to fret over a problem. A good tip, I think, from mental health folks. Meantime, many blessings, dear Em. Our God is on the throne! With His peace!

  7. Patricia,

    I so resonated with this post. Every family has its trials & angst. They get intensified when cooped up together for long periods. Both parents had severe dementia so I understand how it works. If you don’t have a clue as to what is going on. You can get frustrated with the other person. Prayer is so essential in situations like that. Both for the “bully” & the recipient. Asking God to come shower His love on these people. Help the daughter to see that mom can’t help herself. Prayer is the antidote to hatred & disunity in our homes & world. All God asks us to do is to love everyone equally. No matter the race, color, creed or state of mind. Great post for such a time as this.

    Father God,

    Please be with everyone during this crisis. Help families find ways to be apart some & have breathing room. Give parents extra strength & patience to deal with kids who want to go out run & play. Help us all to be more forgiving & loving. Be patient with us as we struggle with being together so much & miss our old routines.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Amen, Beth! Thank you so much. Your sensitivity to this issue of severe dementia, memory loss, etc., is much appreciated here today. Thank you, indeed, for your prayers for the family I lifted up in the post. You are so right, indeed. Prayer is the antidote. Your prayer, in fact, will bless many today. I talked to a friend who works at a college and, when students were told to return home for their “safety,” because of the virus, the college was surprised to learn just how many students don’t feel “safe” in their homes. Indeed, not every household is a safe and cozy place.

      So, I deeply appreciate your prayer lifted here today. In these times, we need the Lord more than ever to point us to forgiveness, patience, and love as we navigate our lives “cooped up” together! (That’s just telling the truth about it, right?!) Your prayer shines a light on it with beautiful honesty. May the Lord hear all our prayers here today, and bless us with His peace! With my warmest thanks — and His love!

  8. Thank you for this post, it speaks to my current struggles with my daughter as well as myself. We often butt heads because of our similarities, not our differences. I pray that God changes both of our hearts for the better. I realize that my struggles with my daughter are generational, because, I also struggle in relationship with my mom. I want my daughter to walk in freedom not bondage.

    • Angela, blessings on you today — and also on your daughter. What an insightful understanding about your relationship, that your tensions are due to your similarities, not differences. (And, in similar ways, with your mom.) A few thoughts: Before this virus situation, our Sunday school pastor preached a series about blessings, and a question came up not about blessings — but generational difficulties or “curses”.

      Teaching from the Old Testament, Pastor said the cure for generational curses is intentionally “doing right” — conforming our selves and our minds not to this world, but to God’s way.

      Thus, if a family is bearing the consequences of someone else’s wrong-doing in an earlier generation, as can cut it off by doing right. He cited three Bible kings who did exactly that — Josiah, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah. All three turned around generational curses by intentionally following God. Thus, with Josiah, the Lord told him:

      “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord” (2 Kings 22:19). You can read more about this is 2 Chronicles 34: 29-33).

      As Psalm 1 reminds us: a’Blessed is the one
      who does not walk in step with the wicked
      or stand in the way that sinners take
      or sit in the company of mockers,
      2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
      and who meditates on his law day and night…” (Psalm 1: 1-2)

      Angela, as you can imagine, we had robust discussions in class, over several weeks, about blessing and curses. Pastor’s point during the series, however, is that we gain blessings — and break curses — by being intentional about the things of God, especially since God is intentional about blessing us. Well, I went on too long here. But I pray something here encourages your spirit today! God is still good! As you intentionally seek Him and walk in His ways, I pray you and your family deeply blessed and find mutual peace! Thanks for reading this far down! Went with His great love!

  9. When the Bible says to love your neighbor, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the toughest “neighbors “ to love are the ones who share our DNA.
    Thank you for encouragement to love anyway.

    • Well said, Michele! Your comment reminds me of my sister’s philosophy — treat your family as well as you treat your good friends! May God help us to comply. Thanks and many blessings today!

  10. Wow!! March 4, 2020 was the end of my abusive relationship with my very angry daughter. I can’t see myself in my last years on earth being abused my anyone any more. As a Minister (retired, now) I have encouraged seniors to pray and intercede for our family members. I prayed for my daughter and continue to intercede for her as I exit from her life. I trust God to take it from here. And being she’s my only child I had to really ponder how I could get out from under her abuse. I had to really reflect on my belief in God to handle everything. Everything. So I divorced her. She joins two other family members I divorced in July 2019. The three were known as the 3 Stooges by my Dad. They grew up together. I don’t know why they grew up to be so angry and nasty. But God knows. I trust Him now more than ever. I’ll never stop praying for them. I have forgiven them and wish them well. He is my strength and strong tower. Thanks for bravely and obediently putting this out. Love ya!

  11. Dear Helen — wow, indeed. What an ordeal you have been through. It saddens me to hear about “divorcing” abusive family members, but I don’t judge your decision at all. As you say, you’ve done the forgiving, and God knows all about the rest of it. As you continue to intercede for your daughter and family members, may the Lord soften their hearts as He continues to heal yours. Nothing’s too hard for Him, indeed. Many thanks for sharing today, my friend. With His peace and love!

  12. This is beautiful. Thank you for pointing my heart away from the bully and the unrest she causes to the Loving Father and the safety my heart finds under his wings. The Holy Spirit has been pressing me to pray blessings for her. I did for awhile. Then Covid 19 magnified the isolation caused by her bullying. It’s been harder to have a tender heart. Thank you for this gently, timely application of the Word.

    • Dear Kimberly,
      Your kind and loving spirit comes through so clearly in your words — fueled by the willingness you show to love, with obedience, a challenging member of your close circle. May you find great peace as you abide in the truth of God’s Word, and also draw close to His comforting and accepting Presence. He knows you by name and He delights in who you are becoming in Him. What a gift you must be to your family and friends, as much as you’ve been today to those gathered here. Thank you! To God be the glory! With His hope and peace!

  13. I see you have been inside my home at any given day. It isn’t fun or funny but sometimes without laughter I think I would lose my mind.

    I love the Psalms. I relate to David in so many ways. I love your writing as it makes our brokenness not seem so impossible to fix. It reminds me that His eye is on the sparrow and he promises to watch over us. And what He promises He accomplishes.

    Thank you and bless you

    • Loretta, I hear you. Laughing to keep from crying. Then going to the beautiful Psalms, too. What a strong combination. I can imagine you are a bright light of hope and joy in your family, no matter what’s “going down.” God bless your steadfast trust in Him!

      In all times, indeed, may He hold your close — comforting your soul, healing any hurt, lifting every burden, holding you in His right hand while He fights the battle! Yes, He has as the victory! Praying your strength and hope in Him always. You are fighting the GOOD fight! With His peace and love, Patricia

  14. This is so very hard. My son got angry during my dad’s last days. My son blames me for our younger son getting some of my dad’s guns. The last thing he said to me was f… you, mom. He was very close to my dad, so I know he was hurting during my dad’s illness, but Daddy died February 5, and my son still won’t speak to me. To top it off, he and my daughter in law are expecting a baby in August. I was very angry at him, and I can’t say that I have truly forgiven him.

    • Oh, dear Lori. What an ordeal. First, I’m so sorry about the loss of your Dad. May God comfort your soul as you grieve and mourn him while struggling, at the same time, with your older son, thinking about his hurtful words. So much pain and confusion. I hear your dismay, and I’m reaching out today with condolences and friendship.

      I pray the Lord enables you to step back, breathe in His Spirit, tell Him about your hurt and fears (about the new grandbaby coming) — then hand it all over to Him. As you draw closer to God, may He lead your next steps — softening your heart. In that way, the Lord may show you how to tell your son that you’re sorry you hurt him — that, in your grief for your Dad, you made choices you, too, regret. Or something like that?

      I can’t say for sure. But for peace, I pray you’ll run back to God, grasping His feet, letting Him minister to you in all of this, and more. Our forgiveness of others starts with our reconnecting first with God. That’s what the experts say. So, His comfort on you as you rest and reside in Him — trusting He can heal everything else. One day at a time. Be kind to yourself, indeed. The Lord loves you and HE will work this all out. His love and hope as you spend fresh time with Him! Lifting you!

      • Please remember that God has already forgiven you and your son. Now you must forgive yourself and leave room for the healing warmth of God’s love to flow over you and permeate your soul. If needs be, go to a place where no one can hear you or see you and scream, cry and/or both til you feel the stress leave your body and then listen and receive the peace that passeth all understanding. Think about what that actually means. It is unexplainable and fills each of us in different ways. Ways that only the one who created us understands and only each of us can experience.

  15. I have a difficult sister in law. It’s weird because I get along famously with the other sister in law of my husbands (he has 2 sisters) and I’m living in their country without my family.

    I’m not innocent I have reacted over the years it’s true but then there is a wonderful side. It’s just she gets jealous isn’t that weird. Of her brother or wanting to know our business- it’s been very odd when 10 years ago she would talk to my me through my husband sort of ignoring me. Anyway many occasions but it’s all in the past.

    I appreciate your advice here to leave it at the feet of our King and actually leave it there. That’s hard in itself.


    • Jas, thanks so much for sharing. Isn’t it odd that most of our families have at least one challenging relationship. We are all frail and we bring our own insecurities, fears — and unresolved childhood hurts — into our adult lives, impacting our relationships. Especially in our families.

      In our Sunday school class at our church, before the virus shut-down, we were studying Jacob and his family drama (involving having 12 sons with four women — including his two wives (the sibling rivals Leah and Rachel). But because of the covenant of Abraham, God still blessed in this family — as they returned to Him and to His ways. (Genesis 31:3).

      So, yes, let’s leave these matters with God. He fights our battles AND He blesses — even in messy family matters! In that way, Jas, may He keep blessing you well, now and always! At His feet, for us He wins! Much love today!

  16. Great post! It’s so hard to leave issues with Him but that’s one of the things that makes us different from non-believers. We have Someone who will carry all of our burdens and we have HOPE in Him. Thanks for this.

    • Amen, Tammie Bray. Well said. God is our burden bearer! Our Living Hope. Bless you for sharing such strong encouragement today. His peace and blessings on you, now and always!

  17. Dear Patricia, this was a divine word from God this morning. My 84 year old dad has moved in with us right before the shelter in place happened. My mom has passed 4 years ago and me and my dad never had much of a relationship. He was always distant and authoritative with me and never was supportive. He was fearful in every way and doesn’t believe in God. Your writing helped me understand that understanding my dad isn’t the goal. It’s loving him regardless of who he is. Being obedient to God during this time and knowing that God has put this man in my care for a season or two. I have wrestled for the last few weeks with peace because of my dad and husband who do not believe in my heavingly Father. I have been depressed, lonely, and angry. I will choose today to not live in emotions but move forward with the strength that only my Father in heaven can give me. And choose to love those who are not kind in my own household. Thank you for posting this today and sharing words I needed to hear. Kim

    • Amen, Kim. What a wise, Spirit-led choice for yourself and your family members. Keep choosing life — His life — no matter how others are behaving toward you. Even in the midst others’ unbelief, you still can walk in your joy, trust, hope, and comfort of a relationship with the Lord.

      During this virus shutdown, may you spend beautiful time with Him throughout every day. With Him, you’re never alone. As you learn to show love to your aging Dad, may the Lord lift your every burden and give you His peace. For such a time as this! Many here will whisper your name to Him, indeed. He’ll give you the victory. With His love and hope!

  18. Can I offer a different perspective. When I read your description of the daughter I did not read Bully at all, my heart went out to that daughter. I read someone who lacks understanding of Alzheimers, someone who does not realize the impact of the changes this condition can bring to a family. Or maybe someone who cannot accept the change in a mother. And most likely someone who is experiencing extreme burn out. This daughter needs love. She needs help and support. She needs people to reach out in love. She needs prayers of love.

  19. Thanks so much, Kat. We’re in agreement! The label “bully” is a strong one, especially when it’s used to describe a person’s behavior — not one’s inner weaknesses. All of us, indeed, need love, especially when our actions are unlovable. That is true whether a person is age 5 or age 35. I tried to make a case for that in this reflection. Thanks for letting me know that, as you see it, I missed the mark. I respect your point, indeed. Thanks so much for sharing!