Fractured Families: Some words of encouragement for when family life isn’t what you planned.

Editor’s note:  This week we are pleased to welcome Ziglar Family team member Janie Seltzer, M.A. Pastoral Theology, as our guest blogger.  Janie is a Spiritual Director, a poet, and writer of the spiritual life. She also is a retreat leader and speaker. In 2016, she also became a  Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer, and she is one of our Ziglar Family coaches. 

Janie’s passion is to help others understand where God is at work in their lives. She loves to motivate and inspire others to become all that God created them to be!  You can learn more about Janie and her work here.


The sad truth is that many families across America and the world are fractured.

Many grandparents are forced to be parents all over again to their own grandchildren due to the brokenness of their sons and daughters who cannot be healthy parents.

Addiction of all sorts is often the cause. Rampant divorce has added another layer of confusion for children. Many single parents struggle to keep their heads above troubling financial waters and the constant demand and responsibility of their children’s lives.

Life, for many, is a circus of stress in the midst of juggle, juggle, juggle.

How do families manage to be whole when the rhythm and rhyme of life is inconsistent and even threatening?

How do parents provide their children with a sense of safety with the level of vulnerability all around?

Those are the real questions that press on the hearts and minds of many.

These are not easy questions and there are no easy answers. Yet, I believe there is help if we will receive it.

My husband and I have been tending broken people, couples, and families all of our married life—now for over 44 years. Our present ministry is centered around providing a safe environment for people to unpack their messiness and brokenness.

Don and I gave ourselves to God and to serving others with a sense of purpose and joy. The road has not been easy in the changing landscape of our own lives and the changing landscape of the culture of this world.

Yet, we still find that there are unchanging principles that must guide our lives and the lives of others in order to do more than survive in this world. They are the same principles that guided Zig Ziglar.

1. A strong faith is essential. If ever we need to take the hand of a mighty God, it is NOW. The Scriptures declare: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). He is as close as your breath and He WILL help you! “God is our refuge and our strength; our very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

2. Forgiveness is key to family health. Have your grown children disappointed you by not stepping up to adult responsibility?  I encourage you to forgive them. It is important to realize that forgiveness does not signal approval of unacceptable behavior.

Did your husband walk out?  Did the mother of your children desert the family? Forgive and move forward.

Are you the victim of some heinous crime?  Even then forgiveness is called for.

Here is the reason why: forgiveness is CORE to faith and to life and family, because without it, bitterness gnaws away energy, love and even health.

Unforgiveness keeps the soul in prison—your soul!  And it will pollute the soul of your family.

That said, it is NOT easy!  True forgiveness with deep, deep wounds is truly supernatural; however, the power to forgive is available and possible by the unfailing grace of God, if we ask. Jesus emphasized that we MUST forgive others as we ourselves have been forgiven (Matthew 6:15). All things, including forgiveness, are possible for those who believe!

3. Maintain stamina through self-care. In the end, if you do not care for the health of your own life and soul, you will find yourself drained and overwhelmed with the load of responsibility. There is no substitute for soul care.

What is soul care, you say?

At its most basic level, soul care is the process of becoming whole—emotionally and spiritually— as you bring your fractured parts into the light and love of God, who becomes your RESTING place. It is connecting to the One who sees you, understands you, accepts you, forgives you and cherishes you. In order to do this, you must carve out time for yourself to focus, to be still, to read  and reflect, and, if possible, journal or create. Creativity is healthy and fun.

Find some joy every day. Take time for friends, for recreation, for the beauty of nature, and BREATHE. By all means, BREATHE. You will get through this . . . step by step.

Years ago, my husband watched his good friend and faithful secretary at our church in Encinitas, California languish in sorrow and pain as her life dwindled away from the ravages of cancer. One day as he prayed, these words came to him to deliver to Karen, and I share them with you now. He and I can only hope and pray that they will touch your heart and they did hers:



  1. Jane Butterfield February 24, 2018 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    My wonderful husband passed away unexpectedly 7 years ago. We had e children ages 15,13 and 10 and we had just moved to a new state a couple months prior after being on the mission field in The Gulf after Hurricane Katrina. I can’t even begin to explain how devastingly painful and difficult it has been. But God has been faithful to take us through these rough roads.
    The church was no support for me, but 2 of my children did well in the youth group, 1 escpecislly, so I stayed. .
    I started going to a new church last year as my children have been transitioning into different phases of their lives. A man in our church started a group called Solo parenting and the church embraced and supported it. Solo Parenting is now just going nationally to reach and help other families.

    Thank you for your ministry. There is so much more to say and input. Maybe I will get a chance at another time.
    God bless you all -Jane.

    • Janie Seltzer February 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Jane, thank you for your words and letting us know about Solo Parenting. I am sorry that you did not experience help from your church . . . yet rejoice with you in the faithfulness of Abba, Father. It is so hard to understand His ways sometimes . . . I know that personally. Yet, like you, I have found that in the midst of it all, God is faithful and grows us in ways we could not have imagined. I beg your soul is golden! blessings and hugs, Janie

  2. John Caton February 26, 2018 at 6:30 am - Reply

    I am 65 years young and have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. What can we do besides pray for them to help our children see the importance of attending a weekly Church Service?
    John Caton
    Kansas City.

    • Janie Seltzer February 26, 2018 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Hi John, this is indeed a tough question! As you know, prayer is essential . . . and, I believe that faith is more caught than taught. Keep on doing your life of faith in front of your children and grandchildren. Love them unconditionally. Help in healthy ways as God helps you. And most of all, TRUST in the Good Shepherd to go over His lost lambs by the power of the Holy Spirit. He honors your prayer–even if you don’t SEE the results until eternity!

  3. Agatha February 28, 2018 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    What a Rhema word. Indeed it’s only faith in Abba Father God that can heal our brokenness. There is so much peer pressure out there and as a working parent I have struggled but with God all things are possible. I have a teenage son who has been a victim of drugs and we are taking a day at a time and trusting God for his total deliverance

  4. Shawn March 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm - Reply


    Thank you for this post.
    I agree 100% that forgiveness is the key to ultimate inner peace and happiness. Resentment only hurts one person–ourselves.

    I have spent the past 30 years processing my own resentment about my father leaving when I was 12.
    I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings of abandonment and overcompensated by seeking approval of teachers by doing well in school. I also turned to drugs and alcohol. I have been sober since October 10,1986. Lack of forgiveness is a huge problem in our world. As a Christian one would think that it is easy to forgive others AND ourselves. Typically it is not.

    One night I awoke from a dream in which my deceased brother told me that ” YOU need to tell our story.”
    I followed that vision and wrote a memoir, “Beyond Recovery a Journey of Grace, Love and Forgiveness.”
    This was one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. I literally had to re-live moments of my painful past over and over. The result was that I not only forgave my father, but I also forgave myself.
    I hope that others who struggle with forgiveness learn to completely trust and follow God and embrace his love and grace.
    If any want to read more about my story check it out at Amazon or bookstores everywhere.

    In Him.

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