About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you Kristen … your words were exactly what I needed to hear tonight. I have been running in to alot of “holy barriers” lately and have been spending too much time trying to figure out the “why.” Your post reminded me what I need to do … I love how you put it, “let’s walk forward together today in OBEDIENCE, TRUSTING and BELIEVING His no to a good thing leaves space for a yes to a better thing.”

  2. Yikes! Right between the eyes there, Kristen. Words I needed to see this morning and truths I need to meditate upon. Thank you for the wake up call.

  3. I’m so with you, Kristen! I don’t have a smart phone either! At the recent Relevant conference, which I think you were at too, I marveled at the copious amounts of Iphones and Ipads. I really wanted an Iphone! I still do! but as the wife of a pastor, there just isn’t any way that would be smart 🙂 So, I need to be content with all I have. With two beautiful daughters and a loving husband, I am a rich woman indeed! Thanks for that reminder!

    • I still want one, too! My husband does have one, and I do steal his from time to time. 🙂 Maybe I’ll have one in the future, but not right now.

  4. Kristen-

    Thanks so much for your message. I am currently struggling with the desire to stay at home with our children, but due to my husband’s 2 year unemployment, I need to keep working. While he is now working, and we are now talking about my desire to stay at home, I do not know how long it will take for me to stay home. Daily I pray for the willingness to be obedient to Him and to follow his plan for me. Thanks for your words that encourage me to listen to Him and trust in His path.

    God bless-

    • Melissa, what a heart you have. *YOU* shine as His daughter and your husband’s wife! I’m praying right now for you to continue resting in His trust. It is hard, but you live it so well…

  5. Thank you for this, especially right now! I was a stay at home mom for 10 years and I went back to work. Now I need to have a smart phone to keep me in the loop on projects etc. I have grown to hate my relationship with my smart phone. I am planning to get another simple cell phone (we gave up the land line) for private use and shut the smart phone off when picking up my daughter from school. It’s wreaking havoc in our cozy Christ centered home. My conscientious work ethic pulls me to check on work, when really my priority needs to be parenting and showing Jesus through my actions. Checking on work, leads to checking on schedules, checking on web pages, checking on assignments, you get where this is going. I work from home and freelance so I can schedule around my family. Still, this smart phone is the weak link. I’m scheduling my family around my smart phone. I wish I would have known in the beginning what a little life changer these smart phones are, I would have made sure to put a big fence around it and cover myself with another phone for private use! I’m working on it. Praying for change, and to be returned to our old routines of prayer, devotion, crafts, spinning, patty cake, and dreaming.

    Thanks again for making me feel that I’m not the only one, and reaffirming my beliefs. I know my time with my daughter doing “nothing” is more important than everything else I’m doing. It’s in those moments of nothingness that we see our Lord, we share our hearts, and we are drawn together.

    < Lynn

    • Lynn, thank you so much for your candid sharing here. It is so tricky when a seemingly simple thing is complicated, huh? *You* are a good mama, Lynn. Praying right along with you today…

  6. I miss the days when you could go out to eat with someone and have a good conversation – and phones weren’t constantly ringing, chirping, buzzing, texting, and so on, and undivided attention was on the good fellowship and conversation. I am thankful for modern technology, but we need to reign in the intrusiveness that can come with it.

    I appreciate all you shared about knowing in your heart that God is saying no to something, it is hard to stay teachable and sensitive in that area cos we find ourselves wanting something, or others tell us we need it or should do it, but we need to pay close attention to what God would have us do, and listen for His voice.

    • Yes, that listening for His voice on the little things {as well as the big} is what I’m trying to do. Thankful to have you, Kathy, in the sistahood! 🙂

  7. Thank you for this. Right now, my “not right now” is a house (even just a rental). We’re in transition, one paycheck deep at new jobs and living in a new town with family. I am antsy and impatient to be in our own home and not living under the kindness of in-laws. I want it so bad I can taste it — I spend entire days browsing Craigslist ads and daydream of all the ways I’ll decorate our one-day house. But I want it more than I should, more, some days, than I want God’s love or His provision despite not having our own place. We’ll have one soon enough, but He is using this season to teach me that His way of caring for us does not always have to look the way I think it does. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Oh Cara, I *love* this: “…HIs way of caring for us does not always have to look the way I think it does.” May I live this too.

      Praying for you right now, Sister, love you muchly…

  8. Oh my dear friend, what truth you speak into my heart today! Learning to be content with what He offers THIS DAY … the constant taming of the desire to be somewhere else, have something else, be someone else. Learning to rest in Him, to find all I desire in Him. I’m a slow learner, admittedly, but this is one lesson I’m determined to master.

    • I am the slowest of the slow, friend. And you have no idea how on-my-knees grateful I am to have you – glorious YOU – to learn from and grow with. I adore you! xoxo

  9. Oh I hear you!

    Since I have to work really hard not getting addicted to blogging/emailing/trolling around the internet, I’ve decided to say “no” to Facebook. Twitter. Linked In. Smart Phone. Ipad. Etc. I don’t even keep my cell on unless I’m using it.

    I just know my nature is to spend endless hours there instead of living a life that’s fairly well-balanced and sane and focused on real life, flesh and blood people. And I know this is a big struggle for lots of us. I know I’m in good company!


    • Linda, thank you so much for gettin’ real here with us! I am a weak gal in many ways, so yes…I have to follow Him on wise limits, too. My husband has a smartphone, but it holds a proper place in his life. In time, I hope my work-in-progress self is as disciplined as he!

  10. Good reminder that God does say no often to things that would drown out His sweet voice. Right now He has put a hold on a computer of my own, one I do not have to share with my husband who is on it a lot due to our ministry. So I am still taking down notes in notebooks when God floods me with profound insight.

    I am with Kathy C. I too miss the days when you could have a complete conversation with someone without interruptions from cell phones. I remember having to tell our son to not put me on hold when I would call since we lived half way around the world and it was so expensive. Praise the Lord he respected us enough and did not do it unless it was his work. After living in a third would country where any phone use is limited it’s over whelming when you hit the US and everyone does everything on the phone. We are SLOWLY catching up with some of the new methods to communicate but I pray for wisdom and a listening ear to hear when God says, you do not neet that.
    Great post, very timely.

  11. I could make a huge list of things: the smart phone, the ipad, the fancy ereader, the better laptop, conferences galore that are never held in Alaska. But God is teaching me contentment as He is you, and He is taking care of me in many fabulous ways and details both great and small.
    Thank you for sharing this, Kristen! I hope God and the USAF let us meet someday!

    • I hope so too, Patty! And guess what? My man is headed to Alaska this Thursday! Wish I could go with him and hunt you down. 🙂 Praying it’s the Lord’s will we meet up sooner or later!

  12. Really feeling you re: the smartphone. My contract with Verizon is up for renewal in January, and with it comes the chance to upgrade to a smartphone. I look at it with excitement and a bit of trepidation because I know how much of a social media junkie I currently am and how, as you said, having the “world” in my hand will exacerbate the “addiction.” Ah, Lord, help!

  13. Thanks for the message Kristen. I don’t have a smart phone either. Also, I would like to thank your husband for serving in our armed forces and thank you for serving along side him.

  14. My husband said last week, “Isn’t it time for you to get a smartphone?”
    “I don’t know I say. My “dumbphone” works just fine.”

    A thought rises—“yes, take him up on it.”
    But it is not His voice—but a fiery dart.
    (No condemnation here—just not for me right now.)

    Thanks for the affirmation. 🙂

    • Haha! That’s funny that you call your phone a “dumbphone.” I have a similar name for my phone. I call it my “stupid phone.” Some people have smart phones, I have a stupid phone. I started calling it that when my friend with a Droid sent me a text message that was too big for my phone to handle. Any time I tried to open the message it completely shut my phone down! My stupid phone can only take small text messages apparently!

  15. Thank you! That was a blessing to me. Just yesterday, I felt God saying no to books for me. I love to do nothing more than curl up with a good book (something besides mother goose, curious George, or Peter rabbit), but it has been a distraction from my family for me lately. I have 3 children under 5 and expecting another one in April. This is my stage in life right now, and I need all my concentration to be on my family. While I might enjoy them again in the future, I know God wants this for me now:) Thanks again for the encouragement towards obedience. God is good always.

  16. I have a “dumb” phone too – and I’m glad! Thank you for reminding me that I too would spend too much time on a smart one!

  17. So, so often! Most recently it was an adorable little lounging chair at a yard sale and God’s voice sounded a lot like my husbands, but I knew who was really talking and I listened. So many opportunities that look like a good fit, yet if I listen carefully I don’t even have to try them on to know it isn’t right for me. God knows what’s best, and if I’m rejoicing over all the thing’s He’s said YES to, I’ll stay pretty busy!

  18. I find that sometimes God says NO to the things that seem like they should automatically come with a YES, namely, serving in ministry positions. What seems like such a small move, had I taken it, would have hindered me from hearing His new direction for my life and family. I do believe God cares about the small things, thanks for sharing 😀

    • Love this Ebony. So true. We really have to listen to determine where God wants us to use our time and talents. Listening for God’s best for us means sometimes saying ‘no’ to things like a ministry opportunity that might be *good* (aren’t they all good?), but still not what God wants us to be doing right now.

  19. Totally. I hear you on the smartphone debate. But I feel like you do: I’m not sure that I have the self-control I need to keep off it. Yes, most of my friends have a smartphone, and of those that don’t, they def’ly have a cell phone. Sometimes I feel as if I miss out on phonecalls or dates b/c they seem to be able to communicate with each other immediately (ie. txting) , whereas with me they might have to leave a msg that I will check when I get home. But I know for now, that is ok. I find that although technology is good, there are so many distractions that can take me from Jesus and His heart, and His voice. I don’t need another one!!

  20. Thank you, Kristen. This was encouraging. The small thing that I have been wanting, but God has said “no” to, is family room furniture that doesn’t clash. The mix of clashing fabric and colors grates on my nerves. However, God is teaching me to be thankful for the furniture that we have been given. If it hadn’t been given to us then we wouldn’t have anything at all. So I’m learning to embrace the screaming colors!

  21. Kristen, I am sooo happy to know I am not alone. I have to do a cyber fast on a regular bases. But when I say yes to His “no” the rewards are great. But it seems lately I turn into a screaming, pouting 2 year old to His “no’s”. Thank you for this post. Love It!

  22. Oh, yes! I’ve been pining for another child. For So. Long. But, He wants me to live in-Joy of what I have now, and to Trust Him. He wants me to respect where my groom is about it all, right now. And to let Him move.

    It’s hard, but I believe there’s purpose in the Now.

    Your writing is always so refreshing, my friend!

  23. OMG! Have you blessed me today! I remember seeing blogs that ministered to this v ery issue of spending too much time on technology before our time with God! It convicted me at the time. However, I have certainly fell back to old patterns, especially today. Thankyou for reminding me what God had already said to me. Again; from this day……………..

  24. My mom always said, “Don’t pretend to be something you’re not,” and when she said it to me it meant “don’t get yourself in a bad place trying to be like everyone else (or have what everyone else has) if it’s not possible/good for you.” Miss you, sweet thing. 🙂

  25. Okay now it is my turn to say it…
    HOLY SMOKES GIRLFRIEND!!! How did you get inside my head?
    I have had the MONEY IN THE POCKET for over a year now, and for the reasons you have stated, I have yet to actually purchase one. It sits there in a little envelope earmarked iPhone gathering dust.

  26. I’ve been wanting a house to call our own for seven years now, but we don’t have the money. It feels small in here with two little boys! But I am thankful for a roof over our heads…

  27. Oh my, I have the same dilemma with the smartphone. I am so head-in-the-clouds, and struggle so much with being fully present that I’m afraid it could prove a very bad thing for me indeed. Your post was such a timely one for me. Just recently, I decided to myself that I could go ahead and get one now. This decision made without consulting the King. I don’t have it yet, and ooooeeee… I’m feeling some conviction about praying first. If I want to live a life under Him, then I must seek him in all things. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  28. Oh, yes, Kristen — He has whispered those very words to me. This was so perfect for me right now. And what has He given me now, while I wait? The gift of today.

    Thanks for this post.

  29. I have an unsmart phone too! Which I actually refer to as my dumb phone. Poor thang. But He has said “no” to me on that front as well. And I’ve (reluctantly at times) obeyed. Though…dun-dun-dun…thinking I may be joining the smart world and actually getting an ipad for Christmas. Praying I stay purposeful and self-controlled. Blessings, sister-friend.

  30. I’ve always felt that the Lord did not want me reading magazines… it started when I’d spend way-ay too much time mooning over the September issue of Seventeen magazine back in high school “planning” my wardrobe for the year (and resolving to starve myself in order to show it off to best advantage.) Anyway, I got older but always had a thing about magazines and never got over the whole mooning-over-the-pages thing… so yeah, I completely understand why He gave me that “No.” Whenever I tried to explain why I don’t read magazines, I’d get a blank expression and maybe a “Whaaaa? You think reading magazines are sin?” You are, my dear, the first person who’d get it! I think.

    and for what it’s worth I want a smartphone too. My daughters tell me: no, no, nooo, you don’t want one of those!
    but I do:)