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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Comments

    • Been there! This is such an important topic these days. People are so lonely. Your book is such an honest and healthy response to our need to belong.

  1. I’d love to give this to my friend Megan! She’s newly married and moved to a new town where they both do college ministry. Bless her heart it’s been a tough transition and hard to make new friends that aren’t college aged. I think this book would be awesome!

  2. Such true words….how many times have we all stood on the outside of a circle longing to belong or “fit-in.” These words right here – “No person is meant to be on the inside of every circle, but everyone is on the inside somewhere.” So thankful that our Lord does indeed make a way for each of us to belong exactly where we are.

    • I would give this book to my daughter, Alex Baumberger. Her and her husband have moved to a new town myv her and her husband have moved to a new town, finding new sets of friends, making the hard decisions to pull back from other sets of my friends as those friends are not the best influence in their life due to lifestyles and they also recently suffered a miscarriage.

    • Thank you, Kristen!!!
      I didn’t realize it until today, but my friend Lori and I have been moving forwards down a backroad to belonging – I’m so grateful!!!

  3. Thank you. I needed to read this today. 2019 has been a year of huge losses, and I’m finding my way, lacking two huge, family relationships that were utterly important to me. Thank you once again.

  4. I can barely begin to describe how this resonated with me – but I’ll try.

    We switched churches a few years ago, when I was very pregnant with my 6th child. Two years later, I had just had my 7th child (yes, you read that right) and still felt so incredibly disconnected and like I’d never be accepted. If I’m honest, I still have my moments. However, what helped immensely was remember to NOT take for granted the people God has placed in my life. God has been walking me through the healing of some deeply embedded shame, and as those lenses are removed, I’m beginning to see people, and circles, in a new light.

    I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. It’s definitely getting added to the Amazon “to read” list…and might get bumped up in priority, too.

    • Alissa, I so appreciate your comments here. If I’m honest, I still have my moments, too! I LOVE your words that point us toward the people God has already placed in our lives. Sometimes, when we narrow our focus, we expand our sense of belonging. Sending you and your precious family lots of love!

  5. I’d like to give a copy to my best friend, Amy. She and I have weathered many years together as we’re both older singles without children. We’ve questioned God’s plans and purposes together and encouraged and supported each other in the opportunities He’s opened. There’s still a large sense of “being outside the circle” for both of us in our late 50s. I relocated to another state so that has unfortunately added to it. Shortly afterward she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is doing well now and the challenges continue. Thankfully we do have a forever friendship that crosses the miles daily and weekly. I would hope this book would bless her through the lonely, questioning times. Karen

    • I love that you thought of your friend, Amy to receive a copy of the book! It sounds like you two have a beautiful belonging place in one another. Sending love to you both.

  6. Thank you for sharing these thoughts that I have often had when I go to a Church that I haven’t been to. These feelings of inadequacy, give in to fear & doubt & make us believe the lie of the enemy….. That we are not good enough & that we don’t belong. Whether or not they are or are not our people is not the point. We are loved by God & yes we are good enough for him. In the end, that is all that matters anyway !

  7. This message…from the title I felt it may be a message for me, and it was. It seems I’ve experienced that “circle” in too many occasions of my life. It’s become such a theme that I sometimes, foolishly question God’s design of me. I’m trying hard to find contentment and rest in His presence and His will, instead, but sometimes it’s hard and lonely. Thanks for this message and the book. Looking forward to reading about these back roads.

    • Monica, I’m willing to bet I’ve questioned it as much as you have–if not more. I love your words about finding contentment and rest in His presence and will so you can keep on keepin’ on during those lonely, difficult times. Standing with you, sister, and praying, too. xo

  8. I would give it to my friend, Mandy, who lost her job of 18 years at the end of 2018. It has been hard for her. We’re both divorced and I know she seems to have a lot of friends on the outside, but I’m not sure if that’s to cover up a deeper need.

    • Heidi, I love that you thought of your friend Mandy. I’m praying for her right now as she goes through this difficult transition. Sending love to you both.

  9. Amazon emailed me yesterday to say my book would be coming ….yeah I a an hardly wait

  10. This book sounds awesome! I have a couple of friends from church in mind that I would give this too, but would probably give this to one of the girls in or that just came out of our college ministry (Ally Rey, Madi, or Amen).

  11. Oh, Kristen! Your words and the promises from Jesus are like balm to my soul! Thank you for sharing so bravely and speaking truth! I’d give this copy to my sweet sister Jo…a brave sister indeed! <3

  12. I remember thinking something similar to this back in Junior High. In the mornings before school, everyone walked the halls of our school with their friends…and the girls I usually tagged with weren’t at school early enough, so I was on my own. I befriended a couple of other girls who were not included even on the fringes of circles and we chummed around together… I know even then (50 years ago) I had a sense that God wanted me to reach out to lonely others and include them and I also comprehended that if I wasn’t in the “In crowd” it didn’t matter as long as I had my own circle of friends. To this day, I feel that same pull to reach out to the new girl at the office or the new face at church and at least smile and say hi. It’s not always easy – I’m not really an extrovert and I’m frequently shy in new situations myself, but that is what makes me want to welcome another – to treat someone else the way I’d like to be treated. The hardest people for me to reach out to are the ones who are “destined” to be “in” crowd, which I need to get over! That’s just me believing the lie that I’m “not good enough.”

    As a never-married adult, it was a good lesson to learn. Many singles dread church because they are left on the fringes.

    I’d share a book with single friends who struggle with being accepted at church.

    • Having been the new girl in more than one environment, I’ve felt that same pull to reach out to others in the same situation. That’s turned into one of the things that being on the outside of the circle has made me thankful for–eyes to see others on the outside, too.

  13. I have myself often felt left out. I not got many friends. I know what you mean about that circle. If the people in that circle had really wanted you. Or missed you when you went to rest room they have said we missed you when you went to rest room. They would have noticed you where gone. Then when you came back looked round and said we missed you. Why don’t you come over and join us in our circle. Maybe lets give them the benefit of the dought. That they just didn’t think. They where all having such a wonderful time. They just didn’t think. But just when this is how I look at things. As Jesus when he was having a good time. He still never forgot anyone. Neither should we. Me and my Husband used when surcharging for a Church to belong too. Went to this one. We used to go every Sunday for so long. Hardly anybody talked to us. Then we stopped going as we felt what are doing here. No one hardly talks to us. When we stopped going we were not missed. That sad. We now go the Salvation Army. They love us. Like Jesus does. They accept us. We know we are all in the Salvation Army one big family. To feel left out not nice. As in God eye we are his family he love us. One day when we all go Glory God is going as it says in his word throw the biggest Wedding backbit the world has ever seen. We Christian will be guest at it. So we will not forgotten then. Even if people on earth forget about us. We don’t have got many friends. We have the best Friend of all Jesus. As the song says. What a Friend we have in Jesus. So true a song. Excellent reading. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little

  14. I have experienced a little of this recently, and it’s so challenging! I have a specific friend in mind that struggles with this too, though I won’t say her name here. . . .

  15. Hi Kristen,
    I would love to give a copy of your book to my new neighbor. We have met briefly and when we did, she voiced that she just wants to belong. We could meet for coffee and read your book together. Thank you for the gift of your words and your heart in this book!

  16. I can understand Kristen’s feelings…I am in that group of “not belonging” because I am single, never married, no children, nieces/nephews etc. so I avoid a lot of gatherings because I can’t relate to those things…if I do find myself in a social situation/small group I just listen as I have nothing to add to the conversation about children/grandchildren etc. I feel very awkward and out of place.

    • Mary, I’m so sorry you feel awkward in those situations. That’s so tough–no fun at all. Praying right now the Lord brings kindred spirits your way who give you a real sense of belonging. We’re so glad you’re in this community, too. Sending lots of love. xo

  17. Oh do I ever relate to this inside look at a very real and vulnerable feeling in our Christian world. I keep telling myself that we are mere humans and are all vulnerable at some time and in similar ways. Then I am reminded in a very real and unique way, that I am never alone and that I do belong (read John 14:3). And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into my presence, so that you also may be where I am. From Bible Hub
    I try to remember, as I sometimes walk alone, I am walking toward something. I have a purpose – to keep going down the path that has been laid before me to the destination that has been given to me from the precise moment I accepted His invitation to join Him and accept my heritage of becoming His child when I repented of my sin and accepted His forgiveness.
    I just want to encourage all of us to call on the name of Jesus the very moment the enemy tries to make us feel small and unworthy. With Christ we are strong and never alone.

      • Thank you Kristen. What an encouraging response from someone I admire very much. I hope you continue using your gift of writing to help others as I know I have been blessed through you. Kristen I’m almost 74 and I still need a little help along the way. Some days more than others. May God bless you and keep you

  18. So well written! At the age of 59, I am definitely on the outside. When asked about something that had occurred in the small community that I live in, I replied saying, I only live here (named the community) but I’m not part of it. After many attempts of reaching out to others in this small rural “Christian” community I an still not a part of it. Only God knows why because I have honestly done my best to be included. Sometimes we just have to recognize and accept that some are “set apart” for His work. Even if this means suffering alone, we are not truly alone. I’m learning more and more to embrace those times of being alone. He has a purpose and we are to be obedient to Him. He will see us thru! I do like those backroads though and I often tell others, I like to be in the back of the bus, meaning that I do not have to be seen or heard continuously. Knowing who we are in Christ and that He values us is such an amazing comfort.

    • Hi Annacea,
      I will continue to try to embrace your words, for that’s exactly how I’m feeling.
      Frequently I feel isolated in my neighborhood and at church but like you say, we have the “Best Friend” in the world in Jesus.
      Have a blessed day.
      Maggie

      • Maggie dear, I’m so sorry you’re feeling isolated in your neighborhood and church. I’ve been there, more than once. I’m praying right now the Lord brings you a friend or two whom you have a real connection with. And as you say, we have a “Best Friend” in Jesus. Your words here remind me of the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” That’s always been a favorite of mine.

        Sending love and gratitude for you being here, Maggie. xo

    • Annacea, I’m so sorry that in spite of reaching out several times, you’re still not a part of your community. That’s so hard and frustrating. I’m praying right now that the Lord brings a friend or two your way whom you feel and know a real kinship with. That is certainly God’s heart for you–you’re not the exception to the rule! And I’m so thankful you have a real eternal perspective. You’re completely right–knowing who you are in Christ and as His beloved is amazing comfort indeed. Sending love!

  19. My family moves a lot. I’d read it myself first, and then pass to a sister in law who is a pastors wife at a new congregation.

    • It sounds like you know several folks who would be blessed by the book–that would certainly be my prayer. Sending love and gratitude for you, Elizabeth! xo

  20. I’d give a copy to a girlfriend who’s husband committed suicide 11 months ago. She is a Christian but she said so many friends of theirs (couples) no longer contact her. This husband helped her raise 2 wonderful Christian kids after a divorce, & was a string support to her in losing the son to cancer at 17. Even in her own church she feels very along now.

  21. it would be cool to win this. I am leaving my state I’ve lived my whole life, decades of friends, family, and church in two weeks.

  22. Kristen,

    Great writing as always. Sometimes God has us on the outside of groups so He can mature & mold us. I moved to a new town in 1995 & attended a church. I did some activities with them, but never really felt like I fit in. Years later I can see that I wasn’t a mature Christian yet. Now years later I go to a small country church & I definitely fit in. The first Sunday there one lady came & gave me a welcome hug. They all love me. It took some time & going through trials. God knows the seasons of our lives & He has places & plans for us. We must trust Him to put us where we need to be.

    Blessings 🙂

  23. Thank you for this blog post. We moved to a new town 3 years ago…I was 37 and having to make new friends! It has been hard to find those few friends who just know you. We left a church of about 150 with 1 service and joined a church of over 400 with 3 services. I just ordered your book and I look forwarded to being intentional about finding a sense of belonging.
    I would love to send this book to my friend, Jamie, who moved to Colorado with her family, the same year that we moved. We have shared similar feelings about our sense of belonging.

  24. Moving my entire life more times than I am old, I have had a struggle finding my circle. I would keep this book for myself!

  25. Oh my goodness, did this article resonate with me! I would send the extra copy to a friend who I know struggles with friendships and finding connections (she lives far away from me).

  26. Thank you for this, Kristen. As I struggle to find my place in a new city while learning my new life as a widow, I feel you walking with me on my journey. I now have a resource and a roadmap to finding my way back. #BackRoadstoBelonging

  27. My friends Sarah and Ivette. Se have had many lengthy dialogs surrounding why we so desperately want to belong and have found new ways of defining belonging in our shared journeys.

  28. I’d love to give this to my friend Haley, who just moved to a new state. Her husband is in the air force so they move around a lot and I know she would appreciate every word of Kristen’s book!

  29. I’d love to give a copy (which I’m doing:) to my friend who just moved to Arkansas.

  30. I would give it to my sister in law Laura. She is struggling with feeling not where she should be in life. Still being single in her 30s and watching others going through life where she feels she should be.

  31. This is such a great topic! Can’t wait to read it to start this next school year out with God’s plan for my circle in mind. I would love to gift a copy to my sweet cousin who just had her first baby and moved to a new small town. It’s hard to find your mom tribe (I am still working on it), and to feel a part of something bigger than who you are under your own roof! Ordering now!

  32. Thank you for writing this. We bought a fixer upper & moved churches a couple of years ago. Funny thing is we are still in the same big city. I have felt very guilty giving my house the attention instead of my 4 children. I do homeschool but I have felt so isolated to the point I am not sure how to connect. I belong to a small group at church but it is just superficial talk. No one wants to know how you REALLY feel. I have been praying & waiting, & praying & waiting. I am always the encourager but I feel so tapped out. Thank you for writing this & I hope to read your book, in the mean time I will keep circling the back roads…..