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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  1. Wow, this literally brought tears to my eyes…I’m not even an experienced blogger, but I’ve been writing since the time I was little too, and I love to blog – yet I struggle with if my voice even “needs’ to be heard. But I feel a call to help weary Mamas out there, feeling all alone, and I LOVE what you said,:

    “Life in the church body isn’t a race where each person stays in her own lane, trying to reach the finish line first. Rather, it’s a community where everyone sits in a circle – no one further ahead or behind – and brings their gifts and experiences to the table.”

    That really spoke to me & encouraged me!! It’s SO true…it’s not that one voice is better, or louder than another – we just all have different gifts, and how BEAUTIFUL it is when we all come together for the benefit of each other!! Thankyou for you honest encouragement!

  2. This really spoke to me. I’ve been struggling with infertility for some time now, and I also find myself feeling like everyone’s having babies but me – not true, I know, but it does seem like it sometimes.

    And likewise it does sometimes feel hard, particularly on those days when my voice seems to elude me a bit, not to compare myself to all the other wonderful people whose sites I enjoy online. Thinking of the family of believers working together is a much more encouraging vision than any lonely blog race could be!

    • “Thinking of the family of believers working together is a much more encouraging vision than any lonely blog race could be!” ~YES and amen and amen times one thousand.

      YOU are fresh air to me, Amy. Thank you!

  3. I. needed. this. today. I’m swiping at escaping tears as I read this because this is exactly where I’m at right now. I’m wanting to be a wife and it’s hard sometimes to not dwell on something when you really, really want it. I trust God and His timing but oh, when you have those deep-down desires that take time to bloom…it’s where posts like this remind me God’s not done yet 🙂

  4. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. It really hit home and I identify closely with the feeling of being an outsider. I struggle at times, a square peg trying to fit a round hole. Words escape me as I try to say me too. That’s exactly how I feel at times. I appreciate the reminder that God is faithful and loving even at times such as these. This site is such a blessing to me.

  5. This post hit a sore spot for me as well. I didn’t even think my dream was lofty as having a book deal or having a thousand readers for my blog. My dream was just to make a handful of friends in the blogging community, something a lot of SAHMs want I think. And I am torn between trying to wait it out to see if God will someday encourage those heart’s desires or if it is just not my thing and I should close up shop.
    “You already possess fullness in Christ, and with that is confidence and security that you are enough today.” I am going to cling to this until I can no longer feel my fingers digging into my palms. Even if the world doesn’t seem to like me, my family does and my God does. And that DOES make me ENOUGH FOR TODAY!

  6. Kristen, I really love this blog post. You really touched my heart. I feel like we are kindred spirits! After all, we are in God’s family. Yes, He does give us the desires of our hearts–I believe He even puts those desires there. Thank you for sharing from your life to make this relevant to so many others. (p.s. I’m a former Air Force wife.) Blessings…

  7. This blog touched my heart as well. Motherhood is something that I have longed for since I was very young. Now about to hit my mid 30’s, I feel as if time is ruining out. Your blog is a shining example of the power of a testimony. As one thing we know about our God is that what he does for one he will do for another. In saying that I am struggling day by day to loosen the grip I gave on this desire of my heart and to be open to trusting God to do more than what I have asked of him and more than than what I could ever imagine with it. I’d be lying if I said that this is easy for me. It is the hardest thing that I have ever done. But I glorify God for he is truly great. He lead me to this place where I can be part of something bigger than myself, where I can utilize the gift of encouragement that he has given me, and be encouraged. And in this moment, reading your words know without a doubt that he knows what’s in my heart, on my mind, and is encouraging me to hold on. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you mightily.

    Blessings~
    Asiza P.

  8. Wow…I needed to be reminded of all these truths today. I believe your words spoke exactly what God wanted me to hear. Thank you…to Jesus for reminding me that HE loves me and tells me that everything will be ok…He loves me just as I am….HE is pleased with me just for being me and I don’t have to try to fit in a club …amen dear sister…God Bless you and May His amazing love continue to overflow to others as you have to me…

  9. I absolutely love the imagery of everyone sitting around in a circle bringing their gifts and experiences to the table, its a beautiful picture of how the body of Christ best works. It still amazes me how God knows the deep desires of our hearts and brings the right people with their unique gifts into our lives to teach us and encourage us.

    Many times I find out that what I thought I wanted and desired pales into comparison to what Jesus gives. I just didn’t properly know what to ask or look for.

    • Mmm, Lesley, YES. I just read a quote this morning by C.S. Lewis that says, “If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak.” I think that quote fits perfectly with your comment.

      Thank you, Lesley, for sharing your wisdom here. You are so loved.

  10. Thank you so much for exposing the intracacies of your heart for your readers to experience! I am challenged with a sense of inadequacy…with an overwhelming feeling of not rendering enough or not fully operating in the anointing of GOD over my life! I sat amongst a group of successful, working women a week ago and listened attentively as each woman shared their substantial accomplishments and when the inevitable inquiry “so what are you doing these days, Kwa” was appropriately spoken in my direction, I had nothing to share… I am a Stay At Home Mother and I take my responsibility seriously! However, I have no mainstream accomplishments to tout!!! I am fully aware of the privilege I am afforded and I wouldn’t barter my blessing to be home with my two mighty kings in training for anything! However, sometimes I experience feelings of inadequacy because I am surrounded by women whose dreams are being fulfilled and mine seem to be in a holding pattern! Hmph…!!! LOL…I have to laugh at myself… Again thank you so much for your transparency and for affording us all this great venue to share our hearts with you!!! It helps to know that I’m not the only one!!! GOD Bless you!!! Proverbs 31:30

    • Sweet Kwa, obviously it isn’t just you {smile}. I think every honest SAHM has battled those feelings, too {including me}! I do my best to keep my eyes turned upward to a heavenly perspective, believing that if Jesus took time to love on and play with children, how much more does He value our daily feeding into little souls that hold the fingerprints of God.

      For the times I start to believe the lie that says motherhood isn’t glorious because it doesn’t always feel glorious, I read Lisa-Jo {http://lisajobaker.com/}, a WAHM who has the beautiful ability to make moms see themselves the way Jesus does. And Sally Clarkson {http://www.itakejoy.com/} is another woman gifted at mentoring mothers in the best ways.

      Thank you for your transparency here today. Happy to sit next to you in this circle.

  11. As I read this and thought of what I *thought* I wanted when I was a kid, when I was in college, and even a couple of years ago. How true it is that God truly knows what the root of our desire is! At times I get frustrated because so many things keep happening that aren’t in what I perceived to be God’s plan for my life. However, the further I travel into my journey, the more I realize it isn’t so much MY journey, and therefore, I’m not the one who really knows where to go and what to do. That is God’s department!

  12. Kristen, I’m so crazy about you. That you for sharing your hiding place. A place some cover as if in shame. But you show beauty in the brokenness. In you broken places God’s light is the most beautiful! From phone. Please excuse errors

    • I agree with Diane – I’m just crazy about you, Kristen. It’s brave to share what you did here and I’m so glad you did. You are honest, wise, and so genuine. Wish we could have another lunch with Pike’s Peak in the background.

  13. I going to go in a bit of a different direction here with my comment from the rest of what others are talking about…..although I love what everyone is sharing and what you have written Kristen. There was something else that came to me as I read you sharing because of all the praying to God, especially the part, “I see plain evidence that God says yes to desires, even if differently than I planned,” I’ve just been reflecting on prayer a lot more lately….saying them more often…in those trying moments…..in those dream moments…..in those daily moments…..rather than one long one at the beginning or end of my day. I Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing

    So, I had a rough first day this week in teaching…a couple of classes were just really hard to deal with and I felt I was going out of my mind. I went home exhausted….anxious about the next day….do you ever stay up late with that feeling you can put off the next day arriving….and yet you know…..it doesn’t work that way. That is where I was at when…..I decided to pray about those classes and asking God to give me what I needed to direct those classes better. Long story short….those two classes weren’t a problem the next day…..I barely had to do anything for them to behave better…..the classes went smoothly…..and me…..I wondered, “Now why were you so anxious?” And I found myself feeling surprised…when I sensed the spirit within saying, “Why are you surprised, didn’t you ask me for help?” It wasn’t that I thought God wouldn’t or couldn’t answer my prayer, it is just that I thought I would need to do more than I needed to do and I didn’t. I’m delighted when I can see how God works in His timing and the timing is always right on. I’m delighted how his answers come as delightful morsels of surprises sometimes….making the answered prayer an even more meaningful testimony. I came home that day and wrote…
    Sometimes…
    …when you expect the worse
    …that isn’t exactly what happens
    …especially when you pray about it
    …humbly and gratefully, I say Thank you, God.

  14. Kristen,
    So excited to see you writing on (in)courage!! I can relate to not feeling like part of the club, but you have made me feel so welcome and have so encouraged me in my writing endeavors!! Thank you for being a cyber space mentor to this newbee :). Even if no one else does…I know that God delights in me and that is where the wellspring of my worth flows from!!
    Blessings to you friend,
    Bev
    ps. I feel a book deal coming for you!!

  15. I would love to give you a great big hug right now. You are the most wonderful, encouraging person. Thank you for jumping in and helping minister to ladies in the comment section of my post this week. You, my friend, are a giver, and the world needs more of those. 🙂

  16. Thank you for these words. Please know you touched and blessed someone (me) today with them.

  17. Kristen,

    Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4 AMEN!!

    I struggled for years with wanting marriage. All I could see was everyone–nieces, nephews, friends–getting married. God was teaching me patience. He sent me the most Godly, wonderful man suited just for me! We have been happily married 9 years now.

    My dream now is for a “different/better” job where I feel useful, and wanted. Granted I am grateful for the job I have and Praise God daily for it!

  18. Kristen, you’ve inspired me……I started writing some thoughts down….next thing I know….I’ve been at it for a couple of hours….the laundry has buzzed….the desk is a mess, etc…but I had to get the thoughts down now while they were coming to me.

    One of the sentences that came….
    I’m so thankful that God’s measure of response to my prayers is not based on my limited vision of an answer.

    Glad bless!

  19. Ah. yes. Definitely needed this one. It’s so easy to look at what we think is “green” grass in everyone else’s yard and feel so “less than”… wisdom and pearls dear Sister.

  20. Kristen, your timing couldn’t be more perfect. It seems the more I write, the more I chase this God Sized Dream, the more I see my faults, fears & insecurities. It’s funny how the more doors God opens, the less I trust the gifts He’s given me. Thank you for reminding me that I’m enough. In Christ, refined, made whole, I am enough. (hug)

  21. Kristen, what a beautiful wordsmith you are! I LOVE how you say:

    “Life in the church body isn’t a race where each person stays in her own lane, trying to reach the finish line first. Rather, it’s a community where everyone sits in a circle – no one further ahead or behind – and brings their gifts and experiences to the table.”

    Why do we forget this so easily? If we’d only live with the One Body concept, I suppose we’d all be a lot less stressed as a Body, right?

    Well, I’m happy to link arms with you and this whole community.

    Your work’s very strong. Keep writing for Jesus. You can’t beat truth, and you’ve got it, Girl!

  22. Ahhh…..what a way you have with words. Your post absolutely spoke to my heart because, lately, I have been feeling like the “only one not in the club.” Actually, I’ve been feeling left out of several clubs, asking over and over….”what about me?” I hate to even admit that attitude, but it’s truthfully how I’ve felt. This helps put it into perspective. I thank you for sharing-made my day! 🙂

  23. Thank you, Kristen. Beautiful words of life! I, too, am a writer. But sometimes I feel embarrassed, unworthy to call myself that. No book deal here (not even close) even though I’ve longed for that since the 2nd grade. Yet I know that God has gifted me with words.

    So why is it so easy for us to get caught up in the comparison game? I find myself expecting God to allow me to use the gifts he’s given me in the same way he’s using them in someone else. And sometimes, if I’m honest, I complain about how the other gifts he’s given me (like my three little boys) are getting in the way of pursuing my “God-given talent.” How sad this must make God. To see his child not trusting in his ways or being thankful for his gifts.

    Recently as I’ve thought about this very subject, I’ve committed to stop asking God to allow me to live someone else’s journey. But instead, to show me how to trust him step by step, day by day, to walk the journey he’s chosen for me–and become the journeyer (aka writer, mama, wife, friend) he created ME to be.

  24. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement… I have felt like I do not belong to the “mommy club” and it’s hard To see everyone around me is having babies! I Pray and hope one day I will get the secret password!

  25. Kristen,
    I am so glad that what He sees is far beyond what we could see, dream, or accomplish on our own. It is so hard to focus on His Voice in our ear when there is so much noise, such great yearning, so little time. Imagine what we might accomplish my concentrating on Him?
    Such a rich and beautiful word. Thank you.
    Peace and good to you, dear one.

  26. It was meant for me to read this today. I’ve been thinking a lot about my desire to get married and feeling like it’ll never happen. I also realize that that desire is rooted in feeling like I am “less than”. But I know that God has great plans for me! Thanks for this post.

  27. Kristen,
    You are right that the desire sinks deep within, especially when there seems to be no surface result. How I wish we weren’t so results-oriented! If we could catch a glimpse of the Father’s smile every time we wrote a timely word or barely breathed an insight, maybe we wouldn’t be so success driven. In the meantime, we write words that turn into sentences that turn into paragraphs that turn into pages. And we hope. We hope that somewhere along the way, the Lord will use those thoughts to bless another and to lead a hurting heart back to Him. That is the ultimate success.

  28. I have few words and mounds of gratitude for the words you’ve written here and the heart I know is behind each one of them. You exude grace and make the world more beautiful with your encouragement. Thank you for listening to God as you wrote these words for our hearts. May I remember that I’m not rejected for feeling out of the club but cherished for being a part of the family. With a great big lingering hug…Just. Thank. You. xoxo

  29. This is beautiful, Kristen. So often my fears and comparisons keep me from moving forward in the gifts God has given me. I love your image of a family at a table, all coming together with what we have to offer — being a Body together sure makes it less scary to offer it all up and follow Jesus.

  30. this lets me know im not alone and another commenter said her desires only God knows the root. I think now i want to want what i want for the right reasons. i desired marriage not so much to be a helpmeet initially but because i felt left out. I’ve always felt rejected and not included or ‘less then’ so i thought having marriage would somehow ‘even’ the score with my ‘friends’ who always beat me like in a competition.Those who were CHOSEN or somehow God loves more. Because it REALLY feels like He loves others so much more than me. I was angry because i was poor and my friends had easy lives (or i so thought) and always had it easy with guys and I felt like God didnt love me because He didnt give me those things and it made me feel inadequate, b/c i mean what girl CAN”T get married. “I felt like i wasnt in the CLUB, or maybe something was wrong with me, but God is no respecter of persons. So the more i focus on others i miss the opportunities that God did bring along. i mean i try not to think about that anymore. Sometimes i just want a companion now. Which is a much better reason then to simply show-off I’m as good as anyone else which i believe was the root. If i get married it should be about God and i met someone who i love more than anything except God and i want to serve them. If my motives are wrong i get messed up i guess that’s where that comes from.

  31. Hi there!
    I’m a few days late to this party, but I think it was perfectly timed by God for me to read this today. I look around this amazing place called the internet and so, so often, like you said, I get distracted by the amazing beauty that so many of you all create. And I forget what my actual heart’s desire is and get sidetracked with the temptation to want to be admired. Or write a book. Or whatever. Truth is, I just want to make God happy. And love doing it. No matter what that means. (as a mom, a writer, a friend, a coffee-drinker) Anyway — thank you for this. Thank you for being so real.