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. Kirsten,
    What a trying stressful and worry-some time for you, Faith and your family! And over all the time the faith you have in Jesus in our Lord is so inspiring. I am so grateful for you sharing your story. God is so good! What a wonderful moment to share and have with your daughter, I am so happy for you and that Faith is doing well. I can liken my moment to the safe arrival of my 3 children when I felt God so near and fully trusted in him and his faithfulness being crazily scared during childbirth. The wonder of well it was like being so close to what God is capable of, the miracle of life. Ian in a time of waiting now for seeing what will unfold in my parents lives right now, without going into too much detail I and they are leaning into HIM and waiting to see what His plan is and to what will unfold. Thank you for the beautiful reminder of who GOD is, his love and ever faithfulness. All the best xx

  2. Kirsten I forgot to mention your caption “today we saw the hope of The Lord, the giver of fresh starts” that is what I pray for my parents and myself for different reasons, please pray for us as I will say a prayer for Faith and her continual healing x

    • Jasmine,

      Prayers for you ad your parents. May God be with you all during these trials and bring about peace and contentment!

      Blessings 🙂

  3. Kristen,
    Like many of us, I am both in a time of realizing God’s long-awaited goodness. Married a little over two months to the man of my dreams after a long season of brokenness, I set up a an altar to God so as to never forget His faithfulness. I write what is on my heart to capture God’s goodness in words. I celebrate often by dancing in my kitchen :).

    I also am in a period of waiting to see what is unseen as I trust and pray that my son will return to a relationship with his Savior. I look forward to the day when I will dance in celebration of his return. Some days I hold on by a thread and trust…

    Thanks for sharing your story…it gives me hope!
    Love you friend,
    Bev

    • Bev, your love-lost-and-found is one of my favorite stories from around the ‘net. It touches me every time I hear it.

      And know I’m praying mightily right now for your son, Bev. Whether he realizes it or not, I know your life must be a powerful example of God’s grace to him.

      I love you, Bev. Thankful for you, too.

    • Bev,

      Congratulations and May God bless this marriage! You deserve the best God can give!!

      May God give your son a heart transplant and bring him back to himself! Prayers for his repentance!!

      AMEN!!

  4. Thank you for these words, Kristen.

    We are in a season of waiting on The Lord and trusting. Nothing is too big for God and we are praying about an opportunity that is close yet seems too far away. The in between is scary and exciting all at the same time.

    -NJ

  5. “The in between is scary and exciting all at the same time.” If that ain’t the truth.

    Praying for this opportunity of yours now, NJ. And thank you for your faithful example as you wait ~ it inspires. xo

  6. You know when my dad passed away last year I remember thinking bitterly that my prayers were not answered. And as the months went by and the pain started to recede enough for me to think about the event, I realized that while my dad died he did answer my prayer for I’d hoped for him: to accept Jesus before he passed away. And there is huge relief and comfort that my dad made that conscious decision before his mind was no longer coherent the last week of His life. So yes, he has been amazing in answering my prayers, even if not always the way I expect him to answer them.

      • Thank you for sharing this part of your family’s story with us, Maria. I’ve struggled too with bitter thoughts about this or that, and I’m thankful God’s patience and grace reach further than my feelings. As you so beautifully tell, His faithfulness sees us through it all.

        Thank you for your kind words, too. Much love to you!

  7. I went through a broken engagement my sr year of college. It wasn’t a mutual agreement that we just weren’t right for eachother…it was sudden and unexpected and painful abandonment. I still desired to get married one day, but I couldn’t imagine loving anyone else. I prayed hopefully that God would heal my heart and give me marriage and a family. I had many doubtful days and many teary nights, but I did try to hold on to hope and pray continuously that He would bless me with a spouse. I didn’t think it would take so long to meet the man I would marry. (When you get engaged at 21, I think you assume love always comes so quickly and easilly, but as many many single women know, it doesn’t) Finally, at 27, after many bad dates and short relationships and “he’s nice, but just not the right one” experiences, I met the man I would marry. At 28, we were engaged and at 29, we married…a little over 7 years after my first engagement ended.

    I can remember waking up the morning of our wedding and thinking how much I loved my soon to be husband and how faithful God was to answer my prayers and restore my hope. I promised myself that I would look back and remember His faithfulness whenever I felt hopeless in the future. I’m in a difficult time right now — job searching– and I get discouraged often, but try to remind myself of the hope I felt on my wedding day. God is faithful and does work bad circumstances out for good…in His own timing.

    • OH Katy, I’m dancing with you!

      Also, you remind me of the importance of remembering His faithfulness in previous times so when our present season is one of waiting, we trust Him to follow through once again – regardless of outcomes.

      Endless thanks for sharing here today, Katy. Much love!

  8. I read this with tears in my eyes, because we are in a time of waiting. A time that seems stagnant and stale, and while we are not without hope, we are without answers that we would like to see to our prayers. I feel as if our lives have flatlined- changes that we hoped for that seemed just on the horizon two years ago are no closer to being answered (as we would desire) than they were then. We having been in a holding pattern, circling the sky, for longer than I can ever remember in our 28 years of marriage. We pray daily for our children, our concerns, our struggles, and try not to complain (because actually, life is rather stress free and going along just fine) even though we’ve had bitter disappointments, things that rock our hearts and stretch us to keep the faith.

    I love what you wrote here- “There is no sense in acting like this life doesn’t hold hard times whose end results remain a mystery. Times when what you hope for doesn’t show itself this side of heaven. But sometimes God orchestrates moments where what is spiritual becomes tangible, something you can almost hold in one hand and toss into the other. When what you hoped for is felt and real, when faith becomes sight. And it is good to let the importance of this mark our hearts, to build a figurative altar and praise God for His abundant faithfulness.”

    I will wait for God’s orchestration and His moments- that is the hope that keeps me going – that one day soon He will bring all of this together and our joy will be complete.

    • Dear Beth, I hear the weariness in your words here, and I’m so sorry you’ve endured such a long, difficult season. I came across this short passage at the end of Ezekiel 29 (Message translation) that God spoke,

      “And then I’ll stir up fresh hope in Israel—the dawn of deliverance!”

      And that’s my prayer for you, Beth. That God floods you with fresh hope and you feel the dawn of deliverance. Much love and prayers to you. xo

  9. When our youngest child was 2 years old, I found a hard lump on his little tummy. Fast forward a few hours and we were in Arkansas’ Children’s Hospital with surgery scheduled and a cancer diagnosis. The raw emotions of that day are long gone. The physical pain of surgery and the effects of chemo…my son doesn’t even remember. My husband and I? And our family and friends? We will never forget. That sweet baby boy is now a big 18 year old young man. He plays high school football and runs track. He’s a great son, brother, student, friend…and he loves the Lord. He goes once a year to the oncologist for check-ups, and at every one, we give thanks and remember. If you saw him today, you would never know his journey…but he still has the scars all over his chest, and they tell the story of God’s faithfulness and provision. When you have boys, they seem to spend a lot of time at home without their shirts on. So every day…every single day…I see the scars and I am reminded of where we were and how far GOD has brought our family. We encouraged our son to embrace that part of his life as part of his testimony, and he has…and it has given him many opportunities to share the Gospel with others. Sometimes what we see as our greatest challenge is what God sees as our greatest ministry tool.

    • Marty, I’ve read this through twice and cried both times.

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us. What a gift.

      So much love to you *and* your sweet boy.

  10. I’m in the midst of waiting for that moment right now. My husband has been suffering from chronic back pain for a year now and we have yet to figure out why or find anything that helps. It took our life and turned it upside down. I would give anything to have my active, energetic, pain-free husband back. I know deep in my spirit that day will come, but some days it’s hard to believe that.

  11. Kristen,
    To God be the glory and praise, as you have eloqunetly given here while you talked of Faith’s recovery and celebrating life! And so true that this life holds hard times, yet His hand carries us through. So perfect that your daughter’s name…Faith…is what you displayed.
    Hebrews 11:1 – Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV)
    Thank you for blessing others as you share your story and praise God for His faithfulness!
    Tammy

  12. I bawled at the part of “today we saw the hope of The Lord, the giver of fresh starts.” I am in a period of waiting. Been mysteriously ill the last month and brought to my knees with fear and suffering. I know God has a purpose in my pain and I’ve learned a lot about myself and recommitted my life to God’s good purpose. It’s opened my eyes to my sinful nature and has transferred the strength I had in myself to God. I trust in Him because I love Him and I know He loves me. He sprinkles my pain with tender mercies and words I need to hear. Sometimes he is silent and I get scared but I ask Him to take my fears and I search for Him through Moody radio or other Christian writing. I know I will dance again when this is through and my life and compassion for others will never be the same.

  13. Kristen, I just love this reminder to CELEBRATE God’s goodness!!
    God answered the very cry of my heart by bringing my daughter back from a very treacherous and long prodigal road. I continue to celebrate in many ways singing praise songs and thanking Him on a regular basis. This post brought a smile to my face and I think I need to take up dancing as a means of celebrating also!

  14. I too have been healed of a broken neck. I at the time was a mom. So I was so discouraged thinking I may never be able to hold my children, have them lace their arms around my neck. God has given me a new start, able to walk and feel all of me moving day to day. I can continue to hug my children as long as I want…. God is so good. I appreciate your appreciation for what he has done for you and your family. Thank you for bringing his greatness to the forefront of our minds.

  15. Oh, I know where you’ve been! (( hugs)) Three years ago, on Labor Day, our 8 year old daughter was kicked in the face by a horse. That was THE most devastating experience of my life – never had my husband and I felt so helpless…. we had mo choice but to hand her to God and say “please heal her.” She danced again!!! She went back to riding her pony ( she got kicked by a 16 hand horse-not her pony) as soon as she was medically cleared. We will also never forget what she said while she was in the hospital ( generous and understanding heart in which God has blessed her )- I am not mad at Galloway ( name of horse)- he was just being a horse and horses are beautiful. She forgave him for the broken nose, the fully spider-webbed axillary bones , a cut lip that required stitches,
    and two small brain confusions…. we did, too…horses are horses…. our girl danced again and so did we.

  16. So grateful for these moments, these piles of stones to remember God’s goodness and His faithfulness. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  17. So beautifully said Kristen! I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already. So glad that Faith is making strides in her healing process- both with her neck and her spirit. Doubly thankful that she has you as her mama to walk with her through the valleys and the hills. Miss you my friend~

  18. This post brought such joy Kristen, picturing you and Faith dancing after her recovery. I’m so happy for her and for your family.

    Blessings to you and your family….

  19. I had brain surgery 4 years ago. Yes, there are certain things I can’t do anymore and yes, there are still rough days, but God has brought so much healing to my life – including a new calling of being a counselor. Dancing and walking are two of the only exercises I can still do.

    Dance – dance, all the time, but keep walking in faith.

    HUGS! There’s something that is holy about linoleum and formica 😉

  20. There is something holy about that, isn’t there Tracey? Amen, amen.

    And this line here -> “Dance-dance, all the time, but keep walking the faith.” Beautiful.

    Thank *you.*

  21. Kristen,

    Thank you for this beautiful message of healing and grace. As someone mentioned above, the in-between times, the waiting period between a hope for a miracle and the actual miraculous results is a scary and sometimes lonely time. I was just diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. They tell me this cancer is treatable but not yet curable. But, they’ve never met me and my faith before. I have my first appointment with my treatment team on April 8th. Until then (and after) I’ll picture the joyful dance my husband and two young children will dance when we hear the words “no more cancer.” I’ll dance. I’ll pray. Please pray with me so we can all dance together. You can follow my journey on the Facebook page “Nikki’s Army”. Let us all dance with joy!

    • Beautiful sisters, know I’ve read every word you’ve so bravely commented here, and I’m holding your petitions tightly in prayer. Whether the dancing comes easily or not today, may the God who sees us and loves us flood our hearts and souls with His all-encompassing peace and grace. I love each of you more than words can say. xoxo

  22. Thank you for this beautiful picture. I wait for my daughters (yes, there are two of them) to “come home” from the gay lifestyle. But in the waiting, there is hope, peace and joy as the pain from their choices has turned into thankfulness and trust in the one who loves them and knows them best. It has caused me to run to the only one who understands the deeper purposes of this, and the only place I can find the grace and mercy to love them as he does. And so I too, must dance. With my hands lifted high to the Him to whom all praise is due. Even in the hard stuff, and even for it. You can follow me on my journey at http://www.hisgardenofgrace.com (website under construction but will be open in about a week! I am so excited because this is a wonderful ministry He is giving me out of the ashes.)

  23. My family and I are in the midst of the waiting. It’s been a very rough, hard journey over the last 4 months as we’ve been blindsided by events that we never thought we would experience. Right now we’re waiting and praying for answers. But in the midst of it, even when I can’t do anything but collapse on the ground and ask why this is happening, God is revealing his faithfulness. During hard times like this, I find it difficult to focus on what is truth and not let my emotions guide my belief in God. I’m definitely finding the balance of understanding that it’s okay to have emotions, but I can’t let them dictate who I am and what I believe. Every time I open the Word, God gives a little nugget of truth. And they usually come when my heart feels like it’s hardening up again. But then, God throws in a dollop of truth (or conviction) and the ice melts away. Sometimes (okay, all the time) I just want all of the answers right away. I don’t want to have to wait. I don’t want to have to rely on someone else to give me answers. But again, God adds another dash of his faithfulness and answers my pleas. Whether it’s in a verse, a blot post or a loving affirmation from someone close to me, God is helping me through the waiting.

  24. I guess I’m seeing God coming through for me in smaller ways than with your daughter Kristen. Though seemingly small, they are still miraculous to me. I have MS and it’s hard to get things done in my apartment. The past few days I have been able to sort through papers and magazines and organize them. Praise God! I also am in counseling from abuse as a child and last week the Lord provided an insightful session with my Pastor/Counselor. Before reading your devotion, I didn’t think too much of it since there is so much to work through, but after reading I realized again how marvelous and wonderful to have progressed in healing through the Spirit. I know one way to memorialize these things and that’s to journal about them. But also to share them with others as a testament to God’s goodness.

  25. Praise God for the beautiful outcome, the mental reminder and the song that will always remind you of that day. God is good, even if we feel lost in the dark his light shines, we just need to be ready to see.

  26. God has perfectly timed the arrival of your post today. My husband arrived home for lunch with some frightening news about a work friend and his family who were driving home in a terrible downpour yesterday. He and his wife in one vehicle and their 3 children driving behind with the 19 year old (the oldest) at the wheel, when the kids’ vehicle goes out of control in the rain and flips over. His daughter, the driver, wasn’t wearing her seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle and gets pinned under it. The other two are okay thanks to wearing their seat belts. A friend in a third car is following them. Well, the father, the friend and the younger brother take action. The father and friend perform a miraculous feat with God’s help of lifting the car up while the brother is able to pull his sister out. She is not breathing! Some how (don’t know the whole story yet) she starts breathing again. She gets to the hospital (how?) unconscious. And all we know is that she’s now awake in ICU (where?) and speaking nonsense. A couple of hours later we get a call that she’s being moved to a regular medical floor. This is a testament to the power of God and the power of prayer. This entire family is especially close to God. He is a big part of their daily lives. The kids are all home schooled, and Bible study is part of their every day education. The 19 year old daughter still lives at home. I can’t wait to hear about her progress and the whole story of what happened. Please pray with us for her full recovery. I hope that I may get to share your story with her someday. Thanks.

  27. You’re so beautiful in your words. The tongue of a ready writer.
    Thank you for inviting us in to celebrate a very Good God.

    Today! My life today! That’s my living experience of what I’ve hope for becoming real.
    You see, on Friday 13th of January a few years ago, my husband lost his job of 27 years.
    He was an Assistant Pastor of the same large church—almost 3 decades of my life.
    I lost my sanity. Lost all my friends but a couple. Sunk into such severe depression losing my identity.
    I was attached way too much to a successful ministry, strong people.
    God never intended us to be attached to anything but Himself.
    There was something I wanted more than the Love of God & I didn’t know it.
    Honestly, best worst thing that ever happened to me. Psalm 27:13-14.
    I found my God in ways I never imagined! To this very day.
    I hold no greater hope than a relationship with my God and I’m living it.
    Love found a deeper place in my heart than the legit concerns I had.
    A little bit more alive than yesterday. More convinced of His Love for me than ever.

    Loved your post. So caught my eye.

  28. Thank you for this. It came at a time that I needed it. I am physically capable of dancing but emotionally crippled right now. Nothing that The Lord can’t handle and so much easier of a burden than many have but right now it is my burden and some days it seems more than I can bear. Thank you for reminding me to dance!

  29. Beautiful sisters, know I’ve read every word you’ve so bravely commented here, and I’m holding your petitions tightly in prayer. Whether the dancing comes easily or not today, may the God who sees us and loves us flood our hearts and souls with His all-encompassing peace and grace. I love each of you more than words can say. xoxo

  30. I am trying so hard to hold on — but fear of cancer’s return has me frozen in place. Oh that I will dance again . . . and hopefully with our new grandchild who is due in October. We have marked my anniversary every year with a trip — long or short — because that is what we did just before the diagnosis. Trying to give it all to God for His decision is hard.

  31. On a January night, I had my first panic attack. Little did I know, that panic attack would be the first of many the following year. At my lowest, I was bedridden and even at my highest, I believed I wouldn’t escape the mental torture. Through a hard year of treatment on my whole self—body and soul—God slowly healed me. He brought me to the place I hoped for, but didn’t believe was possible. Today, I don’t readily recall the date, or even year, of my first panic attack. The limp I live with a reminder of his grace; and when I remember his grace, I worship.

    • “The limp I live with a reminder of his grace; and when I remember his grace, I worship.” ~ Gah, so beautiful, Ana. Worshiping alongside you, praising God for His goodness. Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us. Much love.

  32. This April will mark year 3 of God calling me out one day. The months after that day were some of the hardest I have ever lived. Everything in my life was called into question, my job, my marriage, my parenting. But that day in April lead me to the feet of Jesus once again. Something as a church leader that came as such a surprise, but when I discovered God’s mercy and grace it was such a beautiful thing, I celebrate it.

    I’m a changed person and other close to me agree. Today, I feel like I can’t live or breath without sitting still each day to be with my Savior. It has become such a precious time for me. I’ve learned to trust him and find my worth in Jesus – no one else.

    So it’s a day I celebrate. Thank you for sharing your story. I loved hearing about your journey.

  33. This is a truly special and beautiful post, and a testament to the power of God’s spirit, and how he walks daily in our lives. I love that your daughter came to dance once again, and can carry the knowledge of something in her life that reminds her to be humble. That is a gift.
    We are waiting for God to lead us and both our teen sons to a place of health, where they can learn to dance in the light of God. Both my sons struggle with depression and addiction, and my older son battles suicidal ideation. Our path has been crushing, and I can only hope and pray God will lead us safely through the mire. Praying, and praying….

  34. This message came this evening and touched my heart. My beautiful daughter and son had just found out they were expecting. What news.. but short lived as today my daughter had a miscarriage. She called to tell me and my heart ached for them. This is the third one she has had in three years. They so want children and are patiently waiting in limbo for their miracle from the lord above. I know if my heart aches, that my daughters is surely full of pain and suffering. I pray every night that the Lord above will bless them with a child and that my daughter will know the love of a child and to be able to hold a child in her arms one day. This is the dance , waiting, happiness (if only short lived), loss, sorrow, hope and faith that one day they will be able to dance with joy and know that God does listen to your heart and prayers.

  35. I have been in a season of waiting for 8+ years after a time of being more than broken, but having my spirit crushed and my heart shattered. I have been healed of the wounds of betrayal and divorce and God is doing a work in me and bringing purpose to my life. I am in a period of waiting for a job or other opportunities with writing or speaking that will meet my need financially and allow me to still be mom. I am waiting on the means to get a newer car. I am also waiting for that new relationship to begin someday.
    I am not really sure what’s next. I have seen many prayers being answered in recent months for so many people. I know my time will come. Though sometimes I want to wonder why it hasn’t happened yet for me when I have remained faithful to Him, I instead hold to the hope that I will see the breakthrough soon. I think about the story of Joseph and how when his dream was realized, it was beyond anything he could have ever imagined. I remind myself of the Israelites and how their hopelessness, complaining and looking back to what they had kept them from moving forward to receive the promise. I refuse to wander through life and not see that promise of redemption and blessing realized. Hope does not disappoint and I actively work to keep hope alive.

  36. My husband broke his neck in 2003, wore a “halo” for six and one-half months. We dance, in the kitchen, every chance we get!
    Hope springs eternal.

  37. Thank you for sharing your story! In November I broke my leg, needed surgery and am the proud owner of a rod and screws that will forever help me tell the weather. At the time, as I could barely drag my leg and walk with a walker, I couldn’t imagine ever being able to pick up my kids again, drive or even put my own pants on. While I still have a limp right now, I’ve been noticing how much more “back to normal” my life has become, which has been a huge answer to prayer. It is amazing to be doing the things that only a few months ago I was only hoping for 🙂 I’ve even been able to do a happy dance to celebrate!

  38. Kristen,

    Your writing inspires me every time I read it. So glad you can dance for joy with your little girl!!

    This may seem odd, but I kinda danced when my mother died. She suffered with dementia and sundowners’ and was bedridden for 2 years. It was a relief not to see her suffering anymore and for my dad to be able to have a “normal life”. Good thing that happened in those 2 years is my dad got re-baptized.

    Praise and prayers for everyone here today!

    Blessings 🙂

  39. Kristen, every time you write it speaks directly to my heart. What a beautiful picture of fresh starts and redemption. My daughter Hope who also doesn’t sit still broke her leg when she was almost 4. It was such a difficult time but it truly opened my eyes to her spirit and the life within her. Love this story! Thank you for sharing it!!

  40. I am in a hope of a fresh start. I had surgery in September 2013 for lung cancer and had three different kinds and they had to remove the top part of my left lung the good news is that they got it all.But right now I am hurting all over so please pray for a healing. I saw the hope of the lord the giver of a fresh start that is what I pray for myself. I am in a time of realizing God’s long a wait goodness on my life since I had surgery. After I had surgery I started writing christian poetry and short stories and dancing while I am writing. I didnt start dancing with the Lord until after I had my surgery. You reminded me of the importance of remember is faithfulness in my life. In previon time when my present season is one of waiting I trust Him to follow through once again no matter the out come might me. I Will wait for Gods orchestration and His moment that is the hope that keeps me going every day. That one day soon He will bring all of this together and my joy will be complete