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...

Recent Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Kristen,
    In several months, I will be having to say goodbye to my closest and dearest friend who will be moving ten hours away. I am excited for her and her husband for this new chapter they are starting in their lives, but I selfishly don’t want to be left with a gaping hole in my heart that her parting will create. I try to hold onto the fact that the Lord gives and He takes away for His sovereign reasons. I cling to the knowledge that He gives. He has given me other wonderful friendships that I look forward to cultivating more. Who knows what goodness He has in store for me in those relationships?? I thank Him that I had my friend to go with me through some of the toughest seasons in my life…what a blessing. It may sound cliché – but taking an attitude of gratitude for what was, is and will be helps get me through times of loss. Thanks for some wonderful truths that I will hold onto as well!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, it is always a delight to see your face ’round here.

      When a good friend moves away, it *does* leave a gaping hole, doesn’t it? So hard. But your words on what to do about it are so, so encouraging and wise. Thank *you*.

  2. Last May I lost my husband of 41 years to an early death caused by his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I never thought I could move on after such a long and long relationship, but God knew different. He brought a wonderful Godly man into my life last fall. I still have days that I miss my late husband, especially when I see his pictures. But the majority of the time I am thankful and feel blessed that God has given me another chance at love at the age of 60. My new love had prayed for a Godly woman to be in his life for 8 years. He likes to say he was just waiting on me. None of this new relationship has caught God by surprise, but I firmly believe he brought us together. God gave me this gift of love, and I had to brave enough to venture into rebuilding an emotional relationship with someone new. The true I hold onto is that God wants his best for me, and after a season of loss He can bring me joy.

    • Dear Sandy,
      I lost my husband to cancer last June. We were married for 21 years but we had been together for almost 30 years (I met him when I was 22.) Your story gives me hope because I’ve been praying that God would bring me a Godly man into my life. I just hope I don’t have to wait years. May God abundantly bless the new chapter in your lives and please will the both of you please pray for me. Thank you.

      • Therese, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your prayer is what I’m praying for you right now, too. Much love. xo

    • What a story of loss that brims with redemption. Thank you, Sandy, for generously sharing it with us. So much love.

  3. Kristen,
    First of all thank you for sharing this today. It is like a balm to an open wound. I, like Bev Duncan, moved 400 miles away from all of my dear friends. Even with all the social media, it just isn’t the same as plopping down in a lawn chair in the backyard for coffee and conversation.I miss them but mostly, I miss my best friend. We used to speak every day by phone, even with all the distance. I wasn’t there for her (emotionally) when she was hurting tremendously over anguish over her son. It caused a fracture in our relationship. She is experiencing her dream come true; she and her husband are back where she grew up; with her friends who are like family, who in fact, grew up as a family. I have kind of, as I call it, “tucked in” from my current new friends, lamenting that “It takes a long time to grow an old friend”. This article helped me tremendously. I will refer back to it. Thank you. God bless.

    • Becky, I am praying now that God brings you that new-old friend that provides soul-deep friendship in your new location. And that you have peace in the waiting. You are treasured here. xo

      • Thank you. I believe that the good Lord is ever present in our lives and has proved that time and time again, especially in the move south.

  4. Thank you Kristen. I had a friend who just dropped out of contact, just overnight. She is often in my heart and mind. I used to blame myself. Since a few months ago, I would pray for her whenever she came to mind.

  5. Hi Kristen,

    I have had changes in friendships due to changes in our circumstances, and it has been painful and lonely. But, some lovely things that have happened is friends who were more in the shadows are now coming forward. It’s not a replacing, but a shuffling. Time has been at a premium so any time for gatherings is a gift.

    Thank you for this perspective. And thank you for the remembrances of God’s goodness.

    Blessings,

    Joanne

  6. My engagement just ended after years of being on my own. I feel like I’ve been hit by a tonne of bricks. So hard not to going over and over what happened and blame and berate myself, and instead keep holding onto God and waiting for Him to either rescue and redeem the situation or let it go and trust Him for the future.

    • Olivia, my heart breaks for your loss. I’m so sorry. May you feel God’s presence right up next to you as you hold onto words from Colossians 1:17- “He holds all things together.” YOU are held together, dear Olivia, and wildly loved. xoxo

    • Olivia,

      Praying for you right now. May you feel God’s loving arms around you giving you hugs from Heaven!! Prayers for your healing hurting heart! I pray you know that you are loved and prayed over now!

      Remember Jeremiah 29;11 For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. He is crazy in love with you–so
      much so He left Heaven!

  7. I am nine months into an ugly, unwanted separation. At 61, and after 14 yrs of marriage, I am at a place I never thought I would be. Each day is a living hell and I just work so hard towards moving to my own place. So many obstacles in my way – sometimes I don’t think I will make it. Your message is a beautiful one for me today – thank you.

  8. I have felt a shift of sorts, in some long-time friendships due to my chronic illness. My illness keeps me at home a lot, so I don’t get to see them as much as I would like and it hurts me badly. I also think that my friends don’t truly understand the loss and pain in my life and are not sure what to do. I have one friend who understands more and still reaches out, but my other friend is more cold and distant and rarely does, and tries to side step talking about it. I feel a loss even when we are together. It breaks my heart that my illness has robbed me of what we used to have together. I pray that God will give me guidance and direction in my friendships, and I’m also praying that he would open the door to a new friendship.

  9. Thank you Kristen. God knew I needed to read this. Friendships. Even when you thought that the super long ones would always last forever, can change. It’s sobering…but, God knows why and everything has a purpose. I will no longer doubt myself and just trust that the Lord knows what is best for me. Thanks again… God bless you!

    • Monica said exactly what I wanted to say! Losing friendships you thought were strong is disheartening since it makes us question the ‘strong’ friendships we still have…or do we. It has been a journey the last couple of years as MANY of our friend/couples have divorced and we are no longer close to any. I keep clinging to God as we look for what new opportunities in friendship he has in store for my husband and I.

  10. Just this morning I was thinking about a friendship and how different it is from only a few months ago. The distance was needed (I’m learning healthy boundaries), yet it changed our relationship in a way I hadn’t expected. Your words are so good for me to hear!

    • Hooray for encouragement…*and* for healthy boundaries.

      Your words are so good for me to hear, Sherri. Thank you. xo

  11. Kristen, I needed to hear these 5 truths. I’m missing a dear friend who took exception to a conversation we had in the fall and I’ve made genuine attempts to facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation. She is not willing after 12 years of friendship. I’ve kept an open hand with time and finances and it’s good to be reminded to keep an open hand with friendships too. I have felt the loss and would agree that it is healthy for the soul to acknowledge it. God is good and has layered lots of women into my life this past year, who love me and who I can love, some I run with and some of us meet for breakfast on Saturday mornings at each other’s homes and cry and laugh and pray with and for each other. Thanks so much for hosting this space today. Kelly

    • “God is good and has layered lots of women into my life this past year, who love me and who I can love…” I love the way you say this, Kelly. I never thought about it like this before, but sometimes our friends are in layers. A layer or two may fall away, but I believe God will in time help bring new ones to the surface.

      Thank *you* for this, Kelly. Thank you so much. xo

  12. Kristen, I needed this post so much today. Thank you for our encouraging words. I told the Lord just this morning, “I miss my friend, and I really need You to help me today.” I moved 900 miles away from my dearest friend about 10 years ago, but we stayed very close and involved in each others lives for years. We talked on the phone almost daily, made plans together and visited each other often. But a little over a year ago she began to draw very close to a new friend and, while I know she meant for us to stay close, we just haven’t. And it’s sad. But I appreciate your wise words. I know that friendships have seasons. I thought this one would last forever, honestly. But evidently God’s best for us is for our paths to go in different directions now. I did give myself a little grace, like you suggested, and have allowed room and time to grieve. And I especially like #3, that I can know that God is still giving His best to me…and her. And yes, I’ve continued to pray blessings for my friend. It’s been very important to me to keep a soft heart to her and to stay committed to our friendship, even if it has changed. Thank you so much, Kristen. God really used your words to minister to me today.

    • Oh this is the hard stuff of friendship, isn’t it Kay? That loss is real. Thank you for showing us all how grieving, prayer, and perspective can help ease the loss. Joining hands with you and praying too, friend. Much love.

  13. My girls are all out of the house and after 27 years I’ve accepted my husband doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body, the will be no “Be my Valentine”. I hand-made cards for all of my family, even my Dad and sisters. Mailing this next week with phone cards for the girls and my son. Accepting the lose of a romance that never was, but embracing my own romantic nature. That is my compromise. God is my Valentine this year.

    • Deena, what a gift you are to those in your circles. I’m praying now you receive an abundance of love in return. You are treasured! xo

  14. Hi Kristen, thank you for this post. God knows I needed the encouragement. My heart is torn for the friendship that came and is now no more. I’m believing that with God all things are possible. I’m praying and hoping for restoration in my friendship.
    Father I ask that you would grant healing to all these broken hearts. In Jesus Name.

  15. I’ve learned over the years that people change. It may be that we, ourselves have changed such that a friendship is no longer feasible.
    Twenty years ago I moved from my “home” of over twenty years and left everyone and everything. Since that time God has brought me many new friends. Some I stay in contact with. During that time God brought me a very Godly man and a wonderful church family that I will treasure forever!
    Blessings to everyone and prayers for your losses of friendships!

    • I read this tonight after a falling out with my long time friend whom I ‘ve never met in person things were said that should never been said and I feel her pain as well as mine I am praying God will mend our broken heart’s. Thank you Lisa

  16. Thanks for this. In May I graduated from college and left my closest friends. I moved back home to go to grad school and it has been challenging finding friends here again and finding where I am. I still don’t understand everything and still wish I had close friends here, but in this season I know my God is My-More-Than-Enough.

  17. I moved from an apartment into a house a few miles away. My work schedule ( I work nights) is keeping me from seeing a dear friend. We message on Facebook, but she was my strong support ( along with my husband) when I lost my daughter Oct 2011. I haven’t had the time to seek out new friends.

  18. A different direction but this gives me the words I was seeking for to leave with my son after a break-up with a girlfriend of 4 years. Thank you. xoxo

  19. Wow! This seems to be where I am. I’m at a new chapter and the friends that were once apart of my life are barely there. It’s been extremely lonely. There were no fights or a bad break between us it’s just changed. This is my first year without kids at home. Also my best friend moved to a new county and has seemed to move on also. It’s been so hard for me trying to understand why I feel so abandoned.
    Thank you for sharing this. It’s truly a blessing.

    • Some seasons are just like this, aren’t they? Relationships change and fade. So hard. I’m praying now that the Lord fills that lonely space with new blessings beyond what you could ever imagine.

      Thanks for sharing part of your story here, Maralee. You bless us.

  20. Dear Kristen,

    Just reading the titled caused me to drop everything and read your thoughts. 2014 was a season of loss in the friendship department. Currently, we are in transition, seeking what home, church, and job God has for us long-term. I miss the friendships I had and let myself be sad/pray for those that come to mind. I am also learning to savor the times of solitude that God has for me to be focused on Him, my hubby, and guys. I chose to continue to bless the closed doors (be grateful for what was) and ask God for the friendships He has for me to come….soon, I hope!

    Katrina

  21. A male friend of mine has gotten married and started a new business. I am very happy for him because this new business is something he always wanted to do. But, I am feeling left out right now. 🙁

  22. Hello…
    I’m new to (in)courage and to Compel as well.
    This echoes everything hammering in my heart. The relationships in my life that are changing are with my church family. It’s simply time to move on. This has been a lengthy and painful journey to say the least. My husband and I have learned a great deal but now we’re at peace with whatever the Lord has in store for us next. I love each of the 5 truths you’ve posted here…

  23. Kristen,
    This is a topic very close to my heart. I have wrestled with a lot of changing friendships over the last few years and struggled with what is wrong with me that a person can’t stay my friend, and it is something God has been working on teaching me for many months now (I may be a little hard headed over the issue!) But as He is patient with me, He shows me these things regularly, as much as He wants me to learn to cling to Him more than anyone. I recently have been struggling with change at work as my closest friend at work has now moved on to a different job. I am the only believer now in the office and it just shifts things a little bit, and I have wrestled with God over this change yet again. I love what you said about praying for the person moving on. And not assuming the worst in myself when the friend moves on (not in regards to the work friend as much as other friends) and being grateful for the one or 2 friends I do have…and mine are far away, so being a people person, this is a challenge for me. But again, God is showing me some great things through all of this, and your post here is just another way He is speaking His words to me. Thank you for this. I really needed it and appreciated it more than you can know. Blessings to you.

  24. Kristen,
    Thank you so much for this post!!! This was so timely for me.
    A friend I’ve known for about 6 1/2 years is not talking to me. Something I said frustrated her but she won’t tell me specifically what it was. I tried a couple of times to find out what it was but she doesn’t want to talk about it. She said she’s not mad just frustrated. But now she won’t return emails or phone calls. It’s so confusing and hurtful. I feel hurt and sad.
    Everyone I know says to let this friendship go and they tell me that it was a toxic relationship and that I have done all I can to try to mend it. But it’s hard for me to let go even though I know these things are true. I appreciated your statement about giving space to mourn the loss of the friendship. I also appreciated the prayers you suggested. I prayed those immediately.
    The truths I am trying to cling to right now are that God calls me friend and I know that I am a good friend even when this makes me question every friendship I have.

  25. Thank you for this Kristen. It touched me in a different but profound way as I thought about the changing season I am experiencing with two of my sisters since the passing of our father. Thanks for the reminder that everything has a season and that my love and well wishes for them should take precedence over everything else I’m feeling.

  26. Hello Kristen,

    Thank you for sharing this. I started reading this post this morning (prefect timing) just after I received a text that felt distant. I, like Joanne P. have been experiencing a short of “shuffling” with my friendships.

    I have gotten to a point where I realized that my “yes” does matter, and that those “yeses” should belong to those that take time not only in receiving my friendship but also willingly giving. I am also learning to be a “participant” in my friendships instead of just nodding my head and going with the flow.

    • Rose, I love what you said about being an active participant in friendships instead of just nodding your head and going with the flow. That is a good word for me today, too. Thank *you*. xo

  27. Was very apt to come across your blog post today Kristen. Currently going through a very painful split in our church community and when I say community I mean organic community (19 houses in our street) as well as church and associated ministries. Our hearts are to stay connected as friends and who knows what God can bring out of it eventually. Loved your community video too.

  28. I am catching up on my reading today and saw this post. It jumped out at me as if it was written just for me. I moved to a new area about 2 years ago and through work met a wonderful women who I quickly became friends with. We enjoyed good times together and then one day several months later, it ceased. She had helped me through so much, she was my rock when my parents passed away within 4 moths of each other. I still ask myself (a year later) what went wrong? I still don’t know but I am learning to put it behind me. I still see her occasionally , and we still talk but it is not the same. I will always be here for her but have realized that it is time to move on. God has another plan for me.