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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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. “I can be thankful for the abundant good in my life and still be unafraid to call the hard realities what they are: HARD.” I have found that so true! I have to process the hard or it just gets postponed, not avoided. And as an aside, I just last weekend got back from cheering on my oldest son who graduated from Air Force OTS. I’ve been going back through your archives on military life and can’t wait to share with my d-i-l.

    • “I have to process the hard or it just gets postponed, not avoided.” AMEN. That is one powerful sentence, Lisa.

      And congrats to your boy! I’m proud of him with you.

  2. “Life will always be a rhythm of light and dark, easy and difficult realities dancing in tandem together.”

    Thank you so much for this. What a breath of fresh air for my heart.

  3. Kristen,
    I hear the “weary” in your posts. You are in my prayers for room to just breathe and for peace and refreshment. I’m kind of in a soul-weary place too and God is calling me to come, sit, and listen to Him more…to just be in His restoring, illuminating presence. Will you come sit with me there? Thank you for this post this morning…I needed it!

  4. Thank you Kristen. We can’t just ‘get over it’ and move on…so true. Please Jesus shed your light over all our dark places and redeem them for your glory. And please send us ‘safe folks’ to walk it with us.

    • Perfectly said. My heart echoes your prayer through and through.

      So thankful for you here, Wendy. xo

    • This so applies to myself! Living in a small community(52) is sometimes difficult because of the diversity of population you don’t notice in a large city. No one sees the “good” in each other. Constantly picking apart one another. I’m weary of it and
      pray the Lord opens my heart and eyes to the “good” in each.

  5. Thank you Kristen. For the transparency, and the encouragement to just take time to work through the hard things of life. I’ve spent plenty of days this summer in Squabbleville. And some days, I’m. Just. Done. 🙂 But these are the easier parts of my hard right now.

    Walking through the ups and downs as one of our boys struggles to come to grips with one of his realities has sapped me, left me wounded some days. His mood changes and behaviors are so hard to not react to. At times, I feel like I’m alone, though I know I’m not. I’m working through the hard that comes as he works through his. It’s a messy, humbling, choosing-to-love season for us both.

    Thanks for the reminder to embrace the good things in my life in the midst of the hard ones. I needed it today.

    • Jeanne,
      Prayers for strength to endure. God gave you these boys as He knew you could handle them! May He guide you and give you the strength and courage to get through each day! Prayers for peace and contentment!

      Blessings 🙂

  6. Thanks Kristen, I really needed this today! I am struggling with chronic pain and desperately want to do it with Grace, but it is HARD and I am growing so weary without a rest. I know God is still with me through all this and that is how I get through each day. It was just good to read your post today. I will be keeping a copy in my journal too. Thanks!

    • Lina, it *is* hard. HARD. No doubt about it. I’m praying for your chronic pain right now. May rest in Christ settle in your heart and soul soon. So much love to you.

  7. This very brief post of yours is golden! So many nuggets that I want to apply right now!

  8. This post describes so accurately the current balance I’m looking for in my life. I have hard things that have not only taken a seat at my table, but are in the kitchen whipping up the next meal as if they’re here to stay. This usually happy-go-lucky girl seems to have lost her happy-go-luck, and I have been under the impression that the only way to get it back was to get rid of all those bad things, the things that bruise my heart, the disappointment and sorrow, and THEN I could be happy again. But reading this I realized I need to make room for both; life is not an exclusive resort for one or the other. Some days/weeks/months the scale will perhaps tip more eagerly to a certain vantage point, but most days end up being a mixture of both, and that needs to be okay.

    I like your advice of not shoo-ing the bad times away, but welcoming them into the light of Christ, for there they- and I – can be healed for good, not just bandaged in the triage unit and sent out to battle again, weaker than I was before.

    Your post is timely, your words are wise. Thank you for your transparency in which I see my own reflection.

    • Beth, this comment is just stunning. I love the way you write that life is not an exclusive resort for one or the other. Ain’t that the truth!

      And this right here “Thank you for your transparency in which I see my own reflection.” That makes me tear up. Thank you for being here, Beth. xo

      • Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Kristen. I was recounting reading your post again this morning as I drove in to work – God’s timing is amazing as it speaks so directly in to my life at this point.

  9. This was so timely! For some weeks now past hurts have been on a continual “rewind loop” in my brain. Just when I think I have forgiven those wrongs, something stirs up the hurt again. To get through them, I have to give them up to the light, otherwise I’ll be stuck in the same place, listening to same “tape” playing over and over again. It really is wearying!

  10. I think this is ‘life’…difficulties, change, hard things, really hard things ( all on the negative side of ‘life’, of course). Some changes are very difficult… I’m wondering if you are going through what you are going through because of writing that cute little book about ‘change’! I’m thinking you need to thumb back through it. 🙂 I will too. 🙂
    Praying you will feel His great arms surrounding you every day.

    • Oh, I don’t think this particular season is a coincidence, Susan! 🙂 Thanks for the prayers, dear one. Much love.

  11. “There is power in bringing the dark into the Light and letting the love and care of Jesus show us how to deal with it.”

    Needed this post so much. I lost both grandmothers this summer over the course of eleven days. And I haven’t wanted to bring that darkness out. I just wanted to shut it away like that could prevent the shadow from consuming me. But shutting it away only makes the darkness grow, swell, incubate pain. I’m just now realizing that & your post was further confirmation that I need to acknowledge the darkness so God’s Light can help me deal with it and heal from it.

    • Angela,
      So sorry for the losses of your grandmothers. May God bring about healing in your soul, mind and body. I pray for peace and contentment to know they are in a better place. Talk to God about your pain and He will slowly bring about healing to your weary soul!
      Blessings 🙂
      Blessings 🙂

  12. I appreciate the confirmation that it’s ok and possible to be sad/weary/wanting change at the same time as also expressing gratitude for the things that are good. it’s refreshing to hear that sadness and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. “I can be joyous about my blessings without pretending the hard doesn’t exist.” thank you!

  13. I don’t think there is a single sentence of this post that I don’t identify with. Well, okay. I no longer have little ones at home for the summer. But still.

    My youngest sister died of an overdose on April 1st. (that was really hard to type) Needless to say our world was turned upside down. We’ve experienced 7 additional losses since that time. I am so weary that it feels physically painful at times.

    Although I have not found safe people yet, I was trying to push the pain and darkness away but found it only grew more intense. I’ve begun to make myself sit and just feel the pain instead of fearing it.

    Your post has given me additional insight regarding what I need to do while sitting with it. It is not that I haven’t been talking to God about it because I have. It’s just that it feels more like venting than anything and a little shift in perspective has the ability to change that.

    Have a mentioned how thankful I am to have stumbled upon this post today?

    This stood out to me…”When we give our difficult circumstances attention rather than deflection, it exposes them to the light of Christ. Simultaneously, it reduces the dark’s power over them.

    But this means we have to do the work of walking through it, of first keeping company with the harsh parts of our circumstances so we can introduce them to the power of Jesus. One might think that giving the darker parts of our life circumstances room to flex and breathe pushes Hope away. But instead, it becomes the window Hope enters in.

    There is power in bringing the dark into the Light and letting the love and care of Jesus show us how to deal with it.”

    I’ve been crying out to God so much these days. I know He hears us, and I realize there is no “formula” for getting Him to respond. So, I feel sure He’s been helping me/us. However this post brought a change in perspective that I think will be helpful in season of life.

    I need to introduce the harsh parts of our circumstances to the power of Jesus. I’ve already introduced Him to them (and He knows about it all anyway). I never thought about making it a two-way street. Just reading this has made me feel more hopeful. I needed to see things differently. This situation, which is a real painful mess, isn’t going away any time soon. I really needed to consider bringing the dark into the Light and allowing Jesus to show me/us how to deal with it.

    The whole pushing it down, keeping it bottled up has really made me sick and tired. Thank you so much for this post. I’m seeing things a little differently right now.

    • Melinda,
      Prayers for you and your family! May God come, sit with you and comfort you during this most difficult time! Prayers for some peace and contentment within your heart, mind and soul! I pray for soul rest. It is ok to vent to God and ask why. He understands our frustrations and wants to be there for us during these times!
      Blessings 🙂

  14. Kristen,
    I’m a little weary from some of life’s struggles. Last year we moved dad into assisted living and he had multiple medical issues. It was hard to deal with and work at the same time, but I managed somehow. This year, though I quit my job and assist more in his care-we called in hospice on July 17. At this time my hubby is looking for different work in his field. It has been a difficult few years. I find it easy to suppress the hard and not deal with it. If we face it and bring it to light then God will help us through these “trials”.
    Blessings 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing. I know this is an older post but praying all goes well for you. It is so difficult to place a loved one in any unfamiliar surroundings. Having to adjust to this myself, I know God in His wisdom and mercy will help you and all others to cope with this new situation. Blessings!