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. This was such a message from God this morning. I’m a teacher and I’m working on a new curriculum for the class I’ve taught for 20 years. But because it’s web based and I’m the least technological person you’ll ever meet, I’m really wallowing in self-doubt. Last night I just laid it out there and said “Lord, help!” Thank you for the very timely reinforcement!

    • I am so proud of you Lou. God will bless you through this. The children are lucky to have such a brave teacher.

    • To have even thought of taking that step into the unknown, with fear just whispering all around you, is already a victory Lou ♡
      Thank You! For Honoring Our Lord with your Bravery, and with your Faith, secure in the knowledge that He is greater than your fears!

    • Lou,

      Praising you for taking the first step into the unknown. God will help you get through this! Cheering you from the sidelines!!

      Blessings 🙂

  2. So true Kristen! And this is a sacred echo for me as I was just reading Still Writing by Dani Shapiro and she writes about this very thing — writing from what you know. It doesn’t mean you have to be an expert to communicate a message God gives you but you may have empathy or experience that informs the art that is your life. Lovely!

    • Shelly, a big wave to you!

      I just added Still Writing to my queue for books on writing because it sounds right up my alley. Thanks so much for the recommend…and for your fantastic thoughts here. Love you!

  3. I’ll admit that I was among the eye-rolling scorners of country music — until my boys started listening to it, and now I catch myself listening for the plot, pondering the lyrics, and realizing that there is, at times, some home spun wisdom there for me. Thanks for anchoring this observation in a way that will help my writing and my thinking.

  4. Oh how i sooooooooooo relate to you!!! i was Oklahoma born, but moved to a Colorado ranch when i was 2 – close to “the Springs” ! :oD

    i was perhaps somewhat accosted in love yesterday for tolerating another person’s “spirituality” and not confronting “it” head on. i know the person’s heart, so was not offended. But, also knew i could never get in the words – i’m just not built, called, or led like that. But – thank God for those who are. The blessing is “iron sharpens iron” so these words were honed during my devotions = sometimes called to place Jesus in front of people, sometimes called to place Jesus beside people, sometimes called to place Jesus behind people. satan calls in our desire to place the same way for all people in all circumstances.

    Since i knew i’d probably not get a chance to literally voice these sentiments i was in prayer over sending a thankyou to my friend for providing a frame work to find my philosophical voice. Thank you for your devotion. It was God’s answer to a prayer.

    • I love that idea that sometimes we are called to place Jesus in front, beside, or behind people. Thanks so much for sharing this, Bonnie! It blessed me. xo

  5. You spoke to my heart today. Thank- you. Thank – you Thank – you. I have been working on starting a handmade business. In the business books you read they state to move to the next level you have to create similar pieces to those already being sold to the masses to have a major success. Essentially give the public what it wants. I have had some success with custom pieces and this is the creative gift I believe God has given to me. I have struggled with this over and over. Your post today was a gift to me.

    “Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.” {Ephesians 4:7} I have written it in my journal and it will be posted on my work room wall.

  6. What I message! Cannot wait to start your book Kristen Strong. What I know is this; walking through the dailyness of chronic illness and sharing my story of Grace as I walk this path.

  7. Because when you create from what you know, you create from who you are …

    Love this Kristen.

    You know I think my writing does that AND I also struggle wanting to reach more … you know grow the ministry. Your words seem to say, don’t worry about the numbers, be faithful to your creation, to God’s creation of me.

    Hmmmmm, I’ll be pondering.

    It’s good that we’ll be neighbors.

    • Well, in regards to that struggle, join the club, Sue. I and so many others can relate! But I’m so thankful for the way you faithfully create from who you are and what you know. It’s a gift to so many!

      And hooray for being neighbors! Much love to you.

  8. “Because when you create from what you know, you create from who you are.” So true! This is beautiful. We are all created so differently and it can be hard to stop the comparison game.

  9. Thanks for the encouragement! I have been stepping out in faith and blogging about being single into my thirties and trying to be an encouragement to others because I know how tough it is! Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. Classically trained musician with country music in her blood over here too!

    And I needed to be reminded to start from what I know today. Thanks!

  11. Barbara Mandrell is the answer to the trivia question:) And thank you for sharing these lovingly wise words. They were just the anchor I needed to settle the swirling questions in my mind.

  12. Love this encouragement! What you create won’t be for everyone but it will be for some. That’s such a great reminder that we aren’t called to help the whole world, just those God has assigned to us. Love it! Thanks for the inspiration today.

  13. I am still trying to figure out what I know, or more accurately, how what I know looks. I know that I am called to be a writer. I know that I have a passion for nature, specifically birds. I know that I have dreams of seeing the course offerings for both religion and the environment & nature writing (i.e. creative writing + environmental values) grow at The Ohio State University, my alma mader. I know that I absolutely love the work of authors such as Tolkien and Lewis and that, as a result of reading about Middle Earth and Narnia as a kid and still as an adult, my imagination sometimes goes wild with ‘what ifs’. What if the birds could talk to one another? (They do, in their way, but you understand what I mean). What if the trees really did have spirits that could speak? What if dragons actually existed?? All of this gets me both fired up and as giddy as a kid in a candy store. I just don’t really know what it all looks like outside of my head, is the problem.

  14. Answer to the challenge question: Barbara Mandrell 😉

    It’s like the bloom where you’re planted theme of the 90s and the Scripture on being content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11). It’s not to stifle creativity but to refine it. Thank you for a great analogy and the encouragement to press on toward the prize (Philippians 3:14) using what we know to be the blessing to others with all God has given to and planned for us. Thank you for doing your part and blessing us by your obedience. To God be the Glory.

  15. Love of country music. Back years and years ago when I was raising my seven with God as my coach, and work at custom sewing. I used to shut down my sewing for an hour each day and sit at my large work table with my Bible and my notebooks and soak up Dr. Charles Stanley’s teachings. I was struggling with not wanting to step out of my comfort zone and witness.

    One morning the Lord spoke into my heart “Give up those music tapes.” I dismissed that as “not God.” Within a week my elderly mother was working to load up a table at the senior center with her craft items and of course, I had to do the work. God said, “take those tapes.” I did. One woman asked me what was wrong with them. “Nothing, it is a discipline thing. They are not good for where I am in my walk right now.” I gave my testimony, she gathered up the entire number, and I’ve not stopped telling others how great He is since.

  16. ” When you let your gift dance with what you know, you will create something that delights the Creator and amazes us.” I hope you don’t mind me quoting you on that. And you are right, I know what I write about may not appeal to everyone, the main thing is didn’t give up on my gift. I thought I just matured from country music and baseball to opera and ballet, but that’s okay. In my Father’s house are many mansions, there’s room for all kinds of people and all sorts of gifts. I know about children and I hope I can help them find their gifts.

  17. Thanks for this encouraging and timely message!

    I started a blog the first of this year, after having many friends and family suggest it because of some (long) posts I had written on Facebook. I also have the blessing of resources to start up “free”, as my husband does SEO and websites, so he set up and hosts my blog (and is there to help). I have an almost seventeen-year old son who designed my logo, and my older (almost nineteen) son who is very technical, so I have good support (for this not-so-techy girl).

    I am still working at narrowing down the real purpose of my blog, and experimenting with different types of posts, etc., but one thing I do know is that I do have something to offer. It may not be super-specific (yet), but I know I need to keep sharing. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, really, and had the privilege of attending Bible college for three years, so I think I’ve learned something. Also, my sister and I have discussed the fact that many of the wonderful, practical things we learned from our parents and grandparents, and assume everyone knows, are actually unknown by many people.

    I love to share both encouragement and practical “helps” to support women in their journey and with their homes and families. I pray that God will continue to use my gifts in this stage of my life.

  18. Wow… Just wow.. This was a message aimed strait at my heart. I’ve been struggling and fighting over something I know God is calling me to do. I just never feel quite good enough or qualified enough, or that there’s someone who could do a better job. But thank you for reminding me that it isn’t a competition when it comes to the Kingdom. We all have our roles to play, and I was created for this. At 31, I’m finally ready and prepared for this next chapter. I’m going to step forward in faith-and a little fear. But where I am weak, He is strong. That’s what I know- that alone I can do nothing, but I can do what I am called to do through Christ who gives me strength.

    So thank you for writing this from another country-loving Okie girl. I really needed these words.

  19. Kristen,

    I, too, was country when it wasn’t cool–back in the 80s-90s. I remember well the Judds, Statler Brothers, George Strait, and Clint Black to name a few. I love music and have some knowledge of sign language. I combine the two for special music at my church. My gift from God is encouragement. I try to pray for and encourage people daily. We need to create from what we know and let God do the rest.

    Blessings 🙂

  20. This was so encouraging to me! I am a single mom of 3 kids and found myself needing income fast. I had been out of the work force for 10 years. Yet I desperately wanted to continue to be at home with my kids. I have always been artistic and have had many talks with God about why He gave me these gifts. I just wanted to use them. Well, fast forward to the present. I may not be doing painting and drawing, but I am funneling my creativity into a sewing/handmade business and teaching private art lessons. These jobs are allowing me to work from home! Those gifts I have always wanted to use are now putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. I love the part at the end about how using our creativity delights the Creator. I need to remind myself of that.