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...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Kristen,
    Oh the curse of unmet expectations. I find myself being a little selfish. God has given me the very best of Himself. He’s given me the gift of His Son who was born in a lowly manger and suffered a tortuous death so that I would be set free, yet I find myself complaining about other unmet expectations. This year has really challenged me to boil it all down to the basics. No, I may not have had the trips or experiences or interactions that I would have liked, but nothing (even COVID) can take away my gift of salvation – freedom from judgment. I need to let His light illuminate all the dark corners of my spirit this Advent season. Joining with you in letting go of the minor unmet expectations and clinging to the major light of the world.
    Bev xx

    • Bev,

      Your reply made me think of this song “Basics of Life” by 4 Him. You should listen to it when you have time.

      Blessings Have a great advent!! 🙂

    • Bev, I think this past year has led most of us to “boil it all down to the basics.” I love the thought of letting go of frustrations that may in one sense be a major part of our lives but are, in the end, minor in the overwhelming light of Jesus. Love you!

  2. “ Change always exposes expectations. And if we can dare to release those expectations, it might make room for other good things — better things — God has for us.” Beautiful writing and wonderful message!! Thank you for the reminder!

  3. Good Morning, I look forward to hearing words of encouragement to help me start my day.
    Live Laugh Love…

  4. This is so good, Kristen! This surely is not the hardest Christmas season for my family. Our hardest so far came in 2003, when one of our daughters wss deathly ill and had given up her will to survive. That daughter now is fairly healthy, married to a wonderful man and has a sweet 4 year old daughter of her own! So every Christmas now, we celebrate coming out of that period. This season is miles easier. For us.

    • Irene, praise the good Lord for your daughter’s turnaround! You encourage me that though this season is a hard one for me and others, we will one day be able to look back and celebrate coming out of that period. We will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! xo

  5. My life, tradisions, and holidays have forever been changed this year. I am not only going through a divorce after a 19 year marriage, I lost my mother who lived with me to Covid. Everything has changed. I don’t do well with change but, I am learning to. God’s light is definitly helping me.

    • Sabrina God loves you. You remember you are Daughter of the King of Kings that King is Jesus. Look us Don Moen on YouTube the song is God will make a way were there seems no way. Don Moen wrote the song. God will make a way for you to shine through all this. Listen to the song. It will help you. My prayers are with you. Dawn Ferguson-Little xx

    • Sabrina, I’m so, so sorry for all your heartbreaking loss. That’s a lot to deal with in one short year. You are in my prayers right this second. May God show you today a tangible sign of his love and presence. Sending you so much love from my heart to yours.

  6. Kristen – thank you so much for this encouragement today. It is exactly what my heart needed today.


  7. Lovely, Kirsten. A reminder, also, that two thousand and twenty years ago people were struggling with fear and worry. They desperately needed some light at the of their dark, seemingly endless, tunnel.
    And Light came, a totally unexpected Light which still burns strong today if only we cling to His hope.
    A couplet from a paperback booklet printed at the end of WWll, when London and many British cities were still in ruins, ran:

    When hope was but a candle flame, we held on tight. How much more quickly can we hold now hope shines bright.

    Let us refuse to have the powers of darkness extinguish the Light’s visibility to all of us who need it.

    • Elizabeth, that booklet quote made me tear up. I love that so much.

      I also love the way you say, “Let us refuse to have the powers of darkness extinguish the Light’s visibility to all of us who need it.” Amen.

  8. I hate the dark. But I love your reading Kirsten. But what God has shown me. About the darkness. Not to be afraid of it. To remember I am a little light in my corner of the world that I live in. In that corner of the world I can shine my light for Jesus. By the way I live for him. We all can be lights in our corners of the world for Jesus no matter were we live. So as the unsaved can see Jesus in me and you. Like the kids song. You get it on YouTube “That little light of mine am going to let it shine let it shine for all to see”. That is what God what me to do and not be afraid of the dark. Remember God will not let anything happen to me. Especially at night. We are the light of the world. We are to shine for Jesus every were we go. Plus like we are the Church. Not the big fancy building with brick and water. Nice and all as it is. The Church is the people who are saved. Who help God people. Those in need etc and to do that we need to shine with the love of Jesus Love in our hearts to a world out there that needs Jesus. Doing what Jesus would have done when on earth. Help those in need loving people and children of all walks of life like Jesus did. Red and Yellow Black And White. Showing we are different. Shinning the Godly Love were everywhere we go. Especially to the hurting the lost the lonely. We can do that during the Pandemic. By phoning someone we know and asking them is there anything I can get you in the shop if going to the shop. In not allowed in their homes. Leave it on their door for them. Or if got a dog. Walk it for them. Like I do for my elderly Dad. They can’t do it. If allowed in the house of older person. Go visit them. They be glad to see you. Put on wash for them if elderly. They might take longer doing it. If see dishes in sink just do them for them. This all shinning Jesus light. You know Jesus will bless you for doing it. You be letting the light of Jesus into their lives. Even if they don’t know it. I do things like this for my elderly Dad. He says Dawn you put on wash for me. You got me coal and logs for the fire. You did my dishes. I would have got round to doing them myself. It might have taken long. But I have got it done eventually. But thank you. I know he appreciates me doing this for him. As it would take him longer doing it. Plus tired him out doing it. I do not just because he my Dad. Because I love him and on to Jesus. My Dad not saved. I said I do it for you because I love you Daddy. Dad said no need I can do it myself. But I want to out of love. In my heart to show him Jesus in me as well. As you can’t tell my Dad he needs to get saved or he tell me keep that to yourself. So I live my life for Jesus in front of my Dad. Plus pray for his Salvation. Because I care. I did for his Mum when alive too. Years ago. To let my love of Jesus shine. Through me. Love today’s reading. Love all incourage readings. Pray for you all. Dawn Ferguson-Little xxxxx ❤️

  9. Kristen,

    Sometimes I want a little dark. This may sound crazy, but when showering I light a candle & use the time & place as a prayer room. It is quiet no one there but me & God. Between society & our own selves we have many expectations of how things should happen. When they don’t turn out like we want then we can get a little upset. We begin to complain about how life is unfair. We have to realize that Christmas is more than lights, trees & gifts. It is about the ultimate gift of a baby born in a manager who died a horrible death on a cross. This post reminds me of two songs “It’s a bout the Cross” by the Ball Brothers & “Leaving Heaven” by Matthew West.

    Yes Covid may make this holiday season different, but the real meaning is about God who willingly gave His only son to be born of a Virgin & die a horrible death on a cross so we could have real life one day. That alone is a most precious gift any one could give,

    Blessings 🙂

    • Yes, I too love warm light in a room–candle light and soft lamplight. But you’re right–to enjoy their light I need to have some dark! True, true. I just don’t generally love a completely dark room, ya know? BUT I always enjoy your wise contributions to this community, dear Beth!

  10. Thank you especially for this, Kristen: “Change always exposes expectations. And if we can dare to release those expectations, it might make room for other good things — better things — God has for us.” Several life-experiences of the past come to mind, including moves to new communities that I did not want to face. Yet each time, God had good things planned for us. As new changes are bound to occur in our future, may I remember your encouragement to release expectations and make room for the good things GOD has for us. Advent blessings to you and your family, Kristen!