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. Having been a transplant many times over through the military and government, I know how hard it is to find the right fit–of people and of churches. It takes a lot of prayer and trying “on”. My kids only had one major move, thank God!!! It was when they were 5 and 9 respectively. They moved from a place where they were different–in culture and religion to home. Where my parents lived and where our values were the norm. Yet still they had to find their place. Thankfully the youngest was starting kindergarten and the oldest 4th grade and his teacher made his transition very easy!!! Our new church welcomed us with open arms—we were just where God wanted us!!! God does often pave the way for change in the locations in our lives! I’m glad He does!

    • I love that picture of God paving the way for the change in our locations. And I bet your kids’s lives and perspectives were enriched by living in a different culture when they did. God makes it all work together for us!

      So thankful your children’s big transitions went well. Good teachers make all the difference!

      Sending love, Betsy!

  2. Kristen, this devotional speaks to me in so many ways. My dad retired from the Navy before I started school. That didn’t stop us from moving 27 times and attending 21 schools (if you only count them one time) between kindergarten and high school graduation. Yet, I wouldn’t change anything about my childhood. In hindsight, all of it prepared me for a career as a software consultant able to move from client to client with relative ease.
    I am an introvert which made it harder to fit in, so I looked for the girl who looked like she didn’t fit in either. I have life long friends from an early life path that should have given me very little but gave me so much.
    My prayer for everyone on the path of pack, move, unpack and then do it all again is that they look for the unseen and see them, accept them and love them. It brings so much joy for them and you will be blessed much more than you could imagine.

    • Donna, your comment here is gold. This is how we not only bring outsiders in during those times we are outsiders as well, but it’s how we affirm our belonging, too. And GOOD GOLLY– 21 schools in 12 years?!? Well, that makes your testimony and hard-fought wisdom all the more powerful and purposeful. Thanks so much for taking the time to share here, Donna. xo

  3. So true …and multiplied so much more with kids and adults affected by disability. I’ve seen many Christians in “good churches” shun those that are different or have social skill deficits. Each of us are made in His image and are worthy of friendship

  4. My child is a 35-year-old new mom and it is still hard to know that she is struggling to find good friends. Thank you for this encouragement.

  5. Thank you for sharing this, as a military spouse of almost 25 years and a mom of two I so appreciate this message. Unfortunately churches and youth groups can be some of the toughest places in which to find belonging. We are so grateful to those who have stepped outside their circles❤️

    • Sadly, I’ve found the same to be true at times. And like you, I’m endlessly grateful to those who have bravely and kindly stepped outside their own circles to welcome us in.

  6. Kristen,

    It’s hard being the newbie in any situation. Everyone seems to have their “cliques” & don’t want to allow others in. They are content with the way things are now. Even some churches can be “blind” to new people So how does one make friends in a new place? Sometimes we have to take the first step & introduce ourselves. That isn’t always easy. I remember 18 years ago being the newbie at church my hubby & his ex-wife attended. We sat with his ex-in-laws. One of the elder’s wife saw me & came over to welcome me. The pastor & his wife hugged me on the way out. Now I’m one of the oldies. I do my best to welcome any new. Just walk over & say “hello I’m glad you’re here.” Wanting to make that initial connection & maybe start a new friendship. Our church is small & we can use more members. Wanting to make people feel welcome & keep coming back.

    Blessings 🙂