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. Can I ever relate!!! When I was newly married, my husband and I moved 14 times in 10 years. We had 2 boys. Then I was diagnosed with Lupus—well, that was the end of our marriage–the MD said he pulled away from me like a dog that had rabies! We were in Salt Lake City with the FBI. I loved it there–everyone was so nice and friendly. 4 seasons!!! Kids loved the snow! Good schools! Even found a Baptist Church!! Soon the underlying became obvious and my husband flat told me that I was socially unacceptable due to having Lupus. After a 2 year custody/ divorce battle, the Lord knew who need to have the kids-me. The youngest-4 said we needed to move to my mom and dad’s–they had been coming out from Arkansas every winter for Christmas for 4 years. So we really had to go, dad did not play nice. Upon moving to Arkansas, where RN’s are not paid well and communities are very closed it was hard to make friends because it seemed that everyone was related to everyone. I found a wonderful church, but being young (30) and divorced, no young women wanted me around. In time, though God did work and I found a job with a State hospital, there everyone was related in some way to everyone, but I was invite into their lives! It took a long time, but finally it was home.

    • Betsy, I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, and I’m so thrilled that you’ve found your place where others invite you into their lives! What hope your story gives. Much love!

    • Betsy,

      Wow! You’ve been through so much in your young life. Praying God will infuse more peace & calm into your life now. Asking God to bring more friends into your life & your children as well.

      Blessings 🙂

  2. I am a recent (Nov. 2019) transplant to Colorado. I moved here to be near my daughter after my husband died. I understand the gardening challenges, and the weather -although coming from Maine it is a lot easier to deal with the weather here. And while I have made a couple of new friends that have become important to me and I have become involved in a church. I still do not feel settled. My life is not what I had pictured it would look like at my age (68), or living here near my daughter. Covid certainly hasn’t helped by keeping me more isolated. But I take encouragement from you words today and for reminding me that I need to reach out more and be patient to grow my roots. Thank you, Kristen.

  3. I often pray that our faith roots would grow fat & deep. From a pray-ers perspective I want that growth to be quick & painless. But from a gardener’s perspective it’s going to take time & a root end pushing into hard soil is going to be hard work & not comfortable, maybe even painful. Does anyone that mean I should stop praying that prayer? No way! Just as deep roots of a plant produces fertile, beautiful, useful plants. Fat deep faith roots bring healing & beauty to others & glory to the Master Gardener. May all our faith roots be fat & deeply rooted in the water table of His Word! Blessings upon blessings!

  4. I love this! For me though, it feels like my CO grew even stronger after I left! Lol.
    Crossing our fingers we get back there in summer 2023!

  5. It’s so funny in a nice way to read others points of view about the state (CO) that I was born and grew up in. I was born in southern Colorado but grew up in a very small farming community east of Pueblo. I spent summers in Colo. Springs and I have lived in several states as an adult. Yet for me Colorado is home. I think the mountains are the draw.
    Driving across the plains from Kansas and that first sight of Pikes Peak has always thrilled my soul. Kinda like how I felt the first time I saw the ocean. Small and awe struck!!!
    Yes I know how you felt trying to fit in some place. I lived in Missouri for 6 years near Ft. Leonard-wood and never felt like I fit anywhere. But now that we are “home” again I still don’t feel like I fit in. Things change, actually we change as well. Needs we once had seem to no longer exist. So like a very popular book many years ago, we must bloom where we are planted.
    I feel like we are on a train ride to the Promised Land and we are just enjoying the sights along the way going toward our true destination. So enjoy your trip and remember who the conductor is.
    Just think how much more beautiful and fragrant your lilac bush will be after having to wait for it. Happy gardening.

  6. Hi Kristin,

    Thanks for your encouraging words. My husband and I have experienced several major cross-country moves–from Oklahoma to Southwestern Louisiana to Long Island to Florida to now, Nashville. My moving verse is Psalm 139:9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in [near] the uttermost parts of the sea [Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic] even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” And even in the middle of the country, too!

    Every move has been difficult and I hate starting over, finding in my experience that it takes two years before the new place starts to feel a bit normal and I start to feel at home–finding a new church and new friends, along with getting the new license plates, doctors, dentists, etc. But even now, God knows where we are and cares for us–even in this new place of supporting parents and being far from our grown daughters. It’s not easy, but we have His help and look forward to our permanent home with the Lord and no more good-byes. 🙂

    • I LOVE the scripture you’ve chosen for moving, Psalm 139:9–it’s perfect! Thank you so much for sharing. For one of our moves God gave me Ruth 2:11-12. My husband was a pastor and we were heading to a church in trouble. God DID richly reward us as the church revived and we were blessed with life-long friends.

  7. Oh my goodness, today’s encouragement made me tear up! I can relate in so many ways. We have lived in our current town for 5 years, and while I love it up here, in many ways it doesn’t feel like home yet. Thank you for making me feel like it’s ok if my roots aren’t growing as fast as I thought they would!

  8. Kristen,

    Change is often hard. It takes lots of time for people to get settled into community. I should know. I’ve been in this small community 18 years now & finally feel like I belong. Get more involved in activities & volunteerism. The same is true for our small church. Most people are related in some way. Even my husband’s ex-in-laws go there. It was difficult at first, but I’ve made many a wonderful friend. I wouldn’t trade living in upper E. TN (Watauga/Carter County) for anything. Love this small town. Yes it takes time for roots to grow deep.

    Blessings 🙂

  9. Such wonderful encouragement, Kristen. I too have struggled to feel at home in new locations, though surely not as often as you. (We’ve lived in nine different cities.) That moment when a house feels like home and a church feels like family is glorious, for sure! But you are so right: As we wait for that moment, God works in powerful ways, teaching us trust, patience, perseverance, courage, and more. Thank you, Kristen!

  10. Oh I can so relate! While I love the PNW, the winters seem to become grayer and oh so long the more time I’m here. And making friends, sometimes, most times, feels rather drought like. And yet, while I long to travel, and get up and go, I hear God’s nudge to be here now. And for that, I choose to be grateful. Thank you for wise, honest words, Hoping you’re lilac is prolific this year and you post beautiful pictures of it’s blooms.