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. Hi Kristen! WOW this deeply spoke to my heart and spirit this morning. I have been talking to God so much that I don’t understand things (a difficult marriage) in my life but I do trust Him to help and guide me through it.
    This is confirmation that He hears me, He’s with me and I will see the good and blessings of this season.
    God bless you and thank you!

    • You’re so welcome, Jenny. May the Lord continue to graciously encourage you through this season. He is active in your life and is always working to redeem your hardships. Sending you much love!

  2. Kristen,
    I am so thankful I took time out of a packed-schedule day to read this. For a decade, we have lived about 15 minutes from Dayton. There are some folks at the Tipp City church where I attend who work at Wright Patterson Air Force base. My husband is a retired school administrator, still working, so we have moved all over Ohio for his career. Like you, the gray skies are a real struggle for me, but Ohio is home.
    Thank you for your transparent words of encouragement. I really needed them during this week of another senseless and brutal school shooting. They are a reminder we still have much to be thankful for, because God is still our shelter even on the darkest days.

    • “God is still our shelter even on the darkest days.” Thank you for this line, Christina. It’s what I needed to read this difficult week myself.

      And I still miss a lot about Ohio–it is a lovely place to make a home.

      Sending lots of love to you, and may God bless and keep you, Christina!

  3. So beautiful! I give thanks for memories…what if God had not blessed us to hold and recall our memories, good and bad. I think our hearts and our lives would be so empty and lonely! I wouldn’t be the person I am today, without God’s gift of precious memories!
    Blessing to everyone! And I mourn for all those who were affected by the terrible tragedy also. My prayers are with them all.

    • I join you in those prayers, Kathy. Jesus, be close.

      Ya know, I don’t think I ever stopped to think about what it would be like to not have the ability to recall memories. What a gift of grace indeed that I didn’t know to name until your wise direction here! Thank you, Kathy!

  4. Aww… thank you for sharing. I grew up in Ashtabula Ohio but have lived almost all my adult life in California. I try to go back every 5 years or so. I am 60 now and it is getting harder each time because family and friends are no longer there. All family is gone and only one friend left. Was thinking the other day, not sure I ever want to go back again. Your post is encouraging to reconsider visiting again. Blessings to you and your family.

  5. Thanks so much for your encouraging reminder that these hard seasons contain beauty and help us to grow closer to the Lord. He has a purpose in our pain, and that is easy to lose sight of in the middle of the pain. I thank him for not wasting one moment of our lives, and that he is not surprised even when we face the unexpected. God help us to focus on the good he faithfully provides.

  6. Kristen,

    God uses all our pains & trials to strengthen us & bring us back to Him. Isaiah 61:1,3 says it best: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning. Isaiah 40:31 says Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. We must have hope in Jesus. Remembering the past is part of that. Think back to all the trials & tribulations God has gotten you through. He did it then & He will do it again. God will give you joy & beauty for the ashes!

    Blessings 🙂