Back Roads to Belonging
Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People
At one time or another, shifting seasons in family, friendships, employment, and communities will bring each of us face-to-face with the feeling of being on the outside looking in. Because we are made for connection, this will often lead us down one of two roads. Either we will hop on the popular but crowded highway that asks us to do whatever it takes to get noticed, or we'll stand still, paralyzed by the fear that we're not important, loveable, or worth other people's time and attention.
But what if there is another way? With an understanding voice that will speak into your own circumstances, Kristen Strong walks beside you along the less traveled but more satisfying third way--the back road way--to belonging: remaining in Christ and relaxing into the unique role God has for you. Along the way, you will learn simple, doable actions that not only will help you feel and know that you belong but will welcome others in as well.
"It's time to trade in the lie of being left out for the truth that there's a place where you were made to belong! Don't know how to get from here to there? Kristen is the kind of guide who will pick you up with coffee in one hand and a bouquet of real, honest stories in the other and drive you there in person, with music and laughter blaring all the way. This book is your instant invitation to belonging. All you have to do is accept it."
Lisa-Jo Baker, bestselling author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood
"This book is an invitation to sit on a front porch swing with Kristen Strong--a woman who truly knows how to encourage and who understands what it's like to feel alone and finally find your heart's real home. I've considered Kristen a dear friend for years, and now I'll also think of her as my wise and helpful 'Belonging Mentor.' Take a seat, turn to the first page, and you will too."
Holley Gerth, bestselling author of You're Already Amazing and Fiercehearted
"Maybe this sounds like you: you're on the isolating back roads of life--miles away from where you want to be--and feeling like you'll never find your way, like you'll never really belong. Along comes our friend Kristen, who deeply understand the struggle you face. She is a trusted companion who will point you to the One who is on those back roads with you. This book contains unforgettable lessons on belonging as well as specific action steps to help you find peace on days when it seems like you're all alone. Don't miss this book!"
Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of It's All Under Control and The Happiness Dare
"Back Roads to Belonging is a gentle, walk-beside-you companion for those longing for community and connection. The phrase 'back roads' says it all. This is no strident, finger-wagging book. This isn't a book of instant solutions. It is a loving message from a friend who has been there and back again and speaks to us in a voice that is folksy and friendly, wise and warm. Now I understand that back roads, though they require patience, attentiveness, and a willingness to walk a quieter way, also offer beautiful views and intimate encounters. Kristen shares her own hard-earned wisdom and the wisdom of many others in order to remind us that no matter how far we wander, we can never wander outside of God's love."
Christie Purifoy, author of Roots and Sky and Placemaker
"Kristen's generous voice, using storytelling that is both hilarious and poignant, offers us the comfy cushion on the couch and the best throw pillow to hug against our fluffy spots as she scooches over to make room for our fears, our insecurities, and our 'we don't belong' feelings, and then she leans in close and whispers in the pages, 'Belonging is woven into our being.' It is a gift for us all, nothing asked, nothing earned. Back Roads to Belonging invites us to explore those woven places with Kristen, a trusted companion, who's picked at the threads herself and discovered a God who's stitched a masterpiece in each one of us and called us beloved."
Alia Joy, author of Glorious Weakness
"We were created to belong, yet so many of us feel like we don't. On the outside looking in, we hold on to a hidden ache, wondering what defect we have that keeps us from being invited in. Our only option is to try harder, offer more, do whatever it takes. Or perhaps stop trying, stop caring, stop feeling. But what if there is another option? Kristen Strong shows us there is! Filled with stories we can relate to and powerful truths we need, Back Roads to Belonging shows us an uncommon path that leads to the place where we already belong. Buy this book for the days when you feel all alone and for the times when you want to write your own invitation to a place where others feel invited in!"
Renee Swope, bestselling author of A Confident Heart and former radio cohost for Proverbs 31 Ministries
"Kristen's book is a wonderful testimony to the power of belonging. In a time when so many are held back by uncertainty, wrestle with insecurity, and are confused about their identity and calling, this book provides a needed--and deeply practical--path forward: rest and contentment in Jesus. Kristen's words are deep and brimming with honesty, humor, and a realness that you'll love and relate to. I found myself refreshed, challenged, and inspired."
Dominic Done, author of When Faith Fails: Finding God in the Shadow of Doubt
"Who hasn't wondered, Do I belong here? And who hasn't staked her entire identity on the answer to that question? In Back Roads to Belonging, Kristen vulnerably tells her own stories of feeling out and finding her way in . . . but maybe not in the exact ways you'd think. Kristen shows us the view from the 'back roads,' which require us to first belong to ourselves and to God before we will ever experience belonging with others. Finding our seat at the table is fulfilling, to be sure, and Kristen beautifully reminds us that our chair was there all along."
Leeana Tankersley, author of Begin Again
"Our hearts ache for a place to belong, yet so often our fears and insecurities keep us from the journey God intends. With biblical insight and practical encouragement, Kristen's grace-filled and powerful storytelling compels us to take the slow route to our own place of genuine belonging. The more I read Back Roads to Belonging, the more I want to find that place. Definitely a recommended read."
Jen Schmidt, speaker, host of the Becoming Conference, author of Just Open the Door, and founder of the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam blog