Back Roads to Belonging: Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People

Back Roads to Belonging: Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People

by Kristen Strong, Shannan Martin

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493417902
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/06/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 125,601
File size: 10 MB

About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with more hope and less worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children. Together this military family zigzagged across the country (and one ocean) several times before settling in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can find her at, DaySpring's (in)courage, and on Instagram @kristenstrong.

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Back Roads to Belonging: Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Jenny-U 6 days ago
We all want to belong. Trying to understand why the "inside" isn't where we always are meant to be is hard and Kristen speaks of her experiences and others' experiences on that. Resonating in so many ways for me. No finger pointing, no guilt, just genuine feelings.
Wordmachine 6 days ago
This is for people that struggle with finding the belonging places with people to belong with in their lives. It will help people to focus on where they are currently belonging while in their season of waiting to belong in other places and to keep persevering until they find that belongingness in their lives. It is broken down into three parts: Wandering (which I'm great at), Finding, and Inviting. It shows that we have a responsibility as followers of Jesus (Yeshua) to help other people find their belonging places also, and to help them understand better when they have found them when they hear that they are invited when they are at certain places and with certain people (but they would need to discern that for themselves). It also helps people discover when they don't fit in places they want to belong when they try something that doesn't fit so that they can better discern when something does. This book will also help people realize that finding their belonging places that God wants them to be at is a lifelong practice, so they should not always assume they're going to stay where they feel like they currently belong. I'm so grateful for the blessing of being able to read this book! I think I'm one of the people that was supposed to read it because of the subject matter but also because of the "back roads" in the title. I avoid freeways a lot and go back roads as much as possible when I'm traveling somewhere. Even though it focused a lot on mother-to-mother relationships, it spoke to me in many ways as a single woman without children. It kind of surprised me that the author is a wife and mother and she still felt like she didn't belong so that gives me some hope for my situation because I learned that even mothers feel like they don't belong sometimes. One of the things that really stuck out at me was to let the places and spaces where you feel you belong be your launching place(s). The place I feel the most "in" right now is where I work. So, in some kind of way, I think that my workplace might be my launching place for some other area I don't feel "in" yet. Another place I feel "in" at is the congregation I have been attending. It took me awhile to feel "in" in some ways and I'm still trying to take steps to see if I'm supposed to be "in" in other ways. I love how the author encourages people not to berate themselves for not belonging where God never intended for them to belong, which I often have done. I also loved the beautiful story of someone the author shared about who brought someone into her family that had aged out of the foster care system. I love the messages of hope in this book, which I first noticed in the Introduction about gathering hope and belief while traveling the back roads of belonging together. And, that God's Word will move you to the center of hope when you feel unlovable and beyond help (page 92), and more. I think this book will get the attention of many people who are struggling to belong and will help them to persevere into finding their belongings places (spaces) with people they belong with. It will help them to not give up to trying to find the people and places they belong with/at. My review= 4.5 out of 5 stars Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
ElaineLK 6 days ago
Every once in awhile, a book comes along that hits me right where I am in life at the moment. That is Back Roads to Belonging. As Kristen Strong talked about the need for personal connections, I felt like she'd been reading my mail! Kristen Strong is well experienced with being the new person as her husband is in the military and they've moved often. Out of her own life experiences, Kristen shares principles to help the reader connect with God, with themselves and with others. In addition, she brings in life stories from both biblical people and contemporary people. And each section ends with a beautiful blessing based on the chapters. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is desiring to belong and is needing a fresh approach to finding that way.
Anonymous 6 days ago
Back Roads to Belonging, by Kristen Strong, is a book that shows “unexpected paths” to find “your place and your people”. As a military wife, the author has experienced being the “outsider” on numerous occasions. She knows what it feels like to not belong and is open about sharing about her past with her readers. Not belonging is a topic that is often addressed towards kids and teenagers, but adults can have the same type of feelings. This book is helpful because it encourages readers to find their identity in Christ. It is divided into three parts: Wandering, Finding and Inviting. Each section is filled with examples and lessons from the Bible as well as Strong’s own life. The part that resonated with me the most was the Inviting section. As an introvert, it is easiest for me to stick with the friends I already have instead of making a concerted effort to reach out to others. Strong shows us how the smallest gestures of kindness can mean so much to others who may feel like that they do not “belong”. Her examples illustrate how important it is to show the love of God to others.
benhli38 7 days ago
I want to paint a picture for you here: maybe you're a bit slow, possibly a bit "fluffy" around the middle, maybe not the smartest stack in the pile, or as some say, "A round peg in a square hole;" the point is made clear: "You're not wanted or desired here." Society does that to people. Pigeon-holing those they deem as weak. But God says, "I use the weak things of the world to confound the wise" (1 Corinthians 1:27). Even Jesus called twelve men, most of them fishermen to disciple them to reach out and be "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). As I sit here and reflect on fair and honest, as well as God's justice, His mercy, and to walk in humility I find myself asking one thing: How can I honestly give a book a good review so that others will read it themselves and to point others in doing the same? She starts off on the very first page, in the Introduction, "From the get go, I'm going to spell out for you one of my greatest fears in life...I fear I don't belong where I want to belong to." I believe we all have that same kind of justifiable fear, rightfully so. I can and will say this, Kristen Strong does an amazing job showing compassion and care for others, faultlessly. She's also great at encouraging, no doubt. So, I can vouch for her on that. Even if it seems touch and go at the start of reading Back Roads to Belonging is a bit rough, stick with it; she has a point she's trying to make. It may take a stretch of road to get there, but get there she does. I received a complimentary copy of this book for a fair and honest review from Revell.
KDreading 7 days ago
Back Roads to Belonging came into my life at just the right time. Parts of chapter 4 Extending Kindness to yourself - were like the words that Kristen wrote were my own. I was relieved to read someone else thinks the way that I do sometimes. Love how she calls it a perfectionist-loving heart. I love how each chapter finishes with a travel companion section and a belong blessing. I hope you enjoy this book too.
Anonymous 8 days ago
The words in this book have been like sugar in my tea-- much needed. Finding myself in a very different season of life, this book has been my go-to, "pick me up" blessing. It's chock full of encouraging words and a balm to my soul.
justcallmegrammy 8 days ago
Kristen Strong's new book Back Roads to Belonging took me a little bit by surprise. I read and loved "Girl Meets Change" during the tough time while we were trying to put life back together following total loss in an EF4 tornado (no small change there). Her wisdom and encouragement perfectly fit that time in my life. While I was excited to read Back Roads to Belonging, I thought at my age/life stage (60 year old Grammy) I might be a little past the target audience. I was so wrong. I think women of every age will find this message relevant and encouraging. Turns out that it's difficult at any age to be left out of places you once were included or when you just want to be. Kristen offers lost of wisdom on how to be content on the journey to belonging as well as practical steps to getting there. The book is well written, organized , easy to read, and full of scripture and wisdom gained through life experience. And added bonus... the cover is beautiful and has a lovely texture. It just feels good in your hands.
Lmpreiss 8 days ago
I was given an advance reading copy of “Back Roads to Belonging” by Kristen Strong for an honest review of the book. Back Roads to Belonging is such a fantastic book to help people find their way to being part of a bigger picture. She tackles subjects such as sitting on the sidelines, kindness to yourself and others, finding your people, helping others and the list goes on. She presents topics and ideas in very simple ways that can be challenging, but don’t feel overwhelming. After moving to a new state four years ago, I still feel like I haven’t fully found “my people”, but Kristen’s book gave me hope that I would, and ideas on how to help myself along the way. Most importantly, Kristen points out that no matter where we think we want or should belong, we truly need to remember to whom we belong – God! It doesn’t matter if we are completely surrounded by people in this world, we know we have a place to belong in the next! Back Roads to Belonging is the second book from Kristen Strong. Her first book “Girl Meets Change” is excellent and is a perfect precursor to this one. If you haven’t read it yet and are considering getting “Back Roads to Belonging”, get “Girl Meets Change” also. I found that change certainly affected my sense of belonging.
victoriat 9 days ago
This book is written in a conversational tone, like you are sitting on the porch talking with Kristen. Who among us hasn’t felt on the outside looking in from time to time? Back Roads to Belonging addresses this issue from a Christian prospective. Sometimes the straight path we are taking to fit in, isn’t the path God chose for us. Sometimes that path meanders along the back roads instead of speeding down the highway. This book gives practical advice on how to find and follow those back roads. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
academy252 9 days ago
If you have ever felt like you are not fitting in or are continually standing outside the circle this book is for you. Kristen Strong shares scripture and many of her own personal experiences to show us how she worked through finding her place. She is the wife of a retired Air Force officer and has moved many times in her life. Each place brought a new challenge for her and she shares a great deal of wisdom from lessons learned. I loved the format with each chapter. Kristen shares in three basic sections... wandering with purpose, finding places and people to belong to, and inviting others into your circle on the journey. She shares chapters 19 chapters with personal experiences and practical advice. She ends each chapter with a small vignette from someone else on the journey either from scripture or from modern day women she knows and then closes out each chapter with a Belonging Blessing for you to meditate on. She includes some excellent resources that have helped her along the way in the back of the book. There was really only one thing that I did not absolutely love about the book that I think is worth mentioning. She, like so many writers in this genre, chose to use the Message as her scripture source. I mention it because I know others feel this is something that would bother them, too. As I read I just looked the scriptures up in a more trusted source like the NASB or the HCSB. Her ideas are biblically sound and they do glorify God. I am just not a fan of this trend. Overall, It is a beautiful book and I feel that Kristen Strong has a lot of wisdom on this particular topic. She has lived everything she shares with us and is a great one to come alongside those of us in the trenches of finding where we belong in this world.
abrunner 9 days ago
We have all had a time in our life where we felt a sense and need to belong. If you have ever felt like an outsider and desired a place to belong, this book is for you! We all want to find our people and this book helps bring comfort in the wait until we reach our belonging place!
Anonymous 9 days ago
Back Roads to Belonging is for anyone who has ever felt like they were on the outside,anyone who has floundered in their attempts to fit in. Through thoughtful observations and stories (both from the Bible and from her real life) the author encourages us to recognize God as our true belonging place, and then to extend that invitation to belong to those around us. If you are seeking true belonging and friendship, this book is an absolute must!
Anonymous 11 days ago
Did you ever feel like you didn't belong? I related to every story Kristen told! If you need something uplifting to reassure yourself that you not only belong but are part of the bigger picture make sure you pick up a copy Back Roads to Belonging now!
Stacey724 11 days ago
This book is filled with biblical encouragement for those of us who struggle with finding where we belong. The author writes like she's sipping iced tea with you on her front porch after supper. She instantly lets you in on her struggles with fitting in and belonging and lets you know you are not alone in yours.
pattierwr 12 days ago
Kristen’s second book “Back Roads to Belonging” finds me exactly where I live: dealing with feelings of feeling left out of the group or the inner circle, never feeling as though I fit in, FOMO (fear of missing out), and everything in between. Thankfully, though, she doesn’t leave us sitting there on the floor, used tissues strewn like confetti and “All By Myself” blaring on the stereo. Instead, she graciously and lovingly shows us how we DO belong: we are children of God, loved by Him, and never are we outside of His loving circle. I found myself strongly empathizing with many of the scenarios. I’ve been there. I’ve been the new kid more times than I care to remember. The new wife/mom at the social or at church or parent meeting at school. The writer who is rejected by editors and has five hits on her blog that aren’t spam. The new teacher whose name no one knows. I’m grateful for this book showing me, over and over again, that I *do*belong. I just may take the back road to get there instead of the interstate. This is a book I will be reading over and living with for a while, working through the Bible verses and making lists of where I belong. Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your heart on these pages.
EquineFarm25 14 days ago
Kristen's kind and thoughtful writing will find a place in your heart throughout this dear book. Her honest real life examples will let you know that you are not alone on this life journey of belonging. I loved the Traveling Companion section of each chapter and how these sections gave modern day and biblical examples. Add this book to your book shelf!
Anonymous 15 days ago
Kristin Strong's Back Roads to Belonging is like a giant hug to the weary drifter. Her funny stories and warm encouragement are like antidotes to those who are both tired of searching for but still very desperate to find their tribe. Ultimately, it is the Biblical principles Strong uses that provides direction for a wanderer and points her straight into the arms of Jesus. What a blessing Back Roads to Belonging is to a world that looks more connected than ever before, yet feels lost in the wilderness.
Anonymous 15 days ago
We all want to belong and Kristen Strong has written this lovely book about just that. Feels like coffee and conversation with friends from the first page though the last.
Anonymous 15 days ago
The author sees you. For everyone who wonders if they will ever fit in. Kristen speaks tenderly and openly of her own journey of belonging and so opens the door for others to enter in to the place of their forever belonging.
M_Hammar 15 days ago
I've been the new girl countless times, and each time, it's just so hard to find my way, my people, my path. Kristen Strong talks about the normal ways most of us deal with feeling on the outside and I have totally done both: quitting completely or trying even harder. But then Kristin walks with us through another way. I loved reading this, for validation that so many of us struggle with belonging, but also for how to walk through that struggle well. There's a better way. Thank you, Kristin - you'll bless many with this book.
MaryB0583 15 days ago
Kristen Strong’s first book is one of my all time favorites. And this one did not disappoint! Kristen reminded me that I can stop trying to fit in where God never intended for me to be! Accepting that is a game changer. Get this book! You won’t be disappointed.
Nanna51 15 days ago
This book needs to be in the hands and hearts of everyone who has ever had difficulty believing that they belong. Everyone at one time or another has had difficulty fitting in: at work, socially, in the neighborhood, etc. The author does a masterful job of addressing this issue and presenting solutions in an organized and practical manner. Each chapter offers useful advice as well as a testimony of a story in which this “path to belonging” has helped someone in the author’s life. Each chapter also ends with a “Belong Blessing” with Scriptural verses that the reader can use to strengthen them in their quest to fit in. I loved this book and really needed it years ago, when I was moving from place to place and needed to fit in quickly before we moved again! The author is a wife of a military veteran, just like I am, so I identified with her from the beginning. But this book is not just for people like me who have faced constant moves. This book is for everyone, because doesn’t everyone want to belong somewhere? Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Revell Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
HeatherF89 15 days ago
In Back Roads to Belonging, Kristen Strong walks with readers through how she found her place of belonging, despite moving multiple times with the military. This really resonated with me since we have moved multiple times. I wish I would have had this book before all of our other moves. If you are looking for encouragement to find your place of belonging, I highly recommend this book.
Juliana_G 15 days ago
Back Roads to Belonging gave a fresh perspective on belonging and community. On this topic, we often hear from extroverted voices, who are surrounded by close family and friends. Kristen Strong gives a biblical perspective on belonging, and practical steps towards belonging, from the viewpoint of an introvert who has moved frequently. One of my favorite quotes comes from a chapter in the book where she was counseling her daughter. It is a great piece of advice. "Keep participating in your own life, even if others aren't inviting you to participate in theirs the way you'd like." It is well worth the read.