Back Roads to Belonging by Kristen Strong {Book Review}

“A quiet back road requires the patience and eyes-wide-open vision that allows us to see the stunning views of God’s provision for each of us. But it also provides a suitable place for us to consider where he wants us to expand our circle and sense of belonging.

After we spend time caring for our heart’s soil by looking in God’s Word, in God’s presence, and in our priority relationships, we are better able to grow up and out toward our larger belonging place because we’re better rooted in Christ.”

Back Roads to Belonging: Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People by Kristen Strong, p112

Kristen Strong has been a stranger in many places but she is not a stranger to being a stranger. As a military wife, she has faced relocation many times, but has mustered up the courage to find her people and her belonging place in each of them. Her story is helpful, laid back, and absolutely wise. Even if you live a one-place kind of life, we’ve all experienced the feeling of being an outsider.

More than offering practical tips on belonging and finding your people, Strong offers us the solid and grace-filled base of our belonging in Jesus. Through sharing her stories, she doesn’t sidestep or minimize our desire to belong. She argues wholeheartedly that God has a place for us to belong wherever we are and we are created to want a belonging place. It might not look exactly or as perfect as we expected, but it’s there.

I specifically appreciated Strong’s encouragement to create belonging places for others even as a way to find our own, her wisdom about focusing on where we already belong and then moving out, and the observation that not all of our belonging places are going to suit the different needs of all the pieces of our lives for which we might seek belonging from our people.

God has a vision for each of us in our own unique situation for our own unique selves. We can move toward it in gentle expectation with the added wisdom and encouragement from a woman who has regularly traveled the path towards belonging.

Bonus quotes:

  • “Rather, the back road way is being attentive to God’s direction as to how we can create an environment of connection in a culture of disconnection – no matter where we live.” p17
  • “Sometimes we must wait to know, and it’s okay to wander as we wonder and wait.” p41
  • “Like Mary, our enoughness is not a factor in where God places us. It’s inconsequential. God chose you to be where you are, and he will make a way for you to belong.” p57
  • “Belonging to Christ also means belonging as God’s necessary, singular creation.” p 63
  • “As we walk our own back road to belonging, our job is to simply hold the hand of Christ and not worry about the specifics of the journey.” p149

If you’re interested in this book be sure to find a copy or request it at your library. It’s a super-friendly, practical, and hopeful read.

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

(Disclaimers: I’m grateful to Revell Books for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. And this post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.)

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