A motivational pep talk on belonging.
Who hasn’t struggled with the need to belong? Saddled with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness that come from feeling like you don’t belong? In Back Roads to Belonging - Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People author Kristen Strong commiserates with this common human condition and provides a roadmap for finding your place of belonging. The book reads like a pep talk from your best friend.
Broken into three progressive sections of Wandering, Finding, and Inviting, Back Roads to Belonging follows a logical path from identifying the struggle, through finding your way through lack of belonging, and ultimately to a proactive solution.
In her conversational and friendly tone, Ms. Strong lays out a smorgasbord of motivational tips, such as:
“We are in the center of God’s plans for us, our forever belonging place.”
“There are simply places not meant for us. As important as it is for us to know where we do belong, it’s important for us to know where we do not.”
“What happens when it doesn’t work out as planned? It’s simple, really. Try again. It’s much less likely we’ll find our place of belonging if we give up searching altogether.”
The supplemental material hammers the points home, such as the Travelling Companion stories within each chapter. These gems provide more examples of how other historical and contemporary non-belongers (my new term) found belonging. Also included at the end are helpful resources and Scriptures that affirm we all belong.
I related to Ms. Strong’s nomadic lifestyle, both during my college and early career years, and now as a snowbird. It’s no joke to feel like you don’t belong – to feel like you’re on the outside looking in. I wish the younger me would have extended myself out of my comfort zone, but the older, wiser me does this more easily and readily. For me, Back Roads to Belonging gave me a comforting sense of belonging to the non-belongers.
Back Roads to Belonging was written from a viewpoint of the constantly up-rooted military lifestyle, making it a wonderful fit for military families, particularly the spouses or older children who have to keep finding belonging each time they settle in a new area. The introduction even touches on the rise of suicide and the dire circumstances that can stem from a lack of belonging. As such, this book would validate the feelings of any non-belonger and offer hope that there’s a pathway to belonging, if we just reach out.
I’m Kristen, and I’m so happy to meet you. I’m wife to a U.S. Air Force Veteran, mama to three delightful teens, and your change mentor, belonging helper, and all around listening friend. I write to offer you fresh air encouragement for every season of your life by helping you see your specific season through the filter of God’s care and provision. I love to write stories that help you make sense of your own and help you see your season with more hope and less worry.
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Author Shirley Alarie began writing adult and children's books to benefit two causes she loves. 'Hope in the Hood' portrays the incredible story of Colleen Adams providing hope and help to disenfranchised inner-city youth. 'A Healing Haven' showcases the amazing work of Shawn Jayroe and her incredible volunteers at RVR Horse Rescue. Children's books 'A New Friend for Gilbert' and the Dominick the Donkey 2-part series are based on real animals and events at RVR. Now Shirley writes for Jesus - including children's books (Heaven is Better - due fall 2019), her FindingGodAmongUs blog, and as a Christian adult and children's book reviewer. Need a freelance writer? Check her out.
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