About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. I had one recently.
    We’ve been taking Dave Ramsey’s FPU class and were just to the point of starting to save our first $1000. Then we took my husband’s car in for what we thought was a minor repair. A quote came back for $850 and it really needed to be done.
    My car muffler was rattling like crazy and my mechanic told me to have it welded back on – and he didn’t do welding – so I made a date with a girlfriend for a Saturday morning (since they said it’d be 2-4 hours) and took it to the muffler shop. (also to get an alignment)
    At just about the 2 hour mark I got the phone call I’d been waiting for (and happened to be in the Starbucks bathroom) with the really really bad news that my catalytic converter was dead and needed to be replaced – for about $1000 – since Subaru parts are non-generic.
    As I was freaking out all over my friend she said, well, you know I’ve been thinking about hiring someone to help me out part time as an administrative assistant.
    And we proceeded to spend the next hour sitting in the muffler shop parking lot as she explained in more detail what she did and offered me a job.
    As it turned out, a different (real) muffler shop did a pressure test and found that only my gaskets needed replacing and $55 later I was done.
    But I find it hard to believe that coffee date with a friend I so rarely see wasn’t divinely planned!
    My job is from home on my computer, at nap time and in the evenings when the boys are asleep. It will help us start to make traction rather than simply try to keep our heads above water each month.
    Amazing.

    • Krista,

      Your story just gave me chills. “Coincidence” is simply way too random in circumstances like this; I’m so thankful for this provision in your life, and for YOU taking the time to share!

  2. yes, I have a story! I had just moved my kids and myself to Ohio from Texas after leaving my ex-husband. I had been back to my home town about 5 or 6 months. I was visiting a high school friend and asked to see her phone book. I wanted to look up some other friends from grade school/HS that I went to church with as a child. I hadn’t been to church in 18 years! I found their name and didnt recognize the street name but the number was from the same area I was visiting. I asked the friend I was with if she knew the street name I was looking at and she said uhmmm yeah, its that one at the corner! 3 houses down the street. I said I was going for a walk and with the address in my hand I found the house these childhood friends lived in, 7 houses away from where I had been looking them up! I knocked on the door and they opened it and instantly recognized me! We talked for a long time. They invited the kids and I to church with them and eventually I went–that was 6 years ago. I’ve found a church home that loves me, God wanted me at that church to meet very specific people. He used that meeting on that front porch to put me right where he needed me to be so that he could work on me. He knew that the people he had instore for me were people who I would trust. There is so much more to the story after that chance meeting but I need to get ready for work 🙂 I am so thankful for the thought of these two people and I thought it was odd, coincidental at first. Now I know better, it was GOD!
    Lisa

    • Lisa :)…again, I have shivers! Is it going to be this way for every story I read??? 🙂

      What I love most is how God re-shaped your thinking to understand and to SEE that He is a great provider of what you need!

      Thank you for sharing, especially before heading to work!

      • Robin,
        I have some really amazing, life changing stories and I am just getting to the point of being able to share them! There are so many things that God has used in my life to help me find him. Keep writing intriguing posts and I will keep responding and I hope that one day someone will benefit from all the craziness in my life! I just keep writing in my computer and who knows maybe one day something good will come from that!
        Lisa

  3. Thanks, Robin. I love reading you!

    The biggest “coincidence” in my life EVER took place several years ago. My husband had “laid on the altar” his dream car (a Toyota 4Runner) twice during our moves overseas and back again. Low on money and with only one car in the winter in Colorado, we were needing something for him to get around in, now several years later. Though we had NEVER TOLD ANYONE about his love for 4Runners, people at our church surprise-gifted us with a car that Fall. Guess what it was? A Toyota 4Runner!

    It was a perfect gift. For Us. In our Story.

    • Laura!!!

      Yep, shivers again! I love holy chill bumps <– is that weird? Irreverent? Silly?? Regardless, seeing God's perfect provision encourages ME. I love how God knows the secrets of your heart.

  4. God had that day all planned out for you way in advance. I sense He put you in that Walgreens at that time to see your friend and get advice to help another. That’s how God works.

    I will pray for your friends. I will also RELAY For Life (raise money for cancer) for everyone!

    • Beth,

      Thank you for your prayers! I need to add a note in this post to where Karmyn is right now in her treatment.

      I’ve walked in Race for the Cure but never Relay for Life; as much as cancer has touched my family, I believe in causes that support its cure!

  5. My biggest “coincidence”… I’ll try to shorten the story as much as I can. My pastor actually used this in a book. =)

    My mom suffered a 2nd brain aneurysm (having survived one in 1991) in early 2004. The doctors said they would keep her alive on machines until my sister and I could arrive to tell her goodbye. She showed no brain function — she was brain dead. I got the call late on a Saturday night and flew out early Sunday morning, which is a pretty subdued time at our midsized airport.

    I walked around the airport, feeling as alone as I’ve ever felt. I took a quick bathroom break before the flight, and on the way back to the gate, I ran (almost literally) into two close friends from church, a couple who had both lost their mothers in the last year. Their moms died within a month or two of each other, and this couple adopted the grandchildren (nieces/nephews) that one mom had had custody of, swelling their family size from five to seven. They’d had a rough year, to say the least. They were flying with one grandmother on a vacation. The stunning part? Their flight stopped in my small hometown.

    The wife had a new PDA and had no idea how to install software, so I spent most of the flight getting her set up and trained on her new toy. It was the perfect distraction from the tragedy that awaited me, in the company of friends who completely understood my heartbreak. My Father couldn’t have sent me a better gift. I’ve never forgotten His generosity in that moment.

  6. See, I have many of these. I call them God-Incidents. Another words divine appointments. This right here is one. I kept seeing your tweets and FB posts. Kept putting them off, I’ll read it later. Something (God) said, go read. I clicked and hear I am. Ya know Robin, I have Thyroid Cancer. I’ve seen a lot of this type of cancer lately… I can say that I’m glad that out of all I could have had it was Thyroid. However I despise the statement “If you are going to have cancer, this is the one to get.” Why? Because it makes it sound like it’s not a big deal. But for most that have it, it is. We are going through the same motions, fears, etc that anyone with any cancer has. Including the loved ones dealing too. We have to deal with it the rest of our lives. Not including the fact that most of us no longer have a Thyroid. Which is a whole other struggle. What I see here is YOUR divine appointment made MY divine appointment. See, I’m struggling right now with the whole process of Thyroid Cancer. Ups and Downs. I also need the encouragement from others that have had this. And you linked to two that have Thyroid Cancer. Which I will be following! As well as me publicly saying I’m struggling, which is obviously something that I should not hide. It’s a divine Appointment! I just love you Robin!

    • Chele,

      First, {{{{{hugs}}}}}.

      Second, Cheryl made that comment, too; that she didn’t intend to minimize the fact IT WAS CANCER for goodness sakes, and that there can be some low, lousy moments during treatment. Because she’s a nurse, she’s seen far, far worse than what she experienced, so she drew a comparison in our conversation.

      Thank you for encouraging ME through your sweet comment!! Oh, how I feel for you (and Karmyn AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO’S SUFFERED WITH THIS), but how special to cross paths with those who can give us hope…especially when it’s tied to THE Hope.

      I’m glad you admitted this is not easy…and this I’m sure of: you’re going to be an inspiration and hope-bringer to many.

      <3

    • I’m praying for you! I had a TT on Dec 2nd… I wrote my story below… Keep trusting in The Lord. I know you can get through this!

  7. My story is too long and I have too many to share but briefly…

    1. God called us to the city we currently live in through a patient (I am a nurse) I took care of, a national newsletter, and an opening only in this city we had never heard of.

    2. God gave us a house we thought out of our price range, but the owner offered it to us for less than we planned to offer him.

    3. There was a church in the neighborhood of said house. I told hubby we would visit, but not join…First Sunday there I discovered the pastor’s wife was the daughter of the patient who told us about our new town to begin with…

    God said here is your town, here is your house, and here is your church!
    Longer version is better, but still only God could do that!

  8. Every day, little things happen around us.
    We usually just think of them as little coincidences, chance happenings …
    but when you think you have been faced with an ‘odd thing’
    usually it is a ‘God thing’ …
    I need those God things to surround me,
    it makes each day more special than the one before … each new day that dawns,
    a ‘God thing’ not just chance ….

  9. I LOVE these stories – always make me cry and give me chills (or Holy Spirit bumps as my Bible study friend says). I have a few of my own, but I’ll share the most recent. One of the readers of my guest post here on (in)courage visited my blog and found a story I wrote about my hometown. She used to live there (with a family) while she taught at a small Christian school in a neighboring town. I told my Mom about the connection and she told me to ask which school. I did and it turned out to not only be the very same school that my Mom’s boss’ family went to, but my Mom’s boss’ family is the family this teacher lived with! My Mom was able to say Hi for her and we have a cool little connection that only God can orchestrate.

  10. My friend and I love to call this our “Heavenly 2×4 Moment”

    Our moment came at the beginning of this year. My husband and I have always talked about adopting, and after a very difficult and challenging pregnancy, and post pregnancy cancer issues, we worried we couldn’t have children again. We had been trying for months, and suddenly, we started seeing adoption stories everywhere. From the news, to here at Incourage, to friends of ours. I finally said, honey, i think we are supposed to be doing this and it is God’s way of telling us to listen up.

    We reached out to friends at our church that have adopted two children. We asked to do dinner and ask for advice from them. They had just had a moment the night before while watching a story about adoption on TV saying to themselves, we know our family is full, but we need to find a way to do more. Then I sent my email to them.

    We planned to chat at church and then do dinner. By that next Sunday, I had found out I was pregnant! We told our friends at church and they laughed. They said the same thing happened to them, when they took their first pass at adoption classes. They found out they were pregnant with their first daughter!

    We laugh that it was God’s divine sense of humor making sure that we are listening to Him!

    • “God’s divine sense of humor…”

      Yes…yes…that is an attribute for which I am VERY thankful.

      Thank you for sharing your “Heavenly 2×4 Moment” Anne Marie…now THAT is a new way of putting it!! 🙂

      • My good friend at church is alway saying to me -so God is hitting you with a 2×4 again isn’t he?’ when I have ‘that look’ about me after hearing something at church! I totally get this phrase!

  11. oh, i don’t believe in coincidence at all… which is why i try to be incredibly mindful of those tiny little urgings in my spirit. it’s still comforting for me to know all the weird little things dad did in that month before he died so suddenly. i know he always acted on an impulse and never left things for later… and that resulted in so much peace for so many when he was gone. you listened to your urge and acted at just the right time. amazing!

    praying for your friend… i’ll be sure to add her to our list for Relay for Life this year.

  12. Think how much we miss each day that is eternal. Thank you for the reminder to look for those opportunities that God brings along each day ….for me to SEE Him and be a part of His work. Love you Robin!!

  13. So I was going to share the story that Mela did above…she beat me to it! That was a very cool connection to make! 🙂

    So here’s another story…not exactly as “coincidental” but definitely God working!

    My hubby and I recently moved back to the States from Indonesia after serving there for five years. We were assuming we would move back to the Minneapolis area (which was home before we went) but God gave him a job in the (outer suburban) Chicago area.

    I. did. not. want. to. go.

    New town, new friends, new church. No thank you.

    We made two trips down to look for a house to rent, and most of the houses were junky and I just couldn’t see myself living in those neighborhoods. We were so discouraged and in tears. Then, on our last night there, my husband found a house on Craigslist that looked good. He made a few quick phone calls and somehow managed to set up an appointment for us to look at it before we had to go.

    We walked through the front door and fell in love with it. This was home. And during our seven months here, we have seen over and over how God’s hand was in every detail of us finding this particular house. We are surrounded by amazing neighbors and the neighborhood itself is pretty great. One of my neighbors across the street, who is now my good friend, invited me to a Bible study, where I was able to meet a group of women who are incredible and have encouraged me so much during the changes we’re going through. And we’ve started attending the church that Bible study is associated with…a place we probably never would have looked at if we hadn’t known someone there, but it is exactly what we needed.

    God is so Good. And we are so, so thankful.

  14. I have been blessed by many through my lifetime, but one of my favorites happened almost 40 years ago. My husband had taken a new job that would require him to be gone a lot. We, with our baby, lived then in a fairly isolated small town. I told my husband I wanted to move “into town” (the nearby city). As we were discussing this, the phone rang. A stranger asked about our house ad. I told her she had the wrong number, but that we had just decided to put our house on the market. She made an appointment right then to come the next morning to look at our house. She liked it immediately and wanted to buy. I was elated, but all night my conscience bothered me because I hadn’t told her about our neighbors.

    I called her the next day and said, “I feel that I have to tell you about the next-door neighbors here. They’re horribly noisy. All hours of the day and the middle of the night.”

    My prospective buyer said, “That’s no problem. The house will be for my parents, and they’re both completely deaf.”

    I knew that God had managed the whole thing.

  15. Oooooh! I love, love, love stories like these! Such proof they are that God isn’t a random, shows-up-when-he-feels-like-it God but an ever present force in our lives!!

    My favorite Divine Appointment story involves my husband who was traveling to work one day. It was the first year after we were married. While on a busy highway, he noticed a man walking from his car. It appeared he was having car problems. So, my husband stopped to see if this man needed help. As it turns out, he had run out of gas. So, after taking him to the gas station to fill his gas can, my husband drove him back to his car before heading to work.

    Three months later, my husband and I moved to a new town that was closer to his work. And wouldn’t you know it we moved NEXT DOOR to this man and his young wife? We still shake our heads over it. They were newlyweds like us. While we no longer live near each other, we are still great friends and our kids are great friends, too!

    It’s a 15-years-and-counting friendship I treasure. LOVE.

  16. ADAPTED FROM A BLOG ENTRY (but I had to share here!) :
    I was having a difficult spring. As I sat on my couch one night waiting for a friend to take me to a used book store, I prayed, “OK, not to test you, God. I don’t mean that. But if you want, if you will, please let me find a book at the store [in such a way that I know you meant it for me].”

    The first thing I went looking for (as usual) is the graphic novel I’ve been wanting to read for years: “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume One”.
    Nope.
    Bible with the Apocrypha? Yes and no. Yes (New English Version). No when I got it home and actually looked at it (Guess when Bibles DON’T say “With Apocrypha”, that’s a big clue, hunh? I”ve seen NEV Bibles with it, so I just assumed. Never mind. I like it anyway).
    Two books by a favorite author, side by side. I put those in my “to purchase” stack.
    Looking for memoir by American author. “Modern Literature” section: no luck. Since it’s a memoir and not fiction, I decided to go ask.
    I wrote the author’s unusual name down for the clerk. I hoped I spelled it right. He came back from a consultation and said to try “Literature”; I headed in that direction. A woman came from somewhere in the depths of the bookstore: There’d been a mistake. Try “Modern Literature” instead.
    I’d just come from there.
    But maybe I’d missed something. Maybe the book was near where it was supposed to be, just on the wrong shelf.
    It wasn’t. I knelt down to skim through t the lower shelves just to make sure.
    And there it was, not where it was supposed to be.
    It was, I think, actually on the shelf for the letter “P” (“Pushkin seems popular on that shelf, by the way) and not on the shelf above, for “O”:
    “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Volume One” by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.

  17. I LOVE these stories. I LOVE hearing amazing stories of how God works in big and (seemingly) small ways in everyday life and in trials. AMAZING.

    Priscilla – the deaf parents moving in?!? Are you KIDDING?! That’s AWESOME. Haaa. I LOVE IT! (Might start praying to have someone hearing-impaired buy our house whenever it’s time to move … I have loud neighbors, too! Hehe.)

    There are SO MANY moments like these in my life … AMAZING moments where God’s presence in my life is soooo tangible.

    Just last Wednesday, we found out that my husband will be layed off from his job at a non-profit organization that he hasn’t even been at for 3 years. (A job we moved 4,000 miles for, away from everything and everyone we know … sigh … and he is our sole income … BIG sigh.) His last day will be this Friday.

    Needless to say, it was a ROUGH end to the week as we scramble to get our footing after feeling like the rug was completely pulled out from under us. My initial reaction involved a lot of anxiety and a lot of anger. You see, last year was a terribly difficult year for us … were were knocked down over and over. It was hard … and frustrating. My husband’s father passed away in September … just two months later, in November, our van transmission went out (while we were traveling in a different state, of COURSE!), costing us $6,000 right before Christmas. Seriously, God? Seriously?! (And those were just two of the biggies … the entire year was like that … one month would be fine, the next month would involve some major challenge or difficulty.)

    We thought for SURE 2011 was going to be OUR YEAR. 2010 is behind us … we’re moving FORWARD … and now this. UGH. Anyway, I’m rambling … point is that though my faith in God has not waivered, I will admit to being pretty frustrated with Him when we got this news. Why can’t we catch a break? What’s the point of all of this? C’mon, already!

    I had contemplated not going to church on Sunday b/c I’ve been EXHAUSTED and really wanted to sleep … but thought that I needed to be there to worship Him and help keep my heart focused and centered.

    We walk in and discover that it’s Communion Sunday. What better way to get my heart focused and centered? Thanks, God.

    Then begins the singing portion of worship … EVERY SONG seemed aimed directly at me/our situation. DIRECTLY. On the way to church, I had been praying, “Lord, with everything feel so chaotic and unknown, help me to continue to worship you by daily declaring what I *DO* know … that You are good, that Your plans for me are good, that I trust You, that You will never leave my side, that You are worthy of praise, that You love me more than anyone could, that You are all I need.” So here comes a song that began talking about how God is with you in life’s storms (and HELLO, this is a storm!), then went into declarations of us trusting in Him, then on to revel in His love for us, His faithfulness, and ended with “YOU ARE ALL I NEED.” In between snot and tears, I couldn’t help but smile. Thank you, God.

    Well, here comes the best part (‘cuz certainly this is long enough – sorry!) … I leave to get tissue and when I walk back in, the pastor is just getting to the front. I sit down in time to hear him say, “Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people?” I literally SNORTED out loud! HAAAA. Are you KIDDING, God??? Now THAT is funny.

    He took a COMPLETELY different direction with the sermon than I had ever heard. It was encouraging AND challenging. Still processing what I learned. THANK YOU, GOD!

    AMAZING. And funny. God’s divine appointments in my life OFTEN leave me laughing. He has QUITE the sense of humor and isn’t afraid to use it when it comes to how He deals with me!! I LOVE IT.

    I LOVE HIM.

    🙂

  18. I love what you wrote!!!
    On Dec. 2nd 2010 I had a total thyroidectomy…. The function of my thyroid was normal but I had a TON of nodules. Being only 25 and having so many nodules the only way they could tell for sure that I didn’t have cancer was to remove my entire thyroid. I just fell to pieces when I found out. I had never been in the hospital ever up until Dec 2nd and never had any surgery… The worry of possibly having cancer, never talking again, damaged parathyroid glands, having a scar across my neck, starting on synthroid for the first time after surgery, wondering what life would be like without a thyroid were all overwhelming and hard for me especially being only 25. For the first time in my life I truly realized I am not in control of my life. God is in control. I couldn’t trade in everything I owned and would ever own to not have to endure this… there was nothing I could do!!! I truly learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I had never been able to talk to anyone who actually had a total thyroidectomy before so I was just reading the Internet horror stories!!! The day came for me to consult with the surgeon at Duke…While I was sitting in Clinic 1A (Surgical Oncology) I met a lady that had just had her thyroid out the week before by the same surgeon that I had.. she was an angel sent to me! Truly- I believe that! I had waited for 3 hours to be seen and had been looking around the waiting room and no one had a scar on there neck until she came and sat down beside me! She and I talked for an hour about the entire thing right down to the bed you lay on- she actually gave me her email address so we could continue to talk! Since I hadn’t ever been able to talk to anyone that has been through it before she was a real blessing! Her scar looked great, she talked normally and she said she felt good. My surgeon told me my “thyroid was one of the most difficult to remove that he’s ever done and it wasn’t what he was expecting”. As I left the hospital and had to wait a week for the pathology report to come back I prayed and prayed and prayed and trusted God. I am blessed and excited to share that I do not have cancer, I speak normally, my scar is not bad, I have not gained any weight and being on synthroid has been great so far! All the horror stories weren’t a part of my story all Thanks to God!!
    Having gone through this I can say that I am thankful for it. At the age of 25 I know what is important in life. Love is ALL that matters Love for God first, Love for Family and Love for others. Some people go their entire life and never know that. I can tell you that it’s all because of God that I was able to overcome this adversity… Without Him and His help and love and the lady in Clinic 1A that day I know I couldn’t have gotten through it. I have learned to trust in the Lord literally with all my heart because of this rainy scary time in my life.
    I will be praying for your friend and the other lady above that have thyroid cancer I know the fears, scariness, and worries that weigh on their hearts and I know they can get through this!!!!

  19. I can not stop crying reading all of the amazing stories. God is so AWESOME!

    Last year I made the switch from the legal field to the medical one. I work in clinical trials and invited a former co-worker to participate in a trial that was looking for people with an issue I knew she was dealing with. The trial required a mammogram, which she asked to be excused from because she had just had one 4 months prior, and she thought it irrelevant to the issue, but they insisted she have one anyway. The mammogram discovered something that was not on the earlier mammogram and a biopsy was scheduled. Long story short, not only was it cancer, but a very aggressive form, and after a double mastectomy she is healthy as ever and cancer free so far! Her oncologist says it is a miracle that she had the mammogram and was able to catch it early. I KNOW it was GOD working things out just the way he planned.

    Your friend will be in my prayers. I can only imagine the myriad of emotions, thoughts and feelings that she must be experiencing. Thank you for your reminders.

  20. No coincidence story off the top of my head but my uncle has been with us for two years. What started the whole experience was a lump in his neck that would turn out to be Hurthle cell cancer. We just finished our second annual check up at UNC Hospitals and while not 100% clear they are not concerned right now. Caught early it is curable. 🙂

    It has been a wild ride for two years having him live with us. What I can offer friends is this piece of advice: KNOW what your plans are for your parents. What are their wishes? Do they have long term funding to care for themselves? Are they alone in a city far away? The list goes on and on but I highly encourage you to visit the tough issues.

    We have woven our way to this point and are making a new turn in the adventure next week. Best of wishes to your friends with the diagnosis. If I can answer any questions I am happy to try. Not a trained nurse but I have learned a couple of things along the way. 🙂

  21. When my husband went to the ER this summer in our small town. He had an afib event with his heart and they were not sure it was not a heart attack in progress.

    They shipped him to the city hospital that had a huge heart unit.

    I had no more than two hours sleep. I had basically been up for over 24 hours. I went home to sleep before I drove the hour to the city and got a couple more hours sleep.

    I drove to the hospital after. I parked and then went into the hospital. As I entered the doors there was Aunt Sharon. Matt’s uncle was in the same hospital unit having surgery for the exact same thing my husband has, afib. Found out that 4 out of the six uncles have this. We did not know the family history. She thought I was there cause of Uncle John’s surgery and I thought she was there cause she had maybe heard about Matt from his mom or other family member.

    All the cousins were there. All of Matt’s family drove in also. Minifamily reunion.

    Aunt Sharon and Uncle John who have traveled this path of afib for 6-8 months longer than us have had some wonderful insight on how to deal with it and help us.

    God walked before me and my husband and provided love and support!!!!!!

  22. As a parent, it is hard to accept that your child is sick. Even an adult child.
    For those who offer prayers – you are our cohorts in this battle. Thank you.
    Thank you Robin.

  23. there are so many recently – but I’ll just tell of the small, but great one this morning. I have a VERY hard time getting up int he dark – I even have one of those sunlight alarm clocks…I still snooze and generally fight waking up.
    I haven’t even been asking God for help with this, but this morning a HUGE flock of Canadian geese flew over my house about 2 minutes before the clock was bright enough to beep. Reminded me of A holy experience’s post a few weeks ago about honk if you’re happy/if you’re happy honk. I got up with a smile, anticipating good things. Not going over my mental check list as soon as my feet hit the floor. See: small, but great.
    Blessings!!