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. Robin,
    My daughter and I are experts at imagining the worst case scenarios that fear can conjure up. I guess she “inherited” it from her mom. Anyway, I have also been many miles away from my daughter…when she went off to college and when she served in both Haiti and Kenya. (My son has also been off at college). Thankfully it’s usually pretty sunny here in the south and so I kind of have this “salute” or acknowledgement to God that I do when I first see the sun in the morning. It reminds me that He is always watching over me and He is watching over my children and loved ones wherever they may be. I’m sure some passersby have seen me when I do it when I’m walking in the mornings and think I’m a wee bit off…but that’s ok :). It’s my way of thanking God for His eternal presence and goodness. I also have an aging dog who often gets me up in the middle of the night and when I see the moon and the stars I do the same thing. So thankful that we have a God who always sees us! Thank you, Robin, for sharing from your mother’s heart…I always enjoy your writing!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev,

      You salute God? Well this is a first :). It makes me feel better about clapping for Him when I’m ocean-side. Surely he must delight in OUR delight, the way a parent does a child (and thank you ALWAYS for your encouragement). xo

  2. Robin,
    Once again I have this strong desire to sit with you for hours and share life. In many ways I feel such a kindred spirit with you and then I see this free-spirit in you that I’ve only dreamed of having. I have a story that takes too long to share but involved a mid-west sunrise. It was nothing like being on the coast but with it was a miraculous picture of redemption, hope, and a promise of a prodigal returning. It was a word spoken through his creation so real to my spirit and gave me something to cling to for YEARS as I waited for its fulfillment. It started with a sunrise and ended with birds on a wire. To this day, anything with birds on it reminds me of His promise to me just like the rainbow has been a symbol to millions for thousands of years. Thank you for sharing like you do. Maybe someday we could have that visit.
    Melanie

    • Melanie,

      Maybe some day we WILL have that visit, but in the meantime, our exchanges of words and encouragement is lovely in its stead.

      “a miraculous picture of redemption, hope, and a promise of a prodigal returning” <-- Coast or no coast, THAT is a treasure. How lovely that you have a simple symbol to always remember that particular grace.

  3. I just got back from a camping trip to Santa Cruz with my husband, 3 year old son and 20 month old daughter. My husband let me have some time alone so I could take a walk on the beach. Instead of watching the sunrise, I watched it set. It was the most amazing moments of my life. It was just me, God, and the ocean. I can’t even describe the feeling, but to say I felt his presence and felt the closest I think I’ve ever felt to Him. I cried, I asked for strength, I told him how grateful I was to be alive and have two beautiful children…..I poured myself out to him. I sat on that beach listening to his glory, being still and being at rest. I didn’t hear him speak, but I felt just how big He truly is. For Him to create the ocean and stand there, little me in this enormous body of water that seems to go on forever…..I felt his arms, the waves all around me. Thank you God.

  4. Robin, just yesterday as I was looking out my office window I heard The Lord say, ‘the seasons may be changing but I am unchanging’! There may have been snow (yes, SNOW) on the mountains I was looking at, heralding the end of summer and the coming of winter but the Father was speaking peace to my spirit. When all around us we are being bombarded with news of strife and wars, we can still know that He is peace. Blessings!

    • It’s in the looking UP, isn’t it, Pam? When we look around us, we can be quickly defeated. But to direct our heart and spirit upward (Godward) changes everything. I love the things we tend to hear when we’re attentive. 🙂

  5. I love this Robin… funny how daughters just want our presence sometimes as they dig through their past to move into the future… you should see my daughter’s room right now 🙂

    When # 4 of 5 was getting ready to launch… I was talking to him in the kitchen and panic set in… the accuser whispering… you should have done more… taught more… you did not prepare him enough both academically (homeschooled) and spiritually… I was starting to panic inside… but these words washed over me… “There is grace for the gaps”… and right there I knew… every parent leaves gaps… we can try to plug them all up… but there will always be gaps… and it is His Grace that comes and fills that space. After this wave of assurance… I could breath in peace again… not in peace for all I did… but in peace because of all Christ did and continues to do for each of us!!!!

    • I love that…”grace for the gaps,,,” I’ve had those same thoughts with my children, that I didn’t do enough before launching them. Thanks for sharing!

    • I think we ALL have those gaps, and THANK YOU for reminding me that GOD’S GRACE *is* enough! I could wallow in a puddle on the floor if I focus on my shortcomings as they relate to my babies, but see? That’s focusing on the stuff around me, not on how God intended to fill the spaces… Love this!

  6. I had to share a beautiful experience I had. Just before Christmas I coughed and blew a herniated disc in my neck through the protective lining of spinal chord. The pain was absolutely unbearable – felt like my arm was in a fire. I have little recall of the week before I was flown down to Clearwater Spine Institute and scheduled for surgery early Monday morning….it was Friday! During pre-ops, the nurse told me that there are no guarantees I will make it through the surgery and needed to be at peace with loved ones…hard pill to swallow when my husband and kids were in NJ and I was in FL!
    Because of the seriousness, I spent a lot of time in scripture and praying to the Lord. Early Sunday morning during time of prayer, I asked that I see the cause of this pain, so I could visualize it. Some would say wrong thing to ask – as I saw the most hideous, frightening creature with huge claws and teeth trying to devour my neck! Immediately I thought of 1 Peter 5:8 where the devil is seeking someone to devour. I cried out to Jesus asking for His comfort and peace wash over me, protecting me from any harm. Never before had I had scripture “pop off the page” but during my prayer time, I was led to Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Gingerly I walked out of the bedroom and onto the porch in the back of my parents house. And there before me in the sky was the most beautiful American Bald Eagle soaring majestically back and forth, landing in a tree 40 feet from where I was standing. There he preened himself and rested. (In 40+ years of my life I had never seen one!!!) I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace that can’t be described, the the Lord would have such mercy and grace towards me, speaking His Living Word over me, and giving me a beautiful picture to hold onto through the rest of the day that everything was going to be okay as my hope would be in Him. I made it through the neck fusion with the surgeon telling me I was very fortunate that I wasn’t paralyzed by the damage done. Praise the Lord God Almighty!

    • Yes! Praise God! How awesome it must have been to see that eagle after receiving Isaiah 40:31!! Thank you for sharing this with us! God continue to bless you richly!

    • Daria,

      What an incredible story. What an amazing gift. I’m convinced, as are you, that THIS was a beautiful demonstration of God’s care for you. Thank you for sharing a wonderful example.

  7. Robin,

    I wish we lived closer so we could talk. I love reading your writing. It resonates with me!!

    I am on the beach for 1 week and enjoy watching the sun rise and set over the Atlantic Ocean. I live I mountains and just love it when fall hits and God paints the scenery with such beautiful colors. It is my reminder that He is always there not matter the season or situation!!

    • Beth,

      YOU are a wonderful spirit-booster for me–all of your comments greatly encourage me (thank you!).

      You live in the mountains, you’re vacationing at the beach–you are blessed upon blessed. 🙂

  8. both of my children went to Europe when they were in college. It was only for a term, but it seems like eternity. I hated being so far away, because i felt i was out of control. What I learned was, that I’m never in control – God is. It was the ultimate lesson in letting go and letting God. I took a photo of the stars one night, and sent it in a text to my son: “Even though you are so far away, we are looking at the same stars.” I somehow felt a little closer.

    • Neat! Thank you for sharing. It is so important for us/me to grasp that we/I are/am not ever in control, but that our loving, caring, untiring God is!! Thank you for this reminder! God continue to bless you richly.

    • Jen,

      Your comment reminds me of the season I lived in Germany, always away from “somebody” in my family (sometimes my husband, sometimes one or more of my children). I’d often look up at the moon and stars (interestingly, rarely at the sun) and remember they would see the same thing six hours after me. It brought comfort. How smart of you to capture it in a pic and send it via text! Wish I had thought of that ;).

  9. Mom’s are a gift from Jesus. <3 You know your a good mom when you worry about your children.

    • Lovelle!! It was so good spending time with you last week (though it was all work and very little play…). I’m so thankful for your mama. She’s a good one :).

  10. One of my daughter’s is in Navy stationed in Washington (state). She has done 2 back to back deployments and assigned to ship duty the last 4 years. As a result of that, I have had my granddaughter living with my husband and I, in Texas, during that time (from age 2 to 6). Within the last month, my daughter has been reassigned shore duty which meant that my granddaughter could return to live with her. Bitter/sweet – wonderful that they can be together and grow that God given bond that you can only have with your mama, but, so hard for me to let go. During the days that proceeded me putting her on that plane, I contemplated her life while I have had her. Where would she go from here in God’s amazing story for her? Over the past 4 years, we hid much of God’s word in her heart and trained her to love Jesus, but, she still has so much to learn. As I looked back, I wondered if I had done all I could – getting out that critical magnifying glass that we mama’s seem to do so well and inspect every detail of her life while I had the amazing privilege to have her. I’m currently reading Lysa’s new book, The Best Yes, and in it contains truth for my heart. “My imperfections do not override God’s promises.” And, oh, how I can apply that all over my life. Freedom! I admonished my daughter to pick up where I left off. To make her primary focus to train her to love Jesus and from that would a blessed life flow. My granddaughter cried a portion of the way to the airport. She, too, was conflicted. The excitement of living with her mother, yet she knew that when she got on that plane, she wasn’t coming back this time. She loves books. I assured her that God writes the story of her life and just like a really good book, when we get to the end of one chapter, we find the next chapter to be equally special and exciting. And, of course, the assurance that she will return for visits. I cried most of that day, though not in front of her. My heart was happy for my daughter but struggling to let my granddaughter go. As I watched that plane take off, I felt Jesus whisper to my heart that my job wasn’t over, it is just changing. Perspective. I am grateful for His love and that He spoke those words to me when I needed them most. Change – Lord help me to be flexible to accept the change you design in our lives and embrace this new chapter as we all move forward in our journey with You.

    • Thank you for sharing this Kim. Wow! Thank you, too, for sharing the quote from Lysa’s new book. That is so true, and good to know. What a good prayer you prayed at the end. I can pray that, too – for our family. Our younger daughter is a freshman in college this year and it is really different around here, even though she goes to college in the same town. 🙂 We have two daughters and the older one is married and lives in another state, so we are pretty much empty nesters now. God continue to bless you richly!

    • Kim,

      Your ending prayer is a perfect one for many of us; I’m praying it as I pray over your grandmommy heart right now. What a special season to have had your granddaughter four years; though painful to let her go, your early impact will linger throughout all her life. 🙂

  11. This verse has been spoken into me by God all through out my life. Right now I’m struggling with arising and doing what God has called me to do. As I right this I am laying in bed, dreading getting up, dreading turning on a light. Dreading making any move forward if it’s not a billion miles away from where I’m at. Or something. I’ve been sick the last few days with anxiety. I need help because Its not that I can’t get through this, it’s that… I don’t WANT to.

    • sorry, abigayle! i’m praying for you right now from france. hoping that you can ‘do the next thing’, whatever that is. hugs.

    • {{Abigayle}}

      Father, God, you know Abigayle’s heart, you’re well acquainted with her struggle. I pray that she’ll surrender to you and that your strength will become hers, and that the false whisperers will be silenced as you show yourself mighty to her. Lord, give her comfort, peace and a sense of your majesty. Encourage her through your word and your people. Oh, Father, bring Abigayle into a deeper, irresistible relationship with you. xo

  12. I was taught from a very young age never ever go towards darkness but turn ever and face LIGHT. The LIGHT. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Our TRIUNE God.
    So, I was to remain and abide in my Father’s house.
    There is not darkness in our Father’s house. There is only pure white bright LIGHT.
    So, I’ve never been used to darkness. In a spiritual sense of the word, darkness.
    Do not get me wrong. I’m not afraid of the dark at all but can see very clearly in the dark. I used my memory vision of a room and am able to measure the distance between things.
    Anyways, the moon light always shines so everything is clearly visible.
    If not. I can manage. Without fear.
    I’m not afraid of the dark.
    I don’t like spiritual darkness. It’s not my thing. I’ve not been created for darkness. It’s evil.

    🙂
    Nice discussion btw.
    🙂

    • Karyn,

      Spiritual darkness is a thing to dread; I’ve seen it and I know. So to whomever helped teach you to seek only light? Praise God for their influence in your life! 🙂

  13. As funny as it is (considering your beautiful story, too), one of THE most pivotal moments in my spiritual walk was during a sunset. It was a dark, dark season of my life and my marriage and I was out on a walk by myself in our neighborhood, crying and yelling at God for what I was sure was all His fault. Then, something caught the corner of my eye, I looked up from my tears and was rocked to my core by the most beautiful of sunsets I have ever seen. And THEN, in the sweetest of whispers, I heard “That was for you.” In the midst of my unrestrained anger at Him, and the saddest moment of my life, He created a stunning sunset… and whispered His sweet love over me. Glory.

    • Sarah,

      Oh, how I KNOW that was YOUR sunset! God sent me a tiny, front-yard rainbow once (I’m not kidding–I wrote about it before and it will be featured in Dawn Camp’s book to be released in February next year!).

      Glory revealed :).

  14. It was a November morning in PA, the day after my beautiful, sweet momma went to be Jesus. I woke up to the sun rising in a clear blue sky. I looked out our window and the sun was warm on my face….I felt as if it was a gift from God, a hug from my mom saying “I love you”. I could actually feel her love in the warmth of the sun. And every morning since, when I wake to a beautiful sun rise I say, “hi mom…I love you”.

  15. I was in a dim space raising my special needs daughter, crying out to God, what am I supposed I do? A voice in the quietness of my broken heart nudged me. “Love her”. The start of a beautiful journey of transformation, trusting God and learning faith. It continues…

  16. Just prior to his deployment to Afghanistan, my son Jacob (who turned 21 while he was on the other side of the world) drove home for one last goodbye. On the way from Georgia to Virginia, he came over a hill on I-95 and encountered a wheel in the middle of the lane. He and the driver behind him both hit that stray wheel, damaging their cars and blowing their two driver’s side tires. Knowing that he had been driving at least 65 miles an hour, I realized that the results of the accident could have been much worse.
    I immediately thanked God for protecting Jacob, then felt Him telling me, “See? I have Jacob. If I can take care of him on this side of the world, I will take care of him in Afghanistan.” I certainly prayed for Jacob for the nine months of his deployment, but always had a peace about the situation because of my God’s message to me that night. I will always be grateful for and amazed at how much God loves me!

    • Oh, dear, Marjorie… Yes, those “what-ifs” are painful to consider, so the best thing is to focus on what DID happen. And in this precious story of Jacob, the Lord sure was tender to you. (And my thanks to your baby for his service!)

  17. Your story, Robin, and those of the commenters above, illustrate how God SO often reveals himself in glorious ways just when we need it most. Hallelujah!

    I’m remembering a time several years ago when I received some devastating news. Several days later, as I began my quiet time with God, I mistakenly opened my Bible first instead of the study guide. “How silly,” I chided myself. “You don’t even know the scripture for today.” I found the workbook page for that day, and was instructed to turn to John 13:7. Looking back at my Bible I discovered it was already open to the correct page, and that verse was at the top of the page. I felt the Spirit whisper, “This verse is for you, Nancy.” And then I read: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” That devastating news of a few days before didn’t seem nearly so hurtful, with God’s reassurance that he was at work, engineering circumstances for good!

    • Chills…this story gave me chills! All these God-gifts, they’re treasures and faith strengtheners, aren’t they? I LOVE this scripture and need to go back and read it in context :).

  18. Robin,

    I prayed for you and your daughter this summer when she was in the Philippines. I began to work with nurses from the Philippines this year and am constantly calculating the time difference in my head. I read this post and it so hit home. My oldest, who is 20, is leaving for a semester abroad on Thursday and she is mentally checked out. Her room is a bomb with piles of what to do with everything but she does not want to pack yet. On the way home from dinner tonight, her dad reminded her that he and seen Taken and he is not Liam Neeson, so she needs to be aware of people around her! With a roll of her eyes that I could feel from the front seat, she assured him she would. I am excited for her to go but I miss her before she even leaves and I am a mom prone to worry so that doesn’t help! Her sister is off on her first year of college and I miss her so much! That leaves me with one little brother, baby of the family, who approaches everything so opposite his sisters and is not exactly focused yet this school year. There is too much change! I just read Let’s Be Brave by Annie Downs and am in process of reading Lysa TerKeurt’s new book and I think they should be a box set – be brave and don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis over making decisions! Thank you for your wise and wonderful writing. You have blessed me so very much! Erin

    • Erin,

      Well, one good prayer partner deserves another; thank you for praying for us while Rachel was overseas. It HURTS to let your child “go” even when you know they’re going with God! I am praying even now that your worry gives way to wonder, the wonder of God, your daughter in a new place, and what He wants for YOU in this season! I also just finished Annie’s book recently and I’m flying through Lysa’s; from what I know, they are wonderful books for you in this season.

      God be with you, sweet one. 🙂

  19. Now I understand why I insist on having at least a sheet covering me at night! Haha. Oh how I’ve walked this road of letting go so many times. This year we said good by to our daughter as she got her own home and it’s not leaving for college, its leaving permanently. But it is a good thing. And just tonight I received a text from her asking to see us tomorrow for dinner. See they do care 🙂

    I’m walking this road of letting go with my twin sister this year. For her only child is staying in my state for college and she is an ocean away in Hawaii. And it feels clumsy not knowing how to maneuver this season and we don’t always get it right. But somehow our kids learn a thing or two as well and by God’s grace seem to forgive us of our own missteps.

    God’s words to me? Grace filled, you are my child, undoubtedly created by Me for a reason I only get to see step by step. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because it’s in those steps I see Him and I depend on Him in every way.

    Thanks for sharing Robin!

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for sharing your word from God. It is really neat, and worth remembering. I thnk it is a promise to which we can all relate! God continue to bless you richly!

    • Your sister is fortunate to have you walking this with her; I’m sure you’re well-equipped to help her navigate this season. Doesn’t the time you now have with your daughter feel like a GIFT now? And once, I took time with my kids for granted.

      Mercy….!

  20. Hi, Robin! Thanks for sharing this with us. My younger daughter is a college freshman this year, and while she is still in the same town, she is out of the house and things are different. 🙂 We have two daughters, and the older is married and lives in another state, so we are sort of empty-nesters.

    Thank you for asking about when God has spoken to me undeniably. I had the privilege of participating in a retreat at a place in West Virginia called Faith Mountain. I was struggling with certain relationships, and my heart was just not right. I went out one morning and found myself a moss-covered seat at the base of a tree where I met with God. 🙂 He first spoke to me about purity of heart – Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” He then spoke to me of my “jaundiced” heart – tainted, bruised, hurt, resentful, bitter. Whew! I picked up a yellow leaf with brown (bruised?) spots. I saved it, and it still looks the same. 🙂 This was 2 or three years ago. The leaf is wrapped in plastic wrap and is in one of my journals.

    Later that weekend, we were out on a hill, again spending time with God! Once when I opened my eyes, I saw silver sparkles in front of me – lots of them. I asked God what is that? He reminded me of the song “Mercy is falling, is falling, is falling; Mercy it falls like the sweet spring rain. Mercy is falling, is falling, all over me.” Wow! That evening we were sharing what we received, and another gal said she saw silver sparkles, too. She asked God about it as well, and He gave her Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…” How awesome is that? My sharing was to just sing the song of which God had reminded me, two times, after the other gal shared. God is so very good!

    God continue to bless you richly!

    • Cindy,

      Sometimes “Wow” is the most spiritual thing I can say :). Because what you shared is chock full of it, to the glory of God!! I LOVE hearing the different ways we’ve been touched by the Divine. God is generous and I wonder what I might have missed because I wasn’t looking….

      ((hugs)) to you and your almost empty-nesting :).

  21. Hi Robin – I’ve got two short stories to share with you…

    Shortly after I surrendered my life to Christ at the age of 44, I began to “fret” … just a little.. over the salvation of my children, two adult sons with families of their own.
    I was growing in my relationship with the Lord and reading the Word daily, and of course came to realize that “fretting” was not God’s will for my life and so we (God and I) had a chat over the matter.
    He quickly came to my rescue with the assurance of Deuteronomy 30:6, and then followed with confirmation by conversations I had with both of the boys on separate occasions. I know in my heart that God wanted to reassure me, so that I would be place this awesome weight into His capable hands and leave it there ~ and I did.
    That was seven years ago, and even though Satan tries to lie to me, I hold on tightly to God’s promise and pray in agreement with the revelation God gave me that day, thanking Him for what will come to pass!

    The second story is about you…
    In June of 2013 you posted “When people you love make choices you hate”.. I re-read that writing several times a day after you posted, for well over two months! I was (and still am) learning to cope with an alcoholic husband. He is a born-again believer who has health and depression issues, which leave him in a funk that draws him to drink, it’s a downward spiral.
    I knew in my heart God’s will for me was to stay in this marriage and support my husband, but somehow I never could get any peace. I was constantly battling anger and bitterness and resentment.. until you gave me hope – A tool!
    A tool I had begged God for and He graciously provided through you, I let this phrase permeate my soul and it has become the cover I pull over me to keep the evil at bay…
    “God is good, only good, and I fully believe out of this goodness, he has shaped my thinking to trust whatever circumstances occur in my life – the good and the difficult – are intended for my good, his glory, and in some way, the advance of the gospel.” ~ Thank you sweet woman of God!
    Blessings,
    Suzanne