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...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at DaySpring.com
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. Walked through cancer twice with my best friend. She was a very private person and resented invasive questions about her diagnosis. She would tire of thinking about it and talking about it. Some people like to talk about it- just be sensitive to which kind of person they are…

    • Kay…that is such a good reminder! Some people want to talk about it, others are weary. And, even those who DO want to talk about it, don’t want to go into details with just anyone. It’s a tender, sacred space if they invite you in…and not personal if they don’t. (And, I’m so sorry your friend endured cancer not once, but twice… ((hugs)) )

  2. Robin, thank you for insight into what’s so hard for many of us – knowing how to show up for the really hard times. One thing I found was that people are there during the difficult times but afterward they aren’t. This is normal as life goes on for them while life seems to stay off track for the ones dealing with such loss.
    I don’t send flowers to funerals. I send a plant, gift card, etc. later. Maybe on the first holiday without a loved one, or on a day that was special to them. It’s a way of letting them know they cared about and not forgotten.

    • D, we’ve noticed the circle has grown smaller as time goes on, in part because people just don’t know what to do. You’ve offered something important to consider. Thank you for taking time to share.

    • One practical thing that we learned that helped when my bil unexpectedly died was to have a friend be the drop off person for meals. Meals were brought to her house, and she brought them to my sil’s house. This kept my sil from having to socialize before she was ready, as well as cut down on the number of times the family was met with curiosity about the situation.

  3. beautiful Robin – I remember this ‘season’ well with my sister, diagnosed with ovarian cancer… we were blessed with almost 10 years of life for her after her diagnosis. she is now healed in the arms of Jesus. I miss her deeply and long for the reunion… until then. I cling to the memories and gift from God of a sisterly love so deep in God’s love. hugs love and prayers as you walk this journey and beyond… hugs and prayers for your sister and loved ones as well. Rest in God, cry out to Him. May His blanket of love cover all of you giving you His peace and comfort and JOY!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. This is perfect for showing us how we can “model Christ’s love” with people we care about during this difficult journey.

    • Chris,

      It means a lot for you to say that because it’s exactly why I felt drawn to write it. To help others know different ways to support the ones they love <3.

  5. Robin,
    My brother just had surgery to remove masses on his spine. They turned out to be lung cancer. Doctors wouldn’t believe the diagnosis and had it checked again. Diagnosis was the same. Lung cancer. His lung scans looked clear, until more detailed scans were done. That was when he was given the news..Stage 4 lung cancer. Inoperable. Receiving aTerminal diagnosis is like a punch in the gut. He and his wife are already dealing with her diagnosis of kidney failure. She is on a waiting list for a new one. The day he came home in a wheelchair, she tripped and landed hard. It broke her wrist. It’s too much to believe. How can this be happening? Our dad was a Christian minister. He’s been gone now over 10 years. This is really testing my faith. How can this all this happen and all they ask for is prayer? Things have calmed down now. Her wrist was operated on and now is healed and therapy is really doing great. My brother keeps me in stitches with his humor when we talk on the phone. They live in another state and neither of us are able to travel to see each other and get a hug that is needed. His attitude is really positive right now. He says that he talks to the “Big Man” in the sky daily and thanks him for allowing him to see another day. Prayer is really the best thing you can give someone. Also, like you said… Ask what help they could use… And ALWAYS pray. Thank you for today’s article. It is really the best advice that anyone can give.

    • Oh…Peggy… ((hugs))

      I was having a conversation about the difficulties in our lives remind us we aren’t made for this world. There IS something better we’ll celebrate for eternity! What a gift that your brother is focusing on the positive, remaining in conversation with God, that his wife is healing from her wrist break. So many setbacks and HARD things… What do people do who don’t have a relationship with Jesus when these times come? Saying a prayer for you and your family this morning <3.

  6. Thank you Robin for sharing this tender & heart-breaking devotional. I’m praying for your precious sister & brother-in-law, as well as for you & all family members.
    My husband went thru Stage 4 melanoma back in ’05 & I wish there were things I could have done different. I had so many people putting extra stress on me to notify them as soon as the surgeries were over instead of having one person handling that for me. My mother-in-law was extremely optimistic & kept saying “everything is going to be ok” when I just needed a hug. Everything didn’t turn out great but my husband is still alive today. He had melanoma on the right side of his eye & the doctor had to cut all the nerves down to his mouth. We had some family come right after one surgery & sit in the room for hours when I had told them please wait for a few days to visit. With LA traffic (surgery was in Santa Monica) they didn’t want to leave until the traffic let up. I had so many hurt feelings during that time & didn’t receive the help we so desperately needed. Jerry had 3 surgeries & each one, one of my children would come & be with me which was a huge help. We were still working during this time as well & took medical leave. Saying all this I needed to learn to speak up with love but with firmness. Have one person channel the calls & don’t put more pressure on the spouse to do more than they are already doing.
    We did have some people bring meals which was so kind & helpful.
    Lord bless you Robin as you continue on this journey with Lora & Jody with wisdom only God can provide & guide us through.

    • Goodness…what we face in this life is so hard. What sounds so beautiful about your experiences is what you learned through that season. I hear God’s strength changing you. THANK YOU for sharing your experience! If one person reads your comment who needs to hear it, WOW! Thank you, too, for your tender words of encouragement. I’m grateful <3.

  7. Thank you Robin. Prayers for Lora and Jody. Prayers for you and your family.
    We’ve had a number of losses and diagnosis’ in our church family. They have shared, just as you have, what is needed…
    *gas cards were needed
    *housekeeping /laundry while at dr appts
    *dog walking or dog sitting
    *prayers for sure!
    *and lastly.. quiet time. some were just exploded with calls and visits and food and texts. just as you said.. just wait for what “they” need or ask for!
    Prayers. Prayers. Prayers \0/

    • Janet, each comment I’m reading is an affirmation God led me to write this for our community, and what you and so many are adding is so helpful. There’s a beautiful redemption in the hard parts of our stories when what we’ve learned can be a blessing to others. <3 (thank you for your prayers!)

  8. Having just lived thru this(loss of our son to cancer)all of these suggestions are right on point. We found the food thru gift cards and simply showing up to shovel snow etc to be most appreciated.

    • ((Jan)) sending you love this morning. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Thank you for taking time to share what was helpful to you.

  9. Robin-Thank you for the insight. I cook but you’re so right, folks are often too ill after chemo to eat. The gas gift cards are a great idea and something that I never thought of! Actually, you had lots of great suggestions.

  10. I agree with all that is said. I will add that sometimes space is what people need. So my advice is know who, what and why. The who means knowing the person and what they truly might want or need. The what is asking “what do you need most and how can I best help you, and the why is “why am I doing this? To be of help or to be seen as being helpful.”
    Let us all remember the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
    It’s a hard place to be, In need of but not wanting to be needy. I do believe most people, while wanting to be helpful, just truly don’t know what to do. And finally I so agree that #1 prayers are always welcome and needed. Just remember we are all in this crazy world together and knowing one is not alone is huge so sometimes sending cards with loving messages and often times humor is equally important. A good laugh can be good medicine. Keeps us human and not our disease.

    • Loretta,

      Your answer to “why am I doing this” was a zinger! Motive…wow. Sometimes I’ve served others because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do, which puts the focus on me. Never thought of that. But simply want to love others well in the ways that are helpful to them is totally different. Good thoughts here…thank you.

  11. It’s so hard for a person who is used to helping others to need help themselves.

    My Mother is regaining her strength after a difficult time with an ear infection and a bladder infection the day after my 65th Birthday. I was so sad to see my Mother ill and I couldn’t help her be better because of my challenges with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    My Mother is such a Trooper ! She is using her cane to slowly walk around in her apartment. When I took her groceries to her this morning, she had already received her mail. She said she walked very slowly and used a plastic bag tied to her cane to collect her mail. I was so thankful to God for encouraging my Mother. I was almost in tears. I have certainly asked safe friends to agree with me in Prayer for my Mother’s healing and wellbeing.

    It’s so rewarding to see the manifestation of my Prayers starting to be answered right before my natural eyes. I am certain about God’s Desire to Heal my Mother.

    Thank You Lord for Your Tender Mercies.

    It’s a wonderful day for me and my Mother.


    • You’re a sweet daughter, Brenda. Sounds like your mom is exercising wisdom in this golden season. I definitely agree with your first line. Some people are wired to give give give, but receiving and needing anything is a challenge….

  12. When our 10 year old grandson died unexpectedly from a freak accident last year, the thing that upset me most was when someone would see me at church or the grocery store, etc. and the first thing they would say is “how are you doing?” I wanted to yell “how do you think I’m doing”. I knew they cared, were concerned & didn’t know what to say, but don’t ask that question. God was faithful, and thankfully many friends then and now will remind me that even now they’re still praying for our family. Those are the words that help.

    • Brenda…heard. I understand. I finally found words to express my emotional response to Lora’s circumstances, and it’s that I “rage with hope.” It’s honest, and expresses in a simple phrase the complexity of being a woman of faith with a million contradictory emotions…. sending you virtual hugs this morning….

    • I understand.

      Going through grief, the “how are you doing?” and “How is your day?” going questions…

      Not the best questions.

  13. Robin,

    Prayers for Lora, Jody & you for peace & calm during these times. One thing I used to do for my mom-in-law is take her to doctor’s appointments. That gave her husband a chance to stay home & work in yard or whatever. Restaurant gift cards are a great idea. After they’ve gone to doctor or had treatment they can stop & pick something up. Maybe even a nice gift basket with some tea, lotions & snacks.

    I would call the friend a few weeks into diagnosis. Then ask what they need or want. This way you get to help out while they are in the throes of treatment.

    Blessings 🙂

  14. Oh Robin, my heart hurts for you. I am so sorry about your sister. My prayers go out to her and you. Having never had a sister, (I always, to this day, wished I had one) I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. Sending you a big

    A suggestion: if food is brought, put it in small portions in freezer containers. Then they can eat what they want now or save it for a later time.

      • You can send me a big anything, anytime, sweet Robin :). (Anyone correcting their own typos is speaking my love language.)

        Thanks for a great tip I hadn’t thought of. That gives options, for sure.