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 could definitely relate to the chapter on The Prayer of Tears. Oh how I have wept over Matthew 25 and God’s Final Judgement separating the goats and the sheep. I weep over His unfailing Love, His Mercy, His Graciousness to me, for what Jesus had to endure…..and on, and on, and on it goes. This does not happen every day but I let the tears flow when He puts things on my heart like that.
    I think it is very easy to get caught up in the prosperity of the Gospel. Oh to have a meek and humbleness about me. To live in humility and walk in love as Matthew 25 states. Heaven help me do that.

    • You are a beauty to God. To take the time to weep before him. You are being used for the furtherance of the Kingdom. Our church just came off of a 21 day fast and 21 days of prayer at our in January. About the 13th day, my husband, the pastor began to weep and has not stopped. Daily he is moved to tears praying for souls. I so appreciate the tears the saints have shed in the history of the church and now. Bless you sister.

    • Janet,

      And….this is one that’s so HARD for me to relate to! I cannot help but wonder if it in some way stems from losing my mom when I was 9/third grade and trying to be strong and not cry (of course, NOT *when* she died and the days after, but weeks/months/years after). I used to see tears as weakness but now I see them as strength and beauty. And I DID appreciate the challenge of considering this chapter.

  2. From Chapter 4 there were 2 things that stuck with me. One was the section on deep joy on page 39-40 where it says: “In fact, joy is the most obvious result of a heart perpetually bowed in contrition.” This is an “out of the box” thought for me — one that I have been chewing on ever since.

    I also really loved on page 43 where he said: “At times our prayer may be reduced to a single word: ‘Mercy!'”

    Chapter 5 was so rich with meaning. I think this sentence on page 54 sums it up well for me: “Crucifixion always has resurrection tied to it. God is not destroying the will but transforming it so that over a process of time and experience we can freely will what God wills.” Letting go leads to greater freedom… that’s an amazing gift that God gives us. Isn’t it?

    I am so enjoying this book. It is stretching me and getting me to see my faith in such a different way. Thank you so much for choosing it.

    Can’t wait to see what all the other ladies have to say about the 2 chapters. 🙂

    • Lyi@3d,

      Interesting how you chose several phrases that stood out to me, too; when I read that observation about joy, I thought AHA! I’ve never considered it the “obvious result of contrition”!

      And the part about God transforming the will…I loved that!! It’s see of hope, which makes the letting go bearable.

      So glad for your input and to sense your delight in our book :).

    • Lyi@3d,
      I loved the phrase about resurrection always being tied to crucifixion. I heard years ago someone else talk about the need for a seed to die in order to bear fruit and I remember during that time wrestling with things I thought God wanted for me and I’d had to let them go. It’s not easy to do and for a while I remember thinking “I have to let it go NOW, but God will bring it later.” The truth is that I wasn’t relinquishing them, right? Not truly. This chapter was a great reminder of how I need to truly let Him have it… continually. I need to be “buoyed up by a confident trust in the character of God.”

  3. Chapter 4 The Prayer of Tears really helped me understand why I usually end up crying when I pray. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me–that maybe I was too emotional. I’d asked God about this. And now I have my answer. I almost always experience a release after my tears. And these are not just tears of contrition, though they may start out that way, but also tears of gratitude for the wondrous way He forgives, renews, and revives my soul. And for all He has done for me even though I have not deserved it. One of the ways God shows me He is watching over me is by sending little birds to my backyard. One particular morning I was feeling especially down, this was when my Daddy needed me almost round the clock–he was 89–and my husband had recently lost all of his eyesight to RP. I was sipping my tea and looking out the window, and suddenly a little bird with a yellow tummy landed in the rosebush in front if me. He hopped around a bit looking at me through the glass and then flew off. I was delighted and knew it was God who had sent it. He knows what delights our hearts. 🙂

    • I can really relate to you, Joni….I was wondering why I regularly tear up during prayer- the more in the Spirit the more the tears… Again, was it hormones or what??? Now I know it is just God’s releasing in different areas – what a surprising gift! Blessings:)

    • Joni,

      I believe in God-gifts like that little yellow bird in your yard and other (extra)ordinary evidences of his tender love for us. I’m sure others might argue, but to praise God for those gifts when we NEED them?? I think He’s so happy we notice :).

      • Joni and Robin,
        And the beautiful thing is that God is so specific to what delights our hearts. Things that might seem completely silly or unimportant to another, will make us giddy with delight and I’m floored each time that God knows me so well. Silly, I know! .. but I feel so loved!

  4. I don’t have the book. I don’t have the money right now to buy the book. But this post helped me a lot when I got to the list of self-sins. What a relief to be able to be free of those! I’m thinking of printing out that list and sticking it on my wall over my computer to see it. How often have I cried out to God to change me because I hated the way I was and I wanted to be like Him, free from all this human garbage I have to deal with.

    • Christine, I would be glad to get you a book if you could email me and tell me where to have it sent. My email address is jill_howard@bell south.net. God bless!

      • First, Christine, THANK YOU for your comment! It’s so hard for me to write these posts and I’ve been afraid I’m including too much; but I also know there are those like you following along, and I want to provide you decent content and help those without the book to get a good feel for the chapter (some of these types of prayer are NOT self explanatory!). So thank you for sharing how the posts are blessing you.

        And Jill? YOU are a rock star! Your kindness and generosity to Christine is like a gift to ME. Blessings on you, sweet friend :).

  5. I could really relate to the “settled peace”. There comes a time when you have to let go and say to God – “You lead I’ll follow” but when you say it you also have to be willing to follow through on it with confidence. Max Lucado in Grace called it Confident peace and I agree it comes with age and experience. If you try to lead all the time you’ll be stepping on God’s toes and have an unsettle day. The peace that comes so outweighs the feelings associated with being right all the time. You can’t convince God you’re right, we’ve all tried it, but I’ve never met anyone who’s actually succeeded!
    Blessings all:)

  6. I was convicted about how I don’t regularly cry when I pray. And then when RoseAnne talked about it not being like a drive thru, I realized why that may not happen. Not enough time connecting with God. Thankful for what I’m learning from this book. Thankful for RoseAnne’s wise words and wisdom from being a generation ahead of me in her faith. I am waiting on several things right now, and that last part really resonated with me about how the waiting is not the worst part. Praying God refines me while I wait and turns me into more of a prayer warrior.

    • Christy,

      Thank you for sharing your struggle; and I can’t help but want to encourage you not to feel condemned by whether or not your cry when you pray (I’m preaching this to myself, too). To recognize areas where you can grow in faith, to learn that waiting is sometimes the bridge between who you are and who you’re becoming, those are GOOD things. And I agree with your thoughts about RoseAnne–Jessica chose the perfect companion to join she and Angie for this section! Everytime she opened her mouth, something good came out! I know she’ll be blessed by reading how she’s challenged you :).

    • Christy: I’d begun about a month ago to pray, “God surprise me.” from Mark Batterson’s book “Draw The Circle.” And oh my goodness. He surprised me today with tears praying for a friend. Surprised me yesterday with a couple coming back to church after a separation and now they are reunited and back in church. We sat around a lunch yesterday, all of us in tears. Wow get ready, He is going to surprise you Christy as you connect more and more with Him. Exciting.

      • Christy, Robin, Marilyn,
        Amen! Thank you for sharing ways in which God is moving right now! Christy, I also loved hearing RoseAnne mention that waiting is not the worst part. We need to put in the time. Marilyn, that is a good book and what a beautiful surprise to receive after asking! Robin, thank you for mentioning that we shouldn’t feel condemned for not crying. I think as long as our heart is willing God will bring about and do what he pleases for His glory.

  7. Ladies, I am really loving this study. I especially loved when RoseAnne talked about praying and doing laundry, and about how God can take care of your needs one penny at a time if he chooses. Thank you for what you are doing…it is a real blessing to me, and I am sure to others also.

    • Jill,
      I loved the Jesus kisses also and how RoseAnne connects that God as her provider. Told my mom about it because she says something similar. RoseAnne has been a big blessing.

  8. Love, love the Nestea analogy! Had to pull it up on YouTube to relive the visual again:) As, Foster said…”this picture describes the end result if the Prayer of Relinquishment rather than the process, and we need to have the end result clearly before us to give us courage to face the process” (p.49).
    Reminded me of the verse in Hebrews (12:2): “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. BECAUSE OF THE JOY AWAITING HIM, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” To that I say “Thank you, JESUS” and “Aaamen”!!

    • Celeste,
      Thank you for the verse.. perfectly applicable for the current topic. Keeping our eyes on the prize is a way we are able to move forward in most areas of our Christian walk, not just in relinquishment of our will. Thank you again for connecting scripture to this.

  9. I Related to Chapter 4 – “The Prayer of Tears” Page 42 “The old writers saw it as a gift to be sought after. We cannot make the heart repentance happen. It is a gift from God, pure and simple. Let me receive the gift of tears.” (This is the cry of the mature Christian.) Page 43

    Personally, I don’t want pain. I don’t seek tears; however, I have experienced both seasons from time to time. But it all goes back to that old game of tug of war – our will vs. God’s. This book has been very enlightening and causing me to be aware of the fact that “There is so much more.” Lord open up our understanding and grant us revelation. I want to grow.

    • Marilyn,
      I agree with you that heart repentance is a gift from God. It may not be comfortable at the moment, but we grow so much when we invite this in. Seeking a contrite heart is not the same as seeking pain, even though both might result in tears. I loved the quote Foster gave by Basilea Shlink “the first characteristic of the kingdom of heaven is the overflowing joy that comes from contrition and repentance.” Others have mentioned it here: joy and contrition in constant tension.

  10. It is so nice to read everyone’s thoughts & experiences here. I enjoyed so much of the wisdom and challenge in both of these chapters and many of the quotes already mentioned. There was one that stopped me right in my tracks though: :”We are not sinners because we commit sinful acts; rather, we commit sinful acts because we are sinners.” (p. 41). This, I have heard and “known” my whole life: We are born sinful, we are all sinners. But I read it this time, and I felt like God was saying “are you hearing this???” It’s not about what you “do!” I am a “do-er,” and I beat myself up every time I fall short (mostly with self-deprecating talk in my own mind)…which is every day…over and over. I’m discovering that trying to be good all of the time can really mess with your head and your theology. It was a relief for me to see it written plain…You ARE a sinner – not just that I am a person who SINS. I need salvation from WHO I FUNDAMENTALLY AM, not just what I do…I feel like I’m just learning this now!!!!

    • Yes.. same here.. been struggling with this myself the past week, and reading Romans cpt. 6-8 over and over. What a Savior we have, that He did and does rescue us from who we fundamentally are as well as what we do.. He transfers us over to the kingdom of light. He makes us new!

    • Laura,
      So true!!! Despite many years of being a believer, and knowing I am forgiven, I am still “doing” and it is exhausting!! The Holy Spirit spoke to me as well! ”We are not sinners because we commit sinful acts; rather, we commit sinful acts because we are sinners.” (p. 41). Whew!!!

      Praise God that sanctification is a life-long process and that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus!!

      • Laura, Martha, and Cheryl,
        I raise my hand in agreement at feeling like that. Cheryl, it might be prayers like these that help to remind those of us who have been saved for some years of the truth of our situation. That little section Foster called The Rock Bottom Reality, I summarized as being: we are sinners/we need saving/Jesus did it. This is my condensed reality, and one I must remember.

        • Laura,

          You articulated well what so many of us sense…feel. I’m most thankful for what we are saved TO–eternal life serving a perfect King. The harder part is Kingdom life in the here and now, and to maintain a right perspective of who I am in Christ and apart from him is challenge.

          Which keeps me on my knees………..!

  11. One of my favorite paragraphs is near the end of Chapter 5, page 60. Foster tells us to “learn the prayer of release”. In this prayer we give it all up to God; our loved ones, our future, the frustrations, fears, and failures we face…

    “Give it all into his hands and then turn around and walk away. He will care for everything as he sees fit.”

    This sentence alone brings me so much comfort. I don’t have to carry these burdens alone! It’s such a relief when we are able to hand these things, so often out of our control, to the One who does have control. Our human nature makes this a bit of a struggle, but this is a prayer I’ve prayed many times and will continue to pray.

    I’m also greatly encouraged by the discussion between this group of ladies! I’m getting so much more out of the book this way than I would have simply reading alone.

    • Christina,
      So am I! I loved hearing practical ways in which everyone is living this out or how God is reminding them or nudging them in a certain direction. In reply to your comment of letting go, I really loved the way Foster phrased his prayer at the end of chapter 5. He prays, “that’s it, isn’t it? I’m afraid to give up control, afraid of what might happen. Heal my fear, Lord.” This is so me. I feel like most times my issue is not stubbornness or rebellion, but plain, ugly, fear. I seek control because I’m afraid… sounds so contradictory, but God knows. That’s why Foster says, “Jesus, please, teach me your way of relinquishment.” Amen!

      • Christina,

        Nodding; though I’ve seen the videos, read the chapters and write the content for these posts, to see YOU all processing “out loud” is a triple blessing. Sometimes it opens my eyes to something I’ve missed; or reinforces something special; or plain ol’ encourages me. Thank you.

  12. From Chapter 5: “Changed, not like a tornado changes things, but like a grain of sand in an oyster changes things.” There is so much hope in this statement.

    Living in the midwest I am very familiar with the destruction that a tornado can cause. The aftermath is chaotic, stressful, and depressing. Most of us are probably not all to familiar with how an oyster makes a pearl. It starts with something foreign finding its way into the oyster. The oyster covers the irritant with the same substance it used to make its shell. A pearl forms after many layers of this substance has been applied. The process can take a few months up to many years to be completed.

    By truly giving it all to God, he can be my oyster. Taking my “irritants” into his shell, God can transform them into pearls. It may take months or years, but God knows my heart can’t handle the destruction of quick change that a tornado brings. I have to trust in him and wait upon him.

    • LeAnn.. I loved your thoughts here. This sentence stuck out to me as well but your additional thoughts on how a pearl is formed added even more depth! Beautiful.. thanks for sharing!

    • LeAnn,
      I, too, loved that analogy and went to find out how exactly this pearl is made! I like what you said about the destructiveness of a tornado. God knows what we can handle and he won’t bring about more change than we can bear! This is something I saw so clearly last week while reading about the prayer of examine. This transformation is done through a joint partnership and God takes lead. Slowly and gently.

  13. SO much good stuff in these two chapters, and God did so much in me through them and continues to as I meditate on it. I was encouraged by the chapter on the prayer of tears probably because in the past year God has been really weaning me off of dependency on emotion/feeling as my guide. It was good to hear that emotion is not all bad. That it is good to FEEL pain and sorrow and grief over our sin and sin in general. I was reading this chapter after a particularly difficult day of parenting my 2 year old and I just wept and wept over my sin while in the tub covering my face with the book. It was just neat, a work of God to literally cause me to experience the prayer of Tears as I was reading through the chapter. There is a certain surrender in mourning our sin before God, agreeing with Him that His way is best.. and it was such a relief to repent. It seems that the prayer of examen will often lead to the prayer of tears.. we see ourselves up against His righteous and holy standard and we rightly grieve the things in us that grieve His heart.

    As for the chapter on the prayer of relinquishment.. wow. I nearly underlined the whole thing. I so loved what RoseAnne said about part of the problem being not taking enough time to pray, not giving ourselves wholly to it, being distracted and pulled in many directions. This kind of prayer takes time.. and to really relinquish something will take a process and patience. Like Christ in the garden.. spending the night praying and seeking His Father. Maybe I don’t experience true relinquishing because I practice the Drive-Thru approach too frequently. I loved the emphasis in this chapter on Gethsemane as we are in the Lenten season.. beautiful to meditate on. I love Foster’s emphasis that relinquishing is not resignation.. it is a faith-work, full of hope because in God’s economy death never has the final word. He always promises new life, resurrected life. The end of something will always be swallowed up in the beginning of something else, if we will trust Him and see it with eyes of faith. That’s why i LOVED the same quote you posted, Robin:

    “Why does God seemingly require relinquishment before bringing something into being? Part of the answer lies in the fact that frequently we hold on so tightly to the good that we do know that we cannot receive the greater good that we do not know. God has to help us let go of our tiny vision in order to release the greater good he has in store for us.” (p.53)

    This is my first time participating in the book club and God is working mightily in me.. thank you so much.

    • Martha,
      I loved all your comments. I really enjoyed all of chapter 5 as well. It brought hope instead of resignation, while reading. Something interesting happened a couple of weeks ago which was brought to mind when I read about the prayer of tears. I hadn’t cried sharing my testimony in years. I’m not a crier as it is, but many years ago I would cry when sharing this. God has healed and done so much in my life. He’s really brought me from a mighty long way. Anyway, in a class I’m taking we had to prepare/share our testimony, not necessarily for the purpose of relationship or openness with the other participants, but rather as an exercise. So, I begin to talk about it and the tears start to fall, came at me out of left field. I was so ticked that I’d gotten “emotional” (as I call it), but it wasn’t forced. The Holy Spirit touched something and I couldn’t help myself. I tell you though, after I felt so light. It was so beautiful to be reminded in my heart, as well as my mind, of what God has done.

  14. Hey ya’ll, it’s me here…

    FORGIVE ME FOR FALLING BEHIND IN REPLIES! My “regular” (in)courage contribution published today, and between replying to THOSE comments, having physical therapy for my knee, and life with my boys, I’m behind.

    But tomorrow’s post is ready to go, and I’ll be reading everything and replying as fast as I can.

    And y’all? Y’ALL are rock stahs–I love how so many of you are wandering in and out of conversation with one another. xo

  15. In the weeks passing, I have continually been encouraged to spend time with the Lord! And not from a drive-thru window either! lol. Thankfully because I literally have all the days to myself of no job and children (yet, lol), I can plan out my days how I want to spend them. From devotions, prayers, bible reading, journaling, I can really just enjoy the things I know I need to do, and not feel rushed to give my order 😉

    It’s actually been pretty awesome. He has shown me things, placed unfathomable things on my heart. I truly believe I have entered into a new realm of my relationship with Him and overall walk in my Christianity. It all pretty much resonated with me in one way or the other.

    My fave quote: “God creates everything out of nothing – and everything which God is to use he first reduces to nothing.” Ch5 – A Priceless Treasure.

    From a past-life of mutlitasking at a steady pace of ‘moderate’, and compartmentalizing my projects, spiritual duties, and household maintenancing, and coming to one of a complete halt (relinquishment/crucifixion), I had to learn to slow down (being reduced/death) and literaly start my life over (hope/resurrection).

    The illness I deal with on a daily basis is not an easy life to accept and deal with. Nonetheless, “God has to help us let go of our tiny vision in order to release the greater good he has in store for us.” Therefore, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me”.

    • Deb,
      Thanks for sharing. Foster mentions Paul relinquishing his thorn in the flesh and I really think (from experience also) that an illness is one of the biggest and hardest things to truly give to God. I also LOVED the quote you chose. If you dissect it, WOW! It holds and promises so much. He can use me to do anything He pleases- but first!!…

    • Deb,

      You have such a healthy, positive outlook. What a wonderful filter for this substantive book study. So much of me still fights to live, at odds with Christ in me.

  16. Lots underlined as I read through these 2 chapters, but my favorite quote, by far, is from the end of the video, “You can never out-give God!” That’s the most basic truth I know. No matter what I sacrifice, who I serve, what I give up, He always stands ready, blessing me with just as much as I am prepared to receive. And yet He always promises more, just as soon as I’m ready, again. I can never out-give God. Never! And that is divine love.

  17. Jumping in a little late after sickness at home…

    In reference to the discussion prompt, I’ll have to second Robin’s thought that I related more to one chapter than the other. I feel like I understand and, dare I say it, find it easier to seek the prayer of relinquishment. This chapter spoke to me in a whole different way. I found myself going agreeing a lot while I read but then I started thinking, “how much am I fighting for the things I really long for?” I loved what RoseAnne said about an investment of energy in this struggle, before we relinquish it. I know that worthwhile things take work, so the struggle has a reason. God wants us to engage in this struggle, to willingly crucify it and then watch God work out His will in this area. The struggle before the relinquishment makes it that much sweeter.

    I loved in the section “Released with Hope,” where Foster says “we are winners, regardless of what we are being called to give up.”

    Backing up to the prayer of tears, I kept asking God to show me how to live this out in my daily life. I think this attitude of the heart reminds me of who I am and who HE is. It is not so I can feel worthless, but so I can remember how worthy He is. I’ve experienced the type of prayer Foster talks about here, sometimes willingly other times unwillingly, and even though it’s hard to explain I understand the blessing behind it. It just may not be the easiest one to purposefully seek out.

    At the end of this chapter I loved the quote by John Chrysostom, “the fire of sin is intense, but it is put out by a small amount of tears, for the tear puts out a furnace of faults and cleans our wounds of sin.” What a beautiful illustration of tears as both powerful and gentle. Strong enough to put out sin, and gentle enough to cleans the wounds it leaves.

  18. Paula,

    Goodness, I hope all is well, now? Who has time for sickness? (says the lady recovering from knee surgery…)

    Reading your comment, I realize just how much I preferred one chapter over the other this time; which tells me, I probably need to pray over the other one! Which is a small sacrifice since it’s the challenging one for me…. Hmmm.

    • Robin,
      All is well now! My son is back to school and I’m being extra paranoid- er, careful! I hope your knee is healing up swiftly and you will be 100% soon. I loved what you said about seeking prayer in those chapters that may have been harder to get through. That’s usually a heads up. Not that we have to agree 100%, but we know when God is nudging us. He’s not exactly subtle sometimes. 🙂

  19. I think, for me, I can relate better to the Prayer of Tears. Not necessarily because I experience it often, but because it’s easier for me to be broken-hearted over things than it is for me to relinquish control over things. Who better to relinquish to than God right? But it’s hard. So yeah, I do think Chapter 4 is more relatable to me. A couple Sundays ago our church did a 30-somethings worship night and at the end of the night we closed with prayer. That was the first time in a while that I’d really prayed a prayer of tears. The thing that really made it “easy” was that, like Foster talks about in a couple chapters after 4, my heart was prepared. After having spent time in purposeful worship, it really puts you in your place and you tend to go, “You know, I really am broken. And my friends are broken. And my world is broken.” and it just…yeah. I don’t know. I know I’m mixing chapters together but they really fit together for me.

    I liked when Foster was talking about confession in Chapter 4 and how we don’t leave room for excuses. When we’re genuinely broken-hearted we aren’t praying “I’m sorry for this God but so-and-so asked for it.” or whatever. It’s genuine, “I’m sorry, it was wrong and I shouldn’t have gone there.”

  20. I am so very far behind in reading. But I love this chapter. I could totally relate to the Prayer of tears. It was actually an answer to “Why am I crying SO much lately?!” I know I grew up repeating to myself “big girls don’t cry big girls don’t cry.” Lately, once a relinquished that idea, I generally don’t break down and bawl my eyes out, but I get misty eyed during church service, or watching movies, or listening to music. It’s always because of something God is speaking to my heart.