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. My favorite quote from these chapters has to be “My accomplishments don’t define me; neither do my failures. I am more than my body and more than my intellect, my body type, my contribution, I am more than I know.” top paragraph, pg 77. This sung out to me because I am so sensitive about these things. In fact, my husband and I just discussed this very thing yesterday, before I had even read the chapters. He had mentioned people who had in the past questioned how I had handled my step-son, feeling that I was harder on him than I was my biological son. I was hurt, because I tend to build my identity and self worth on the praise and censure of others. But, it was an opportunity to examine myself and whether or not I truly am showing favoritism, and to step back and say, is what they have to say more important than what God has to say?

    I am learning with time that I cannot be live in the fullness of Christ if I constantly base my worth and self on worldly opinions. I need to remember to go to Christ for everything, that it is He who should define me. Easy said than done, like, totally. But, It is amazing to see, day by day, how much returning to that thought brings peace and change. I am more than I know, and that is a fabulous thing. God isn’t done with me, and I will not be left to myself to wallow in the flesh and darkness. It makes me giddy almost, not to sound silly.

    • This is true for me too. I must stop trying to please anyone but God. Yesterday our pastor and a lay leader used 3 verses from Proverbs to teach the importance of walking with wise people who know us well and rely on God in their lives. The verses were Proverbs 13:10 & 20 and 20:5. Sounds like you are being wise in your willingness to hear others and use the truths you hear to change based on the standard of God’s Word.

    • Couldn’t I have used that on either my incourage post or Part II post today, Aubrey? I loved that quote when I read it and wonder if it was bouncing around my head when I wrote that post. Hmmm….

      You’re a contemplative. It seems to me that’s how you grow closer to God–by thinking on deep thoughts about Him, and how that translates to your life. A special thing to observe, friend :).

    • Aubrey, this makes me giddy too. The joy that we are robbed of when we put the opinions of others, or even just our own self comparison, up against what the Lord has to say, is simply astounding.

      I am more than I know.

  2. Q1. For me, this means that I will not let this world or my circumstances define me. I will try to be thankful for God’s blessings and keep an eye out for Him in the daily ins and outs of my day. When I am going through a valley season, I will choose to believe He is good and not get bitter or cranky. I will try to be a blessing to others — simple things like calling a friend to say hello or inviting people over for dinner make a difference. I hope to continue to pursue community and Christ in the midst of it all.

    Q2. I have a friend named Lorene who is just a burst of sunshine. She just quit her job as an educator to start a ministry to help the elderly and sick. She wants to go to nursing homes and hospitals to do manicures for the elderly and the sick. She is going to call is “Pigs and Polish” because she says there we are all “P.I.G.S. — Precious in God’s Sight.” — She makes the world a happier place to live. Love her!

    Q3. I love how Jean talked about imagination as a way to escape selfishness. She sees it as being “others focused.” For her, showing compassion is beauty and art and creativity. This really is insightful, and I am starting to pray about how I can be a more creatively compassionate person. May the Lord re-wire my thinking in this way. Wow!

    Q4. “A child has no platform, no achievement.” (p. 101).

    • GirlieQ…I LOVE reading your responses! You have a gift to summing things up so well. And I loved meeting Lorene–a person who can redeem the word “pigs” is daggum amazing :).

    • How I long to “constantly be thankful for God’s blessings and keep an eye out for Him in the daily ins and outs of my day . . . to choose to believe He is good and not get bitter or cranky . . . to try to be a blessing to others.” You hit the nail on the head in your perspective. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Lyli,
      I enjoyed reading your responses…and I love Lorene’s acronym “PIGS”….she sounds like she has the gifts of compassion, mercy, encouragement and helps 🙂 I can’t remember the page in the book but there was a quote where Jean talked about how only God was big enough or great enough to be enjoyed for eternity and we won’t be bored….She said it much better 🙂

  3. 1. The fullnesses I desire are described by Jean on page 78, “Jesus is closer to me than He was to the Twelve before the Holy Spirit came upon them.” For years I shook my head at the Israelites in the desert, a pillar of cloud or fire leading them, but still constantly complaining and questioning God. One day, God asked me, “I live IN you, and you constantly do the same thing. Stop and hear My Voice and obey.” Of course, I still fall short. But now, more and more often, when I get sidetracked by anxiety, fear, uncertainty, feelings, I stop and shift my focus to God. Using my Joy Journal (1000 Unending Gifts) and now my Pursue the Intentional Life notebook, helps me. “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3: 30)

    2. Two people came to mind when Jean talked about countenance ministers, both leaders in my church: the worship leader and the discipleship leader. My own countenance is something I need to change. If I want to live so my atmosphere is joyful and glorifying to Christ, I must LIVE what I said in question one. I don’t want to hear my husband ask, “Are you OK? What’s wrong? Is something bothering you?” That is going to take conscious effort and a closer walk with Jesus.

    3. Creativity is the most difficult for me because I don’t think of myself as a creative person. I have to stop limiting how I define creativity and realize I am creative in my use of time, my ability to write, my use of God’s Word to shape my attitude and enjoyment of living in His Presence.

    4. Since I know I struggle with countenance, the quote that spoke to me is, “But when I remember that my countenance can minister to others the love, compassion, and interest of God, I can tune in and turn my stony face into an organ of blessing,” (page 84). This will be my deliberate practice this week.

    • Debbie,

      Do you sense this as a season of growth for you? Between your blog comments and FB comments, I see you stretching, changing, desiring more and more the things of the Lord. THAT makes me so happy–for you and the choice of choosing this book for our Spring/Summer Bloom session :).

      • Robin (it is so hard for me to spell RobIn. My sister and granddaughter are RobYn.), Yes, this is a time of growth for me. My blog is called Uncharted Water: Trusting God No Matter What Comes My Way” (http://debbieputman.wordpress.com) because I have been plunged into uncharted water. I don’t have the plan, only God does. He wants me to learn to live fully trusting Him in every situation. This book, along with prayer and time in His Word, the counsel of others, and lessons from sermons, (in)RL, and blogs like yours, keep me moving forward–often bruised almost beyond recognition–but moving slowly forward and being transformed. I want to move from knowing and hearing to doing what He is calling me to do (James 1:22)

  4. I love how Jean talked about beuatifull!!! This is my desire…to let Him make me beautiFULL …full of His love and grace… Embracing the outward “decaying” so maybe more of Him can be seen…. Thank you so much for having Jean here… It is a rare gift to hear a woman a bit ahead of me …a woman who radiates this beautiFULL… Oh how I would love to share some coffee and conversation with Her…any chance Jean lives near Nashville

    • Ro,
      Just wanted to let you know that you do radiate God’s beauty in your joy and in how you encourage others:) You’re beautiful inside and out 🙂

  5. I don’t think I could pick one quote this time. But what I gathered was a need for the Word and the Holy Spirit to guide & empower me to live out my identity as a child of God being disciplined and creative, a joyful blessing to others with my Christlike attitude, being imaginative, selfless, humbling myself serving others while serving God. Great chapters!!’

  6. “To say yes to this date with God means I say no to whatever competes with this.”

    I have this underlined, with parentheses around it and a big “WOAH!!!!!!” scribbled next to it.

    This kind of sums up how I have been trying to walk through life for the past 8 months. For most of my life I have lived with insecurities and anxiety, with physical pain from worry. That is not to say that I haven’t been happy, but I would too often let things get to me. When I started looking at the joys in my daily life (thank you Ann VosKamp) my perspective shifted. Now when I am looking at my life, I think of what I am choosing and try to choose the better part. More often than not it involves letting my kids get messy, letting the laundry pile up, or playing a board game with my husband.

    I have always done this when dieting, yes I’m having a Cheesburger but it’s with side salad and water instead of Onion Rings and Coke. Moderation, deliberation and focus. Yes I’m not cleaning the kitchen, but I’m lying in the grass counting clouds with my four year old.

    What am I saying yes to with God, and where does that place my “No’s”

  7. Q1. A life beautifully lived can only be lived by pleasing God. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. I want Christ to dwell in my heart through faith. I want to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. I want to be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of God. (Hebrews 11:9, Ephesians 3:17-19)

    Q2. Countenance…the Lord has some major work to do on me in this area. I took Jean’s quote from page 82 and made it a prayer. ” LORD, I offer my face to You. Make it a channel of blessing”.

    Q3. “Every discipline is a YES and a NO. To say YES to my date with God means I say NO to whatever competes with it.” page 91

    Q4. Just one quote from 5 chapters? page 78, “I want to cooperate with God’s intention that Christ live His life through me all the way to the grave.”

  8. I’d like to radiate the wonder of the Holy Spirit. By showing the beauty of the spirit, By a glowing countenance.

  9. Choosing one quote (prayer on page 80):

    “Words from heaven, dwell in me richly. Lord, I want to do more than read Your words. I want to draw them up like a sponge, draw them up like jasmine honey through a straw, marinate in them, imprint them on my bones, spirit, and mind. Please, Lord, throw the switch. Charge my circuits with Your Holy Word. Please fill me.”

  10. I’d love to have a chat on the sofa with every one of you to hear more of what the Lord is doing in your lives. It’s obvious that Jesus has done a deep work in your lives over the years, often through hard times. Hard times are HARD. But great good can come through them. I wrote an article once about growing in the good times because it sometimes sounded like we only grow through difficulties. Isn’t it great growth can happen in both? Thanks for sharing what is stirring in your mind.

  11. My favorite quotation comes just before Aubry’s (p. 77): “From our earliest days we need to know who we are.” In my earliest days I learned that the most important thing for me to do was please my Mother. As I grew older I began to believe that I, also, had to please other people. What I discovered is that this led to hypocrisy in my life, telling one thing to one person and something else to another. God is the person I need to be pleasing, and it certainly is more fulfilling than only pleasing people. In my 40’s, when I discussed this with a kind Episcopal priest, he asked me to remember one verse: “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Suddenly, the priorities in my life began to shift. Pleasing God is what is best for me. I began to discover “beautiful-living in the fullness of what Christ won for me” (p. 75)
    Thank you, Aubry.

  12. Fav quote “The children the Lord fills His kingdom with are not defined by age.”. This reminds me that our heavenly reward is available to ALL who seek God and ‘come to Him AS a little child’.
    As a veteran elementary school teacher , I have seen how little children have such open hearts. They accept others without judgement; they have no malice toward others; they believe in all good things. It is only when treated badly by other humans, do they alter their beliefs and behavior.
    I believe that this is the attitude that Christ was speaking of when he asks us to be as little children- no matter what our age, we need to care, love and believe in the good of others; judge not and follow our Father’s lead. My challenge is to reverse the negative effects from interactions with others who seek to manipulate my beliefs and attitudes. . I am working daily to keep my heart open to the desires my Lord has for my life and to follow His
    lead. It’s not too late to change- no matter our age.

  13. Favorite quote – I can only pick one…why! I shared this with a group of young ladies I am meeting with – “My accomplishments don’t define me; neither do my failure….My circumstances will change, but not my identity. I belong to Christ forever.” pg 77 I am HIS!!!!!! I have been the church sec’y at my church for 13 years and have gone thru highs and lows. I love the body of Christ I serve and serve along side of but there are days when I want to hide. That’s when I “feel” like I am nothing other than the sec’y with no face and no heart. Conversation are interrupted, deadlines are disregarded, etc. but what I have to remind myself – is that I am HIS and who should I be focusing on. I ask myself “Who’s glory am I wanting?” And this also ties in with Jean’s comment “to be kind, we need to put ourselves in their shoes – we need imagination!”

    Which leads to my countenance…..does my countenance express the joy in the Lord? Not all the time. I love what Jean said about our countenance is not dependent on our health. Gave me much to chew on. By the way I think Jean is a perfect example of a JoyFULL countenance!

    Sooooo much to think about! Let’s live a beautiFULL life, oh yes sisters!

  14. My favorite quote kind of sums up all of the questions here: “But to live in the fullness of the Spirit day after day is the work of a lifetime. Listening. Responding. Repenting. Surrendering. Listening. Learning. Changing my mind. Changing my plans, my actions. Listening…”
    Wow! This quote really hit me hard. It’s never to late to start where you are. A lifetime of listening to God is a beautifull way to live, and the three faces I imagine who exemplify the ministry of countenance are my three church friends, Caroline, Carl and Edie. They all lived into their nineties, enduring multiple hardships, including burying a child, but they were all filled with such joy and they all taught me to listen to God I my life. Many times when I felt overwhelmed by the challenges of working full time and raising four children, they would help me get perspective. They didn’t notice the noise my kids made in the church pew, they just were glad they were there as it reminded them of God’s blessings. Listening.

  15. Jean, I loved your thoughts on imagination…especially being kind involves imagination. So I ask myself, what does being kind look like to those people in my life that are sometimes hard to love or understand. So I picture Jesus speaking to that person with a kind countenance and a desire to understand what’s going on in the persons life. How can I slow down, as Jesus would, and make that person feel validated and loved. Isn’t that what we all need? Thanks gild. I so enjoy seeing the three if you interact together with such joy and love.

  16. I really enjoyed these chapters, There were so many quotes that i can ‘t began to write them all so i will give me two favorite,.On page 79 “to live in the fullness of the Spirit day after day is the work of a lifetime. Listening , Responding , Repenting , Surrendering, Listening, Learning , Changing my mind. Changing my plans,my actions, Listening”lI :.This is a great reminder for me because i need to stop and listen . i was also reminded of the Scripture in Ps.46:10 BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!. i need to do more listening so i can hear the Words of God for my life.

    The second quote is on the bottom of page 83.:When i ask for the light of God;s countenance , i know that it comes to me by grace. God’s approving look , His smile is undeserved . God is not impressed with me. Though i can’t earn His smile , i can’t live a beautiful life apart from it. A beautiful life blossoms out of experiencing the benefits of His glorious grace which He freely has given us in the Ones He loves”

    I know that without God love and grace my life i would not be able to make it everyday , year after year,
    God is teaching me to live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow .. These chapters helped with the reminder to listen and learn what God wants to teach me , My prayer is that God will give me a teachable spirit and ears to hear Him.

  17. Im playing catch up on the videos, we were on vacation and I didn’t have access to internet. Completely unrelated but totally wonderful.
    Living a beautifull life in a fallen world really requires letting Christ shine through you. I believe the closer we are too Christ the more full our lives will be.
    Discipline is my biggest weakness, but I’m plugging fullness building into my calendar. I appreciated Jean saying what my time looks like will be different than someone in a different life situation, I have often felt like a failure because I didn’t live, act, read the Bible, journal, etc like others.

    My favorite quote was on page 77
    My circumstance will change, but not my identity. I belong to Christ forever; I am His redeemed and adopted child even if I am unknown by all around me.