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. “Jean’s analogy of the Bee Tree to that of investing in people leaves us with a wonderful word picture for future recall. Upon listening to the video and reading these chapters a) what are some ways you plan to begin or continue investing in others; or b) tell us about the impact someone else had in your life.”

    I come to this week’s chapters fresh from If:Table at a friends house last night. Six women, two hours, four questions. Before three months ago, I knew some of these women sparingly, some a little more, some not at all. And just a few short sessions in, they are becoming a part of my soul. We are all from different stages in life, and all have such different personalities. Our Pastors mom is one of the ladies, our treasurer, a former church member with no church home, our worship leader’s wife, and a few of us regular ole volunteers. We are all so different and yet we come together once a month and invest in each other. We hold nothing back. There are always tears, always shouts of joy, and occasionally we raise our fists and yell at God. The openness of the space is divine. I feel fully invested in by these women, in what they say for their own part, and how they respond to my words. I feel like I am investing in these women, even though most of them are leaps ahead of me in years. Our Pastor’s mom in particular, she has three grown children (her baby – the pastor- turns 30 today) and has such an incredible story. Spending time with her, makes me want to spend more time with her. If you haven’t heard of If:Table I would encourage you to check this out, http://ifgathering.com/if/table/ We have three going on in our church right now and we are seeing such fruits in our women as we have never seen before. Intentional community and fellowship, intentionally investing in each other. It’s simply amazing.

    • Oh, Sarah–that is IF:Table at its finest! Truly, what their heart is for this gathering of the Body.

      Thank you for sharing your experience–it aligns perfectly with Jean’s message of the Bee Tree :).

  2. Oooo, me, I cheered when Jean said “I don’t have to be good at everything.” 🙂 This is something I never thought about, that, as the body of Christ we are team, with different parts to play. If I think about my own body, I don’t expect my toes to be good at what my fingers do, or my ears to have an excellent sense of smell. So, why do we as people expect our selves, and others, to be good at everything? My sister and I are night and day. She has a gift for working with the elderly and is a nurse who works in elder care. I work with children, it is a passion I have always had, I do childcare from my home. She would never demand that I be good at what she does, and I would never insist that she start doing what I do, because we each have our place. I think our gifts and place in the body can also determine how we invest.

    Since my passion is being a mother and working with children, it makes sense that my investments are being made in my own children for the most part. This is the season I am in and where I am concentrated. Since I also provide child care for others’ children during the week I work to invest in those children while I have them. As far as others investing in me, oh praise God for those that do. I recently experienced an amazing Titus women’s study, where a group of ladies older than myself got together and we spent time in each of their homes learning how to cook and studying the Bible for instruction on being Godly wives and mothers. It was based on Apples of Gold and it was such a blessing. These ladies are still there even now that the study is over, pouring into us younger women.

    I loved the quote “We cannot wait for the perfect circumstance to do the things we think are important” Right now dear hubby and I are in the process of being liscenced to adopt through foster care. It is overwhelming to say the least, all the requirements. This is not the perfect time for us to do ALL of the things they want done to prepare our home. It is not the perfect time to disrupt the lives of our children. It is not the perfect time to test our marriage with the stress of it all. It isn’t the perfect time for our finances. Everywhere I look it is imperfect timing. But, this is something I feel God has led us to, and He leads us to these things in His time, not ours. If we wait for our time, nothing will ever get done, because we are by nature imperfect, so the timing will never be right.

    And my favorite quote is, as always, a reminder that I am not all that and a bag of chips “He calls me to watchfulness over my life. He reminds me that reputation isn’t a valid indicator of how I’m doing, nor is the praise I receive”. I love it. In this season when I am struggling with this desire for earthly approval, these are words I need to hear. A reminder that when you are walking with and being obedient to God, you may not always have praise and recognition from the world, and that is ok. Worry about what God thinks, because he is in it for the long haul, while the world’s opinion is gone in an instant.

    • I also like …..”we cannot wait for the perfect circumstances to do the things that are important.”
      And she spoke about creativity and reshaping……….Very important in pursuing the intentional life.

      • It is important, isn’t it? I am at a place right now where our budget is tight, so I am stuck at home with the kids and nothing to do. I am having to learn to be creative and to reshape things in this time so that it doesn’t become a time of discontent, temptation, and backsliding. Easier said than done, let me tell you! But oh so important so that this time of life can bring glory to God.

    • Aubrey,

      You’re brave, sweet sistah :). And though I know you didn’t share your comment to receive approval from anyone — you were simply responding to these questions — I want to affirm you, to tell you I see how you’re being obedient and at least taking the next steps for a Hard Thing. I’m also praying wisdom as you proceed, that you and your husband will be united along the way, and for you to know when to advance, stand still, retreat. Oh, how you’ve encouraged ME today :).

  3. LOVE LOVE the bee analogy … when I think about the bees… I don’t think they are flying around looking at their legs… monitoring the pollen count… no… they are doing what they are created to do… in doing so… they will have the pollen needed to continue their work. I want to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus… I don’t want to be my own or for that matter, anyone else’s fruit inspector… because what I think might look like beautiful fruit and what might look like useless… could be completely wrong… in this upside down Kingdom we live and serve… the greatest is the least… to mature is to become like a child… there is value in a cup of cold water. I want to invest my days in Him…and out of that relationship buzz around His Kingdom!!!
    thank-you for introducing me to Jean… what a treasure.

    • Ro! Ha! I literally imagined a bee looking at himself, looking to his right/left to see how he was doing compared to the others. While an amusing image, it sure is convicting. Usually when I think about being a worker bee, it’s in the doing of whatever task is at hand…NOT in the HOW of it!

      SO thankful you’re a part of Bloom this go round; pleased to have been a conduit for you to find Mrs. Fleming. 🙂

  4. Q1. I was blessed to attend a Christian school for middle school and high school. It was there that I first heard the Gospel and gave my life to Jesus. There were so many amazing teachers who
    invested in my life — I was loved well. When I graduated from college, I went back to the school and worked with teenagers for close to 2 decades. I wanted to give back to the place that had helped change my life. Investing in others is a blessing (and it’s also exhausting!). I loved what Jean said in the video about making sure that you aren’t too busy. I learned this the hard way in full-time ministry. You need to create Sabbath in your life, or you will surely burn out.

    Q2. I’ve always related to Paul’s thorn. I was born with a congenital birth defect, and I have to wear a prosthetic limb to walk. For me, it’s always been a reminder that just as I need help to walk physically, I can’t do life on my own without God.

    Q3. For me, it’s exercising. I need to do better in being a steward of my physical body now that I am at a desk job. I hope to start swimming 2 or 3 times a week — this really is the best exercise for me due to my physical limitations.

    Q4. “The challenge to keep spiritual realities fresh requires a battle stance against a dulling familiarity. Biblical truths sleepily imbibed become a lulling narcotic, an opiate.” (p. 144)

    • Lyli,

      Thank you for letting us SEE you! You share a lot of yourself in your answers and I’m grateful (plus, it’s nice to really begin knowing readers in the Bloom community!!) I didn’t realize about your prosthetic and I love your perspective in how it draws you to dependency on God. While some could be bitter, you’ve found redemption in your own body! Beautiful, friend.

  5. Jean’s words from today’s video touched me in a deep place today and I am very grateful. This year God has being helping me to say no to taking up some extra things and getting too busy, He has by his grace helped me to build a deeper relationship with Him through “The Book” and filling those free times with more of Him.
    Even with this I still need the prayer “LORD DO NOT LEAVE ME TO MYSELF” LORD PLEASE REVEAL MY BLINDSPOTS TO ME.
    Help me Lord.

    • Amen, Titi–we are wise when we recognize they’re there…and cry out to God to reveal them. Proud of your “No’s”…two letters can be so hard!

  6. I am so enjoying Jean’s latest book (as I have all the other ones she has written and which have changed my life and mothering). Wise reframing really spoke to me this week, encouraging me not to give up on life work, and not to wait for ideal circumstances in which to do it. I saw this manifested in the life of a precious friend of mine who died a week ago today from brain cancer. He was a Jew, who had recently come to Christ, and was a notable and prolific poet, who penned over TWELVE-THOUSAND poems (!!), which have been published into approximately one-hundred books. When he received the dire diagnosis, he assumed that he would never write again. But God mercifully kept his intellect in tact, following difficult surgery, and gave him a new frame in which to write. Despite the greatly altered and difficult circumstances in which he wrote, everything changed about his poetry. God framed it through the lens of salvation, healing, gratitude to God, and facing the strong possibility of death and life eternal in heaven. Given this new framework in which to work, his poetry took on great depth and glory. He did his work unto the Lord, hoping to spread the Gospel message through the poetic gift God had given him. Would that we would all see our work through this frame and make our work count for Him and eternal glory.
    Thank you all for all the time you are putting into this study and these messages, delivered through the video frame. You are doing exceptional work for the Kindgom that will last unto all eternity.
    blessings and thank,
    Lynn

    • Oh, Lynn…first, my sympathies on the loss for this very special friend of yours. What a beautiful story, this life of his! Incredible.

      Thank you, too, for encouraging the work we’re accomplishing through Bloom. Work might not be the right word…privilege? To steward an author’s words, to share them with our reading community, to plumb the depths of each book we choose and seek what God has for us in our time together is our joy. We’re thankful you’re a part (and each one who spends time with us). 🙂

  7. So much richness to ponder in this chapters! The concept of investing in the next generations is so important – and too often neglected in our self-focused society. I’m so grateful for the people who have taken the time to invest in me over the years. What a blessing, and one that I confess that I have not recognized as fully as I should. I’m also grateful for the young women and children that God has purposefully placed on my life right now. His call to invest in their lives is both a challenge and a humbling honour. Some days I feel like I am taking away more than I am giving. I firmly believe that the “generation gap” is not part of God’s vocabulary for His people.
    I also appreciated Jean’s comments on reframing. May I not become brittle in my responses to the life journey God has placed me on, but always be “supple, pliable, reframeable” so that God is completely free to do His work in and through me in whatever way He chooses – always recognizing that that could look very different at different stages of life. What remains constant is His grace, faithfulness, love, and justice. Not my will, but Yours, Lord….

  8. Charis,

    Your comment can almost be rephrased as prayer (especially the ending). To me one of the most important by-products of reading Jean’s book is the desire to change and do just what the title says! Not out of obligation or responsibility but out of joy and privilege. She extends so much grace and freedom to us…something I think we need sometimes.

  9. i really the Chapter on the Bee Tree : Investing in Forever. I pray God , please le me enter heaven like these bees enter the honey tree heavy with fruit for Your Glory.i want the fruit to be a legacy of prayer,i liked the quote at the bottom of page 128″perhaps prayer is my surest investment in future generations. Over the years ,my frequent request has been that all my children and their spouses and all their children and their spouses and their spouses and all their children and their spouses , generation after generation until Jesus comes again will love and serve the Lord/ And not only those who come from me physically but also those i touch spiritually May it be. May the bee tree hum generation after generation.
    I liked the way Jean expressed this because this is a request I have had for along time . She gave me such a visual . i can now see both the physical and the spiritual. The Lord has been speaking to me about praying for my Children and their spouses and children and the generations that follow. i can now see .
    how God wants me to do. He wants me to be the honey for them like bees are to the tree.