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. Two things strike me from this section. “What are the things , that unchecked, will trip you up?” Then that final prayer in chapter 27 “Loose my soul to delight in you even in Life’s bitterest times. Remind me… Stir me to faith… guard me from soul-fouling sourness.

    I am being utterly consumed by a cancerous situation at work, and I have been praying for days because I can’t find a way out of it. For about two years I have been praying myself out of situations at work that rob my joy, and it has felt successful, really successful for the past six months. But the situations that came up this week, have broken my ability to do this, and are sucking the joy from every area of my life. Literally just this week, this past three days. I can’t leave it at work, I think about it as I fall asleep, I think about it when I wake up.

    Work is something, that unchecked, will trip me up. I work in the public school system, with staff not children. I work 52 weeks a year. I see how the sausage is made, and it is not pleasant.

    And I can’t say that I feel the truth of Christ’s word in my work right now, I feel overwhelmed and about to break, but I will pray and pray and pray again “Guard me from soul-fouling sourness.”

    http://mainemummy.blogspot.com/2014/06/mid-week-musings-anger-in-workplace.html

    • Sarah – I love this. Not the situation – but you sharing it, and pressing into it. I thought back to my “cancerous” work situation and remember the praying and my final release. (no sausage in my case)

      Lord, I thank you for Sarah’s faith, a gift from you, God. That even when she cannot see the difference it makes, you are shining her light in the workplace. Thank you that you set the times for each of your children, and nothing is a surprise to you. Thank you, that when our circumstances do not bring us joy – you can be Sarah’s joy. Thank you for guarding her from that sour spirit, as you guard me also, Lord. We praise you today, and I pray you would inhabit her workplace as she praises you.

      Love to you…

    • Sarah,

      This situation seems almost unbearable…and yet…you still sense God working in the midst; that is no small thing. It’s the only part of it that makes sense, though hard to comprehend.

      I wrote about “getting through” life mountains forever ago; sometimes you can’t get around it, sometimes you can’t get over it, those times you just gotta get through it :/. And while you may not ever get completely over the dynamics of this behind-the-scenes mess, you will make it to the other side (and it likely won’t look like anything you can imagine…or at least that’s what has happened in my life experience).

      Anyway, I’m glad this book is ministering to you, that through Jean’s wise counsel, the Lord is meeting you.

      And Ginger’s prayer? Beautiful. {{hugs}}

  2. I have so enjoyed this book! It has brought such encouragement to me to view the videos and to read all the comments. When in community with like minded sisters in Christ you see that you are not alone.
    The chapter this week on not being overwhelmed in sorrow so spoke to my heart and identified where I was being overly hard on myself for a sin that I had confessed over and over. Today I nailed it to the cross once and for all and felt God’s love and forgiveness. I truly believe I can walk on in His grace now with a freedom that has removed the roadblock in my life. Thank you Jean for sharing so openly.

  3. The flies….we must all be on guard. As if the prowling lion is not enough, it seems the major distraction for us as Christian women today might be the voices competing with His.

    Personally, God calls me to His word to teach on specific truth, but I get distracted by studying, reading or writing about subjects others bring up on social media.

    All the blogs, all the communities are fantastic, but we (I) cannot be pulled from our personal work He has for us. It’s a challenge to dig in when what we do is not “seen” and fruit is not seen. We often don’t see our fruit in ministry. My obedience must be daily.

    This includes not using my very few alone moments (as a mom of young twins) to turn on the TV or laptop – but get in the Word.

    Love to all of you…

    • Ginger,

      Distractions ARE so loud in our culture! And they’re as far away as our fingertips! Oy. You said it so well. They’re great fritterers of our time, so if we aren’t vigilant, we can get sucked in to tv/internet/etc. before we even realize it.

      Good encouragement.

  4. Calling…I have been waiting for a ‘call’ from the Lord. I have not heard anything specific like, “Go here, do this”. I recently got ‘tripped up’ while trying to come up with a ‘Mission Statement’ for my life. Then on page 171, I read these words…He calls me to SUFFER. He calls me to IDENTIFY & PARTICIPATE in His suffering. He calls me to HAVE A PART in advancing His kingdom. I will be honest, I was hoping my ‘calling’ would not have included SUFFERING but I can not ignore these
    truths found in His Word. I echo the same words in Jean’s prayer, “May I know sweet connection, in ways impossible apart from sharing in Your suffering and comfort”.

  5. Q1. This was convicting! I realize that Jean spends a lot of time praying for God to help her do life better and to do work in her heart. I need to do more of this.

    Q2 Condemnation and guilt are such tools of the enemy. I am thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. I think this is why it’s important for us to treat each other with grace. I’ve been so blessed to have people in my life who’ve encourage me and helped me keep walking after I trip and fall down. It’s when I try to do life alone that I end up captive to my own negative thinking.

    Q3. I hope God will help me to be a grace giver at heart. I think it’s easy to throw stones — especially if you forget how painful it is to get hit by another person’s judgment. I’ve been praying for God to help me see my own sin more clearly so that I am more compassionate toward others.

    Q4. “The unknown, difficult cup will not diminish my cup of joy. I don’t know what cup awaits within the lines of my story. All I know is that whatever God allows to flow into the frame of my life, it is for my perfecting and His glory. Lord, help me to receive it in that knowledge and spirit. Your will be done.” (pp. 164-165)

    • Lyli,

      Your first two answers made me think of this: how convicting some of Jean’s words are but with NO condemnation! THAT is a thing of the Lord, yes? He wants us to see our shortcomings and inconsistencies, but he doesn’t want to defeat us–he’s FOR us! 🙂

  6. Oh… the excessive sorrow… I lived under this tyrant for too long. For me… it was part of my own man-made religion… one that I had to have deep enough sorrow to be worthy of His Grace and Forgiveness… and all of this was rooted in my own pride… keeping me for years from receiving His Unmerited Grace and Forgiveness. And this self absolving of my own sins… kept the door open to being swallowed up by the evil… accusing voice of the enemy. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I think too we think this verse only applies to us before we were saved… but we need the Cross daily in our lives to we can truly live in the freedom… “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”!!!

    • Ro,

      You tapped into the same line of thought I began above. Awareness of our sin can defeat us under a cloud of despair and condemnation OR it can bring us to repentance and dependency on Christ. Perhaps one of the many redemptions we enjoy as believers is finally seeing the sins we were once blinded to, and then receiving the grace and forgiveness which was ours all along….

  7. Thank you for reading my book. I love hearing your personal interactions with the material and
    each other. This is a rare experience for an author, a real privilege to have a window into the minds of readers. And you are thoughtful and reflective readers.
    I hope I get to meet you someday. I LOVED the time with Jessica and Angie (on the sofa and all the between times) and I’d love to sit on the sofa with YOU.
    Thank you for an AMAZING experience.

    • Sweet Jean!!! YOU brought an added dimension to the reading of PTIL because we all got to see and hear you! The content of the book stands on its own (inspired) merit, but the giving of yourself like that? We are grateful recipients.

      xo

  8. The quote I really appreciated is actually a question that I ponder as I look the hard things of life that, although they chronologically fall into the realm of the “past”, still have lasting influence on my present and will likely continue to impact my future. Some hard things are just like that – not because God isn’t able to remove them, but because it is more beneficial for me to walk forward and embrace the ways that God is using them to make me more like Christ. The quote: “When life closes in, what will you believe about God, and what will you believe Him for?” Intentionally living in uncompromising trust that God is Sovereign and Good and Just and Loving and Holy and does not change EVER even though my life may feel like it is in continual flux and pockmarked with pain – this is my ‘intended wing’.
    Thank you, Jean, for being a voice for God’s truth and a model of a woman who desires above all the heart of God.

    • So, so, good, Charis; because at some point, for all of us, life closes in….

      And then what, right?

  9. It has been a privilege to read comments about people’s personal issues. Every issue is different (as each of us are), yet each joy or sadness leads us to our Lord along various paths. I am a retired geologist. When I find a rock, mineral, or fossil; I turn it over and look at it from various angles to gather as much information as I can, just as we use Jean’s words and Holy Scriptures to gather information about our lives as Christians. I perceive these same kinds of investigations in the comments I have read.

    The following quotation helps clarify the meaning of my “lump”. I hope to find my answers, too. “Failure is certain. Repentance is required. Excessive grief is destructive.” (p. 158)

    Thank you everyone.

    • Melinda, that quote is one I almost chose for our image this time around. I was a little concerned if someone was to see this post out of context of reading that chapter, it might be perceived as negative; regardless, in just a few words, it’s TRUTH and powerful and affective.

      What a wonderful career! And I can imagine how it affects your study of the word! You’re used to paying attention to details most of us might miss. So cool.

  10. The impact of reading Jean’s book has been far-reaching.. in as much as it has touched the depths of my soul, changed some of my thinking, and helped me to be more ‘intentional’ about my future.

    As I read chp 25, about the ‘lump’ Jean experienced in her life. I realised that I had experienced something similar many years ago, yet in a very different situation. Our eldest son had turned away from God and embraced a destructive lifestyle.. I felt a huge failure as a Christian mother and a huge sense of sorrow threatened to engulf me on a daily basis.. I could only pray with tears and fears for his life were always present.. until one sorrow filled day, I heard these words in my heart ‘ Your mother-heart is wounded’.. These words really liberated me from the sorrow, because I knew a wound could heal.. it was not fatal. I was not going to be overwhelmed or engulfed by grief and fear for our son.. That was a long time ago now and we see our son succeeding in life, with a family and a business to run.Our continued prayer is that he will turn back into the embrace of God again. I am thankful to Jean for her honest words about her ‘lump’ , so that I can avoid that kind of sorrow again in my life..
    Q3, helps me to face’ The Sweet Way’.. to be kind and full of grace in the face of difficult situations , where others let you down. This has happened to me, and to resist resentment is hard , but possible. To ‘guard my heart’ is of highest importance.. Another example of how the Holy Spirit spoke into my life in a time of inner conflict.. was when I walked in my local park.. the sun was shining but the trees were dark and shaded.. these words came.. ‘ Why walk in the shadows when you can walk in the light?’.. Walking in the light, of Jesus love and truth.. deeply restorative.
    My favourite quote; in Chp 25.. ‘ Failure, serious failure, didn’t disqualify Peter; perhaps it prepared him to serve the body. Maybe failure does a necessary work’.
    I place my failures before you Lord, Amen..

  11. This study has been such a blessing to me. My favorite verse in this section is “This outward gaze, entrusting oneself to the Father’s loving care and seeking to do good, is an antidote to bitterness.” I am the mother of four children and a research scientist developing therapeutic strategies to treat ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. It’s a work that I feel called by God to do, yet I often struggle with bitterness because of biases in academic medicine that make it hard for a working mother to succeed. I am recovering from a recent car accident and pushing a big grant deadline at work. Reading this book and Sarah’s comments and blog was so wonderfully timed for me. I can see that sometimes my own mindset is making things harder. I’m resting in God’s presence and the love of my family on this blessed Sunday and letting God fill my cup to help me through the busy week ahead. Saying prayers of thanksgiving for all of the participants in this study!

  12. To Melinda Tucker,
    Are you the sweet Melinda Tucker I knew in Okinawa? She is a retired geologist.

  13. :My favorite is in Chapter 24 on page 153.
    “The older I get the more i want …..Want What? I decided on “the more i want to live responsibly before the generation coming after. They are watching. Perhaps out of the corner of their eyes, they observe how i how the freedom of the empty nest and having les mobility ,how I use my time and energy, how I discipline my appetite, whether i pursue great truth and virtues or fritter my life away. They see the future in me. They note how i handle life disappointments ,challenges,and the losses that will inevitably come. They watch. ”
    My grown children have been watching me for a long time and they have seen how i have handle my life and situations and they have thank , me for the way i raised them with truth and virtue . My children

    spouses and their friends see the results of the influence i had on my children. My grandchildren are watching Grandma and how is lives her life.
    My prayer is that God will give me the grace and mercy and Guard my heart , Enlarge my spirit and be the light of Christ for them to follow as they seek Him for their lives.

    i really like the way Jean ended Chapter 27 page 172
    ” Remember that things are not always as the seem .
    Give people and situations the of benefit of the doubt.
    Resist resentment and be kind . Guard your heart.”

    This was not something i was taught growing up because there was a lot of prejudice in my family and i chose to overcome that, That is how raised my children to give people and situations the benefit of the doubt . Resist resentment and be kind . And to Guard their hearts, it was a lessons my children and i learn together and it has carried us through today.

    These chapters made me realize that my life has greatly impaceted the next generation and will the next.
    i know i have along way to go but with God’s grace and mercy i will make it, Because His GRACE is sufficient enough.