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. Dear All

    This burning ships is something I am going through and it seems to be a “layered” experience. ie that its one thing after another. Ive been married for over 24 years with 2 lovely girls. Earlier this year things were terrible both at work and home. My husband encouraged me to stop work – very hard thing to do when you are an independent kind of person. but I have to say that the moment I did – there was an amazing feeling of peace. any way, the real burning ship bit came when it began to dawn on me that it wasn’t just stopping work – it is not working at all. I had thought I’d be doing some supply work – but when the calls came and the offer to work again … it was very tempting. BUT had no peace.
    So my burning ships is related to work and as a result growing closer to my husband. Now I know there are many open doors in front of me … but I need to be BRAVE to wait and go through the Gods Best door. Hope this all makes sense …. feel like I’m rambling!!


    • Klid,
      You are so right, sometimes being BRAVE is ……waiting! Keep seeking the Lord and building that relationship with your husband. I am learning what it means to let my independence stand in the way of growing closer to my husband. Thanks for sharing!

    • How wise of you to LISTEN in the midst of waiting…and NOT to act when presented opportunity. It sounds like you’re giving up a good thing for a best thing :).

  2. I usually look at the doors. What is being opened, what is being closed? Then I listen. To see which open door is right to walk through, and which open door I need to choose to walk away from. Right now I’m spinning in circles. The list making Annie did really struck a chord with me, so I’m going to try and be brave enough to do that, but really I’m afraid of what it will reveal.

    • I’m going to do the same thing. I never thought about making a list or speaking to God in that way. I like it and can’t wait to try it.

      • Sarah,
        Take a deep breath! Think about the last time you know the Lord spoke to you and start! You can do this!

    • Sarah,

      That’s honest–the fear of what might be revealed through your list. Something tells me God will be the greatest revelation, because He’s the one you’re wanting to please :).

  3. Q1. Annie’s, Jessica’s and Angie’s conversation about hearing from God was a great reminder that listening requires intention and practice. Do you have an example in your own life where you had a “Move to Nashville” type of nudge from God where you knew you were called to action that didn’t make sense when you heard it?

    Were you mad? Excited? Sure? Uncertain? And most important, did you follow through with this Holy prompting? How have you cultivated a relationship with God where you can hear and discern what He wants for your life?

    I’m a kindergarten teacher and last year, my team was called in to discuss a new student we were getting and what trouble he was. He’d kicked and hit his teacher numerous times, pulled hair out of his principal’s head, etc. You name it, he’d done it. His teacher had won teacher of the year the year prior. Our principals were trying to decide whose class he would be in. I listened quietly as they went on. I asked what his triggers were. They didn’t know because there wasn’t enough documentation. One teacher piped up and said she had too many discipline kids in her room. two other teachers started complaining about theirs. I listened but at the same time I was arguing with God in my head because he was so loud!!! I’d never heard him that loud before. He kept saying take the child. I kept arguing back saying I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna. He repeatedly said take the child. I was grinning the whole time because I couldn’t believe he was that loud. That was a first for me. We left the conference table and I didn’t say I’d take him but 5 minutes later, I went in alone and told them I would take him and they agreed and were hoping I’d take him. He was the biggest delight in my class. He was funny, very smart, humorous, gave the biggest hugs and I knew right then that if God is talking to you, you better listen. I get goosebumps still thinking and hearing him.

    Q2. The girls brought up the concept of “burning ships” mentioned in an earlier chapter; where you move forward without a safety net or contingency plan. Are you currently struggling with something God has asked of you where you’re holding onto options just in case it doesn’t work out?

    What areas or callings are you finding it difficult to trust God?

    I’m struggling with writing my book. I know it needs to be done because I have a lot to say on certain issues but I’m terrified and I really think it’s because I’m scared to fail. Every time I’ve followed a dream and got so close, I’d quit because I was scared of either failure or accomplishment. I struggle with this. It’s hard for me to believe that God has that much faith in me. Same with my story above with the student he told me to take on. After I said I’d take him, I struggled all weekend wondering what I’d done but came to the realization if God has that faith in me, then he obviously knows I can do it. I need to have faith in myself.

    Q3. Share your favorite quote from Chapters 4-5.

    So far, I don’t have a favorite quote. I just love the way Annie writes. I loved her description of the tennis player. They’ve got a strut, swag. They’re on a team but when they go out on the court, they play, alone.

    • Tracey,

      What a GREAT story regarding your little fella. It sounds like YOU were a gift to him! And I can tell you’re a natural story teller so I can’t wait to find out what happens with your book :).

    • I wish my son had someone like you in his school. He is a burning bundle of energy and no one knows what to do with him. Makes me want to homeschool!

  4. I love the rest and the truth in the scripture… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me… and this scripture couples so well with the verse Annie shared… And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
    The game changer for me was to really, really come to a deeper knowing how incredibly loved I am by God… I think we trust to the level we feel loved… and therefore safe… these scriptures use to be a place of striving… dependent on me… living in fear of getting it wrong… but by God’s grace and many years of Him wooing… these scriptures are now a place of rest… abiding in the vine… knowing confidently… it’s not about right or wrong… left or right… it is He never leaves or forsakes… “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head”…and…”It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” And through all the journey… He desires… even more than us… to bring us into a beautiful love relationship with Him!!!
    Ps… Yeah for Nashville… moved here 34 yrs ago… love this place… ummmm hopefully for ever??

    • Thank you Ro. I loved reading what you wrote today. I have been learning that too over the past years. I trust to the level I feel loved. Yes. And He goes with me everywhere. Never leaving. Never forsaking. Blessings.

    • Ro,

      Yes–He never leaves nor forsakes!! The Spirit doesn’t come and go once we’re His…we’d do well to remember. Sounds like you’re doing a good job of not forgetting :).

  5. What I’m struggling with now is a willingness to be brave, to step out, but uncertainty that God is really calling me to do it. I have a career that I studied for, that I have appropriate credentials for, that I’ve been doing for 15 years. I feel restless there, but it seems impractical and scary to leave it in order to pursue ministry and writing. I’m still unsure what God wants from me right now. I feel that he’s calling me to other things, but don’t have a good sense whether this is the right time to “burn my ships”. Although I fear making such a big change, since it will impact my family so much, I am still impatient to just do it. Maybe my brave right now, is to stay until God clearly tells me to go. I guess staying when I really don’t WANT to is brave.

    • I often find I have to take steps. Start walking in the direction that God is nudging me, continually listening for direction. Burning Ships comes later most of the time for me. Every ones path of listening and following the Holy Spirit, just like everyone’s being Brave (calling) will be different. When I read your comment though, it struck me that if you don’t know if you should burn your ships, don’t. Just start walking. God will show you the right time for that. Blessings.

      • Thank you for the encouragement, Sarah. One clear message that I heard multiple times last week, was from the parable of the talents. I have been feeling that if I am faithful in the little steps/tasks God has given me to do in my “new area” then more will be added in time. I just need to “keep walking” 🙂

        • Sybil,

          Sometimes (maybe) the Brave is in the baby steps along the journey and not in a big leap from “here” to “there” :). To me, waiting can be wise; my issue is if it turns into paralysis from fear or disobedience or something other than the Lord’s leading. Which is why what the girls talked about (cultivating the practice of hearing from God).

          • Robin,
            I agree that baby steps can be brave! Because I have struggled greatly with fear and anxiety paralyzing me to inactivity, I am also worried that my waiting is disobedience. This is why I think I keep coming back to this question, is waiting the right thing in this situation? I believe I am hearing God and am making room for him to speak to me. It’s so good to get feedback here 🙂

    • Sybil,

      I can so closely identify with what you wrote! I feel called to do some sort of ministry with women, homeschool my son, and possibly write – but I am so unsure of the when! Keep waiting for that voice!

  6. Favorite quote: “I mean, have you seen that orange those Tennessee fans have to wear? I knew I couldn’t bear it.” ~ As you can see, I’m a BULLDOG through and through and are proud to call Athens our HOME. Both my husband and I are graduates of UGA (1987) and we have a daughter who graduated 2 years ago and a son in his 3rd year at UGA now. My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have known each other since the 2nd and 3rd grade. Talk about small town stuff. We married just weeks after we graduated from UGA and made Athens our hometown. So, you can imagine how hard it was when my husband’s job moved us to Virginia in 1999. We lived outside of Richmond, VA and were not too far from the University of Virginia (They wear ORANGE TOO! YUCK!) The 7 years we lived in Virginia were the 7 hardest years of my life, my marriage, my children’s lives, my extended family’s lives (My husband started having seizures, he struggled with pain management with regards to his knee injuries, my dad told me that he did not love me and did not care if he ever saw me again, then my Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, my brother’s marriage was falling apart, my father-in-law walked away from our family, my sister-in-law’s marriage was falling apart, we had to put down our beloved golden retriever, my husband resigned from his job only after being in Virginia 2 years and was unemployed for two years, … I could go on, but it all is too painful to think about.) I often wonder why all of this had to happen with me when I was 525 miles from HOME! Well, all of that did teach me something about being BRAVE. I did not have my family to lean on during these difficult times, so I had to lean into the unconditional love of Jesus. AFTER 7 of the most difficult years of my life, Jesus called us back HOME to Athens, GA. He is now using all of those difficult situations in our lives to minister to students on UGA’s campus. We have made our home, their HOME away from HOME and often have 18-25 students in our house on any given Sunday night for Community Group. ~ Being BRAVE is just admitting that you CAN’T DO IT and letting God DO IT!

    • Wow. Thank you Donna. ~ Being Brave is just admitting that you Can’t Do It and letting God Do it! I love this! It’s pretty much where I’ve been all year. PS. I’m living in VA right now. Feeling oh so strongly the call to return home (OR) just have no idea how that is going to work out. Thanks for sharing!

      • Donna!! Athens, GA is my hometown (but get this, I went away to school and never returned to live there…though I have utmost affection for her).

        And, honey…those seven years… Mercy. It makes me so happy to hear such precious redemptive purpose in all of it; what a lovely, Godly perspective you have. So many would have turned to bitterness.

      • Robin,

        Thanks for your words of encouragement. I has been a long road home, but thankful to be back where I belong.

      • Sarah,

        My “one word” for 2014 has been PERSPECTIVE. I pray for God to give me perspective into the places and people He has put into my life. Praying that God will give you perspective as you become BRAVE enough to DREAM and to explore the possibilities He has for you in VA or even back home in OR.

        • Thank you Donna! I was out walking this morning around 8am and as I walked it occurred to me that I’ve been excited (my husband would say pushing) to build a shed. There are plenty of good reasons to do this now. And we could use money from savings to do it. My husband on the other hand would rather save money. As I walked I remembered Ephesians 5:22-24.
          “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

          I thought, here my husband is trying to ‘save’ for us. And I’m not listening to him. You’re prayer for perspective, I believe was quickly answered this morning as I walked. The Holy Spirit seemed to give me a shake up call with this little nudge.

          So when we had lunch later I told him I would be happy with saving. Thanks for the prayers.

  7. Q1. Yes, when god asked me to go to Bible college instead of moving to South America. I was confused, but sure that is what He wanted. I made some of my very best friends there, including my husband. I saw through some legalistic lies that could have held me trapped. I needed it.

    Q2. No exit plan, no plan to leave this place in Africa. I don’t have one. I don’t have a ship left to burn, but I often wish it was still here. I grieve that I might never live in the beautiful woods of the Ozarks again. I cry that my children won’t have the same treasured memories of being out in the woods building forts, or catching frogs at the pond that I have. I think I have burnt my ships mentally, but emotionally my heart still wants to sail back home.

    Q3. I cried through nearly the whole Edinburgh chapter. Annie described being at her optimum, and loving it even though it was not all easy. I totally expected to feel that when I hit the mission field. I felt it when I was out short term, but now… I kind of hate it. It kind of feels like I can not find myself. Like I can’t really be happy. But he has some new things on the horizon for me, and I hope it ends up like my Favorite quote from these chapters- “it broke me into one hundred pieces and I saw them lying on the floor of that first house in which I lived on 11th Avenue South. I thought they’d never connect again. But they did, in better ways, in a mosaic that made me more me.”

    • {{Tricia}} hugs sweet Bloom sistah…I sense your…feelings right now, this season you’re in. Thank you for being transparent–don’t you think when you give voice to your hurts/frustrations/etc. that God likes to show up and minister? I hope, pray, this over you, that God WILL restore your void to overflow.

      Thank you for sharing your heart.

  8. This one really resonated with me. I was in tears of joy throughout! Five and a half years ago God called us to Wisconsin to serve in a church that we loved, but last fall some things happened and God made it clear that He wanted us to leave, that we HAD to leave. It was a tremendous grief to us, and took so much faith as there was not another good church in the area that we had peace about attending. We began having church in our home in January, and people gradually began to hear about it. By March so many were coming that we had to rent a building. Yesterday, the church appointed my husband to be their Pastor. My husband has a very lucrative job as a supervisor for a pipeline company that we know he will eventually have to quit to be the full-time Pastor of a church of currently less than 100 people. By God’s grace He is giving us the grace to “burn that boat” and jump into His ocean of love, faithfulness, mercy and grace. This study is for me! God is giving me His heart to be brave through you! How your bravery encourages mine. <3

    • Oh, Sherri–

      So beautiful. And when you’re brave, I’m brave…I LOVE how this works!


  9. Reading these two chapters at first were just more listening and reading about Annie’s ‘story’ for me and I love reading peoples stories. Nothing was coming to mind of how I could relate right away but then it hit me. My ‘move to Nashville’ moment was and still is a ‘stay where you are’ moment. I want the challenge to move, to try and experience new places and people and start fresh with life and experience with my amazing husband and boys…we are adventure people… But for nine years, he has told us to ‘stay’. Stay at the church you are in. Stay in the town you are in. Stay. Push through the tough relationships.
    “When God tells you to be brave, he will make it work. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be your story and your best story”
    And that’s it, it’s not been easy not to just run away, it’s been hard to stay and many many tears have been shed from hurt hearts. BUT staying we are now in a season we are seeing reconciliation taking place that seemed hopeless and a move of the Holy Spirit healing out hearts only the way he can. It’s been so beautiful to watch. ‘Staying’ has been my brave. And I still have moments of struggling with it.

    • Alexis…

      Yes, this is YOUR brave–staying. I get that. Your story reminded me of one of my own, where we were looking at moving to a new place and I would NOT let go of the old. Held it with a tight fist. Slowly, over three years’ time, the Lord pried my finger off the place until I was begging to leave. It’s kind of the opposite of your story, but reminded me of trust God despite our feelings and natural inclination. He’s accomplishing HIS work through it all, yes? For our good and His glory. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  10. Hearing from God has been a constant quest from me. God calls me to be brave each and every day. I tend to isolate myself at home. God challenges me to go out every day and talk to three strangers. When I do this, I am able to sense their needs. God then nudges me to ask them…..Can I pray for you? Burning ships without a safety net is exactly what I am doing now in college. I find myself questioning my 49 year old brain. I feel inadequate. But God tells me……..I have a plan for you. I want to argue with God. But I obey. I obey the words he speaks over my life. I cannot quit God’s plan for me to be a Speech Language Pathologist. I get a sense that he wants me to go out to the mission field to teach those who cannot speak…to speak again. That way they can spread God’s word to God’s people also.

    • Anne,

      Thank you for your obedience. Your brave blesses those with whom you come into contact; especially those three strangers every day :).

  11. Q2: What areas are you finding it difficult to trust God?

    I’m going to be vulnerable here and put into words – like Annie taught me 🙂 – what it is that I am struggling with. I struggle to ask God what my next purpose or path is because I fear what that purpose or path is. I fear that He sees in me so much more than what I see in myself. I am still on that boat, too afraid to ask what the next thing is so I can burn the boat.

    I’m coming to realize that being ‘Brave’ is a direct correlation with Trusting God.

    Logically it is easy to trust God. He isn’t going to have me do anything that is detrimental to my progression. He Loves Me! He only wants what is best for me. I think it is difficult to get my ‘knower’ to realize this as well. I agree with what they said in the video in that We can hear God. He will speak to us.

    I need to stop tuning His voice out and listen to which direction He is guiding me.

  12. Q1. When I was in high school I visited my friends youth group. Her youth pastor invited everyone who hadn’t been baptized to consider whether they would like to take that step and be baptized by him on Sunday. Now, I knew he wasn’t talking to me because I had been baptized as a baby by my parents. But, he handed everyone a permission slip and I shoved mine in my bag. As the week progressed, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I really needed to be baptized. I talked to my mom and she laughed, “You’ve already been baptized. You don’t need to do it again.” I told her I knew that and dropped the conversation. I went away disappointed and lacking peace. Another couple days passed and I brought it up again to my mom. She was very distressed and frustrated that I was persisting with wanting to be baptized a second time. But, I just knew I had to do this. So, she called my dad in and after explaining how I felt to him he said, “Well, I’ll sign the permission slip. It’s not going to hurt her.”

    At first I was excited. I had permission. I went to church with my friend on baptism Sunday but by the time I got there I was so scared, nervous, what if Pastor Donnie drowns me. I doubted why I needed to be baptized again and I doubted whether it was really God nudging me to do it.

    I went through with it. After I did have peace. I think it’s important to talk about learning to follow the Holy Spirit. Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit in my life has been very important. There were plenty of times I didn’t. Times where I talked my self out of paying attention to that quiet voice inside me. It wasn’t a matter of being rebellious, wanting my own way, or not wanting to follow the Lord…instead, I didn’t recognize the still small voice as the Holy Spirit. I brushed it off as well, cold feet for instance. Anyway, listening could have saved me some trouble a time or two. 😉

    • Great points about the consequences of NOT listening–we miss something the Lord has for us. We’d do well to remember, that, too :).

  13. Q1. For me, when God wants me to make a big move, He will make sure that He repeats Himself and speaks loud and clear. I remember when I met my husband — I was in my 40’s, and hadn’t had a date in 9 years. I was so scared — I’d been burned before, and i just didn’t know if this was God, or if it was just me wanting it to be God. — I tell you, God was so specific with me. He kept speaking to me in ways that I knew was straight from Him. I remember that the weekend before Bruce asked me out, we went to serve at a homeless shelter, and I ran into a friend there who was a newlywed. I asked her how she was doing, and she went into this long mini sermon about how marriage was all about learning to be an unselfish person… Then, we sat down for a church service at the shelter, and the pastor tells us to open our Bibles to Ephesians 5. He proceeds to give a mini-sermon on marriage. I mean, who preaches on marriage at a Homeless Shelter? I just knew God was speaking to me. I am quite sure that my mouth dropped open. When Bruce asked me out, I knew I had to say yes, or I’d be in big trouble with God.

    Q2. For me, “burning the ships” is letting go of my expectations. I need to stop looking back and saying “if only.” There is no benefit in that.

    Q3. I love it on page 65 where Annie asks God to tell her what makes her “feel so alive.” I asked that question recently as an ice breaker in an online Bible study that I lead, and I was so blessed to read everyone’s responses. I think this is a great question to ask yourself and to ask your friends who are seeking and praying about “what’s next” in their lives. (Plus, I love to hear people’s stories!)

    • Yes, yes, yes, to “I need to stop looking back and saying ‘if only’.” You are correct: there is NO benefit in that. Thanks for the reminder!

  14. Q1: So far I haven’t received callings that didn’t make sense to me. I’ve always found some kind of connection between the calling and my ability and willingness to follow it. But that’s my story. So far. Maybe because discerning and being sure it’s God’s voice, not mine, is the hardest thing for me. Usually my test for it is this: If following a nudge brings me peace in the long term and it’s according to the principles of God’s Word, I keep following it.

    Q3: Favorite quote: I thought he (God) was asking me to give him everything. And in many ways, that was true. But the truer thing? God asked me to open my hands, and he gave me the world.

  15. My favorite quote is found on page 53: ” I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage or belief that this was going to be the best decision I had ever made.
    I just did the next thing.”
    So many times we don’t know the entire route, but we can see the next step.

  16. Okay I know we’re only on week 2 but this vulnerability thing is getting old!;) Participating in this study is a God-nudge experience for me and I have to admit I’m responding begrudgingly.

    Q1: As I mentioned last week, four years ago I felt God calling me to the foreign mission field. I was just taking one small step at a time as I responded to the Spirit’s leading, even though it didn’t all make sense to me. In the end I struggled with not feeling frustrated and embarrassed, because like Annie said in the video, sometimes God begins leading you down a road and then suddenly changes your direction. In my case God sent me to therapy to deal with all kinds of “baggage” that lie in the way of me being fully surrendered to Him and able to fulfill His purpose. I haven’t exactly handled it well. It was one thing to surrender my life to him, a whole other to surrender the vulnerability of my heart. The process has been an intense battle and my greatest struggle has been using an eating disorder to cope with all of the pain.

    Q2: I feel like the eating disorder is the current ship I need to burn. Although I think it’s more of a barge! I need to be willing to finally let it go and not allow it to be an option to run to when I feel the need to feel safe or feel like life is too much.

  17. Having a conversation with God….is so amazing! Believing you can “hear His voice”! How many times has the Holy Spirit prompted me but I was walking in my own strength and agenda and didn’t “hear” So thankful for His continued grace and mercy! I keyed in on the word “move” in this video. A few weeks ago during the message the Lord laid on my heart the word ‘MOVE”, so I wrote down where do you want me to move? I shared with my husband, which kind of freaked him out a little. 🙂 A little back story, I grew up as a military brat, so I moved quite a bit. I collect boxes now because I never know when the next move may happen. My husband & I have been married for 32 years and have lived in the same house for 30 yrs. Not thinking my husband wants to do a whole lot of moving! So back to “MOVE” being impressed upon my heart….what I have come up with, is that it is not necessarily a physical move – it could be but it also could be move into a ministry, job, relationship, or move away from something. So my radar was humming with all the talk of “move”. I think this goes along with Q2, what am I holding on to instead of burning my ship. Still petitioning the Lord for direction.

    Q1 -My “move to Nashville” happened this past spring, in speaking with a couple of college age ladies at my church- I was led to ask them to be in a small group this past summer. Without hesitation they responded “yes”. Huge step for me! I have not built relationships with the youth/college age in my church, I have with other ladies just not that age group. I love my girls! We met throughout the summer, using “What Women Fear” as our common thread but the group was so much more than that. When asked what to do next since we had finished the book, they stated they did not want to stop. Plus we have added another lady. I look forward to getting together with them plus we communicate off and on throughout the week.
    Q3 – favorite quote- I have a couple: 1st it’s part of a sentence – “feel something unsettled in my spirit”. I love this. To seek the Lord and ask Him for directions! It could be confirmation of where you are at or it could be time to “move”! The 2nd quote: “I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage or belief that this was going to be the best decision I had ever made. I just did the next thing…”

  18. In January I lost my full-time job. I thought, hey, maybe this is a chance for God to really do something cool in my life, maybe this is an opportunity for a way to open up where I can work from home, have more flexibility for family. But apparently, it wasn’t. I did transcription from home, but it didn’t bring in nearly enough to pay the bills. I was out of work for 8 1/2 months. I applied for job after job after job after job, and didn’t even get called for interviews. Finally, in September, I got a call regarding a position that I ultimately (and very thankfully) accepted – love the work, love the people, but I took a big pay cut. The financial aspects of life scare me. And what scares me more is, I don’t really have any idea what God might be calling me to do! Stay at this job and eventually do well and get a raise? Give up our house that we just bought last September and move somewhere less expensive (which is hard to find where we are, and I’m not sure how we’d pay for another home anyway)? Keep searching, keep praying, keep asking God what His plan for me is? I don’t know, and I wish I’d have a call to action – at least then I’d have something to go for. Right now, I just do the best I can, with parenting and being back in the working world. Is treading water brave? Because I feel like I’m treading water right now in a lot of ways. I’m not sure this really answers the question, but it’s where I am. Can’t burn a ship if you haven’t sailed anywhere yet.

  19. OH..MY…GOODNESS!!! After reading the “Nashville” chapter, I went back to the beginning of it and wrote at the top of the page, “So many similarities in Annie’s Nashville story….and mine!” I came to Nashville sight unseen 34 years ago to teach Kindergarten at a small Christian school that was just getting started. I interviewed with the principal by phone and made a decision to come without ever coming to the area. I was straight out of college and I was not an independent person AT ALL (and still struggle in this area!) but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was telling me to come. I have always claimed the verse during that time from Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (ESV) 🙂

    I introduced myself on the facebook page and said I was on a medical leave of absence from teaching kindergarten this semester (at the same Christian school) as I am battling sarcoma cancer. It’s a rare cancer….and the battle for the past 5 months has been long and hard. My favorite quote from the “Edinburgh” chapter is on page 61, the one referenced in the video. “When God tells you to be brave, he will make it work. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be your story and your best story.” My husband has said all along this recent journey that he knows God is going to heal me, but it’s not going to be easy path….and to just think of the story of faith that I will have to tell others. I say my Nashville faith walk started 34 years ago and the path has taken a big bump in the road this summer, but I’m still on it…and trying HARD to be brave!

    Ok….have to go now…can’t see to type anymore through these tears.

  20. About the “burning ships” question. For several years now I have heard God saying that my husband and I would be moving to Colorado Springs, CO. I thought for sure we’d be there by now. We are not. We live in small apartment in which we moved to in obedience over a year ago. We have pared down significantly in terms of material things on more than one occasion. It is very freeing, but in a much longer wait that I’d ever hoped for in getting there I’ve held on to several contingency plans “just in case” it didn’t work out. I feel as though in my case, God is asking me to let go of those safety nets and “just go with Him”. That’s what I keep hearing Him say. “just follow Me”. Please pray I’d have the trust in God to let go of those nets and “just go”!
    On another note, I got a call today about a mammogram I had and I have to go in and have more pictures taken because they said there were some changes. Please pray.

    • Robin, prayers and hugs, both as you let go of those safety nets and as you go in for that second mammogram. I got a call like that from my doctor, and boy howdy, that just makes you feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach. I went back in, and everything turned out to be okay. Praying that you’ll get good news from your follow-up, too.

  21. I’ve been reading through tears since the first of Let’s All Be Brave… There’s so many for instances within your story Annie that anyone of us could relate to.. I think of the words Let’s All Be Brave.. I find I feel braver as one than with others.. I think becoming a Christian completely changed my outlook on life.. In so many positive ways..the one thing it’s truelly done has made me an emotional mess at times.. It’s hard to be brave in today’s world.. But in your book when I read statements like your brave is different than mine.. I get it.. Gods calling for us all isn’t the same.. Missionaries, teachers and yes soccer players.. We are who we are.. Life is a calling from God to live it, we are intentionally given life to live it.. From burning ships to the opening of a new door that I find myself waiting on .. I fear i will not be brave when that door opens but I fear more that it may not open or I will not recognize it when the time comes.. The reference to the Frank Sinatra Song was a flash back to Lavern &Shirley for me.. Lavern would sing that song to encourage Shirley when she was down.. I like to think we all have that Lavern in our life..and that’s God..I thought I knew so much about life over the last 46 years.. I realized I knew very little the last 2.. Then God stepped in last year and changed me in ways I never thought possible. I haven’t had a lot of the big moments on being called yet but I pray for them.. I’ve been so emotional and antsy lately that I feel I’m missing something.. So I’m going to talk to God as you did setting on your bed in Gorgia.. I’m gonna start writing it down.. Making that list.. Then listening..patiently..
    My biggest Brave is this group.. Joining it with all of you and my 4 sisters.. I’m not a good writer..never have been.. I’m a cook at heart….but I love Annie’s book and I believe with all my heart I’m in this group for a reason.. Maybe that door is opening.. We shall see..

  22. My job change has been a series of little nudges from God the past 3 years. Looking back it makes sense, but at the time totally did not, and even now I have people who just don’t get it or understand, that makes it hard, but I am trusting Him, as He as not let me down through it yet. I have burnt so many ships already! My favorite quote is “I thought He was asking me to give Him everything. And in many ways, that was true. But the truer thing? God asked me to open my hands and He gave me the world.” So true and beautifully said!

  23. So here’s where I am: Wondering how am I brave? How can God use me to be brave? I’ve been brave – I’ve burned my ship. 🙂 I am married to the man of my dreams for over 4 years now – both over 40 years old when we were married. I gave up living near my family, a job I loved, a home I was having fun “playing” with, community involvement – happily and willingly “burned it all” so we can live as husband and wife. Would not trade a bit of my life at all. But – in reading this I really do wonder – how can God still use me to be brave? I don’t see myself changing jobs, I don’t see us moving (farming kind of limits that, you see…..). 😉 I don’t believe I’m not remaining open to what God wants us to do – – to where the Holy Spirit is leading, just curious, I guess, and just maybe needing to air this out. Any insights or common thoughts on this? BTW – loving the book, and my husband cracked up when I read him the Tennessee orange section too. Thanks, ladies!

    • Hi Amy! Yep I am there too.. just wanting to air out and ponder what new things God might have for me next. I don’t want to be afraid or closed off to Him. Definitely guilty of clutching onto things tight and not wanting to give Him control!

  24. Q1. I feel like I’m always scared to hear God’s voice, to know what He’s asking of me. I don’t think I’ve ever experience a nudge quite like Annie’s, but I’ve live in the verse she referenced from Jeremiah for quite some time. I listen to my own thoughts, which I trust and believe are guided by the Spirit, and try to determine if I’m at peace with different decisions. I love journaling and will often write out my prayers to the Lord. Every once in a while I’ll also write what I think He’s saying to me – which I just love, to keep as a reminder of the Truth that is in my, spoken over me by my Father.

    Q2. {I can’t seem to find the reference to “burning ships” – where is it?}
    I’ve always struggled with what I’m “supposed” to be doing. I’ve always known that there is a call on my life to build relationships with people with disabilities. I went to college for special education and am now in my fifth year teaching in a high school. BUT (of course) I’ve also always felt such a pull towards disability ministry. I’ve volunteered for the past 5 years in 3 different cities with YL Capernaum, a ministry to high school students with disabilities. I feel so full and just, so much JOY, when I’m doing this too! It’s been hard for me to find a balance between these two areas of my life, to trust that the Lord would show me the way to walk this path.

    Q3. I loved this when I first read through it – and so loved hearing more about it when you ladies discussed it in your video.
    When God tells you to be brave, he will make it work. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be your story and your best story (61).

  25. Q1: One of the biggest moments that required me to be brave in following God was taking my first professional job. I was graduating Physical Therapy school and the job He was prodding me to take was in my hometown. But I wanted so desperately to move to Gatlinburg, TN and take a job there. I ended up following God’s nudge and staying in my hometown. Not long afterward, my friendships in Gatlinburg were completely changed and not for the better (long and personal story…). Very soon after that, I met the amazing man who is now my husband and the father of our two beautiful children. I constantly wonder how different my story would have been had I followed my own desires and moved to Gatlinburg instead of staying home.

    Q2: My husband’s job best describes the “burning ships” story. He was miserable in his previous job. He loved the people he worked with and the owners/managers of the company, but that was the only thing he loved about it. We both struggled with what he should do, because we could see no job opportunities in our area that would fit his skill set and give him something that he enjoyed doing. But we both knew it was time to leave his current job. He took an incredible step of faith and left his job without knowing his next step. We then had to wait an unbearable 15 months before he found his next job. In those 15 months, we sat down and made a list describing his “ideal” job. There were about 20 items on that list and we prayed over them every night…”God show us where You want us to go”. When he finally found this job, we pulled out the list we had prayed for all of those months….this job met 18 out of the 20 items! And we decided the other 2 items weren’t that important to start with.

    Q3: I love the concept of the mosaic that Annie introduces on p. 67. It’s inspiring to imagine that all of my broken places are displayed as a beautiful mosaic when I look back on my story, my life. The struggles are almost easier to endure when I know they will one day create a masterpiece.

  26. I tried to post this on our facebook page, but it kept giving me a weird error. I thought I’d try here:

    I’m not sure if I am ready to answer questions 1 & 2 just yet so I’ll go straight to number 3. Some of the most awesome quotes from chapters 4 7 5 were: “In October 2007, I started to feel something unsettled in my spirit. That’s the best way I can describe it. I would pray and pray and never feel like I knew what was up, but I knew something was stirring. After weeks of this weird feeling, I felt like I had to really press into it. I couldn’t handle the tension anymore.” “God was asking me to be braver than I had ever thought possible, and it was going to bring sadness to us all.” “When it is God’s idea, it ends up being an awesome idea.”and my two personal favorites: “Day after day, I just did the next thing, took the next step, said the next yes. And God built a life for me in Nashville that I could not have dreamed up for myself.” and “It broke me into one hundred pieces and I saw them lying on the floor of the first house in which I lived on 11th Avenue South. I thought they’d never connect again. But they did, in better ways, in a mosaic that made me more me.”

  27. Right not, we are in a “Be still and know that I am God,” mode. Our lives have been turned upside down over and over again in the past 7 years because of choices our children made, because of hidden sin in my husband’s life, which resulted in losing an excellent job and other stressful happenings. Right now our home is in foreclosure and we don’t know when we will have to move out. If we had to leave now, we have no idea where we would go and there isn’t enough money to pay rent. We can barely tweek out the utilities from our meager paychecks. But, we KNOW the Lord will take care of us. He has proved himself faithful to us over and over again. He is safe to trust. All that to say, that when we leave here, I will have to burn the ship of living in this house that we have called home for 16 years. It will be hard, but I know God is in control.

    • Robin, {{{{HUGS}}}} to you and prayers for you and your family. I’ve lost a house to foreclosure, and it stinks. I was a single mom, and in hindsight, I should have sold the house and found something smaller for me and my son, but I hated to take him from the only home he’d known when his dad had already bailed on us, so I tried to make it work. Couldn’t do it on my paycheck, lost the house, and it was tough. But yes, God provided for us, and He’ll be faithful to you and your family, too. Praying that He makes your path clear.

  28. Q1. “the sheep know the voice of the Shepard” I LOVED their discussion on this. I loved how they pointed out that where God is, so is the enemy, and that sometimes when you call on God and you are following His path for you, attack can come!! That attack is nothing but CONFIRMATION that you are on the right path!!! Satan is going to do anything he can get his dirty little hands on while he still can!!
    Q2. “burning ships.” wow. What powerful imagery. God is absolutely calling me to burn some ships in my life, to give him full control over some things in my life, but I’m not quite ready to share all of them! One of them was our finances. Chase and I have totally handed over our finances to God (why did that take us almost 8 years?!) and we are more rich then ever before. He has placed an unshakable wealth of thankfulness in our lives. And it’s BEAUTIFUL.
    Q3. My favorite quote was the one from the image that was created. I love how God has my BEST STORY in mind when He crafted me and then again when He saved me and every day how I am learning to rely on HIM to turn my pages as He is the Author of my life.

  29. I typed much. I got excited and shared what meant much to me and how I related…
    and it all erased.

    I suppose it’s not important if those thoughts are “published” here. But that I recognize what God revealed to me.

    I’m disappointed. But, it doesn’t take away the truth of how this book is mattering.

    (Sisters, could you please pray for a weary sister? So many things that shouldn’t matter (like this very small detail of a comment I typed, erasing), are breaking off slivers of my heart lately. I could use intercession for some comfort to be felt and for my focus to shift and for sadness to wash away. I don’t want to feel so big and spend that energy on things that shouldn’t matter or affect me or alter my day. I need help from the mighty Spirit…)

    • Praying for you Leigh…may the Lord glue your heart back together with hot pink glitter glue (the best glue). 🙂


      Mighty Spirit fall on Leigh!!!

  30. HOLY WOW these 2 chapters hit me square in the let’s-just-cry-some-more!
    God had been whispering something to me for 2 years, when i finally “heard” Him in June. After 8 years as Girls’ youth Ministry director, He asked me to step down. Talk about Annie’s conversation about moving being NEAR EXACTLY what happened to me. i had been feeling in my spirit, that something just wasn’t right…that something BIG was coming. after crying with my mentor in June and her confirming (by saying it out loud…HELLO?!) I stepped down.
    and it “wasn’t perfect…or easy” or even remotely pretty in my heart. I cried and kicked and screamed all stupid summer. lol
    but…i was brave. i walked away with what dignity i could muster…wishing that time would tell and i’d be allowed to love “my girls” again someday.
    now, 2 months later (i resigned in August…yeah it took a while to stop the ugly cry) it is still so very hard. seeing them each week, their moms coming to me for counsel…just knowing that my “want to” is still very there.
    the burning the ship thing is the HARDEST THING God’s asked me to do in 8 years. and i’m not sure how to do it exactly. maybe it’s just setting in on fire and watching it go out to sea till i can’t see it anymore.
    i have 2 little girls at home and an amazing husband that have all been on the back burner for a very long time…and changing that (day by day) is MY BRAVE!

  31. 1. Yes, one experience that came to mind was the first time God called me to go to Jamaica. I had been on the phone with my dad, and he told me he was going to go along on the missions trip that year and sounded really excited. I was at work later and could not get that out of my head. Then I was like, “I’m supposed to go too.” “wait.. I’m making that up, right God? Right???” “I’m in school and I’m not one of those people You just up and call on to go like that!” and my heart started pounding and I emailed the trip leader to ask if joining was even a possibility… he said you might be too late but if God is telling you to go than YES you can go! (“Darn!” I thought, a little bit of me hoping he’d say no, you’re crazy).. this was right before finals week in college. I applied for a passport and it came in record time. The money I needed came in and next thing you know I had a plane ticket! I missed a whole week of school but it ended up being a week where my professors either gave us days off or really light assignments. It was totally fine. And it turned out to be the first of many Jamaican adventures, I’ve been going there once or twice a year for 8 years now!
    2. Gonna need to think on this one more. I’m not sure.
    3. “When God tells you to be brave, He will make it work. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be your best story.”

  32. Well….. I sent Annie an email today….3 actually, lol! Question 1 is somewhat answered in that…..Question 2 regarding burning ships….ha! I want a contingency plan….I have tried to think of one, even today! When I jumped in….I was All In!

  33. 1) Our families “Move to Nashville” moment is happening right now. In 2012 we were prompted to move from our home of 5 years to the next one over. Our 4th child was 1 month old. Our other three were 1.5, 4, and 6. As much as we wanted to burn our ships and make this new place home, we couldn’t. It never felt like home. It never felt like where we needed to be. I cried many years, fearing that I’d missed some kind of prompting telling us this wasn’t the place we were supposed to go. I never doubted God, but I certainly doubted myself, time and time again. I prayed for the friends that seemed so illusive, for myself and my children. One thing led to another and my husband and I finally felt like we weren’t given the peace we were begging for because this wasn’t where we were supposed to raise our family. I told my husband one night, “I know we are supposed to move again. I don’t when and I don’t know where, but I know it will happen.” Only days (and many discussions) later the moment happened. God told us it was time. This was in April of this year. We found the exact land we were hoping for and contracted to have a house built. It was a very brave moment for us because this time we would have to burn our ships. The money and time we are putting into a house … we can’t back out again in two years. “What if this doesn’t feel right, AGAIN?” I cried. But the extreme peace I’ve felt has reassured me that this is all part of my Heavenly Father’s plan for me. He is proud of us and He is by our side through it. The quote I loved was, “Love given is courage gained.” It is a very important lesson I am continually learning through this experience. I think I’ll be learning my whole life the purpose of these past three years. What I do know is that I have been able to draw closer to those that love me. I have seen the importance a family, as we have had to turn only to ourselves for that which we have needed. Love is som important.

    I have already learned so much from this book and can’t wait to keep learning. Thank you!

  34. Q1. Actually, I’m kind of in the middle of this right now. I feel like I’m supposed to leave my job to focus on my blog and book. Right now it’s definitely feeling uncertain…confused…it doesn’t make sense, because we struggle with money now as it is. And at the same time, He seems to be calling my husband away from his full-time job. This is a very big leap for us. The thing that makes me feel this is from God is reinforcement from my husband, who has said he has felt too that I might need to leave my job…a recurring feeling that I’ve had for 12 years to go this direction (I am stubborn!), and the fact that this “nudge” is repetitive as I pray daily and continue to read different devotions, verses in the Bible, and books on different topics.

    Q2. Sort of. I haven’t really stepped out of my job yet. I think it’s difficult for me in particular to trust God financially.

    Q3. Favorite quote: “When God tells you to be brave, He will make it work. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be your story and your best story.” Just very encouraging for what lies ahead of us. 🙂

  35. Q1: I agree with Annie that the more time I spend listening to God’s Word, the more able I am to hear his voice. It’s not just reading the words, it’s letting myself listen to what is being said – not what I want to hear.

    Q2: I can’t think of something that’s happening right now where I’m needing to burn any ships. Maybe stop shopping at my favorite store near our old neighborhood and learn to appreciate those near our new one so I can build relationships with those here instead of hanging on to those there? Maybe. Hm. Thoughts to ponder.

    Q3: on page 55, “Day after day, I just did the next thing, took the next step, said the next yes.”

  36. My favorite is also page 53: I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage or belief that this was going to be the best decision I had ever made. I just did the next thing.
    As far as burning ships, I can remember in 2007 after my hubby got his first firefighting job in a city 2 hours away… I had no desire to leave our city. I was comfortable & had close friends I didn’t want to leave…not to mention two small kids. He commuted for 8 long months & I could see it was wearing on him & something was beginning to nudge me… God was asking us to move closer to his work. We made the necessary arrangements, had a good bye & 2nd Bday party for my daughter & just took the next step & left! We spent 11 months there that were very rough for me…but that wasn’t our final destination. God ended up showing us Tulare (only a 45-50 min commute, not the original 2 hrs) & we bought our house and are still there. I’ve made some of the best lifelong friends here & God has really blessed us!
    We just took the next best step!♡