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. Robin,
    Like what you alluded to…life is a series of Letting Go’s…whether it’s the first time we let them cross the street by themselves or when we help move them into their very own big girl apartment to start their career. Though my children have not turned out perfectly – whose have? I know that I did my best to bring them up to love the Lord and want to live in relationship with Him. This, I think, is the best legacy we can leave. It is one my mom, now 81, has left to me. For all the Sundays I grumbled being dragged out of bed to go to church, I know that her “training up” efforts were a big part of what made me not depart from my faith. This lovely woman led the conga line at my wedding a little over a year ago…I pray that I will live life with her zeal, enthusiasm, and love. Thanks for a great post this morning and some good memories with which to start my day!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Oh, Bev…what a wonderful image of your mama! Yes–dancing and living life to the full. I can sense the strong role she’s played in your own life and faith–what blessing. Life IS a series of “letting go’s” isn’t it? Some are almost imperceptible…and then there are the BIGGIES :). Regardless, each of them can strengthen our faith in the One who loves us most, finding new reasons to NEED to rely on HIS strength and might.

  2. Robin,
    As my own sweet mama would have said upon reading this, “This just slays me” And yes that is meant in a good way. As an ATL native, there’s just something about the Steel Magnolia Syndrome we never shake, but to cross that threshold and let what’s done be done and on to that new adventure is what we need to give our young people. The chance to “be” without the baggage. As a 8 year empty nester, it gets easier. We went out to dinner alot. Splurged on Whole Foods instead of the cheapest of the cheap from Sams. The next hurdle is when grandbabies arrive and then come for a long weekend, then say goodbye. The 600 mile journey back home. The grieving process of them leaving is more raw than the empty nest. Haven’t quite figured that one out yet… Hand prints dot the landscape of the lower 1/3 of the walls. Spills from milk and food provide a wonderful mosaic on the carpet. Stains that even 10 years ago would have had me in a tailspin. As you cross the threshold, enjoy this walk of empty nesting, it is our rite of passage too.

    • Janet,

      I got chills reading your last line, it IS an *earned* rite of passage, something to recognize and celebrate! SO much “life” gets us to this place, not all of it neat or pretty.

      I can only imagine life with grand babies…I totally hear your thoughts about that season. Since we’ve moved and where we live now will never be “home” to my children, I doubt I’ll ever live in the same place, either. Believe me when I say I’ve thought about that and what it will mean to us down the road. I now understand why some couples have left their hometowns to move closer to children (and their children). The important things become very clear the older we get, huh?

  3. Currently my mother is battling breast cancer. She has taught me to be strong both in faith and in life. She has never met a stranger. Sometimes this fact made me crazy when I was younger. She always found a stranger to talk to weather in a crowded elevator or in line at the grocery store. Now, I see this as a testimony to who she is. She is love. She shows love and has many people who love her. It is overwhelming at times how many people on social media and in our community are praying for her and ask for update as she receives treatment. That is a great legacy to have. Love.

    • {{hugs}} Kim. Cancer has knocked on our family’s door too many times (my mom, grandmother, sister) and I hate it! How beautiful to hear this testimony of your mom; indeed, “love” is a treasure-filled legacy.

  4. Robin,
    I too have my oldest graduating college and my third graduating high school. The empty nest phase has been hard for me already but my mentor and the woman who has stepped into the role as my mother is Stephanie Fast. She knows first hand, that our identity is in Christ and she talks about it in her book, “She is Mine”.
    Your post is a great reminder that yes, nothing lasts forever, and life is an adventure. I can only pray that the legacy I have left them is nothing less than beautiful!

    • Kristen,

      We’re EN sistahs!! I’m thankful you’ve found sources of encouragement; I like this title of Stephanie’s book. 🙂 All these things DO remind me “I’m not home yet;” and the best is in my future :). Be encouraged, friend. Feel the pain of change and then receive the blessings that are sure to come xo.

  5. I admire my own daughter, Melody. She waited for her children…pregnancy didn’t come easily for her, but she is a wonderful mom. It is a thrill to watch her enjoy her children. Parenting is a sacrifice of time, love and self. Melody does all three very well.

    • What a precious tribute, Janet. You honor your daughter well with your words :). Melody must’ve had a great teacher…………

  6. I immediately thought of my grandmother who has passed on. She definitely taught be a lot by example. Not that my mother didn’t but growing up in the house with my grandparents helping raise me had major impact. Now as I prepare to let go of my oldest son who’s graduating from high school, thank you for sharing the encouraging words regarding parenting with an open hand as evidence of trusting The Lord and His plan for them! This is just the beginning for me as I will plan to walk this path again and again with the other two children. God is so good and blesses us tremendously allowing the role of Mother.
    Blessings to you and HAPPY ALMOST MOTHER’S DAY LADIES!

    • SC,

      I love that this encouragement is timely for you :). I don’t want to mourn without end; when saying “good-bye” is hard, that means it’s evidence of GOOD things–sweet relationship and a lot of love! Hard goodbyes=love in my book. Soooo, that’s a lot to be thankful for, right? This does get easier in some sense, but you sure feel it every time…. Blessings to you, too!!

  7. Robin,

    Growing up, I didn’t get along with my mom. My mom had five children in 5-1/2 years and prior two children who she will meet in heaven. I also grew up in a home where we had a lot of turmoil from my parent’s marriage. She prayed and let us go our own ways, and let go of what her heart said was not right for her kids. But, she let us make our mistakes and welcomed us back with love.

    But as I look back on my growing up years, I see in my mother resilience, listening, feistiness, sacrifice, serving, love, stubbornness, and sensitivity. I was angry for quite a few years before I got married and then became a mother myself. We’ve talked over the things that were hard in my growing up years, and my mother also had/has humbleness to say she was sorry, and didn’t realize some of the things growing up in our home. She did her best, as well as my dad with what they knew.

    Now that I’m a mother, OH MY! I’ve made mistakes, and I can honestly I did my best with what I knew, learning to forgive myself for my mistakes, because God has. I have biological and adopted children and even though they aren’t all children of my body, they are all children of my heart. I have a child who is angry with me, and I have the choice to beat myself up, or to pray and let go and trust the Lord will bring her to her senses, and trust she will see to trust Jesus too. Pray and believe our relationship will one day be made new. I choose to pray and trust and let go. I Know we all have free will, but, if the Lord did this marvelous thing for my mother and I, He can do the same for my daughter and I. To let go is to love, and want what God wants because the time to love is short.

    Happy Mother’s Day Robin, this was/is such a lovely, timely post that has me counting my blessings. So right on time!

    Joanne

    • {{Joanne}}

      What a story. A hard one in places. And how sweet to hear of restoration with your mother, and for the honesty you’ve shared. That’s something to value. Haven’t you learned this: what is the case today will not be the case tomorrow? I’ve seen it played out over and over; and this goes for good times as well as tough times. I’m saying a prayer now for you and your daughter, trusting that our God of reconciliation will heal the rift that divides. Blessings to YOU and thank you for YOUR encouragement to me!! 🙂

  8. Thank-you Robin,

    Your post really touched me and I can relate to a lot of what you said.

    I think as Mother’s it’s important to appreciate the very moment as we don’t know how quickly it can change. Celebrating with our children and not holding them back is one of the best gifts we can give to them.
    Something I learned from my Mother when she was with me and I reflect on to this day, is to try to be in tuned to know when to step in and when to step aside. Thus allowing room for growth. I have been very fortunate to have been blessed with some special women for role models in my life. I will be thinking of them with gratitude this Mother’s Day.

    I hope that everyone has a blessed Mother’s Day.

    • Word, Penny…a good one. Wisdom and discernment in parenting is not easy; I’m thankful for those graces that shore us up. Letting our children bear the consequences of THEIR choices will change them…ultimately for the better. But mercy, it IS hard when you have to step aside! How could they ever learn to walk if we carried them everywhere, ya know? Happy Mother’s Day to YOU! 🙂

  9. What a beautiful legacy from such a short life and what beautiful grace to hear how your Mom’s life continues to bless you so many years later. God is so very good!

    My Mum passed away just over a year ago from cancer and the legacy she left through the grace of God is a beautiful one too:
    – her full surrender in mind, body and soul and the peace God clothed her in brought me back to faith,
    – her childlike faith and wonder in her Creator encourages me to “be still and know” just how much I am loved,
    – her ability to own up and say sorry, even in the most difficult circumstances, is teaching me to be more humble and vulnerable and to reach out for and accept the grace God is offering me,
    – her consciously deciding to “be” with us throughout our lives as her children, no matter how far away we lived (the other side of the world for me!) has helped me see just how fiercely she was loved by her Saviour and how that flowed out onto us and others in her life,
    – the importance she placed on praying together with her best friend and the answers to prayer she shared with us is now encouraging me to be “faithful in prayer” and to pray together with others
    – her advice to look after myself, not neglecting my own needs is teaching me to love the Lord my God first and foremost and in so doing to: rest in His presence, use the gifts He has given me that bring me joy, be vulnerable and open to those around me, so that they may know the joy of mourning and rejoicing with me…

    Most of all she has taught me the power of God’s grace and love: that absolutely nothing can stand between Him and His love for us.

    • Oh, Anna…{{hugs}} to you as I know a year isn’t long enough to stop feeling the grief of such loss. And what an incredible legacy your mama passed along. Truly…when I read your first line, I got chills, that her faith and Christ in her was irresistible to you. Beautiful, every word of it. xo

      • Thank you, Robin. In brokenness, God’s beauty and grace can shine…truly it was the Spirit in her, as Mum’s words were completely taken…she had brain cancer that took more and more of her bodily functions, but it couldn’t stifle the overwhelming peace that clothed her…and as I bathed her, fed her, masssaged her, loved her and watched her body die, but spirit sing, I said to myself, I want some of that. My life of hiding in shame and people-pleasing and the discovery that control is an illusion hit hard when Mum got sick. But in His grace through Mum, even in her death, He is teaching me that my life of living in fear and shame is not of Him, as perfect love drives out all fear.

  10. I remember when the empty nest began in our family. Our kids are all 4 years apart in age so it happened in stages. Our oldest went off to college, 4 years later, our son had signed up with the Marine Corp in March of 2001, and left Sept 23 just after the attack on our nation. That was no picnic, to be sure. Our last, well, she was our challenge child at age 18 and stuck it too us good. At that time period, my sweet Mom was still with us and she was praying like crazy for her grand daughter. That was my Mom’s legacy to us all. She Prayed! Her legacy to us was prayer and I’m so grateful for that. There have been many other challenges since then, almost a decade of one loss on top of another. Oh, how I miss her. I wish I just had one more moment with her to pray together. She knew first hand what loss was like. She lost her first born in birth. I always wonder what it would have been like to have an older sister being the youngest of two older brothers. :-{ My dad walked out of her life after 32 years of marriage. She never gave up hope God would work a miracle in restoring her marriage. When cancer hit, she believed
    God would heal her or take her Home. On Oct. 8, 2007, she slipped into His arms. This was at a time of great financial loss for us. Subsequently, a move far away from friends, our kids & community at church. Much more loss was to come as recent as 2015. I’m thankful for my Mom’s legacy to us in always looking to God above in navigating this thing called life. I don’t know where I would be if it hadn’t been for the gift of her example to me. Thank you Heavenly Father for my dear sweet Mom.

    • {{Hugs}}

      Pat, your mama was a rare one–a legacy of prayer? Perfect. What an example. I’m praying God’s favor over you in the coming months, that losses will be few and gain, obvious. May you celebrate the blessings in your life, and have the eyes and heart to see them all. xo

      • Thanks Robin for your encouraging words. Very timely and comforting. God bless you as you serve Him and those lives you touch, including mine.

    • Pat,
      (((((Hugs))))) Prayers for you and your family! May God bless you in ways you never expected. I pray for peace and contentment in your lives!

      Blessings and Happy Mother’s Day!! 🙂

      • Happy Mother’s Day to you, Beth. Thank you for your prayers & care. I’m trying to keep my focus on God above, holding fast to His promises in His word. He has brought us this far and I know He will bring us through our current challenges. Keeping my eyes on Him. Blessings to you!! 🙂

  11. My Mama is the one who makes sacrifices, models acceptance and love and now as difficult things are happening within our family, I pray that God will continue to bless her even more abundantly with the patience and perseverance that He has gifted her with so long in her life.

    Life is a constant letting go and she has done it well, for she has always continued to love.

    This was a beautiful piece from beautiful YOU!

    XOXO

  12. Robin, without a doubt, my momma. She has lived most of my 36 years on this earth with a mental illness. Yet she is one of the most beautiful women I know! She would give the shirt off her back. I try to live my life following her examples of servanthood, Gods love, etc.

  13. Oh thank you for that idea! I will write Legacy Letters to all the phenomenal women who have shaped my 50 years of life! I have been so very, very blessed.

  14. My only child, daughter, will be married in a week and a half from today. There I look back at what a wonder she was to raise. I was so blessed with an even tempered child who listened to me as well as took the time to understand what she was being taught. Now I am blessed to have a compassionate well rounded adult as a best friend. How did this happen? Yes, I took the time to try and raise her with sound principals. More so I tried to let her learn and grow with each stage of life. Not hold her down. My own mother taught me to be strong and rely on my own abilities before those of others. To know my own worth and inner strength. These basics I shared with my daughter. It is important to know you can care for yourself fully then your even stronger to invite in a partner to care for too. If you pick like minded partners they also can care for themselves and you. Thus it is easy to join in as the burden was never there to begin with!

  15. My Mom has become one of my closet friends. I’ve been battling various health issues for almost 11 years now, one right after another. She has never let me give up, but to keep fighting even though it’s mean 7 trips out of state to various specialists, numerous doctor visits and tests, and lots of stress. I’m sure this isn’t how she pictured her life when I was born, but I honestly have learned so much from her and can’t imagine how I would’ve survived without her love and support.

  16. Love this. My mom has been with God 10 years the end of May. I was with her when she took her final breath on this earth and joined my daddy in heaven. If you had told me I would smile and laugh within an hour I would have said you were crazy, but that is what I did. For I knew there was a big party going on to welcome her. Oh the lives she impacted during her days on this earth, including mine. I am so grateful! She left a legacy of faith and courage.
    Now I sit in the morning and read from her tattered, underlined, highlighted, large print Bible and feel her struggles and faith. What a gift. I hope my daughter and granddaughter will say these things about me. She loved me. She prayed for me. She is with God.

  17. My 95 year old Grandmother went to be with Jesus this week she left such a godly legacy to her grandchildren and gregrandchildren of loving the Lord and cherishing the word. She talked to Jesus like he was sitting right next to her because he is! Psalm 62:8 Trust him at all times people pour out your heart to Him…

  18. Robin,
    Loved this post! I guess my mom left a small legacy of thrifty spending, saving what you can and always have a budget. Though she’s been gone almost 6 years now I miss her and her quiet demeanor. She like her own mother never complained or made a big fuss out of anything. I feel she did a good job of raising 4 daughters.
    Blessings 🙂

  19. I had a wonderful mother, who always put me first when necessary. I felt truly loved by her. Unfortunately, she died at the age of 68, from 20 years of Parkinson’s Disease. THEN, my 2nd mother came into my life. And, what a joy she has been. She was the mother of a good friend of mine, & “adopted” me as “my dearest daughter”. She has a huge family of children, grandchildren & great grandchildren. The last thing she needs is another daughter. But, she has made plenty of time for me. We pray for & encourage each other. I’m so thankful for her, & to God, for sending her to me. She’s getting old now (in her 80’s I think), & one day, she will no longer be on this earth, but I know we will meet again in our Heavenly Home.

  20. Robin,

    You have my utmost respect (and I’m truly envious) for your ability to see your children launching as “stepping over a threshold to a new adventure.”

    I have not done so well with launching my 3 boys, although I’ve come a long way and pray that the legacy their dad and I have left with them is one of family, faith and trust in Jesus. They are amazing men of God! All 3 went to college in the same town where we’ve always lived. And then… launching my guys and stepping over into the empty nest seemed to happen all at once!

    My youngest graduated from college this month and my oldest two got married within a year and a half of each other (2012 and 2014). Launching all boys is a different hurt, too! Learning to let go…wow, I’m trying!!

    I loved what Janet shared with you and I’ve heard it also – that grandbabies will make all the difference. For now I’m reading and re-reading your words to her, “it IS an *earned* rite of passage, something to recognize and celebrate! SO much “life” gets us to this place, not all of it neat or pretty.”

    My husband and I are looking at the future as making new adventures. Cannot thank you enough for your encouraging words.