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,
    Amen to parenting being knee-bending humbling. My knees are sore and my carpet worn. My daughter has successfully launched. In our house we define successfully launched by the fact that they are on their own in all respects including financially. Are my heartstrings still pulled when she cries about not being married when all her friends are?…you bet they are. Do I still pray earnestly for God’s wisdom to grow in her heart? Oh yes! I will always be momma bear, as she calls me, but letting our children go and be in the care of their Heavenly Father is so hard sometimes. Especially when they are struggling, like my son is, to know he needs to find a way back to Jesus. Beautiful post, as always!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. Your post is timely for me. Our son was married two weeks ago and I handed over the reins to my new daughter-in-law. I was feeling somewhat sad because I feel like my son doesn’t need me anymore. That may sound selfish but I feel like as moms of sons, it is just a bit different than daughters. We have a different relationship with our daughters than sons. Now my son has a new woman in his life. A woman that I have prayed for since my son was a baby. Yes, it is hard letting go but very necessary. I will continue to be a knee bending parent for the rest of my life. As for now, I pray that the Lord would help me through this season and also this newly married couple through the beginnings of marriage.

    • Such important prayers, Diane. The new seasons for our children have such bearing in OUR lives! We all need prayer and wisdom so desperately, but for such different reasons.

  3. Beautiful! I’m still at the racoon eyes and IV of coffee stage, but I know the day is coming. And I just keep praying that my little guy (and any future littles to come) will keep their faith, and that God can help me be a good teacher to them.

    • 🙂

      Amy, you WILL be a good teacher because your heart is tendered toward the Lord. That’s the first part. It’s not about perfection, it’s about humility and seeking God. Well done, mama!

  4. Love this, dear friend. It IS hard, this letting go. It’s serious work. But I have to remind myself daily that it’s so not about me–it’s about what’s best for my kids. You’ve done so well in this, Robin. Thanks for being a good example to me and to so many.

  5. Robin, just last night I read your post of two weeks ago, about your son in the emergency room, and I was going to tweet you about it this morning. You’ve encouraged my heart like you can’t imagine! We just settled our son in at college 3 weeks ago. He grew up in Turkey, so we’ve relocated to Dallas for 9 month home assignment to be closer and support him through the phase of adapting to his parents’ home country. In the business of a trans-Atlantic move, I didn’t have time to think much or prepare myself! I didn’t know how much I’d miss him, and that tears would flow at the craziest times of day. Thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement. I’ll keep praying.

    • Oh, Betsy, there are SO many dynamics attached to your circumstances. Not just “typical” ones, but factors that DO compound this season for you! Don’t diminish any of it–it’s real, it’s hard, and it hurts! BUT that doesn’t mean it’s BAD, right? Hard does not equal bad, and pain doesn’t either. Feeling deeply is evidence of great love, and that’s a sweet gift. You’ve encouraged me today, both in your tweet from the weekend, and hearing your heart. Praying for you (and so many like “us”–because I KNOW how to pray from having lived it (or close, anyway)).

      • Thanks for your sweet reply Robin, and for the reminder that something’s not BAD just because it HURTS! 🙂 We can be thankful that our kids are grown and able to move away! 🙂

  6. I can hardly even stand the emotion this post brought to me. I am fighting back tears…knowing if they start? It ain’t gonna be pretty. We just moved our youngest to college, and your whole “empty laundry basket, two plates…two dishes.” I.just.can’t.

    We have 3 plates…3 dishes…because our oldest son has Down Syndrome and lives at home with us. But 3 is less than the 6 we started out with…and our home is VERY quiet. The one we moved to college…he was always in and out, LOUD, bringing friends. I miss it so much! Like you, our role as parents has changed over the years, as our kids have matured and left our nest. Many of our prayers have changed as well…but some prayers have stayed the same. Thank you for this post. This quote pretty much sums up this stage of motherhood for me: “…sometimes when you get what you hope and pray for, it’s not just hard, it hurts.”

  7. Such a poignant post, Robin, and you are so right. The learning, knee-bending, and letting go continues, even into the empty-nest years. We learn to live with longing, wishing our fledglings weren’t quite so far away. We continue to bend the knee in prayer for them as long as we live. And after each visit, the letting go must be endured again. BUT! When they are fulfilling God’s purpose, and the fruit of their labor becomes evident, as they impact the communities around them, and create loving families of their own, a sense of peaceful satisfaction settles in our hearts. To be honest, we made mistakes during the parenting years, but God has redeemed those failings, and done far more than we asked or imagined! Now our role is different, but important nonetheless: providing a listening ear, counsel (when asked for!), encouragement, and always–prayerful support.

  8. “When they’re on their own, free to experiment and explore, it is reason
    to downright celebrate when they still choose Christ again and again.”

    Amen! Yet, it is often so hard to wait on that and hope for that. You have been such a great example of this sharing and celebration!

    Hugs to you Dear Friend! XOXO

  9. I did something BIG this past week, I coughed up the courage to enter my daughter’s bedroom (the last one of my chicks to leave the nest.) Her wedding day was two years ago and I just could not go in “there.” She lived at home during her four college years; God was so gracious to give extra time with her. I knew that by going in that room and reclaiming it, I accepted the fact that all four of my children were out of the nest and that room would never belong to one of my children, that they had flown. This room was so dusty, I had to take a Claritin. I persisted and now it is the cutest granddaughter room you’ve ever seen. As I sit by myself this Sunday, I appreciate very much this article. I need to let go all the way and am grateful that I am not alone in the emptiness I feel at times.

    • Vickie, Well, I’m proud of you. When you crossed the threshold of her door, it sounds like it was a HUGE step for you indeed. Moving on and letting go doesn’t mean forgetting or not loving anymore. In fact, it’s a lovely measure of remembering and loving in new ways. It sounds like the Lord is doing a work in your life, growing you up (that never stops 🙂 ) and making a provision for even MORE love to come into your home :).

  10. Robin,
    So eloquently written! Yes, parenting is hard at every step of the way! Whilst I don’t have children of my own I am “parenting”, if you will, my aging dad. It is hard to watch them age and deal with all the difficulties of life! 8 years ago I helped parent my mother as she battled dementia and sundowner’s. So hard to do all over again!
    Prayers for all that mommas do! You women have a tough tough job! God bless you all!
    Blessings 🙂

    • Oh, yes, Beth. You’ve now been called twice into a Holy ministry. I lived a version of what you describe with my own father, and I understand it is HARD and pitiful at times. God continues to teach you in the midst of that type of season, and those redemptions are bittersweet. Beautiful love you’re living….

  11. Cindy,

    So sorry for all you’ve been through!!! Prayers for you and your family!
    May God change your girl’s heart and turn her back toward you! I pray God send His peace and contentment to you mind, body and soul!!
    (((Hugs)))

    • Thank you so much,He has been my strength and my hope thru it all,knowing Him as protector and provider,Father and. Best Friend. Watching baby bird fly is exhilerating bit saddening I am not part of her life right now,I keep telling myself things will change in His time.

  12. My oldest son is 14 and just started high school. Just this morning as I sat beside him in church, noticing the fact that he wasn’t singing along with the worship songs, and shortly after, listening to him complain that he was going to be so bored because I was staying to help in Sunday school for the second service and he would have to listen to the service twice (not wanting to help out in one of the Sunday school classes, because that’s boring too). I had a moment of crisp awareness that it is up to him to make his own choices about his relationship with God now. Knowing that more and more, it is time to let him go. He may very well drift away from Jesus. There is little I can do if this happens, besides continue to place him in Jesus hands in prayer. It is scary to let go like that. I want to hold on and control things. Yet I have seen God at work in his life. I know that my son has a perfect Father who will not ever let go of Him, or give up on him, or stop being involved in his life, no matter how old he is or how far he walks away. That brings me peace in the middle of my fear, and I think it also makes me a better mom as I don’t try to push him into the box of how I think his life should go. So although I’m not yet in the place of the empty nest, I relate to the difficulty of letting go, and you expressed it oh so well. You have also reminded me to really treasure these last few years, before I have to “let go all the way”. Thanks so much for your post.

    • Jessica, I think your son’s response is somewhat typical; and you’re already showing wisdom (to me, at least) in not “pushing him into into the box of how you think his life should go”. HARD to let go in that, but best. Be thankful he’s being honest and not faking it; to me, that is toxic and dangerous. Questions aren’t sinful, neither is doubt. They can be the very things that lead to faith. I know you didn’t say he was doing either, his behavior is common among the teenage set sometimes. But your parenting style to me allows him the freedom to choose…and he might even be surprised you aren’t “making” him do something. Love him through these years as best you can :).

  13. Cindy, you’ve been through an unusually difficult season. What a sweet testimony to God’s goodness that you praise him in this “storm.” My heart goes out to you and I know it hasn’t been easy. May you continue to see the provisions of the Lord, trust his grace and find his wisdom. ((hugs))

  14. You nailed it here Robin. I’m just a five years past this point, but it is still so fresh and still so true. I am no less on my knees than before – actually more . . . Still very much a student, and the struggle to let go daily is no different. Heart of a mother. Thats what it is.

    Thanks for describing it so beautifully.