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. Where’s *my* community definitely resonated most with me, for reasons actually related to what (in)courage has meant to me so far.
    I’ve been with (in)courage since the beginning. I suffered an injury last year that has resulted in my being unable to walk and totally dependent on my wheelchair to get around. I was so very scared, isolated, and in need of hope when I left the hospital that as soon as I could handle it, I spent hours on my computer reading blogs. In all that blog reading, I was thrilled to read about the imminent birth of (in)courage, and I have been a reader since day one.
    (in)courage has been with me for a year now, and I’m so happy to say that I know I can immediately go to it for a lift, knowing that I will leave with my spirit calmed and refreshed.
    Thank you all!

  2. I can resonate with all of your posts… Partly because I feel lonely, as a stay at home Mum, living in a community away from my church friends, but also away from good friends, who fill my heart, and forgive my failings, and praise my achievements!… Thank you for the reminder that these are all part of the seasons of life, and it does take some intentionality, but it gets better!

  3. I really understand that feeling of loving and being loved by people yet still lacking intimacy. That is the season that I have found myself in over the past 3 years. It is slowly changing now, but it has caused me to value my girlfriends far away as well as be open to making connections online. Thanks for this post!!

  4. Your last idea resonates in me most. Community is something a great deal of women struggle with. Making those deep kind of friendships is hard.
    I love coming to (in)courage to quickly read a post that I know will speak to me each day. Thank you, ladies!

  5. “Friend is a verb” was the most applicable to me right now, but they all looked good! I have been especially thankful over the last year for the constant encouragement and gentle challenges on (in)courage’s pages. I would personally like to see slightly fewer specifically Christmas-related posts this year, but that’s just me. By the time we get to Christmas most years I am burned out from overdone everything holiday, and very grateful for anything focused on the same encouragement, motivation and heart searching we pursue the rest of the year. Just my two cents!

  6. Your third post – each of the three purposes of that post hit the mark for me. I’d love for you to write a three part series on them.
    I’d like to hear more of this one because:
    I need to be encouraged to take time for my friends. I need to be reminded that God is at work through me when I take the time for others. And I need to find a balance of my time (that both me and hubby can live with) as I blog.
    [In]Courage has meant so much to me this year! I’ve been blessed, encouraged, reminded over and over of God’s love for me, and been inspired by other’s faith during difficult circumstances in their lives. All of these things have helped to bring healing to my broken heart after my son’s death.

  7. I loved you post Robin! I am a Pastor’s wife in southern Indiana. I struggle with being close to the women in our two congregations. I find it easier to have online friendships than to have face-to-face friends. Thank you so much for the gentle “slap in the face” that I need to get out there and love these women!

  8. I loved your community post. I feel so isolated as a SAHM all my family and friends are an hour away. So it is hard on me, we still haven’t found a local church.

  9. Oh…Debbie… YOU have been refreshment to my morning; its clear you and I are on the same page and Id love to have this community conversation with you…I *think* youd understand my struggle.

  10. I think I would have enjoyed and been encouraged by each one of your concepts. It was kind of hard reading the little bits of each and then *poof* no more πŸ™‚ Please do share on all of them if you feel led to.
    I think your post of Friendship is a Verb would be the one I would most want to read at the moment. I’m at a season in my life where it seems like my close friends have just drifted away. Is it my fault? Have I done something? Those are the things I’ve been wondering, and as I wonder it makes it hard for me to reach out, because “what if they’re mad at me and that’s why I don’t hear from them?”
    I would love to see some articles about what the right balance is between friends and family. When my friendships were thriving, my children teased and gently reproached me for always being on the phone. So I felt guilty and started avoiding phone calls. Now, my friends don’t call. There has to be a healthy balance somewhere in here!
    Friendship and community are important topics. I’m often blessed and encouraged by (in)courage! Glad you’re here.

  11. My heart “hears” this post – the community part especially. Perhaps because God is all about relationships, this one is difficult. I find I cannot “force” intimacy with another. It has to be a “God” thing. He connects me with another. But bottom line, it always comes back to closer intimacy with Him. Then in the season He has me in, He determines where the community of intimacy – or the individual intimacy comes. And sometimes it is Himself alone. My heart hurts for intimacy because He created us for it. It is always “less” than what He created us for, but how I rejoice when any intimacy on a “deep” level comes about….with a treasured friend, or a happen-stance in the store, on-line or face to face …always on the alert for it, always desiring it, many times surprised by it. But always drawn back to the One source that promises an eternity of intimacy…and waiting for that day of NO SEPARATION EVER AGAIN.

  12. I have said this to myself so many times. “I want REAL friends!”
    Since I moved here (Indiana) over 8 years ago….it’s been difficult finding “my” place. Before, I was not in need of true friendships. That has been the hardest challenge.
    Everyone (by the sound of your post and the many comments) struggles with this.
    {I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME!!}
    Robin, your post reminds me…..we’re all battling that fitting in thing. It’s not just me.
    My prayer: (which makes me totally think of Beth Moore’s book So Long Insecurity..)
    –For true friendships in my community
    –For balance between blog/FB/internet friends and face-to-face ones
    –For a realistic view of what friendship is
    –For confidence to step out and do what it takes to be a real friend to others

  13. I, too, have dealt with a season of loneliness. I’ve live in a new town for 1 1/2 years now, and while I’ve been working hard to form friendships, it just takes time for intimate levels to form. I miss the friends from my past, and find it much easier to while away the day checking social networking sites for updates on their lives, rather then living my life out in the world.
    (In) Courage has encouraged me to live out my faith. It’s nice to know that they’re are other women as lonely as me, and also to be encouraged to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to others in my community. As I’ve been doing this, God has blessed me immensely!

  14. I can relate to number 3 “Where’s My Community”. I’ve been here in in MN for 12 yrs. It’s not the same as when I lived in MN. I DO have a couple of good friends, but it’s different. In a way it’s part of the Minnesota “nice” that’s been felt by those who aren’t from MN. Everyone is super nice here, but they seem to have a hard time letting you in.
    I would get together with friends once a week and it was, in a heart sense, an intimate time. We knew each other as a group. We talked about tough stuff. They challenged me, encouraged me, and loved on me and my daughters.
    Here people try to help out, but they don’t have that same love for my boys or that desire to make sure they feel like part of a family. It’s not easy being so far away from biological family and I hoped when I moved here I’d find the same spiritual connection as I had in WA.
    I’m still looking and praying.

  15. “Where’s My Community” really resonated with me. I’ve always thrived most when I have 3-5 close friends. They may not all know each other, but they all know me. It was like that in middle school, high school, youth group, college, on the mission field, in my first “real” job. Now, though, I’m feeling a little lost. Several of my friends have moved out of town, I recently got married, my best friend had a baby, and I changed jobs. We’re in all different places, lots of change going on, and I’m having a hard time putting myself out there in order to make new friends.

  16. Each of those posts would tug at my heart and my conscience. I definitely am not one who confesses to people. I tend to do that in prayer with God listening.
    I love that (in)Courage has daily posts. So, so many seem to have been written just for me on that particular day! And I like the variety of ideas and sharings that happen with so many authors. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on many more days!

  17. The one about friend being a verb resonated with me. It’s the best when you know what makes someone feel loved and then are able to use that to show them you care. I’ve loved the faithfulness of (in)courage this year – during many days I have not made the time to spend time in God’s word or in prayer, but my (in)courage email is always waiting for me in my inbox for Him to speak into my life and lift me up through one of you. Thank you!

  18. I think the Bonhoeffer. Has anyone ever confessed sin to the whole community? I saw it happen in Ukraine once when I happened to be there for Easter and people joining the church first told their testimony, confessing their sins. The church all responded with tears of love for the new member. Amazing. I fell in love with a country! Needless to say I don’t find that here, and have been struggling like you for intimate friendships where I’ve been living now for 2 years. Thanks for posting encouragement.

  19. I truly cannot believe a year has already passed since Incourage began!! What a blessing this online “community” has been to me. It’s hard to answer this question briefly, but I’ll attempt! Part 3 resonates the strongest. Getting to a intimate level of friendship…..loving at all cost and acceting the same. This is still an ongoing struggle for me and God is showing me MUCH about myself and the parts he is still refining for His glory. Persevere on dear sisters…it is possible. If not, we have an eternity to get it right!!!

  20. “Where’s My Community?” is where I’m at right now. About six years ago, I slowly transitioned from a single girl with no attachments to a married girl with two kids (with chronic health/special needs that keep me out of “community” often). I’ve thought it was this transition and extra challenge that was causing the difficulty of intimately connecting with other women. I’m always amazed to find a whole group of women online saying the same things, but with their different circumstances, I’ve realized it can’t just be me and my transition into adulthood and these extra challenges I have in parenting, because I’m obviously not alone with trying to find these connections.

  21. I’m a newbie to (in)courage through the wonder Gitz. Although I am a senior and living with severe stage of a chronic illness, I find great comfort and a feeling of joy when I read your thoughts every morning. Often it is difficult to get out and about and it’s easy to feel quite alone and needing a hug. Often you provide that for me. Keep doing what you do as I know that you are God inspired and put here to help so many of us. God bless you.

  22. I could really relate to all three but I found the “friend as a verb” the most relatable right now. I have found , the hard way, that busy women tend to be friends with those right in front of them and when some circumstances in my life this year caused me to withdrawl into my family unit those friends weren’t around. Thanks for the encouragement to be a true friend.
    I have just recently found (in)courage but it feels like coming home. Thanks.

  23. The third “almost post” is the one that grabs my heart the most. I struggle alternately with immersing myself in my friendships and ignoring my family and withdrawing into myself and my family to the exclusion of friends – both online and “real.”
    I have followed incourage for several months now, and I love the daily posts and the uplifting tone. I also like the reassurance that there really are other women out there who struggle with the same things that I do πŸ™‚

  24. I think I’d have liked the post about friendship being a verb. I’m coming to realize more and more just how thankful I am for my friends, and how important they are to me.
    My favorite moment from the last year has got to be when I discovered all of you. My sister sent me the post last September “I have a Confession.” It says, ‘I

  25. I have enjoyed your posts since I found them, a few months ago. I am between friends, I am in my late 70’s, my husband retired,we do some things together( play golf, church etc.). My friends were in maybe groups,a few older than me(some have gone to God, some moved to be near family, but all are gone. I had several younger friends, their lives have changed,children gone, they went to work,etc. I have no one one to tell about they verse I read in the Bible this morning, what God is showing me in my morning walks, I miss it. I have been telling God my problem,He knew anyway,He is
    providing other friends(but not the same) one granddaughter likes to text,now two are texting me(fun), one daughter I had become very close to died, but I know where she is and we will be together again ( I miss her now) but another daughter that was away has come back and we are getting to know each other by phone. I am enjoying (in) Courage and friendships are on my mind lately. Oh yes women my age in our church have very different interests then I do,(playing cards and sitting in coffee shops all day is out). I like the title “Put on the coffee lets pray” I pray you keep this going. Betty

  26. I’ve always felt like I’m on the outside looking in. Don’t have that ‘friend’ I can call up and say let’s go out to eat or let’s go see a movie. Didn’t notice it as much when I was married and had kids at home but now am divorced and on my own and the issue pops up once in awhile.

  27. Where’s my community? I hear you! Where IS my community? It’s not at my church, I can assure you – I am one of many not “invited” to be in the “holy clique.” Sigh.

  28. I love (in)courage! I only recently discovered it – within the last two months – and it’s how I usually start my day!
    I think the “Where’s My Community” really hit me hardest: I recently moved home after graduating from college, and have no face-to-face friends here anymore. As a girl who classifies as an interovert, my challenge is to make new friends, rather than only clinging to college friends! I can really relate to what you said…
    Thank you for sharing your heart!

  29. skimming all the way down as not to be influced by what everyone else thinks!!!
    *
    *
    *
    *
    Where’s My Community…
    I can relate to parts of that…it just resonates and is where I’m at…trying to build the community I do have…
    THIS SITE…has been precious to me. I always FEEL the LOVE and ENCOURAGEMENT!!!!

  30. The third pseudo-post resonates with me. Months after a church change I started having health problems just at a time when my group of local friends was in transition. I am actually needing to make the most of online community in this season but finding myself resistant.
    Ann Voskamp’s participation brought me to (in)courage initially. Finding Gitzen Girl here has been the highlight of the year’s blog reading. She has been an inspiration, especially as my health journey has begun in a small way to mirror hers.
    Keep up the faithful work, y’all!

  31. oh, definitely I resonate with the 1st half of the 3rd post. I am so there right now! Praying for God to show me what/if anything I should do!

  32. I think Confessing of our sins to each other, and achieving more intimacy in our friendships go hand in hand and is what stood out to me most about this post. I think it’s so hard to admit faults and shortcomings to other, even to close friends, but when we do it creates true intimacy with them that we could never have imagined.
    It’s a very hard thing for me, personally, because I tend to set people on pedestals too often. I always feel like my faults are way worse then those of others, and don’t want people to know when I struggle and what I struggle with.
    But we can’t ever have really close relationships with others until we let our guards down, and are honest with others. Until we share the good, the bad and the ugly.
    Thank you for this post! I’d like to hear separate posts on all of these topics! Thanks so much for this site. I visit it daily and it helps me so much!

  33. The “where’s my community” post really resonated with me. I am the type of person to have very few friends, but they are very close to me… loyal and true. The kind that I can really share with and know that they will speak with truth in love. But we are scattered around the country or we have busy lives. I have recently joined out women’s Bible study at church in an attempt to get more plugged in and meet other women. I love it and hope that some good friendships are born of it. Thanks so much for posting about this! It was very encouraging.

  34. Robin-
    I think probably the last post idea would resonate the most with me. For the longest time when I first moved to CO 10 years ago, I couldn’t find “my girls.” I had plenty of nice people around that would help me out, pray for me and care for me (and for that I was quite thankful!). However, I needed someone to be real with–to shop with, tell me if my outfit looks dorky, not have to clean my house for, help me face the ugly parts of myself and love me anyway. I am starting to find my girls now–finally. I have found them by being willing to be friends with people older or younger than me, and by reaching out and being a friend (post two??). I have found that most people think they are the only ones who don’t have friends–and think everyone else is busy friend-ing with everyone else. When I would admit that I didn’t really have many real friends nearby–people were surprised. I am finally starting to form that community–but balancing time is always a struggle.
    I find that community always seems to be difficult on some front, but it’s worth it. And the struggle makes us long for Home all the more.

  35. Interestingly enough, all three of these would resonate with me.
    1. I had a time when I needed to confess a sin to my church. They would have learned the truth sooner or later (you can’t hide a baby!), but I delayed because of my imagined response the church woluld have. Turns out I was quite wrong – they loved on me more than ever.
    2. I’ve learned that in friendships, those little gestures can mean so much. Last year, I baked a loaf of banana bread for a volunteer at my kids’ school. I had seen her all year but never had been introduced. She was almost in tears when I gave her the loaf. It was a moment that sticks with me because something so simple and easy for me meant so much to someone else.
    3. Online community – absolutely there needs to be a balance. This past year, I’ve been living my life online. I moved to a new city one year ago and I have one person I would call a friend. There are some other people that I know that are fun to be with, but I only see them in certain places and I don’t even know their phone numbers or where they live. I’m trying to get more involved at my kids’ school, partly to meet more parents and hopefully make some IRL friends.
    I think that as long as this site keeps it’s relaxed and encouraging feel and remains under a canopy of prayer, then it will continue to succeed. I’ve loved this past year here and hope to see many more in the future!

  36. (in)Courage really does provide daily encouragement for me, lifting me up as a wife and mom. I am so blessed to read such wisdom and like-minded thoughts from the authors posts and know that this has led to growth in my life.

  37. As a young woman exiting out of my college community, the topic of “Where’s My Community?” resonates the most. The joys and pains of trying to find a community and being deeply known.

  38. Definitely, definitely Where’s My Community. I totally get that.
    “There are women here I love and who love me, but we’re lacking intimacy, the deepest sort of knowing. I’ve tasted this in past years, so its void is palpable.”
    When we lived in Texas, I had an incredible and close and intimate group of dear friends. The truest, most beautiful community I could imagine happening. Since we have moved to Oklahoma (two years ago now), it has been absolutely painfully difficult to find that intimate community again.
    So yeah, I can definitely relate to that one.

  39. I can definitely identify with the post on community. A sense of community has really helped me get through this past year. I have embraced my community a lot more (both online and IRL) and also returned the favor by being a supportive community member.
    Thanks for sharing Robin

  40. definitely the friendship post resonated with me! what a great pseudo-post! thank you!
    i too am at a place of ‘friendship’ w/o true friendship/intimacy… 5 years since a move from a place of ministry and friends and community… to a place of a small church.
    what a struggle.
    but just this week – i realized that my husband and i have become closer – and maybe the Lord has brought this period to grow us closer!
    but also – you have some very valid – helpful points.
    thank you!

  41. Robin,
    How kind of you to welcome me.
    I find In Courage is going to be as inspirtational as my friend the Gitzen Girl.
    Thank You & Prayers!
    Your new Friend Diane