It took me 23 years of living before I realized I didn’t know how. I thought I knew what it meant to be a grown up, a good person, a Christian. But I didn’t really know how to live.

That was before I met Grace.

Grace didn’t walk the streets with me at 2 am or find me drunk in a college dorm room. Grace didn’t stand at the end of a driveway and wait for me to come home while I spent years squandering my inheritance.

Grace came softly.

Waited while I worked hard to please every person in the room. Watched as I pleaded with my mom to keep me home from first grade on the first day of school because I didn’t know how to do it. Comforted as I sat alone on my couch as a newlywed, overwhelmed with loneliness even though I was no longer alone.

I want to tell you what Grace has done for me, want to spill it out ugly all over the page, want to sit with you and shake my head and say Can you even believe it? Many of you can believe it, because Grace has done it for you too.

I believe that grace is wildly misunderstood among us. Well-intended us. Bible verse memorizing us. Sunday school us. Disciplined, check-listy, try hard us. We talk about grace with balance, grace holding hands with discipline, grace married to the law.

But Grace doesn’t balance out, flirt with discipline, or marry law.  And that can be uncomfortable.

If grace doesn’t in some way and on some level offend you, perhaps you haven’t met Jesus.

Grace for the Good Girl is for those of us who have done life right but don’t know how to live life well. I’ll be here all week, sharing with you more about me, the book, this good girl I’m learning how to let go of. I hope you’ll come back and listen, nod your head a little, and join me as we walk this road to let go of the try hard life together.

Can’t wait to see you back here tomorrow where I’ll be standing in the (in)courage doorway with my arms filled with loot to giveaway. Until then, I would love to hear from you in the comments. Do you have any questions you would like answered this week as it relates to this book or this good girl life?

Grace for the Good Girl releases September 1 but is available for purchase tomorrow!

comments:
share:

comments:

  1. 1

    “Learning how to live…”–such a sweet place He’s leading me toward, as well. I’m still discovering the freedom as I “unwrap” His grace for me, and I often feel like a little child with fresh eyes. It’s hard–this trusting and letting go. But it’s such a delicious entree on the other side, just waiting for us to be nourished and filled.

    I’m so glad to have you talking about this journey of yours, Emily! May Our Father wash these truths over you again as you share with us your discoveries in the telling of His grace for you.

  2. 2
    Victoria says:

    This book will be on my Christmas List!! I have tears burning in the back of my eyes right now! We can only try so hard on our own.

  3. 3

    I can’t express to you how anxious I am to read your book. I’m a little scared about what it will reveal to me. I’m one of the good girls who was raised by a good girl mom. I think of the bondage that label has held us to and want so badly to break free of it for good. I’ve made some progress over the years, but at my core (flesh) I still strive to “do” those things that won’t rock the boat and will keep me sailing “smoothly” through life. Ha. I’m wondering how to live this grace life out loud when legality is so bred in me. I can’t extend grace when I can’t receive it. How do I break this cycle with my own children? It’s not a legacy I want to pass to continue to pass on. (Two of my children are grown, but are still around me and I have a nine-year-old. I believe God will fix the mess I helped create. I do.) So, I’m praying that reading your journey will reveal some things to me that I will see with new eyes.

    • 4

      Oh how I can relate with you, Ms. Souther Gal. I hope the book offers insight, but more I know that as you embrace your belovedness, Jesus will parent those children through you. There is fear, I know – I even put in my acknowledgements that I hope my children learn from my story in a good way, but if not I promise to pay their counseling bills.

  4. 5

    I just love the concept behind this book, and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Looking forward to all you have to say here at {in}courage this week. What a blessing!

  5. 6

    I am so excited for this book! All my life, I have been a rule-follower, trying to do everything I can not to rock the boat. Can’t wait to see what you’re going to tell us about it the rest of this week…

  6. 7

    I am so excited about this, Emily. I’ve been reading through your pages this weekend and I keep telling my husband, “This sounds like me, listen….” as I read him portions of my heart with your words.

    I love that, “Grace came softly”, because that’s what it’s doing for me, literally, this year. God is teaching me and continuously telling me things. Last week He whispered to me to “practice grace”. He wants me to practice.

    Then perhaps I can pass this on to my children {as they are fighting at this very moment, ha!}

    Blessings Emily! I look forward to your writing here this week.

  7. 9

    I’ve learned the hard way that grace is indeed offensive. There are no balance scales or score sheets. Grace is scandalous and it’s why good girls don’t like it. This summer has been a grace journey for me. I’m only at the beginning and it’s still so awkward. This book of yours…I’m just so excited about it I want to squeal. : ) Love this post. It’s an awesomely appropriate introduction.

  8. 10
    Danielle M. says:

    I’m really excited for this, Emily. I follow your bloggy-blog and am hoping to come to the nest next month. :)

  9. 11

    Question: does being the oldest girl put a person at risk for being the Good Girl?
    Question: Why does being good mean you don’t get to ask for what you need?
    Question: If I am good, does it mean nothing bad will happen? And when it does, does that mean I wasn’t really good?
    Question: What happens to Good Girls when they get tired of being good?
    Question: Why do the bad people and the really good people get all the attention?

    • 12

      1. Yes, being the oldest does sometimes mean you’re more prone to being a good girl.

      2. Being good doesn’t mean that – but sometimes that’s what we think it means. We confuse asking for what we need with being selfish. That’s a mistake, but that’s what we do as good girls.

      3. I think this whole concept of “being good” is exactly what I want to redefine in this book. Bad things happen to good people all the time, don’t they? Such a big question…

      4. What happens when good girls get tired of being good? That’s a great question -depends on the person, I guess. I think it’s a really good thing when good people get tired of being good. Then they might actually look for someone to be good on their behalf, someone like Jesus.

      5. Again? great question. What about those of us in the middle, right?

  10. 14

    I am hoping that by reading your book I will find out how to extend grace to myself, or recognize the grace I’ve already been given. I am way too hard on myself.

    • 15

      learning to receive the grace GOD has given is often more difficult than giving “grace” to yourself…and His grace is much more effective. for me, understanding who i was both “in Christ” and from His point of view, as His beloved daughter, was much more helpful than learning to forgive/give grace to myself. maybe b/c ultimately, HIS opinion is really more important than mine…and is more effective at refuting satan’s lies.

  11. 16

    I sooooooooooo need to read this.

  12. 17

    Because God is full of grace and He is always good, can’t we learn a practical way of being both as well if we are becoming more like Him?

    LOVE, LOVE,LOVE the concept. and can’t wait to read it. God has used your blogs to mess with me. That’s always a good thing. Thank you.

    P.S. I have a story of being a good girl and deciding that wasn’t working for me.

    • 18

      Absolutely Kelli! I think there is a re-positioning that needs to take place when it comes to this concept of being good. There is so much focus on behavior first rather than heart. Oh if we would learn to really believe the heart comes first and behavior follows – then it isn’t actually about us “being good” but about His good coming out of us.

      • 19

        Thanks, Emily. I agree. In other words, quit striving to be good, and just accept His grace. “For by grace, we are saved.”

  13. 20

    I cannot wait to read your book. As soon as I finish this comment, I will check it out to see if it comes in a Kindle version. I just recently found this site and have been so blessed by Incourage. I (not supposed to start all your sentences with “I” but am not going to worry about getting this “just right”) grew up in a very legalsitic environment which suited my rules-being-boundaries personality. Here I sit at age 55 tip-toeing into a life of grace. Salvation came to me 37 years ago, but for the last six years I have been trying to find my way out of that legalistic cage into a life of abundant grace. I’m still trying to figure out what that means. I loved this comment, “But Grace doesn’t balance out, flirt with discipline, or marry law. And that can be uncomfortable.” It is okay when I abide IN Christ rather than seek the approval of others. But in a world of pressing crowds, that is hard for me. I look for approval in nearly every face that speaks to me. I long for God to be enough, to be so lost in His eyes that I am willing to step out into whatever He has for me without fear and without wondering about what someone will think of me. I long for Him to be the center of my thoughts and not me. I could go on an on about how Grace has found me during my darkest valley, a valley that hasn’t ended yet. I have found God to be so much more than I ever knew He could be. That is Grace!

  14. 22

    I recently “found” you when another blog linked your beautiful post about your father-in-law. I have been saving the Amazon gift card my son sent me for my birthday, and I think I’ve found a perfect way to use part of it. As the firstborn child of two firstborn parents, I am the epitome of the “good girl” perfectionist. It feels like you are writing to me personally! I’ve read several of your Chatting at the Sky posts with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. When I’ve encountered Christians who have dramatic “saved from the depth of hell stories,” I’ve always secretly thought it was just another example of me not being “good enough.” You are a lyrical writer, Emily, who touches the heart of this good girl. My very best to you as your book is published. (I’m only a little jealous!)

  15. 24

    Emily, ever since I first learned of you writing these words, grace words, I have been praying for you. Grace has been a journey throughout my life, one I’m still learning to leave. I am eager to read your words and share them with many others. THIS is a message we need to hear, need to know — deep down in all of those fearful places — and need to live, because He’s the One who sets us free. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

  16. 25

    So thrilled about the book. Looking forward to hearing more from your heart this week.

  17. 26

    I am sure I am going to be doing a lot of head bobbing along side of you. I can’t wait to read this!! It sounds very much like a book that I NEED to read.
    Your series last year on 31 days of Grace spoke to my heart in so many ways, that I needed RIGHT THEN AND THERE. You’ve been ministering to my heart through your writing for years now. Thank you for that and for being willing to “spill ugly” all over the page for us, to help us.
    Can’t wait to hug you and meet you at Relevant ’11!

  18. 28

    After a season of depression and ministry burnout I thought I had learned my lesson about grace and that I didn’t need to do all that “stuff” so others would love me. I have God’s love and no one else’s approval matters. But 3 years later I find my default position of doing more and more in hopes that people will notice and love me. Not sure how/why I’m stuck again…

    • 29

      I know that cycle well. Sometimes I still live it. I think I’ve learned my grace lessons, and then something happens to make me question “Is grace really big enough for THIS? How big is it, really?”

      It is big enough. Sometimes I try to feel my way in the dark and look for the boundaries of grace – haven’t found them yet.

  19. 30

    Really looking forward to this book! A friend of mine has already invited me to a little study where several of us “good gals” will read it together when I get back to North Carolina! Perhaps you can come join us for an evening, Emily!!

  20. 32

    The more I hear about this book, the more excited I am to read it. I can’t wait for my copy to get here!

  21. 33

    I love the idea of living life well, rather than doing it “right”. I’d love to hear more about what it means to live life well…I’m looking forward to your posts this week!

  22. 34

    I will be here Emily. Good girls come in all sizes, shapes and ages. This grandma has been trying to be a good girl all her life. What is it about this need for approval? I so need to walk away from that and into grace. Your words hit me right in the center of all that I am. Thank you sweet girl.

  23. 35

    So. excited.

  24. 36

    This post echoes my life. I rarely strayed from the “right”, the “good”, the “godly” path in my life. I hear the questions in this post, and my heart is crying, “Yes! I want that too!” Thank you, I look forward to the rest of these posts.

  25. 37

    I saw on your blog that there is a small group guide in the works. Any idea when that will be ready? Are there study questions included in the book?? I am considering this for our next Bible study for twentysomethings. :) SO EXCITED to read it!!

    • 38

      Yes! The leaders guide is actually in the back of the book – complete and finished! I’m going to put it on my blog in PDF form so you can print it off that way, too.

  26. 39

    i look forward to reading your posts this week…and meeting you at relevant:) like what you said about grace not being balanced. recently saw it described as “scandalous”. i like that description:)

  27. 40

    Just reading the title grabs me.
    Like “Out of the Grey” did when I first heard their music.
    I really have to read this.
    Thank you!

  28. 41

    Cannot wait to get a copy! Grace is my ‘one word’ this year, and I’m finding her everywhere. Even in my newly sponosred Compassion Child, whose name is Grace.

  29. 42

    I am stoked about your book. I hope to give away a copy on my blog. God is teaching me much about grace this year, and I’m afraid it is not at all what I first thought it was. And It is so freeing!

  30. 43

    This book looks really interesting. My interest is peaked for myself, but also for some small groups I’m about to lead. I’m sure my Mom’s Group would love it.

    Would you categorize it as a “heavier” or “easier” read?, and
    Will self-labeled “bad girls” find it relatable?

  31. 44

    I’m going to put your book on my Christmas wish list. ;) This “Good Girl’s” heart needs a swift reminder of grace every day.

  32. 45

    This sounds like a book I really want to read. I’m also almost a little afraid, as one of the posters above mentioned, because I was raised all my life to be a “good girl.” While I went to a wonderful church and benefited from some good teaching, I still have a lot to learn about how to really LIVE.

  33. 46

    “The try hard life” … that about sums up me! Looking forward to hearing more from you!

  34. 47

    I would not be where I am today without Grace. And I’m grateful for Grace. But I feel there is so much more. I look forward to getting and reading your book.

  35. 48

    I liked this post because I can completely relate! On top of being a good girl, I’m a perfectionist! So yep I think I’ll need to buy the book. :)

  36. 49
    Trish T. says:

    I am looking forward to reading your book. I grew up in a Christian home and was raised in a small, country church where there was much emphasis on works and little on grace. I became a believer at the age of 9, but now at the age of 48 I am still trying to learn what grace means. For most of my life, I have made it my goal to avoid doing the wrong things, but have put very little effort into doing what’s right. I find it extremely hard to accept correction because I crave wanting to feel good about myself. I want to be seen as that good girl. But I have a very faithful Lord!!!! He is ever so constantly wooing me to taste His grace, His unmerited, undeserved, beautiful grace.

    This past year He has really been teaching me a lot. Last October our youngest son died unexpectedly at the age of 16. When I was pregnant with him, his pregnancy went so well that I asked the midwife what was wrong! :) She quickly said, “Maybe God just wants to show you His grace.” The day our son died, I was sitting in the emergency room as they were trying to do everything they could to save him, and I heard a song begin to play in my head. It was the old hymn, “Grace, Grace, God’s Marvelous Grace”. God showed me that He had enveloped our son’s whole life in grace, and it was such a comfort. In the ensuing months, I have realized I just don’t really know or understand much about grace, and that maybe God was also showing me through that song in the emergency room that my life needed to be enveloped by His grace, too. I look forward to all you have to say in this area and pray we can all learn together more about this wonderful gift our great God has given us.

  37. 51

    I was a good girl who didn’t know Jesus. My try-hard goodness was an obstacle to believing I needed a Savior. Praise God for his everloving pursuit of our hearts and souls. I was a tough nut to crack. I’m so looking forward to reading the book, Emily! My copy has been on order for a few weeks now. I’m ready!

  38. 52

    His amazing grace… rest for my soul. His Grace (gifts I did nothing to deserve) attains what I can not, will not ever be able to… righteousness through the grace from a loving God. So patient with me… grace always there covering me. Thankful is my heart for His Grace for this good girl.

  39. 53

    Thank you for writing this.. Wow, I’m so excited to dive into this place of the Father’s heart! I’ve realized the past few months that I don’t know how to DO and BE… The Lord has been so sweet, saying, “It’s okay that you don’t know how; I’ll show you.” These verses have been great encouragement to me:

    Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

    John 6:28-29.. A hard word for all of us “good girls.” :) I’m SO excited for your book!

  40. 55

    Wow, this is all so great to read – all the comments, we should start a support group! I am so good at extending grace to everyone else but I don’t believe I deserve it…..I am constantly looking for approval from others and need to focus on God and not myself. I beat myself up everyday for not being good enough!!!! Its exhausting!!! So glad I stumbled on to this…hope I can keep getting the posts!!

  41. 57

    I think I really need to read this book I have all my life tried to be the person who was always trying to keep things together and still to this day I am trying to do that. You see I take care of an elderly parent and it is just me and sometimes with her I feel like I can’t be who I want to be if I am not smiling something wrong so I just feel I don’t know how to do it or to be who God has called me to be and sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and say I am done.
    Carol

  42. 58

    I’m so glad I found your site through Renee Swopes! I’m looking forward to reading yoru book, it’s utterly appropriate for my journey!

  43. 59

    It seems that all the books are created for those who are wildly out there…not those who have tried so hard to make being nice their goal. Perfectionistic Niceness: dictator, warden, stealer of joy. Oh to escape the shackles…and be free to live!

  44. 60

    LOVED reading these and such a blessing to one who is now learning of God’s grace.
    Accepted Christ at 9 yrs of age. Grew up in a Christian home, taught to mind, be obedient, and always tried to do as I was expected to do. Wonderful middle/high school yrs. growing spiritually, but somewhere in the mix of life, I grew away/apart from depending on God’s grace. I could not handle “messing up, falling” as it happened so often. My mother had always said, if you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all. Many times I have turned away to do just that, nothing. Now, at 51 years, I am learning to depend on His grace. And, every day w/Jesus is sweeter than before. He loves me and His grace makes the difference.

  45. 61
    Trust In Him says:

    I am reading John Owen’s book Overcoming Sin and Temptation at the moment…interested to see how Grace for the Good Girl compares with that.

    Nothing in my hands I bring, Only to the Cross I cling.
    – Au­gus­tus M. Top­la­dy

leave a comment:

*