[In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve fallen behind during this month of daily posts, but I told myself that if I ended up with 31 posts by the end of the month, I would call this endeavor a success – regardless of whether or not I actually posted every single day. I need to cut myself some slack, and I know you understand. Thank you for still reading!]
I still remember my excitement when I first discovered Emily Freeman and her lovely blog, Chatting at the Sky. Another of my favorite bloggers, Edie at Life in Grace, had read Emily’s first book, Grace for the Good Girl, and had given it a rave review, and I clicked over to Emily’s blog after watching the book trailer and deciding that she sounded like a kindred spirit and I wanted to learn more about her.
Over the next 3 days, I read every single post in her blog archive (because I’m not obsessive at all!), and I remember telling my husband, “She sounds just like ME!” I showed him a couple of her posts, and Austin replied, “Wow, she DOES sound like you!” So much of what she revealed about her struggles with writing and the fear & doubt she still battled, even after becoming a published author, was all so familiar to me, as I was walking a similar path. Somehow, crazy as it sounded, I felt as though I had found a long-lost sister, and I have been a daily, dedicated follower of her blog ever since.
I have devoured, re-read, and heavily marked up all three of her books thus far: Grace for the Good Girl, Graceful, and her latest, A Million Little Ways. I subscribe to her email newsletter, eagerly await every new blog post, and relish her quietly encouraging Instagrams – she is a breath of fresh air and, quite simply, one of my favorite voices on the internet. I’ve sent her a couple of emails over the last 2 years, and because she is one of those generous writers who writes back, I’ve been so thrilled to receive her sweet responses.
Imagine my giddy delight when, earlier this year at the She Speaks conference, I had the opportunity to sit in both of Emily’s sessions and meet her in person. Her presence on the list of speakers was, I admit, a factor in my attendance at the conference, and I had to pinch myself to believe that I was actually sitting in the second row and listening to her sessions. She was as adorable as could be, and her artful and encouraging presentations ranked among my top two favorites of the conference. After saying hello to her on the second day and asking her to sign my copies of her three books, which I had of course brought with me, I kicked myself for the rest of the day because I had forgotten to ask her if I could take a photo with her. At dinner that evening, I eventually tracked her down, and when I went up to her table and started to say, “I was going to ask you if I could take a picture this morning, but I completely forgot!” she jumped up out of her chair before I even completed my sentence and exclaimed, “Well then, let’s take a picture!” Even though this shot turned out sadly blurry, it captures the highlight of my conference experience, and I’m so grateful to have it.
I have given many copies of Grace for the Good Girl as gifts to my sisters and friends, and I firmly believe that every Christian woman can relate to it in some way. Even with the diversity of our lives, we all have some form of the “good girl” inside who tries to make us doubt our identity in Christ, and Emily is both brave and beautifully vulnerable as she describes her struggles to let go of “the try hard life” and instead embrace the grace of God that He so freely offers.
A Million Little Ways has made it onto the list of books that I am “always” reading, in the sense that I want to start re-reading it as soon as I close the cover. Far from being a book only for artists, it is a book for anyone and everyone who wants to explore what it means to live for Christ and His kingdom in every part of our daily life:
“I don’t believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world.
I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare his glory with my life.” (page 40)
“There isn’t only one right way to do the job of glorifying God.
There are many ways, a million little ways, that Christ is formed in us and spills out of us into the world.” (page 29)
There are many artists I admire, many who have influenced me in various ways, some who have become mentors even though I have never met them, and a handful whose work has changed my life and my outlook forever. Emily Freeman falls into this latter category. I can never say enough about her writing, her art, and the example her life presents of what God can do with someone who chooses, daily, to live fully as the person God has made her to be.
As a side note: the Bloom (in)courage online book club went through A Million Little Ways last fall, and I thoroughly enjoyed the videos that accompanied the online study. Click through to the subsequent weeks at the end of this video.