A Graceful Giveaway

 

I’ve been following Jesus for as long as I can remember. I went to a Christian school, Christian camps, and a Christian college. Then I worked at a Christian camp, Christian church, and for a Christian ministry.

I have the merit badge for Christianity. Bibles on my shelves: check. Bible verses on my walls: check. Small group: check. Bible study: check. Living a grace-filled life: . . .

There’s a reason why I’ve been crying through counseling sessions this summer and fall. I’m slowly beginning to realize how little I allow God’s grace to affect my life. His law shapes my decisions and His Word is on my tongue, but most days I live like someone who does not know the Grace of God.

I’ve always preferred reading the Old Testament to the New Testament. I felt like there were so many more stories that I had never heard before, and I LOVE a good story. I love reading the Gospels, too. Lots of stories in the Gospels. But the “ians” books (Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians…etc.), the letters? Not so much. Honest truth: I felt like I already knew that stuff and didn’t need Paul or Peter or whomever to remind me. 

Wow.

My church has been walking through the entire book of Romans this year. Since January we’ve examined Paul’s letter on Sundays and Wednesdays and every day in between. I wasn’t excited about it for a long time. I was shocked to hear so many in my small group mention how much they loved the book. I’d always found it to be a little… redundant. That’s AWFUL to say, right? Who admits something like that? But now I see the missing link. Grace was a word that had no real impact on my every day life. I didn’t get it.

It’s no secret that God has used Emily P. Freeman’s book, “Grace for the Good Girl” to reach my heart in huge ways. The lessons in grace kept flowing with Emily’s new book for young women, “Graceful.” My copies are both less than a few months old and are already folded, inked, and worn. God is the author of change and growth in my life and He has certainly used these beautiful words to finally reach my stubborn self.

I’m reading the “ians” books of the Bible again as if for the first time. I’m listening intently to the sermons on Romans. I went into my counselor’s office with shining eyes exclaiming how much I’m loving the New Testament. For so long I’d associated perfect performance with God’s favor. I believed that Jesus was the one who had saved me, and because of that I’d been redeemed. But I did not believe for one second that God was pleased with me… that He delighted in me. As hard as I worked, I would always be something of a disappointment to Him. I was the good girl who would never be good enough.

And to that, He has shouted to my soul: MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS!

“Somewhere along the way, I got the message that salvation is by faith alone but anything after that is faith plus hard work and sweet disposition. I lived under a system I designed for myself and I labeled it The Gospel. As a good girl, every choice I made was dictated by a theology of self-sufficiency. Life was up to me, and I was prepared to get it right.” (Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl)

When I read that paragraph I knew He was calling to me through Emily’s words. So much has changed in my heart over these last few months, and there is still so much to be done – but my work is to trust the One whose power is made perfect in my weakness.

In hopes that our lives would all be marked by God’s grace, today kicks off a couple of exciting things on the blog!

1. A Graceful Series! All this week we will be talking about grace in our lives: grace from God, grace in our relationships, grace for the world, and grace for ourselves.

2. A Graceful GIVEAWAY. I want to share Emily’s words with you. I’m hosting a give-away of Emily’s new book “Graceful.” It’s written especially for young women, but aren’t we all still 15 at heart? My copy has been marked up and I know that you or one of the young women in your life would greatly benefit from reading this book. So whether you are 14 or 64, jump in on this giveaway!

“Life isn’t about trying hard to be good, it’s about trusting God to be graceful in us.” (Emily P. Freeman, Graceful)

Two copies, two winners, three ways (one option will enter you daily) to be included in the drawing! Contest closes Saturday morning, October 13th at 12:01am. The winners will be announced on Tuesday the 16th of October. See the swanky box below for details!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Swimming in Grace,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Products worth Pinning!

I am a big fan of pinterest. My husband can attest to that fact as I’m pretty sure I’ve made a new pinterest recipe just about every single night for the past year. Thanks, PINTEREST. Nom. Nom.

Rather than pinning and hoping someone catches these, I wanted to be sure and put some of my favorite things of the week front and center! If this was a new board I would title it “Things I like LOVE on Friday.”

1. Signs by Aimee Weaver! I’m crossing my fingers and saving my pennies for one of these lovelies. I am hunting the perfect color combo for a wall in our bedroom. She has a blog and a facebook page that I would encourage you to explore because her stuff is gorg-e-ous.

2. Pine Cove Videos. Ok, so maybe I’m biased, but these program videos make me laugh. This camp in Texas holds a special place in my heart. Check out all their videos… and maybe… check out all of the amazing camping experiences they offer. (P.S. If you are a college student check out THIS page!!) And also… there’s this gem.

3. Emily Freeman’s new book “Graceful.” You know I’ve talked up “Grace for the Good Girl” but LADIES, this one is so lovely. I’m reading it over my lunch break every day and I just don’t want to put it down. I have so many sentences underlined. The by-line says “Letting go of your try-hard life.” Let this soak in and then put this book on your list of must haves… “Life isn’t about trying hard to be good, it’s about trusting God to be graceful in us.”

 

4. __________________________.

Fill in the blank! What’s on the radar that I’m missing. What do you recommend this Friday?

Happy Weekend!

Ginger

Friday Finds: Grace for the Good Girl

I wandered through the halls a nervous wreck last Friday evening. I walked back and forth hoping to catch a friendly eye. This was my first big time conference and I was attending all alone, feeling smaller than ever.

I recognized the author of one of my favorite blogs in the hallway and stopped her. I’m usually terribly awkward when it comes to meeting anyone remotely famous. However, she was gracious as I gushed and grabbed her hand and fumbled over my words. She simply smiled and asked me a few questions about myself. Soon all of my pent-up nerves were leaving.

I went to the She Speaks conference with every intention to network, dream, improve my speaking skills and connect with a publisher.

But I did not meet with a book publisher last weekend even though I was on the top of the waiting list. I spent hours preparing my proposal last week. I furiously finished drafts and letters and chapters… and I never got the call.

But I wouldn’t trade the weekend for anything in the world. For two days I sat at the feet of Jesus and listened. He spoke to my worried, fearful, and busy heart: “Just stop.”

I wandered over to the resource table and surveyed the vast selection. Out of all the resources available on writing, speaking, and teaching I ended up selecting a book on Christian living, the book by the smiling blogger from the first night.

I purchased “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily Freeman and finished half of it on the flight home Sunday… tears flowing all the way. I read paragraphs aloud to my counselor on Monday, feeling as though I finally had words I hadn’t been able to express during a whole month of counseling.

“Somewhere along the way, I got the message that salvation is by faith alone but anything after that is faith plus my hard work and sweet disposition. I lived under a system I designed for myself and I labeled it The Gospel. As a good girl, every choice I made was dictated by a theology of self-sufficiency. Life was up to me, and I was prepared to get it right.”

Emily Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

I choked those words out through tears, but the kind of tears that mark the start of a very good thing.

Who knows? Perhaps the sole reason I attended She Speaks was to accidentally accost Emily in the hall and then be prompted by the Spirit to pick up her book. Regardless of His reasons, God is using her words to touch the heart of a tired good girl.

I should tell you that I haven’t finished it yet. But that’s how much faith I have in recommending it. I still have 70 pages to go and I’m declaring it to be one of the most influential books in my spiritual development. If you’re tired of trying to hold it together – I highly recommend this book.

Happy Friday!

Following in freedom,
Ginger