Grace for the Good Girl Giveaway with Emily Freeman

Congrats to the winners from the weekend’s post!

Cindy (comment left 8/25 at 2:12 pm with a recipe for blackberry cobbler) wins the signed copy of A Life That Says Welcome & the winner of the Fresh & Fruity package is Debbie Genua. Ladies, send your home address (along with what it is you won) to my assistant at [email protected]. (Yes! I now have an assistant and I can’t wait for you to meet her very soon!)

I love meeting new people. Whether it is through this site, at a conference or  retreat or even while out running errands around my small town, I love making new friends.

One of my favorite new friends (whom I met at our our She Speaks conference a few years back when we sat together at lunch) just wrote her first book. My copy currently migrates from my night stand to my tote bag to my back deck as I try to get it finished. (Ever wish you could push ‘pause’ on life so you could finish a book without stopping?) Anyway,  you will LOVE Grace for the Good Girl; Letting Go of the Try Hard Life. It is FABULOUS! (and is the reason my dishes currently sit unwashed and in a pile!) I relate too well to living the ‘try-hard’ life. This book brings freedom from its clutch.

Be sure to enter below for your chance to win a copy of this book & a Starbucks gift card to go along with it. But right now, meet my friend and author Emily Freeman!

Emily is a writer, speaker, and listener. She writes almost daily on her blog Chatting at the Sky, is a monthly contributor for the blog (in)courage by DaySpring, and recently traveled as a blogger for Compassion International to raise awareness for children living in poverty in the Philippines. She lives in North Carolina with her youth pastor husband, their three young children, and their crazy dog, Finn. Grace for the Good Girl (Revell) is her first book.

Emily, you were a blogger before you published this first book, Grace for the Good Girl. How did you start blogging?

I wrote privately all my life, but started blogging in January 2006. My twin girls were two at the time and I realized in the years since I had kids, I hadn’t made writing a priority. So I started a blog called Chatting at the Sky and wrote about once a month. It was ridiculously inconsistent, but it was a start. I knew I loved writing small observations of life and learning and so the blog became a place to house those things.

What prompted you to write a book?

During late summer 2008, I sat with a group of high school girls and as I listened to them talk, I realized how very familiar their lives were to my life growing up. They were the good girls, the girls who never got into any trouble, the girls who wanted to do life right, please their parents, please God. But under their sweet smiles, I noticed something else: these girls were tired, worried, and anxious. I thought about them and then about me, and I realized girls like us need Jesus just as much as the girls who are blatantly rebellious and rule-breaking – but our need isn’t as obvious because we are the good girls. A seed of an idea to write a book about that was planted that day and grew over time.

The subtitle of the book is “letting go of the try-hard life”. What is the “try-hard life” and why are so many women caught up in it?

When people first accept Jesus, we tell them ‘There is nothing you can do to earn salvation! Just believe!’ And we believe it at the beginning. But then, after a few years of living, they come to us and say ‘This life is hard and I can’t do it’. And instead of pushing them back to faith, we push them into activity. We forget Colossians 2:6: “So then, just as you have received the Messiah Jesus the Lord, continue to live dependent on him.” (ISV)

The try-hard life encompasses all those ways we try to make life work out of our own strength. When Jesus invites those who are weary and heavy-laden to come and find rest, I believe he meant it. But good girls often feel responsible to be strong, and we subconsciously think that concept of coming to him and finding rest is just for all those people who can’t handle the pressure – not for us.

The try-hard life shows itself in the way we say ‘I’m fine!’ when we’re asked how we’re doing. It shows up when we work hard to please God rather than risk trusting him. It’s when we believe we have to perform to gain acceptance from others, from God, and even from ourselves. So many women are caught up in living the try-hard life because, even though it is exhausting, at least we’re doing something. Trust and belief are invisible and hard to prove. Activity and do-goodness are visible and quantifiable. We like that. It feels like we have a little bit of control.

Reckless abandoned to Jesus feels risky. Receiving something I didn’t earn is uncomfortable. Grace is offensive, because grace says this life is a gift, and you can only receive it. You can’t earn it. That’s uncomfortable, and so we hide behind our masks of productivity instead.

What is your hope for the woman who experiences Grace for the Good Girl?

Oh Karen, that question brings tears to my eyes as I read it. My hope for the woman who reads? Courage to believe that in Christ, she already has everything she needs. Freedom from hiding behind her do-good, try-hard masks. Rest as she discovers a new hiding place in Christ.

Thanks for stopping by today, Emily!

It’s been my pleasure! And can I just quickly say how much I love you women of Proverbs 31 Ministries? I’ve been both an attendee and a speaker at the She Speaks Conference over the past few years and your gals on the team at P31 are fun, accepting, and so supportive. So thank you for allowing this rookie author to feel welcome!

Okay cyber friends, please leave us a comment telling us where you feel women most ‘try hard’ to appear to have it all together. It can be in your own personal life or just your observation of women in general. One gal will be chosen at random to receive Emily’s book and a $5 Starbucks gift card.

Winner will be announced Wednesday.

Go in Grace,


  1. I am learning more and more…This life is not about me….It’s about Christ and loving Him leaning on Him and allowing Him to be the only one I want to please.I want to give Him 1st place in my life, and it’s a constant battle.
    For so long growing up I tried to be who people wanted me to be and when I finally dicoverd that God loved me and accepted me -just as I am-that was very feeing and is such a bondage breaker.
    I continally fall and He continually reasures me that His love is unconditional..I am so grateful that He sees my heart and continues to encourage me to ….Look to Him as my Source ..!

  2. As women, we tend to try to “take care” of everything on our own and fight the need to ask for help tooth and nail. We want everything to look like it’s under control–home, family, work. When we try to do it with our own strength, we fail., but are hard-headed enough to keep trying. Finally admitting and recognizing that all we have to do is hand our “stuff” over to God will be quite freeing, when we choose to do so.

  3. I think most women want to appear to have it all together when with their friends or peers, none of us want our peers to think of us as not together. A big part of that I think comes in church situations as well, we don’t want to admit our sin, lackings or trouble areas!

  4. I think full time working woman try to pull this off that balancing work, family, housework, husbands, and kids is no problem to do it all.

  5. I know I try hard to hold it all together and be the good girl – the strong one. I have been parenting and homeschooling my 3 children for 19 months on my own while my husband has been following his dreams. We have been living with my unsaved mom for the last 17 months. I have tried to hold it together fighting bitterness and resentment and anger… all behind a smiling face. So hard to be real. :(

  6. I’m also one of the “good girls” and am always striving to be just that ~ “good” by doing, doing, doing for my family, my friends, and God. I would love to read Emily’s book. I know there is great treasure buried within its pages : )

    Sweet Blessings,

  7. I’ll say with their children. If they misbehave in public, Mom’s often look horrified that others have witnessed their child’s sin. Yet, what an opportunity to share grace and the gospel!

  8. Don’t you think we try hard to have it all together at EVERYTHING? We have to look good, be in control of every area of our lives…it’s false and just doesn’t work. What a great book!

  9. Oh my! I AM a “try hard gal.” Yes, I absolutely put on my “best face” in public–especially in front of church ladies, but also at the grocery store. But my worst “try hard” rut is transferring my “try hard” around in my life as though I could make up in one area with a little “try hard” in another area in my life. For example, losing patience with my kids? Throw some extra “try hard” into service and volunteer to teach Sunday School. Or, respond disrespectfully to my husband? Make a widow dinner. How about when I was short with the gal who was had just gone out to lunch before I showed up for our scheduled appointment? Yeah, throw some “try hard” at giving a gift to a new mother in need. I’ve gone so far as to not only act like I’m fooling people in my life, but like I am fooling GOD! As though my failures sever His love for me and, through a list of volunteer positions and good deeds, I can earn back good favor. Good grief! That’s just a whole mess of tangled lies, huh!

  10. Hi there! What a great book…so glad someone (Emily) has taken the time to write about it. “Try Hard”….I think I put on this front with my family because I don’t want to let on how bad our $ problems are…we are struggling and have for the past 4+ years…I put on the “try hard” front at my preschool with my co-workers because I don’t want them to know what is going on and then I would have to confront them with the hurts they bestow upon me. I am so very thankful that God has given me a clean slate every day and that He listens to me and I don’t have to “try hard” with Him. May you have a blessed day!

    Smiles ~Robin :)

  11. I think as women we feel that we need to have everything in perfect order with our house, children, marriage, etc. We try to give the appearence that our marriage is without problems, our children are always well-behaved, and our homes are always spotless….when in reality all that is TOO MUCH to keep up all the time. I would love to learn how to be OK with not looking like I have it all together all the time! Thanks for writing this book; I think there are a lot of women (myself included) that need to hear this message.

  12. One area that I try to keep within me are my emotions. I try to cover up my insecurity about finding a career or being perfect enough in my job performance, my fears that I’m worthless because I’m judged by how much money I make, and at how easily I fall into depression when I compare myself to others see how stupid I am. I see that Satan can use our emotions as a way to get into our hearts and it’s so hard to fill our hearts everyday with God’s truth and encouragement to overpower the influence of earthly things. But I must say, it’s good to see there are many Godly women banding together and available for advice.

  13. It is like a treadmill, always working to get nowhere! I am sure women in all walks of life are trying to make ourselves look “good”, myself included. God’s grace is sufficient and we would all do well to remember that! He is our only judge, and the only measure by which we should live. Each day should be about Him, not us!

  14. I feel women try hard to appear that they have it all toghether at home with their marriage, house, children, etc…

  15. I try hard in every aspect in my life, mothering, being a wife, the chef, trying to save money on groceries. I am so very tired and overwhelmed! And when I look around I don’t feel like anything was done well. We are so hard on ourselves! Thanks for posting encouraging words and drawing us back to Jesus! Have a blessed day!

  16. I have found that one place I try to appear that I have it all together is (of all places!) in church. .I know this is true of some of my girlfriends as well. We spend so much time “getting ready” Sunday morning as though we are going to be competing for the tiara in a beauty pageant..Unfortunately, “appearances” take a much higher priority in our lives than “presentation”.According to Websters dictionary the definition of appearance is “to be seen” or”to become visible” whereas the definition of presentation is “to offer” ,”to give”,and I like this one best ‘to be fit to be seen”.I am making an effort in my life to not worry so much about how others see me. .It is so much more important,I believe,to be seen as I really am (and much less stressful!). .I have always envied the woman who sits a couple of rows in front of me who shows up in her jeans and flip flops,holding her tattered Bible and singing the hymns from the depth of her being.Now that is “presentation”! Not only is she truly present in spirit but she offers herself to God and to the congregation just as she is. If only we all had the courage to present ourselves rather than make an appearance. I am making a conscious effort to be present for the lord and for my church family now and it is really decreasing my level of stress on Sunday mornings. I now have time to enjoy breakfast with my family and even have a second cup of coffee! Blessings,Patty

  17. Emily, I loved what you shared in the interview questions, and I know that your book would be so insightful and encouraging to us all. I also have 15 year old twin girls, and I would love to read this with them, as you are so correct, underneath, although we may show we have it together and are nice people, we so desperately need our savior daily in our lives. Thank you for being obedient and sharing your gift of writing,

  18. Definitely depends on the woman I think, but areas prone to it I think would be our work, home (marriage, kids, personal) and spiritual lives.

  19. I think we girls try to look like we have it all together in our home life….this is where we are supposed to be super mom, super wife, super counselor, super comforter, supporter, and the list goes on and on…..somedays I just find myself wanting to run and hide from it ALL. It is overwhelming! But God…….he is able to give us strength to sore like eagles and run and not be weary….Just got to give it all to him!

    I would love a copy of this book….Thank you for all you do.

  20. I think we try to appear as if we have our mothering role together – as if our kids don’t make mistakes, act up, or whatever. We seem to think they ought to be in matching outfits with coordinating bows, shoes, and permanent smiles glued to their smiling little faces, when sometimes they do throw fits and the laundry needs to be done and they don’t reflect what we’ve tried to teach them. I think we moms often live in fear of appearing to be the ‘bad’ mom.

  21. I’m taking this question to mean “physically” where do women try their hardest to appear to have it all together – and I think we have that strongest tendency to keep ourselves “together” around those we want to impress or feel superior to (workplace, church, PTA, etc) – no one wants to look inadequate in front of people we secretly are admiring. And the funny thing is they’re probably doing the same thing – and in reality if you get past that thin veneer we’ve all got things going on that resemble more of a roller coaster ride than a walk in the park! But goodness forbid we let anyone know…who knows what might happen…we might actually get some help!!! I’m finally coming to this conclusion – I hope it revolutionizes my life =)

  22. I can tell that I really need this book! Thankfully, I just received it from Revell for the blog tour. I’m really looking forward to what I’m going to learn on this journey! As I strive to be a “Proverbs 31 Woman,” I do feel like I need to “try hard” sometimes — in every area of my life. Some days it comes more easily than others, and I suppose that’s just the thing . . . I don’t have to be perfect. Some days it’s going to work out, and some days it won’t. I need to be okay with that. Now, if I could just let the house be a “little” messy when company is coming, I’d be in good shape. : )

    Thank you so much for your wisdom and insight, Emily! I consider it an honor and a privilege to read your book. God bless you!

  23. Lately, I’ve been endeavoring to be honest when someone asks how I’m doing at church (because these people are genuinely concerned). I used to say “fine” but lately have noticed my answers are a lot more truthful and express my heart. Such a silly, small thing – but oh, the freedom it brings not to try and give the “right” or “acceptable” answer!

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