I consider myself a good girl gone bad because I’m a girl who knows all the right things to do and the right ways to act and exactly how to keep all my plates spinning all the time so I look like I’m doing everything right – and I simply don’t do it anymore.
Before Emily wrote her book, I’d walked out on the “try-hard life” into a nebulous idea that grace was more than “the power to do what is right.” I told Pete a few years ago that I was going to quit trying to do what is right, because there’s a huge difference between “yielding” and “doing.” It has a lot to do with the person doing the work.
God blew my idea of grace wide open, transforming my perspective on sanctification, retooling my view of myself, explaining grace in the context of Spirit-work and not in terms of “don’t you dare sin and take advantage of this grace.” He taught me how the sin that separates happens in the heart before it ever makes it into the actions, how wearing masks in order to be good was not the same as clothing myself in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
And for a long time, I felt alone in that, quietly – or not-so-quietly – figuring things out, walking out on faith, hoping God would confirm what He was teaching me in the lives of others. But the culture I was in and the people who surrounded me unconsciously lived “Christ-plus” lives, accepting the Cross as the understood and getting to work proving their spirituality.
Emily’s book is the most refreshing read I’ve had in a very, very long time. And I don’t mean refreshing in “oh this is so new to me – amazing.” I mean refreshing in the way that one is refreshed with a place to rest after a long, difficult journey. I mean refreshing in the “sit down in my living room and let’s talk about God together” sort of way. I mean refreshing in that I felt like my soul was breathing new air as I read what she wrote about her life (not so different from mine) and her walk with God.
I was the responsible one; I KNEW that I put on masks to live my life every day. I have been – still am – the older brother Emily talks about in her book, looking in at the Father celebrating the prodigal son, not always remembering that what I have is relationship with Him, whether I am good or bad.
Emily writes as a friend to her readers – she always has at her blog – and I closed her book feeling that I was no longer alone on my journey into grace. Her very personal voice – her book is almost a journal in places – fosters an intimacy that invites her readers into relationship with her and with the God who gave her grace.
If you’re a good girl, or a good girl gone bad, or even a bad girl ashamed with herself for not being good, this book is for you. It is mostly about redemption and all about grace, and the to-do lists for fixing yourself are conspicuously absent from Emily’s writing. Emily writes with love for her God and love for her readers splayed over every page.
*Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
If you’d like a free copy of Grace for the Good Girl, just leave a comment on this post, telling me a little of your story and why you’d like to have Emily’s book. Also, as a special bonus to the winner, I will include an 8×12 fine art print of “Grace,” the photo at the top of this post.
I will announce the winner next Tuesday.