One Question No One Ever Asks Me


Want to hear an interesting question no one ever asks me? You do?! Here it is: What are the most visited posts on your blog? It’s true, no one ever asks me this because really, who cares, right? But it came up in conversation with Flower Patch Shannan while we were in Indiana so I thought it might be mentioning here.

I actually told her wrong – I thought it was a different, but when I checked my stats, the post that has the most all-time views here at Chatting at the Sky is this one: One Thing Your Daughter Doesn’t Need You to Say. It was one of those I-wrote-it-while-my-neck-was-splotchy-in-frustration kind of posts. As it turns out, frustration is a great motivator for the writing as it seemed to hit a chord with a lot of people.

Of course, I wrote it quickly and hit publish immediately, not fully explaining some of my reasoning. Inevitably some people misunderstood my intent (which is what everyone who has ever written a post that has gone semi-viral says – If I would have known so many people would read it…!)

[Dear Writers Who Put Words On The Internet, Always assume so many people will read it. That doesn’t mean write scared or change what you write, but just know and be prepared and don’t be that girl who tries to backtrack or over-explain. Just write it, own it, know not everyone will get it, and move on. Also have a cookie. Love, emily.]

The second most all-time viewed posts here is this one: 12 Things Your Daughter Needs You to Say which was a sort of follow up to that first one. It’s been a year now since I wrote those posts and they still get hundreds of views everyday, even thousands every now and then.

Both of these posts are written for people who have influence in the life of teenagers, which if you think about it, is basically everyone at some point in our lives.


If you were to ask me what I miss the most about youth ministry, my answer may change depending on the day. But today, I would say the laughter. Nearly a year after John stepped down from his job in student ministry, I am missing the fun parts. Teenagers have this remarkable ability to be deeply thoughtful in one moment and insanely silly the next.

The light-heartedness left-over from childhood hasn’t quite worn off yet. I learn a lot from them.
Graceful (For Young Women) by emily p. freeman

One of the most heart-breaking things to happen in the lives of our young women is to watch that light-heartedness start to fade. It’s one thing for our girls to begin to take on more adult responsibilities, to begin to see the bigger picture and all the world’s sorrow, to begin to recognize her place among it and to feel the normal weight of struggle that comes along with growing up.

But the part where I start to get angry and neck splotchy is when I hear the gospel used as a burden-maker rather than a burden-lifter, when girls start to see their faith as another thing they have to do, another stick by which to measure their okay-ness, another burden to carry around in order to prove something.

Even though John and I don’t work directly with students right now, we will always have our eyes and our ministry trained in their direction. As we begin to get graduation announcements in the mail this week, I’m thinking even more about students, particularly teen girls, their friends and their families.

Graceful (For Young Women)

I sometimes assume you already know I wrote a book for teen girls, but I still hear from regular readers who don’t know and are looking for something similar to Grace for the Good Girl (the book I wrote for women) but would like it for a younger audience.

So here is your friendly reminder to grab a copy of Graceful as a graduation gift for that senior or a thank you gift for your babysitter or a summer book club pick for your high school small group. Here are the direct links to buy Graceful, bearing in mind that right now CBD has the best price (only 7.99 plus shipping).

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / CBD / LifeWay / DaySpring

Graceful Small Group Leader GuideAnd if you want to lead a discussion with your daughter or a group of girls, here is a free small group leader guide for you to download and print that might help you out. Simply click on the image to the left to access it.

And just for fun, the post I told Shannan was the most all-time viewed is actually the third most all-time-viewed: My Stitch Fix Reviews because I thought it was. Turns out that is the most consistently viewed, but not the highest viewed.

Fourth place is this one: Dare You to Paint Your Cabinets Black. And coming in at fifth place is one of the posts I wrote from Uganda: Choosing the One You Least Expect.

Happy weekending, friends. I’ll be back tomorrow with a blessing for the finishers – this time of year, we’re all finishing something, right? See you then.


Best Price for Books This Weekend

a million little ways by emily p. freeman

For our US friends, I hope you are all enjoying a happy Thanksgiving weekend! And of course for our readers around the world, I hope your weekend is off to a lovely start. It still blows my mind that December is summer for some of you. But I digress.

I’ll post our What I Learned in November link up post in just a few minutes. But first:

Every now and then I get texts or emails asking if I know where the best place to buy Million is – Barnes and Noble, Amazon, LifeWay, and many other places all carry the book and it’s good to check them all for the lowest price.

Right now, it looks like DaySpring still has the best price for A Million Little Ways. It’s only $9.99 in their online shop, and if you use the code 30SPECIAL, you get an extra 30% off so it’s only $7 through Monday, December 2.

AND if you spend $50 total in your order, you get free shipping. So if you planned to buy Million for Christmas gifts, or teacher gifts or stocking gifts, this would be the best way to do it.

While I’m at it, here is a summary of current lowest prices for all the books I’ve written:

I rarely do posts like this because it always feels a little weird – Hey! Buy my books, y’all! But for those of you who are going to buy them as gifts anyway, I thought I would help you out with the lowest price deals. The DaySpring links here are affilliate links, so if you purchase from there, I will get a small percentage. I hope to see some of your What I Learned posts today! More to come.

12 things your daughter needs you to say

In high school, I loved all those little sayings I heard Christians say. You know the ones – When God closes a door, he opens a window. Or Don’t put God in a box! My personal favorite was when one of my friends in my small group went through a break up with a boy, our small group leader proudly announced: Rejection is protection! And we all promptly dove for our journals to write that one in big, bold letters.

12 things

I tried to use that one once  on my current small group to see what they would do. They just stared at me and rolled their eyes. Then they laughed because they knew I was joking.

Maybe teenagers in 1995 were a lot more corny than teenagers today. Or maybe it was just me.

There are things our daughters (and sons, too!) need to hear us say. And even though the clichés may encourage some of them and may look cute on a poster, they will most likely fall flat on young ears. Here is my best attempt to come up with 12 non-cliché things our daughters need to hear us say.

12 Things Your Daughter Needs You to Say - by emily p. freeman1. I have hope.

could tell her “Have hope.” But, I speak as a daughter here, it means more to me to see my parents have hope than for them to tell me to have hope. My hope (or lack thereof) speaks louder to her than my words about hope.

Show her you have hope – you trust God with your family, you have hope for her future, you see light in dark places.

2. Live with God rather than for God.

It is common to tell young people to live their lives for God. And though I get the sentiment, I have seen how telling her to live for God can be confusing. The truth is the life she now lives, she lives by faith in Jesus. To tell her to live for God could lead her to try to perform for acceptance rather than living from the acceptance that is already hers in Christ.

God isn’t sitting out in the audience of her life, waiting for her to get things in order. No, he’s standing with her on stage. Even better, he stands within her. Remind her of her kind, compassionate, powerful companion who goes with her wherever she goes.

3. I’m sorry.

Of all the words I’ve ever spoken to my children, these two seem to have had the most powerful impact. Admit you are wrong when you are wrong and own the consequences.

12 things 1

4. Be who you already are.

She needs to be reminded of who she is, not who she is expected to be. In Christ, she is loving, even if she is acting unloving. In Christ, she is patient, even if she is acting impatient. Appeal to her new creation identity rather than simply shaming her for her wrong behavior.

Tell her she is beloved. Tell her she is beautiful. Remind her what is already true. Invite her to live into the truth of who Christ is forming her to be.

5.You can’t save people.

Only God can do that. I grew up with a mom who knew Jesus and a dad who didn’t. So I spent four years of my young life carrying the weight of my dad’s salvation on my shoulders. The story ends well as he accepted Jesus when I was 11. But looking back I realize what a ridiculous expectation I put on myself. Remind her to pray for those who don’t believe, but to never carry the weight of trying to save them on her own.

6. I’m trusting Jesus. Want to join me?

John says this one a lot to our kids (our twin girls are 9 and our son is 6) when our family is in the midst of a transition or facing something potentially scary. It may seem a little corny for older ones, but the message it sends is this – I am trusting God and am okay whether you join me or not. I invite you to join me and would love for you to join me, but the choice is entirely yours. 

I’ve heard it said you can’t make a kid eat, sleep, or use the bathroom. And I’m going to add this: you can’t make a kid trust God. Remind her that your faith is your own and so is hers.

7. You have something to offer the world.

I realize this dances dangerously close to You are a unique snowflake. But it’s kind of true, isn’t it? She is the only one of her there has ever or will ever be. She is made in the image of God and has the distinct privilege of carrying that unique image around in the world. Christ lives within her and will come out of her through the filter of her unique personality. Remind her she has something (lots of somethings, actually) to offer the world. Walk with her as she experiments with what those things might be.

8. I trust Christ in you.

When I was in high school and would have a problem I was trying to work through, my dad would listen and offer advice, but he would often end our talks with this statement: “You know where to go.” He never freaked out, never tried to push me into a decision. He could have said “I trust you” and that would have built my confidence some. But what I knew was that he actually trusted Christ in me – and that is where the mystery Paul speaks about in Colossians 1:27 comes in – Christ is in me. So it’s me, but it’s him, but it’s me, but it’s him – what a beautiful mystery indeed.

For me, knowing my parents trusted me built my confidence – but knowing they trusted Christ in me took the pressure off.

9. You are deeply loved.

Or, to put it a little differently, I like to use these words from Andrew Murray:

why does God love us?

10. You are not alone.

This could be one of the most heartbreaking realities I see among girls – they feel so desperately alone. Remind her you are with her, Christ is with her, and be careful not to try to fix her loneliness. This may be the very intimate place where Jesus could show her his companionship as he never has before.

11. Want to go get some FroYo?

She might roll her eyes. She might say no thanks, Mom. She might rather spend time with her friends. Keep asking. When and if she finally says yes and you have the chance to sit across from her with a cup full of cake-batter flavored frozen yogurt with strawberries and gummy worms on top, look into her eyes and release your own agenda. If she wants to talk about the weather, let her talk about the weather. Be curious. Be open. Be available to her even if it seems like she doesn’t care if you’re available or not.

She does care. She absolutely cares.

12. ________

No, that’s not a typo. Sometimes the one thing our girls need to hear us say is nothing at all. Words mean nothing if our lives don’t speak for us. I am personally aware of how I sometimes use words of belief to cover up for my lack of real belief in my daily life. It’s easier to tell my kids a bunch of things that are true than it is to live as though I believe those things are true.

12 things to tell our daughters

I’m reminded of a story Brennan Manning shared in The Wisdom of Tenderness of the elderly Uncle Seamus who joyfully skipped along the Irish shoreline. And when his nephew asked him, “Uncle Seamus, you look so very happy. Do you want to tell me why?”

And he responded, “Yes, lad. You see, the Father is very fond of me. Ah, me Father is so very fond of me.”

May we be able to speak love into the lives of our girls only and always because our Father speaks love into us – and may we say with Uncle Seamus, the Father is very fond of me.

As I said before, this list is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure tomorrow I could come up with 12 more. But since I shared earlier this week one thing your daughter doesn’t need you to say, I thought it only appropriate to offer some things she might need to hear. And if I’m very honest, I need to hear them, too.

12 things your daughter needs you to say

What would you add to the list?

Want a resource to read with the teen girl in your life? I wrote a book called Graceful just for her. Read the first chapter here for free or watch the 3-minute mini-movie

One Thing Your Daughter Doesn’t Need You to Say

In the middle of a radio interview I did last week, the host decided to take calls from listeners. This happens during longer live interviews – the host greets the caller and then hands the reins of the conversation over to me. Might I pause here to point out how this practice evokes equal amounts of panic and excitement into my bones.

I panic because I have absolutely no way to prepare for what a caller might say. This isn’t a problem in normal conversation but on the radio it gets a little tricky. Because after exactly 15 seconds of listening I will be expected to have some kind of “expert” answer which stands in direct opposition to both my personality and the natural way I believe a conversation is suppose to work.

I gag. Still, I realize this is the nature of interviews like this and I accept it as part of the process while I work desperately to avoid ever trying to sound like Dr. Phil by refusing to say statements like “How’s that workin’ for ya?” and “Do you wanna be right or do you wanna be happy?”

Still, there is also something exciting about having people call in. It’s true, there is no way to prepare for what someone might say, but that’s kind of the fun part. There is no way to prepare for what someone might say!

In a way, this takes the pressure off and frees me up to be myself.

So last week when the host opened it up to callers, I got that familiar ache in my knees I always get when I am anxious and also excited. One of the first callers was a girl, a junior in high school.


After two minutes of listening to her story, it was obvious she was a good girl – dedicated student, obedient daughter, sweet disposition, high anxiety, unrealistic expectations of herself. Her main concern was being a Christian in high school and wanting to be a good example for her friends.

But it was hard, she said, to always be a consistent one.

Then the host turned it over to me.

I made a few observations, told a story about how I could relate – I don’t think anything I said added much to the conversation in that moment, which was fine. This is the downfall of handing over the reins of conversation to an INFJ on a live call – I can usually assess the situation fairly accurately but it takes a lot of time for my observations to reach my mouth.

I tend to just want to ask a question or say, “Hmm, that’s so interesting!”

Which is decidedly not interesting on the radio.

Lucky for me, this particular radio host was deeply invested in the conversation and responded to her in an appropriate way – he told her the worst thing she could do is to try to have it all together in front of her friends.

Instead of trying so hard to be an example, just be honest. “If you struggle,” he said, “say so. If you hurt someone, apologize. Then they really will get to know you and they won’t have reason to call you a hypocrite.”

Brav. O.

When the interview was over, I sat in my room and thought for a few more minutes about the conversation. I kept rolling her words around in my head: “I want to be an example to my friends, but sometimes it’s so hard to be a good one.”

The more I thought about her struggle, the more frustrated I got. I paced my room, made my bed with the excess energy. I thought about what the host said to her and began to think how I would put his response in my own words.

Here’s what I came up with: She isn’t supposed to be an example. Her friends don’t need an example, they need a friend. A real one. An honest one. A touchable one. They  need a friend who doesn’t think she’s better than everyone, but one who knows she isn’t. They need a friend who knows she needs Jesus.


So what about being a leader and setting the example? Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that what parents and youth leaders tell students all the time?

The more I think about it, the more I believe this well-meaning statement is not only a manipulative way to try to control our daughters’ behavior, but can also be dangerous to their spiritual health. When we tell her to be an example, we may as well just hand her a mask right there – Here. Hide behind this. Don’t let them see you struggle.

I know that’s not what we mean. I know. But it doesn’t matter so much what we mean, it matters what she hears.

And when she hears adults tell her to be an example, she thinks that means she can never mess up, can never have problems, can never just be a teenager with struggles like everyone else.

She might then mature into a woman who believes being a Christian means having it all together, saying all the “right” things, staying a few steps above everyone else.

She may become a person people look up to, but she will never be someone they can relate to.

She may be successful at managing her behavior, but she will always struggle to manage people’s opinions.

She may have a great reputation, but her character will be clouded with bitterness and anger.

She may be a good church-goer, but she will not know how to be a good friend.

This may keep her out of trouble, but it will suffocate her soul.

But what about holiness?!  I can hear the protests now. Don’t we want her to be a light in a dark place?

Yes. But telling her to be an example won’t let her shine, it will just cause her to shrink.

She already is a light in a dark place, but here is the part most of us forget when we’re telling our teenagers to be an example:

Her light comes from Jesus, not from her awesome behavior.

Do you believe Christ himself has taken up residence within her? Do you trust him with her life – her decisions, her emotions, her relationships? Do you truly believe he goes with her wherever she goes?

If so, then instead of telling her to be an example, how about encouraging her to be herself?

When she is hurt, she can deeply feel it. When she messes up, she can own it. When she hurts someone, she can apologize. When she has doubts, she can voice them. And when she is joyful, it will be from a real place inside her, not a manufactured mask she puts on for show.


If you have a daughter graduating in a few weeks, don’t be afraid. As she packs her bags for her summer trip or her college dorm, encourage her to leave the mask behind.

One Thing Your Daughter Doesn't Need You to Say - Chatting at the Sky

Believe Christ is in her. Believe she already has everything she needs. And for the love, don’t tell her to be an example. Free her up to be herself – a girl who has the living Christ living inside her.

Need a resource or a gift for the high school or college girl in your life? (Or, let’s face it, for your 54-year-old self?) Consider one of the two books I wrote on this very topic: Grace for the Good Girl or Graceful (For Young Women)Both books encourage women of all ages to let go of the try hard life.

UPDATE: I have written somewhat of a follow up post to this one – since I’ve shared one thing your daughter doesn’t need you to say, I thought it only appropriate to offer 12 things she might need to hear. Let’s call it part two. Ish. Thank you for reading – it is a gift to say the very least.

one question people ask me a lot (and $5 books!)

Someone emailed me this question again the other day and I realized it’s one people ask a lot. I’m in between ages for your two books – which one should I read?


Here is a little guide to help you decide which book would be best for you (your daughter, niece, sister, etc):

read Graceful if:

  • 6 youthyou are a girl in high school, 9 – 12 grade.
  • you love to read and are a girl in 7th – 8th grade
  • you are a mom who wants to learn more about your good girl daughter (elementary, middle, or high school age) who is showing signs of perfectionism, anxiety over school and relationships, and/or a genuine desire to know God.
  • you are taking a gap year between high school and college.
  • you are a high school girls small group leader – this book makes for great discussion and I wrote a free small group leader’s guide to help you out.
  • you are a freshman in college.

I’d say anything below 6th grade is definitely too young. But if you have a 6th grader and you’re on the fence about it, just get the book and read it yourself. There may be some great conversations starters for you to bring up with her as she enters the tough middle school years. Visit the book page to find out more about the book, watch the trailer, or read an excerpt.

how to buy Graceful for only $5

If you think Graceful would be a good fit for you or your daughter, niece, sister, small group girls or son’s girlfriend, this is your super lucky day because LifeWay is running an amazing sale –  you can buy Graceful at LifeWay for only $5! The low price is good both in stores and online.

read Grace for the Good Girl if:

  • 5 for writersyou are 18 or older – I’ve had women read who are from college-aged up to 90 years old.
  • you are looking for a book to use for your women’s Bible study (small group leader guide is included in the back of the book)
  • you are 16 – 18 years old and already read Graceful but want to know more about what it means to let go of the try-hard life you’ve been living

Obviously any aged girl/woman can read either book. But these are just some suggestions for which one to choose if you are on the fence about it. I’ve talked with Cru leaders who have told me they used Grace for the Good Girl with their college groups. I’ve also visited with my mom’s group of friends who all read the book together as well. Visit the book page to find out more, watch the trailer, or read an excerpt.

how to buy Grace for the Good Girl for only $5.60

I knew about the sale on the teen book, so I checked around to see the lowest price on Grace for the Good Girl – Amazon has it as a bargain book right now for only $5.60. I don’t know how long that sale will last, but I wanted to let you know about it when I saw it.

Have you read both/either book? If you have any tips about which book might be best for a certain age, please leave them in the comments and I might just add them to this post. It’s one thing for me to offer suggestions but it’s even better to hear what you might recommend as the reader. I hope you enjoy the $5 books!

when never being finished is a good thing

My dad asked me the other day if I was looking forward to being finished with my third book. I laughed out loud when he said it because the truth is, I will never be finished with my third book.

The writing will end, of course. The book will be covered and sold (November!) but the work on the book? That work will continue in the form of speaking engagements, conversations, blog posts, articles, and interviews.

My first book released over a year ago but here I am, still sharing the message of that book. And can I tell you something?

I’m so thankful.

I’m thankful this topic resonates enough with women that I still have permission to talk about it. I’m thankful for the email and the letters and the conversations in church hallways and grocery store aisles with women who desperately needed to be reminded (or told for the first time) that because God is graceful, we are free.

I know there’s so much more to it than that, but for now I’m celebrating the simplicity of those words.

Today we release the final video in the Letting Go of the Try Hard Life series. If you’ve missed the first three videos, you can watch them all by clicking the links below. I hope you enjoy and and are encouraged by them.

letting go of the try hard life

Session 1 : Receive the truth

Session 2 : Remain in the truth

Session 3: Respond to the truth

The fourth and final video, releasing for the first time today:

Session 4: Remember the truth

We made these videos to be a resource to you as you read either of my two books: Graceful {For Young Women} or Grace for the Good Girl. The videos do not coincide with a particular reading plan, rather our intention was to simply give you one more tool to use in small groups, book clubs, or individual study. I truly hope you enjoy them.

Thank you to the staff and listeners at New Life 91.9 in Charlotte and WMHK 89.7 in Columbia for having me in your studio and for being ministers of the Gospel in our communities.

P.S. Listen to the radio, y’all. There’s some Jesus loving people behind those microphones. 

this is what happens when you publish live at midnight thirty

letting go of the try hard life

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  – John 15:5

To remain means to stay where you already are. So the question is – where are you?

And is it a place worth staying?

I am a crazy person up at midnight dark thirty to publish this post. I’ll be waking up at five something dark o’clock to chat it up with Eric at New Life in Charlotte. If you’re up by 7 am EST, you can listen live online here. Or you know, don’t. Because who might not be making any sense in the morning? You guessed it.

Here’s what we’re talking about: Last week I introduced a video series I’m doing with New Life 91.9 called “Letting Go of Your Try Hard Life”. We’ll release a new video every Wednesday in January.

Well, it’s Wednesday! And it’s January. And we have a new video for you: Week 2: Remain. If you missed last week, you can see it here: Week 1: Receive.

There is also a short devotional here. I hope these words offer some encouragement to you today. Now I’m going to sleep for seven minutes before I have to wake up again. Amen.

still living a try hard life? (a video series just for you)

For the last few months, I’ve been working with New Life 91.9 in Charlotte to prepare some videos just for you. If you have read, are reading, or plan to read either of my books, you may want to check out these videos.

There will be a new video released every Wednesday in January, starting today. To watch the first one, simply visit the home page at New Life 91.9.

letting go of the try hard life

Facts to know about these videos:

1. We filmed all the videos at my sister The Nester’s house in Charlotte. So even if you are completely uninterested in what I have to say, you can get your nosey on and snoop around the background.

nester's house

2. Even though the girls in the video are fairly young, our intention is for the content to be relevant to all age groups. We wanted a resource you could watch alone or with others, so if you are part of a small group reading either book, scootch on up to the laptop together and watch!

3. One thing I know for sure about writing a book is that making videos will always and forevermore be part of my job. I did not expect this, but I’m getting used to it. Ish.

4. There is also a short devotional on the New Life website. You can read that here.

Click here if you would like to find out more about this month-long video series. I hope the content in these videos will encourage you in this new year as you consider what it means to let go of the try hard life. Now go watch the first video!

when you wish you could tell her it will all be okay

She is at a friend’s house to play. She’s six and she hates peanut butter but eats it anyway because that’s what her friend’s mom serves for lunch. She stays quiet about her preference.

She doesn’t want to trouble anyone.

On her ninth birthday she listens through thin walls as her parents fight about nothing and everything. She knows there isn’t anything she can do to make them love each other again.

She feels a sense of shame that she can’t explain.

She turns thirteen and is the third best friend of two fighting girls who both tell her their side. She feels overwhelmed with the middle-ness of it all . . .

I’m writing at (in)courage today about a girl living the try-hard life. I would love it if you would join me there and enter to win one of 5 copies of Graceful.

5 surprising essentials for a great party

Last night, we finally celebrated the release of Graceful. Preparing for an event always brings with it the potential for great anxiety, a general tremor in the air around me as I anticipate the coming.

I used to think the more I spoke in front of people, the less afraid I would be. I don’t think that anymore. I sit this morning in the quiet stillness and consider the past months of preparation.

nicole witt

Each event has a little life of its own. We can pray, prepare, and hope for certain outcomes. We certainly can’t manage those outcomes. We can set the stage, but without the people there is no life there yet.

christa wells and nicole witt

For hours in the days and weeks before last night, I sat alone. I listened to Christa and Nicole’s music, thankful for the way God creates through them. I listened in the silence, prayed for the words.

Sometimes I shook off the fear. Other times I swallowed it down whole, no chewing. Mostly, I waited.

This is a necessary waiting, a built in anticipation for what is to come but isn’t yet. The waiting can drive us mad if we let it. It can become a merciless dictator, shoving us into shapes we aren’t made for, shapes of worry and doubt and short-tempers.

But the waiting can also grow us, shape us from the inside out for sacred work. This is a kind of work that only happens in the secret place of abiding in the presence of Christ, listening for words of Life and fullness.

I know His making of me – I love people and also solitude, excitement and also silence. I am slightly more inwardly oriented than I am outward, but I love to be with people enough to know my introversion isn’t extreme. Still, I need silence to fill me up before I face a crowd of people.

I’m thankful for Brennan Manning’s words this morning because I so deeply relate with what he says here:

“I connect best with others when I connect with the core of myself. When I am able to disengage myself from others and allow the Lord to liberate me from an unhealthy dependence on people, I can exist more for them, listen more attentively, love more unselfishly, speak more compassionately, play more playfully, take myself less seriously, and become more aware that my face is bright with laughter in the midst of a game I thoroughly enjoy.”

Brennan Manning,  Souvenirs of Solitude

graceful in chalkThere was something right about filling a room up with girls and their moms, students and their small group leaders, older women who would return home to their husbands of 40 years and younger women returning home to their Algebra homework.

There was no way to fully prepare for what it feels like to stand in front and look out at them and know that this exact group will never gather just this way again. The room held many hearts, some that were full and some that were broken.

But we have a God who is graceful. And last night, I remembered that with my whole self.

We prepare in flat black and white because that’s all we can do.

God shows Himself in full, round color.

This morning as I remember the evening air that was sweet with encouragement and celebration, I know my personal essentials for a great party.





And then? Celebration.

graceful release party

Thankful to Nicole Witt and Christa Wells for their willingness to come and share their art and souls with us, and to Melissa from Relish Design Company for styling the night with love.

Thanks to all of you who came last night. It was a complete delight to have you. I wish there was more time to sit and visit, especially with those of you who drove hours to come. I hope you were encouraged.

Today we enter week two of 31 Days to Hush. This is day eight and you can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated daily. If you would like to receive these quiet thoughts in your email inbox, subscribe now.