Jesus, Good Timing, and the Ministry of Mums

emily p freeman

Often I remind myself of the importance of speaking out and writing words, not because they’ve never been spoken or written before but because our saying or writing them may be the first time someone finally hears them.

I recently heard two simple sentences that had a deep impact on me, not because I’ve never heard anything like them but because I’m in a season where I needed to hear them now.

A few words Preston Yancey recently spoke came at just the right time for me, so right that when he said them, I had to block out everything that was happening around me until I could dig my phone out from the bottom of my purse, fumble with the notes app, and type frantically on the tiny phone keyboard these words, only partially remembered.

I’m sharing those words today at (in)courage.

For the Days that Feel Gray on the Inside

For When you Feel Like Creation is Over

Even if all your glasses tend to be half-full, if you lean toward Pooh and away from Eeyore, if you tend to be the first to spot the silver lining, there is a cloud that can descend upon you that you did not choose and cannot escape no matter how much you may try to reframe it.

Maybe it comes from running a little too hard for a little too long. Or from small discouragements that add up to one big gloom. And you wake up in the morning and realize the hopefulness that usually dances around you just isn’t there today.

This was me last week. I’m sharing about what to do when it feels like creation is over at (in)courage today. Join me there?

One Reason Why Rest Takes Courage

“Prison,” she said after sharing with me how desperately tired she was, “is starting to sound really good.”

She wasn’t in danger of being convicted of anything, unless exhaustion is considered a crime. But she was so tired that even the idea of prison didn’t repel her if it meant she could be on a mattress and read a book alone.

soul rest

Seems to me there are easier ways to get time alone than prison (Maybe a hotel? A lock on the bedroom door? Something that doesn’t involve bars?) but I knew what she meant. We laughed, shook our heads at ourselves, promised to never reveal those words to anyone because prison.

When desert islands, hospitals, sinus infections, broken legs, and jail start to sound like a vacation, you know you need to take a rest on purpose.

Today at (in)courage, I’m talking about why rest takes courage. To finish reading, join me there?

Sharing the Right-Now Stories

Yesterday I told you about that time I was terrified of sickness. It was a fear-filled time in my life that I am now able to look back on in an almost puzzled kind of way, wondering how I could have gotten so worked up for so long.

sharing the right-now stories emily p freeman

It’s easy to say that seven years later. What isn’t so easy to consider are the places I’m walking through right now, the ones that maybe aren’t so easy to talk about because I’m still in the middle of them. It’s important to tell the stories we’ve lived and come through. It’s also important to tell the one’s we’re living right now. But these aren’t as easy to find words for.

Today over at (in)courage I’m attempting to find the words where I am at present - hanging on to hope when the fog rolls in. You may read it and think well you still didn’t tell us much about where you are right now and to that, I will agree and simply say that is one reason why it’s hard to share the present, especially when the present involves fog. Because it’s not only hard to see where you’re going, it’s also hard to see where you are.

But writing helps. Hope*ologie helps. Routines and breath prayers and stillness helps. Spring break will help (starts tomorrow!) And hearing from others who are in similar places helps, too. Hope you’ll join me over at (in)courage.

My Husband the Pastor

John graduated from seminary and got a job working in youth ministry right before our wedding. For the next twelve years, he took the trips, led the studies, planned the games, taught the lessons, scheduled the concerts, met with the parents, baptized the believers, prayed with the doubters.


He celebrated the graduates, grieved with the dying, and sat with those they left behind.

A lot of the job was hard. Some of it was life-giving. The best part for John was the people – his fellow pastors, the students, the volunteers.

That’s the part we miss the most.

Eight months after John left his job, I’m sharing at (in)courage an update of where we are now, along with two important lessons no one ever thought to teach us. Join us there?

half thoughts on a snow day

porch snowOne thing I have learned in February so far is that it’s impossible to measure snowfall with a tape measure. Ask me how I know. We don’t have a ruler in our house so I can’t tell you how many inches of snow is sitting in our yard right now. It’s a lot though, which I realize is relative depending on where you live. For our kids, it’s more than they’ve seen at once in their lifetime.

snowingI bought that yellow jacket in Maine on our honeymoon nearly 13 years ago, never imagining when I picked it out on a cool day in July that my daughter would grab it on her way out the door to play in the snow, certainly never imagining it would fit her. And time stands silently beside me, leans over only to whisper a soft mmmm-hmmmm and a faint look at her now.

My eyes linger long on this photo, evidence of my little ones growing big. I’m nearly overcome until I notice my house in the background – wait, is my house crooked? 

The moment is gone. Oh well. It’s a snow day.

Here’s something I can hold onto today – I’m sharing six life lessons I learned while in Uganda today over at (in)courage. Join me there?

Yesterday I sent out February’s newsletter where I shared six meaningful books I read in 2013. If you would like to receive next month’s newsletter, you can sign up here for free. As a thank you for subscribing, I’ll send you a 65-page ebook I wrote called Seven Little Ways to Live Art. Thanks for reading, and stay safe wherever you are!

on being brave when you feel wimpy


Ever feel like you might possibly maybe perhaps have something to offer the world around you but you just can’t manage to find the courage you need to open your hands and offer it?

Or open your mouth and say it?

Or pick up your pen and write it?

Or swing wide your door and let them in?

Today at (in)courage, I’m sharing 3 ways to be brave when you feel like a wimp.

one thing to read, two things to watch and a $10 diamond ring

Today I’m writing at (in)courage – One Painfully Obvious Thing a Genius Taught Me About Life. It’s a good thing, too, because after watching Downton last night, I’m not sure I can gather my wits together enough to come up with a fresh post.

Y’all. Y’all.

I will remain silent so as not to spoil things. Let’s just say I feel like I should have seen that coming, but I did not.

Also, I’m not quite finished with my Artists & Influencers post for this week. I know I said it was going to be a Monday series but it’s turning into a Tuesday series. I love being the boss of me.

The topic? The people who are teaching me about church. Will post that tomorrow.

Until then, wanted to also let you know this Wednesday we’ll release the fourth and final video in the Letting Go of the Try Hard Life video series. You can watch the previous three videos here.

My publisher and I partnered with several radio stations to produce these videos – so if you are in the Charlotte, Columbia and possibly some spots in Pennsylvania, I’ll be joining Eric in the studio again this Wednesday on the morning show. Or if you live anywhere, you can listen live online. I should have just said that first, I guess.

In summary – go here to read about my a-ha moment at the Apple Store and then when you take a mid-morning break from your work, you can watch the week 3 video in the Letting Go series (scroll half-way down the page).

Then when you need a longer break, watch last night’s episode of Downton. Because you have to.

See how I planned your Monday out for you? You’re welcome.

P.S. Sometimes I buy $10 diamond rings. My sister told me if I was 80 years old, that rock might be believable. My latest find is pictured above.

when you want to be intentional but you need a little help

There will be two posts today. Two posts! Later today, I will post the first in a series I introduced last week. But first, this.

The past two years have carried with them a lot of change for me and my family in nearly every area – personal, professional and spiritual. Maybe you could say the same?

Because of that, I have pulled away from some of the social connections I once enjoyed. It wasn’t a premeditated withdrawl, more of a combination of learning (and often failing to learn) how to balance writing books with having margin, how to be fully present to my family, and realizing my own lack of motivation and energy to do much more outside of family and work.

I’m not saying that’s good, I’m just saying it’s true. I want that to be less true of me in 2013.

Last year was the first year of the (in)courage in real life meet-ups. I didn’t go to a gathering in my hometown because I was scheduled to speak at an event in California that same weekend. The Man and I flew out there together, and while I wasn’t working, we had a good time eating Mexican food and driving up the Pacific Coast Highway.

I do not regret that decision.

But there is something about the concept behind this event that I truly appreciate. Instead of launching another conference where women have to leave home, pay money, travel far, and meet people who live in different states (all of which I have done and enjoyed), the concept behind this conference is to gather with the women who live in your community.

(in)RL video

If you want to be intentional but need a little help, maybe this (in)RL meetup idea could be just the thing you need.

Registration opens today at – below is some information that may be helpful for you to know, but if this sounds interesting and you have no idea what I’m talking about, visit the (in)RealLife registration page to learn more.

Did you attend an (in)RL meetup last year? Do you plan to go this year? Tell us about it in the comments. And then come back later today when we’ll talk a little about writing.