I am a good girl gone bad.
Emily Freeman and I met online in 2009, and we were instantly drawn to one another through the similarities of God’s grace-work in our lives. We were both girls who grew up without dramatic salvation testimonies, and we were both learning the truth that “good girls” weren’t so good as we had tried to be all our lives.
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. I consider myself a “good girl gone bad” because I simply don’t do it anymore.
Before Emily wrote her book and asked me to share my story with her, I had walked out on what she terms the “try-hard life” into the nebulous, seemingly unproven idea that grace was more than “the power to do what is right.” I recognized a huge gap between “yielding” and “doing” and I quit trying to “do the right thing” and started learning how to yield myself as an instrument of righteousness unto God.
In the following years, God blew my idea of grace wide open, transforming my perspective on sanctification, retooling my view of myself, re-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.
For a long time, I felt alone as I quietly — or not-so-quietly — figured things out. I walked 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.
Like Emily identified herself in her book, 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 describes 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.
I thought I had a boring testimony because I’d never gone through a rebellious stage, but God knew better. Grace isn’t just for the prodigal son. It is also for the one who keeps the rules.
The Gospel is not so much about overcoming sin as it is about sin that Christ overcame. Emily’s grasp of this truth makes Grace for the Good Girl one of the most freeing books I’ve ever read.
Grace for the Good Girl Giveaway Winner
Thank you to everyone who entered for a chance to win a copy of Emily Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl and Kelly Sauer’s 8×12 fine art print of this photo, “Grace.” We chose our winner, Amanda, using the Random.org’s Integer Generator. Congratulations Amanda! Please email your snail-mail info to firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone else, stay tuned for our next giveaway.