I didn’t think this book applied to me. As a pastor’s daughter, I’ve always tried hard to appear bad. Everyone assumed I was good and boxed this artist-soul in. I hate boxes. So I bust free with dreads, facial piercings, stretched ears and a tattoo. But try as I might I couldn’t keep her words from gutting me, words which spoke to the little girl within, words which made me realize I wanted to appear bad for fear of never being good enough.
“… We subconsciously label ourselves as the strong ones, the responsible ones, the sweet ones or the right ones,” Emily writes. “We try to stand tall and capable… But Jesus is calling us to a deeper, truer, freer identity. All he wants is simply you… When you really believe that, you may discover that all you want is Jesus, simply Jesus. Not just to go to heaven or to help you be a good person or do the right thing, but to simply love and be loved by him.”
This invitation to “simply love and be loved” made me curl into a ball, the kind of ball my two month old becomes in the curl of my arm, the kind that begs infancy and dependency and tired.
I was tired of trying. Tired of trying to convince everyone I wasn’t the good pastor’s daughter or the capable teacher’s wife or the tough-wearing artist. Tired of pretending to God that I could handle it all, that I prayed simply because he told me to and not because I needed to, that he was an accessory on the chain around my neck and nothing more. Tired of lying to myself and to my husband and to my children and wondering why I ever felt the need to do so in the first place.
So I curled up in a ball and let go. Her words gave me the strength to let go, and in doing so, my palms opened wide and I was able to receive. The love that said it was okay to be me. The love that died on a cross so that I could be more than me. The love that made a woman like me break an alabaster jar.
“‘Jesus Saves’ is not just a religious slogan,” Emily tells me. “It is my present-day reality. He saves me from every girl-made inclination I have to make this life work and from the fleshly mask I hide behind when it doesn’t. He saves me from my failures as well as my successes. He saves me from the shame of my mistakes as well as the pride of my achievements. He saves me from trying to suck life out of the accolades this world has to offer by placing me safely in him, hiding with Christ in God.”
For none of us is good. Only God is good. And that, my friends, is grace.
Tell me why you want this book… at the end of the weekend I’ll be choosing someone to gift it to!