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.

in praise of waiting

truth and beauty

In her memoir documenting their friendship, Ann Patchett shares a letter Lucy Grealy wrote to her after she (Lucy) had a particularly moving experience in Prague.

Dear Ann, An important thing happened to me a few days ago in Prague, though I haven’t yet reached a point in time at which I can know how it was important.

The story itself is deeply moving, but this line at the beginning is what caught my eye when I read it yesterday. As a writer I often feel like I haven’t truly learned something unless I’ve written it down, figured out how to put my experience into my own language. But this line from Lucy’s letter in Truth and Beauty reminds me – we are always taking life into ourselves, both our own experiences and the experience of others.

But decoding those experiences takes time. Sometimes the most important things that happen to me are those that take months or even years to unpack. I would do well to wait and give it all some room to breathe.

That’s where I am today. I’m finally home after nearly a week of traveling. I have a sense that important things are happening within me, but I don’t have English words for them yet.

I have a book releasing next week and I’m feeling grateful and also small. A book release is something to celebrate and is to me deeply important, but it is not the axle upon which life turns. It is a spoke, but it is not the wheel.


When our plane landed in Charlotte yesterday, I felt a physical sense of relief. Even though I had one short flight left until I made it home, this skyline was familiar. These roads were familiar. North Carolina is home and I felt her there, the ground wide to receive that fast moving plane.

Today I’ll begin to return some email, try to finally connect with our Barn attendees (hello you!) and begin to make sense of my travel receipts. I’ll also sit in the silence of home and actively give myself permission not to figure things out today.

Maybe you need that permission too?

sweet July


Ihave lived in North Carolina for 16 years now. I can’t remember ever referring to July as “sweet.” Hot and humid? Yes. Heavy with grief? Once. Relaxing and fun? Usually. But this year I name July sweet because she comes bearing the gift of rest and space for my husband.

Saturday I sent out our monthly letter sharing with readers what we hope the next six months will look like now that John’s days as a youth pastor are behind us (If you would like to get July’s letter at the end of the month, here is where you can sign up.) The first item on the list is rest.


My schedule is picking up starting in July but John’s is doing the opposite. Still, I long for this month to be a time of deep soul breathing for both of us. We’ve had many conversations about how to navigate his calmer schedule with my more active one. One way I’m planning to do that is to take some extended time off from the blog this month while I work toward finishing some non-blog related deadlines.

I’m not sure exactly what that will look like, but I wanted to let you know that’s what’s going on if you don’t hear from me for a week or four.

In the meantime, here are some things I wanted to be sure you know about incase it’s a while before I check in here again:

She Speaks Meet-up for Chatting at the Sky readers: I mentioned this before but wanted to say it once again. In a little over 3 weeks, some of you will be headed to Charlotte for the She Speaks conference. I know this is a nervous time for many so I wanted to host an intentional time to meet up with you. Let’s gather in a corner, connect with one another, and share some encouragement for a few minutes. If you’re going to She Speaks and would like to gather with a smaller group for a little conversation at some point during the weekend, email me including “She Speaks” in the subject line and I will be in touch. If you have already emailed, you’ll hear from me soon!

Things I Learned in July: Y’all. Friday was so much fun. Seriously, this is my favorite link up I have ever hosted. I’m slowly working my way through your posts (all 128 of them so far) and I am learning the most spectacularly random stuff! I love it so much I can’t wait to do it again at the end of this month. So keep your “what I learned” lists going and we’ll meet back here the last week of July.


Letting Go of the Try Hard Life Conference: I’m headed to Johnson City, Tennessee next month to serve at two events alongside two of my favorite musicians, Christa Wells and Nicole Witt! My prayer for both of these events is for girls and women to remember how Jesus’ pursuit of us is more important than our pursuit of anything else and to find relief from the anxiety of performing for acceptance. Here are the details for any of you who might be close enough to attend:

Grace Fellowship – Johnson City, Tennessee

For Teen Girls Friday August 9, 2013

For Women Saturday August 10, 2013

Alright friends. That’s all I have for now. In order to create a space here for your soul to breathe, I have to create some space for my own. So I’m going to take some time to do that this month as best I can. I may be back next week or . . . not. Until then, may you breathe in grace and breathe out worship in everything you do. Enjoy your week, friends.

what you can find in the ordinary moments

“The discovery of God lies in the daily and the ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God in the routines of home and shop, then we will not find him at all. Ours is to be a symphonic piety in which all the activities of work and play and family and worship and sex and sleep are the holy habitats of the eternal.”

Richard Foster, Prayer

These words of Richard Foster’s in his chapter called Praying the Ordinary resonated with me this morning so I thought I would share them with you. You’re welcome.


His words also remind me to remind you to come back here tomorrow to share some of the ordinary (and perhaps not so ordinary) things you have learned during the month of June. Here are some tips to write your post if you need them. I plan to have the linky up by around 10 am EST. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

the importance of holding on

We’re on day eight of fever in our house – two have the flu, one has strep, and two parents have a common cold. Yes, that’s three different sicknesses all up in this house.

I fought against it for about two days last week, wishing I could change what I could see was happening. I realized around Tuesday that this Thanksgiving break was not going to look like what I planned. Some things were canceled, expectations passed by unmet, and all three of my kids suffered terribly with coughs and fevers and wakings in the night.

On Saturday when I started to feel the ache between my eyes, the runny nose and the heavy limbs, I got a little teary and ridiculous about the whole thing. I cuddled up to the idea of disappearing in my bed and letting someone else take care of all the things and people needing attention. Will we ever stop wanting our moms when we start to feel sick?

Today we begin the recovery from the fog. For me, that means trying to remember how to form a sentence. I have a manuscript due sooner than I’d like to admit. Books aren’t written by good intentions, so I have some serious work to do.

But all these things are small, really. Our family will be well soon enough, the book will be written in time, and all these disappointments from last week don’t add up to much even when put all together. I was even able to finish The Distant Hours this weekend and I’m glad I stuck with it. Slow start, great finish.

I remember once my husband telling me whatever you hold on to will hold on to you.

I held on to disappointment some last week and it kept a pretty tight hold on me. Today I’m holding on to gratitude instead, not just for the gifts but to the Giver of them.

What are you holding on to today?