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Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

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Overview

Many of us believe that we are saved by grace--but for too many, that's the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret.

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Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

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Overview

Many of us believe that we are saved by grace--but for too many, that's the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret.

In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites women to let go of the try-hard life and realize that in Christ we are free to receive from him rather than constantly try to achieve for him. With an open hand and a whimsical style, Emily uncovers the truth about the hiding, encouraging women to move from hiding behind girl-made masks and do-good performances to a life hidden with Christ in God.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800719845
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 92,054
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily Freeman is a writer who loves to read and a speaker who would rather listen. She writes for DaySpring (a division of Hallmark) and has also traveled as a writer with Compassion International to raise awareness for the needs of children in poverty around the world. She attended Columbia International University to study the Bible and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she earned a degree in Educational Interpreting for the Deaf. She is married to John, a student ministries pastor, and together they live in North Carolina with their three children. Emily extends a daily invitation on her blog for women to create space for their souls to breathe. Come join the community of grace dwellers at www.ChattingAtTheSky.com.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 the hiding 11

1 are you a good girl in hiding? 15

2 chasing expectation: hiding behind her good performance 24

3 my not-so-extreme makeover: hiding behind her good reputation 38

4 with a wink and a smile: hiding behind her fake "fine" 49

5 martha and my many things: hiding behind her acts of service 59

6 the rule follower: hiding behind her spiritual disciplines 67

7 can't fall apart: hiding behind her strength and responsibility 78

8 picket fences: hiding behind her comfort zone 88

9 when it gets ugly: hiding behind her indifference 97

10 hide-and-seek: game over 108

Part 2 the finding 123

11 receive: on truth and trusting 127

12 remain: on quiet and time 141

13 respond: on worship and service 152

14 remember: on setting your mind 161

Part 3 the freedom of being found 169

15 safe, even when it hurts 171

16 safe, even in failure 182

17 safe, even when it all goes wrong 197

18 safe, even when you don't feel safe 209

small group leader's guide 223

notes 251

acknowledgments 255

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

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(26)

4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 22, 2011

    An Important Resource for All Women!

    I jumped at the chance to review Grace for the Good Girl. I didn't expect to find myself on almost every page. While I have never met Emily Freeman, I think there's a chance that we were twins separated at birth. :-) How else would she have access to my thoughts and fears? Take this paragraph as an example: "He does not think as we do. He does not see our relationship measured by ticking clocks, marked with a time to start and stop. I long to have morning times of uninterrupted quiet. From alarm clock chime to the bottom of my first hot cup, I want quiet and stillness and Jesus. But when I don't get that, I am amazed at how quickly I shift from a woman of good and holy intentions to crazy monster mommy who just wants a few minutes alone to pray. Is that too much to ask? Is it? And then I cuss on the inside. And stomp off to make their lunches. And miss the point entirely." (Page 145) Ouch. But this isn't a book about quiet times at all. This is just one example of where "good girls" struggle to live in the freedom Christ has called us to. The first section of the book talks about the different types of masks we wear. Masks of responsibility, strength, spiritual disciplines, acts of service and good performance. The second section of the book delves into what it looks like to find ourselves in Christ - when we take off our masks and rest in Him. The third section talks about the freedom of being found in Christ. Of being safe in His arms, even when life hurts. And it was this third section that brought me to tears, more than once. I discovered (after I'd read the entire book) that there's a small group study guide at the back. So I plan to re-read and work through the study questions. Giving the lessons and insights time to seep into my being. Because, as she points out on Page 170, "Satan's biggest, most effective weapon against good girls may not be lust or slander or adultery or addiction. It is forgetfulness." It's so easy to slip back behind the mask. To try harder instead of resting in Him. So whether you've been a good girl forever, or you think you have to be a good girl to make up for your past, there is wisdom to be found in these pages. I highly recommend Grace for the Good Girl. The fine print: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2012

    Good for the spirit of a wounded soul

    My whole life has been the struggle the author identifies between being good according to my own set of rules and living an authentic life filled with Christ. I have deep appreciation for the reflections provided in the text.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A MUST READ FOR ALL WOMEN

    Oh the masks we wear - the way we try to keep everyone happy ... oftentimes at our own expense. This book is a real awakening to some of the "stuff" we hide behind!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Grace for the Good Girl

    My review

    Grace for the Good Girl..by Emily P. Freeman

    Wow this book is much more than I expected. The author deals with several issues women face in their lives with examples from her own life as well as examples from other ladies. The book is broken down in three parts; The Hiding; The Finding; and The Freedom of Being Found. And in each section she has chapters such as: Are You a Good Girl in Hiding; Martha and My Many Things; Receive and Safe Even When It Hurts.

    The chapter on Martha and Mary spoke to me a lot because when I think about my 'many things' I have more than I want to admit. How much time do I really spend with those things instead of spending it with Jesus? His words to Martha are an encouragement to us all, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary." (Luke 10:41-42, NASB)

    Safe Even When It Hurts was a great chapter for me as well. In the chapter the author speaks of closure and healing when difficult things happen in our lives. A couple of verses she quoted that helps us realize that God is always there to help us is Psalm 94: 18 & 19 "When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

    I've mentioned just a few things in this book, but when you read it, you will find so much here that will help you draw closer to the Lord. It talks much about its title 'Grace' so will learn to find grace for things in your life that you are dealing with and going through. I encourage ladies to get a copy and read it! I would love to review this book with a small study group or a Sunday school class.

    "Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

    I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Time to stop hiding!

    I could - can - relate to the good girl that Emily Freeman is talking about in this book. "Still, I like knowing the rules. If the sign says Don't Touch, I don't touch. If it says Keep Out, I stay away. If the form is due on Friday, I'll turn it in on Thursday just in case. . . .And even though I admit to occasionally bringing candy into the movie theater, I am always worried that the ticket person will search my bags and throw me out for smuggling in a bottle of water and two Peppermint Patties." (Grace for the Good Girl, p68) This is very much me - but it would be a can of soda and Three Musketeers! I was the good girl in high school - good grades, didn't like confrontations, didn't smoke, didn't really drink. . . When my dad passed away the end of my junior year, I kept the mask on for weeks that everything was fine before I could even let myself breakdown and cry. That mask of responsibility that I had to be strong for everybody else. And then I went into my first marriage. "She also believed she was supposed to form her opinions around his. She loved peas but wouldn't cook them because she knew he didn't like them. She waited for Charlie to come home for dinner before she would eat. Even if he called ahead to tell her to start without him, she refused and suffered through hunger headaches for the sake of being wifely." (Grace for the Good Girl, p90) This is pretty much how the first couple of years of my marriage went and when my husband would go out to sea, I would basically fall apart because I had no one to "be a wife" for, so I didn't know how to act. After we got a divorce, I came to realize that many of my "favorites" were not really my favorites at all - but were my ex-husbands favorites. I often think know, who in their right mind thought that I was responsible enough to take care of three kids? I am 45 years old and still don't feel like a grown up. I listen to other women talk and feel like I am an inadequate teenager playing a game of dress up. Do I show this? Of course not. I am still pretty good at wearing masks. I know that taking off these masks is not something that is going to happen overnight. "I understood at an early age about the first rescue. Jesus came to save sinners. He came for the lost, the broken, the hurt, and the lonely. He came to heal sick people and to raise dead people and to die for the sins of everyone. Never once did I consider he also came to save me from myself. I'm a good girl who has done good things and has good intentions for the world around me. What harm could I do to myself? But then I reconsider, and I think of the effort and the work. And then the shame. I think of the worry that keeps me up at night and the fear that perhaps I've not done enough. I think of the way I compare myself and the pain that comes when I grasp for worth and security from my husband or my job or my children." (Grace for the Good Girl, p124) I can remember when I quit work when my son was born 7 years ago, how I didn't feel "needed" because I wasn't working a 40-50 hour a week corporate job. I was feeling worthless, but didn't realize that I had staked so much of my worth on that job. It took me a very long time to come to realize that my worth as a person did not diminish because I was a stay-at-home mom. I still struggle with it from time to time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended read for every good girl

    I think many of us can relate to Emily's book "Grace For The Good Girl," I sure know I read a lot of my feelings in the pages of this book. I have always tried to be a good girl, just like my mamma always told me to. I can still hear her telling me to always smile and never let them see you cry.That smile became a mask to hide behind, but the chapter I most relate to is titled "Can't Fall Apart." I am one of those people who never wants to show weakness. In this book the author's conversational tone encourages us to quit hiding behind those masks and reminds us that God accepts us, and loves us in spite of our flaws and imperfections. I loved the conversational tone of this book, it felt like I was sitting down chatting with girlfriend. The writing flows smoothly and the questions at the end of each chapter allows for deeper reflection of what was read. I marked several chapters in this book to reread, so this book is a definite keeper for me. This book would make a great gift, and would be perfect for women's study groups, and a small group leader guide is included. *A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Grace To Live By -- An Important And Necessary Read!!!

    Emily P. Freeman in her new book "Grace For The Good Girl" published by Revell Books focuses on letting go of the try-hard life.

    The Apostle, Paul, tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God". (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV) We admit that for us to be saved we need the power of God to do the work. We are unable to save ourselves under our own power and we marvel at the love and mercy of a God who would do this for us. Yet, for most of us, we leave grace behind and want to live this new life with the good works we can accomplish and we seem to ignore the other words of Paul, "and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God". (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)

    Emily Freeman understands that this is a common trait in women and "Grace For The Good Girl" is the way to let go and let the power of God live through us to live the life He has called us to live. Ms. Freeman divides the book into three parts. Part One deals with hiding. Hiding under the "good" efforts like: Good Performance, Good Reputation, Acts of Service and Comfort Zone to name a few. In any good game of Hide-And-Seek the excitement is being found. So in Part Two, once these masks have been exposed, it is time to move onto The Finding. In a spy novel if the hero is found then that is dangerous however when God finds you we breathe a sigh of relief because it is safe. That is Part Three: The Freedom of Being Found with four chapters on being safe.

    You will find yourself in this book, probably more than once. And each time you will find God there to help you remove the mask of good works and let God work through you. It is a refreshing experience and worth going through every time we forget whose life this is. "Grace For The Good Girl" will more than likely be read more than once it is an extremely valuable tool. I recommend this book highly!!

    If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

    To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    Read this if you are tired of trying to be perfect!

    Grace for the good girl, written by Emily Freeman, is a book for Christian women who feel like they have to have it together..all of the time. This book is for those who hide behind a mask of diligence in service, in accomplishments, in how others perceive you, and those who find satisfaction in pefection (instead of being realistic and relying on God's grace). The author candidly speaks about her personal walk through the facade of "perfection", and how that played out in her life. She spends a lot of time lamenting her lack of having an amazing testimony due to the fact that she was not the "bad girl" who came back from a life of wild sin to redemption, and that her story seemed boring to her. She parallels the story of the prodigal son to the character of the good brother and how she could relate to the good brother being upset that the prodigal was rewarded for returning from a rampage of bad behavior. Ultimately though, Emily brings the reader to the understanding of God's grace in our lives, the reality that living under an expectation of personal perfection is sin (and impossible to achieve anyway) and that it is better to be real, sometimes fail, and rely on God instead of self. There is also a study guide in the back of the book which would be great for personal or group discussions. I liked this book, although is was personally a little hard to relate to her anguish because I was not the good girl and by no means have ever strived for perfection! I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    I Loved This Book!

    I'm a good-girl -- who knew?! Boy could I relate well to what Emily Freeman wrote about in her eloquent and gracefully written book. The expectations I put on myself, the comparisons I make with other "better" mothers, wives, Christians, etc. Emily knows the Bible and theology, that much is clear from her well-researched book. But better yet, Emily knows women -- she knows the kinds of expectations we put on ourselves; she knows how hard we can be on ourselves. And most importantly, she knows the God who accepts us and loves us, in spite of our flaws and imperfections. I think the thing I loved most about this book was its emphasis on grace. I haven't always been comfortable with that word, and I haven't always understood exactly what it means. "Grace for the Good Girl" has taken my understanding of God's grace to a new, deeper level, and it's helped me wrap my mind around that concept. I read and re-read many parts of this book already, and it's filled with underlined and starred sections and dog-eared pages. "Grace for the Good Girld" is a book I will come back to again and again, and it's one that will continue to help me grow in my faith journey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2014

    To hard life

    Keep going. Youre really good. Wheres the next story at lol. ~ Chinesebeauty

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2014

    To hard life

    Name: Toby Damian. Age: 12. Looks: black curly hair, dark gree eyes, freckles, 5-4. Past: his parents died and he hid in Ryan and Allison's backyard for a couple years. Stealing food from the kitchen when needed. Other: he has a small crush on Allison.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2014

    Hard life part 2

    Thank you book worm for your review, and who ever gave me the charecter. That is litterly the best charcter i could ask for. I still have room for more! I could also use a charecter that Rylan and Allison are sold to or something. Next part will be at next res drunkward or something. <p> Rylans POV <p> my fater had woken up. I could hear him crashing drunkly down the stairs. He saw the foid and grinned, but then he saw Allison and I. He lumbared over two us. "WHO STOLE MY PUECE OF BACON!!!" he screamed spraying spit all over. "N..not us daddy.." Allison said. "Bah! Stupid girl!" He grabed her and threw her to the ground. He slapped her across the face. "She didnt take it dad! I made sure she didnt." I said. "Good job son. Now both of you! I want the backyard clean in 3 hours." He screamed. "Yes sir." Allison said scrambaling outside. Her white cheek was red from the slap. "Thanks for covering for me." She said. "No problamo" i responded. We walked into the backyard, it was a disater. There was rotting plants, weeds,garbage, and ivy everywhere. There was so much ivy by the fence it looked almost like someone could live in it. We started picking up all the trash. It was mostly bear bottles. When we had finished picking up the trash we started on tge weds and rotting plants. When all that was finished the backyard looked good, excapt all the ivy back in the corner off the fence. We both walked back and started pulling the ivy down. Almost imedetly we heard a rustiling in it. I looked into the ivy. "Holycow" said lokking at the inside off the ivy. A boy slept on the edje off it. "what?" Allison asked "there.. theres a boy in here!" i said she rushed over. "oh my gosh. Should we wake him" she asked. I nodded. I walked slowly toward the boy he looked about twelve. he had curly black hair and freckles. I couldnt see his eyes because they were closed. I aproched with. Allison stood behind my. I shook the boy. "Wha... huh?." He groaned. He looked around seeing us. He scrambled backwards. He looked at us wideyed. "Who are you?" He asked with a hint of fear in his voice. "Wait.. your the kids who live in that house. Your the guy" he said pointing at me. "And your the pretty girl" he said pointing at Allison. She gigled a little his face grew very red when he relized he had said that. "Why are you in our yard?" I demanded. "Well.. my parents are dead, and i nedded a home, so i live in here, i take food from your kitchen." He said. "Hey! you made me get sla...." i cut Allison off. "Okay. We wont tell our parents.. for now." I saud He looked at us gratefuly."thank you!" With that Allison and i went back into the house. <p> Allisons POV <p> i sighed. Both me and Rylan worked a few jobs to earn money. Our parents didnt work, so we had to earn the money. I did it baby and pet sitting. Rylan did it driving race cars at a local dirt track. When he won (witch was regularly) he would bring home a couple hundred dollars atleast. I would bring in about 50 dollars every time i babbysitted. Sometimes when i did it for the rich people i would bring home like $100 to $200. It was a very hard life. But it was better than the streets. <p> thanks for reading. Please comment. Try to get the word out about this story please. I cant post alot of places.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    DirtPelt

    Gtg b back tomorrow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Life changing read!

    The author has done such a great job of explaining God's free gift of grace to free us from the slavery of opinions other than His.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Emily Freeman was given the keys to unlock her own cage and vuln

    Emily Freeman was given the keys to unlock her own cage and vulnerably,
    yet courageously, faced her fears to put those keys in other women's
    hands so they too can be set free. If you are struggling with setting
    boundaries in relationships, and feeling overwhelmed by life, read this
    book. The truths contained in it are the keys to set you free. She
    writes in a refreshingly honest way with a transparent vulnerability
    that anyone can identify with.

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    This book made me feel not so alone in my "good girlness&qu

    This book made me feel not so alone in my &quot;good girlness&quot;.....I really felt that in reading Emily's words, we were having a conversation which was comforting. When I read a book (and I read alot!!), picking up a pencil (never a pen...what if I underline the wrong line------------oh that good girl is seeping out again) to underline passages is a sure sign that the words are touching my heart. I will read these words again and again. Can't wait to read ANYTHING else Emily writes!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    I have never purchased a book that truly changed my life the way

    I have never purchased a book that truly changed my life the way this one has, with the exception of the Bible! Emily's in good company! She speaks to the part of women that hungers for acceptance, approval, and appreciation, and reveals the cost of living our lives with that focus. I no longer think of myself as defined by how much I do, or how much I'm liked. The TRUTH that Emily reminds us of was there all along - I just forgot what it was. I can't stop giving this book to women I care about!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    This book is like Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel, only as i

    This book is like Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel, only as it would have been written specifically for the hearts of women. Powerful, simple, both comforting and wrenching, Freeman is one of the very few authors I've found who give voice to both the beautiful and the hideous places of the heart. She lays it out with gentle candour, with the soft voice that a loving friend uses for hard words, and she invites you to laugh at the same time for the joy of real grace. That's the thing about this book...there's Real grace here, the kind that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. She does Not deal in platitudes and easy answers...so when she says &quot;let go of the try-hard life,&quot; she shows you her own. I am amazed by the vulnerability of the author in this book. She instructs well, but she never pretends she knows more about you than she does, and she offers you that grace as well. I've recommended this book to all of my family and many friends and clients, and I eagerly await the coming of Graceful this fall.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    Emily puts words to so many things that I have thought, experien

    Emily puts words to so many things that I have thought, experienced and how I deal with life. I cried my way through this book because it was so real. The first time through it was hard to read. I really had to stop and breath between chapters. But some amazing things have come about through the reading. I am ever thankful that I picked up this book to read it. Emily writes in a genuine and relevant manor. She is transparent. It is incredible that she would share herself this way and willingly help so many of us good girls out there. Being a good girl is when we put on masks and try to control the opnions of those around us, take resposibility for just about everything that goes on around us and set standards for ourselves and others that are impossible to keep. I am so glad to recognize these patterns in my life and make steps to become a recovering good girl. After reading it the first time, I then read through it again and have found that i can name my masks, detect when I am putting them on, and am working to take them off. I would encourage just about everyone I know to read this book at least once, but possible several times through. There are good questions with each chapter that allow for reflection and getting more personal. The first half of the book is on what a good girl looks like behind the masks and then the second part of the book talks about taking the masks off. There is no easy fix for this good girl life. It is an everyday process of turning to God for our redemption but she puts us on the right track for taking off our masks and living in freedom. She also wrote several posts on her blog as part of a summer book club reading of it. I would encourage readers to check those out. After reading this book, I just want to sit with Emily and drink a cup of coffee. READ THIS BOOK. You won't be disappointed. I can not say enough good things.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    This book is life changing. It spoke to me in ways that helped

    This book is life changing. It spoke to me in ways that helped free me and allowed me to grow. Emily Freeman, the author is an excellent writer and the whole time I felt like she had written this book for me. I read it with a friend and an online book group and everyone had a similar experience of the feeling that it had been written with them in mind. This book is a must read.

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