This book has been a long, beautiful journey and it is so exciting to finally share the title and cover with you!
I have so many things to tell you about this book ... let's break it up into a few sections.
what's the book about?
About six years ago, God began to gently wake me up to the ways I was trapped in trying to find my identity in places that would never satisfy. When I looked around at my life, it was full of wonderful things and still, I had this sinking feeling of dissatisfaction.
Is this it? Is this all there is? Because if so, why do I still feel so unsure and anxious and like it's all up to me to prove my worth but I can never quite get there?
Living like this is exhausting. It's a life of worry and self-reliance and looking to a very fickle world to tell us who we are and determine if we are enough.
Thankfully, Jesus offers an invitation to a better way to live.
"Come to me," he says. "I will give you rest."
He whispered these words to me at the height of my brokenness and after a five-year journey of deep spiritual transformation, I finally experienced what he was offering all along.
This is the story of how God's grace moved me to this place of accepting his invitation to a life of quiet confidence. I hope my continuing journey will inspire and equip you to find you own unique identity in Christ.
We went round and round searching for the perfect title for the book until finally realizing it was right in front of us: Freely and Lightly.
It is both the hope and the promise.
The phrase is pulled from the Message translation of Matthew 11:28-30, which is the structure for the book and, more importantly, the process of spiritual formation Jesus invites us to.
Burdened and heavy is no way to live. I needed free and light. Perhaps you do too.
the cover design
They say you're not supposed to choose a book by its cover, but I do pretty much every single time. Covers are important.
I was so excited for this step in the book-making process. I have watched so many authors reveal covers and thoroughly enjoy seeing what creativity comes out in representing the message of the book through design.
The first round of cover designs came back this summer and it was very exciting. The initial designs were pretty, but not quite right. So my publisher asked if I would come up with another version of the cover.
Here were all of the options:
As you can see, coming up with just one option was impossible :)
When it finally came down to it, we decided black and white stripes on the spine just felt right and very classic Emily. I love that it wraps all the way around so when you place it on a shelf, you'll still see the cute watercolor stripes!
I initially wanted the title to be in text, but my very wonderful publisher pushed for my handwriting and I'm glad she did. Inside the book are handwritten labels on all of the illustrations and Scripture verses so it makes perfect sense to give a peek at what you'll find inside on the cover.
As for the artwork, simple felt better. I wish I had a love for bold and colorful, but when it really comes down to it, I love neutral and simple. The book is filled with illustrations in my imperfect watercolor style and picking just one piece for the cover was hard!
We all decided that this little potted plant was the right choice. The new growth of the sweet pea start feels fresh and hopeful, exactly what I hope the message of the book will be. Also, fun fact, this little plant was a gift from my mother-in-law's garden and I love that little nod to family.
I can't wait until this book makes it into your hands. How I hope that with each turn of the page the words and art will be a deep breath, a gentle wakeup, and a delightful reminder that you are loved and God is good.
The official release day is March 2, 2021.
You can preorder today (with special preorder bonus goodies to come!).
If you are not already subscribed to my weekly newsletter, I invite you to join! This is the best place for getting updates on all things Freely and Lightly related.
Thank you, my friends, for your encouragement and excitement over this project. You are the absolute best.
I'd love to answer any questions you have about the book or the process or anything else you'd like to chat about! Please leave a comment below and I'll respond back.