Emily Belle Freeman: Grace For All Seasons
We all find ourselves in circumstances where we are in desperate need of help, moments where we find ourselves incapable of doing what is asked of us. For each of these moments, there is an answer: Grace. But do we only receive grace after doing everything within our power? And how do we know if we’ve done everything within our power? On today’s episode of “All In,” Emily Belle Freeman shares what she has learned about grace and what she believes “after all we can do” really means.
That's how we would describe grace to people: It's when we feel that abundance of love, it's when we feel that hope, it's the increase of what Christ can bring into mortality for us so we can make it through.
Grace Where You Are is filled with inspired scripture, gentle moments of reflection and meditation, and opportunities for personal application. Spending some time in its pages will help you to recognize that no matter where you are in your life's journey, Christ will come to you when you feel you fall short, extending His divine grace and providing so much more than what you lack.
Link: Strong’s Concordance
Quote: "The tree of life is the central feature in the dream and is identified in 1 Nephi 11 as a representation of Jesus Christ. The fruit on the tree is a symbol for the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement" (Elder David A. Bednar, "A Reservoir of Living Water," speeches.byu.edu).
Scripture: "For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can cdo" (2 Nephi 25:23).
Time Out for Women Video: "Kris Belcher: Making My Way to the Bathroom"
How can you and I improve spiritual vision so that we can grow closer to the Savior?
In the Orientation and Mobility class that Kris Belcher attended when she first went blind, she learned that she could determine what direction she was facing by using the sun. In the morning, for example, if she felt the sun on her face, she would know she was facing east.
"Spiritually," Kris writes, "we can also receive comfort and direction from the Son. If we can feel the warmth of the Son—the Spirit—then we know we are facing the right direction."
We want to hear from you. Please share your “one holy thing” with us through our Instagram account.
2:52-The Evolution of Grace
5:53- What Even Is Grace?
9:26- A Daughter Named Grace
14:41- His Touch in Our Lives Reflected
18:39- A God-Given Love for Jesus
23:46- Grace Began in the Garden of Eden
28:32- “After All We Can Do”
33:36- Enabling Power
36:24- “Your One Holy Thing”
42:30- Grace Where You Are
44:13- What Does It Mean To Be “All In”?
Morgan Jones 0:50
What do you think of when you hear the words, "For we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do?" What is all we can do? Is Nephi telling us we need to do more than we are doing or is he simply asking us to do our best? And what is grace, this thing that is supposed to save us anyway? We will explore all of these things on today's episode.
Emily Belle Freeman is a best-selling author and popular inspirational speaker. She has a deep love of the scriptures which comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. She is a favorite speaker at Time Out for Women, and her upcoming book, Grace Where You Are, explores the topic of grace. She is also a co-host with David Butler on "Don't Miss This," a Come, Follow Me study channel on YouTube and the co-founder of a group called "Multiply Goodness" which encourages interdenominational Bible study. Her greatest joy though comes from spending time with her family.
This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, "what does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" I'm Morgan Jones and I am so grateful to have my friend Emily Belle Freeman here with me today.
Emily, thank you for coming.
Emily Belle Freeman 2:12
Thank you for having me.
Morgan Jones 2:14
Well, I just devoured Emily's new book, Grace Where You Are yesterday. I had not had time to prep until then, and I was like, "I'll just like skim it a little bit." I literally read the whole book. So it was amazing. And I am so excited for people to get their hands on this. First of all, I want to start with the note at the very beginning of the book. So you write, "For Meg and Sam and all those who are burdened by the weight of 'after all you can do,' come discover his grace." And these are two—they were your students, is that right?
Emily Belle Freeman 2:49
It's actually my daughter and her best friend who lives next door.
Morgan Jones 2:52
Okay, and you had a conversation with them. And you show that grace changes kind of as we get older, our understanding of grace evolves and the way that we need grace evolves, dependent on the situation in our lives. So let's start with that. How did you decide to kind of approach it from that direction and to dedicate the book to Meg and Sam?
Emily Belle Freeman 3:15
Okay, so that conversation was such a profound conversation for me. We actually were talking about grace and then what happened is that as we were talking, it got to this point where I looked at these two girls, one had a little baby on her lap that she was bouncing, she was trying to get through school, she was brand new married. Meg was working full time and going to school full time. And we were talking about that feeling of just overwhelmed, like too much and not enough and all of those things, and I was trying to talk to them about grace. And Sam said something really interesting. She said, "I think grace is interesting to learn about, but I feel like you have to do something in order to receive grace. And I have spent my entire life trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do." And I thought about that for a minute. And I thought, first of all, it made me so sad because grace is such an integral part of my everyday life like I live in grace. And I thought how frustrating it would be to think every day you are trying to do something in order to access that grace in your life. And so we started talking about that and I looked at all three of us sitting there each of us at different stages, right? Megan, full-time school full-time work. Sam, a full-time mom, full-time school. I didn't have any kids at home, but I was full-time everything else that I was doing, and what we all had in common was overwhelmed. That's what we all had in common. And what we all needed was grace. That's what all of us needed. And I looked at each of them and thought, in my life, I've seen grace evolve because I've experienced grace over time. I know what grace felt like when I was a young mom. I can remember that enabling strength that came as I was raising my children. And I remember what grace felt like when I was a student. And I was not sleeping through the night because I was trying to get all of that in, and that enabling strength that came. And I remember what grace felt like when Greg was diagnosed with a thyroid problem that they thought would be cancer and realizing I was not up to that, I wasn't enough for that and what grace felt like in that situation. And I think as we get older and we learn to put our finger on, this is grace, then we come to expect it in our life and we actually live in anticipation of it showing up for us in our lives because Jesus has shown up before and we know He will do that again.
Morgan Jones 5:53
I love that so much. So I want to come back to something that you said. You said that you live in grace every day. Emily, is grace something that you feel like you've always understood? Or was there a moment where it kind of started to click for you? And what is it that you—how do you live in that grace? Because I think, I'm listening to you and I'm like, yeah, like, I can see how looking back there were times where I felt a lot of grace. But I still don't know that I entirely get it.
Emily Belle Freeman 6:28
Yes. And grace is so hard to understand, partly because it's a word we don't use very often in our culture. And so grasping a hold of, "what even is grace" is part of the process, right? It's when you experience the Lord coming into your life, and you think to yourself, "Okay, this is strength beyond my own. This is increasing my capacity. This is taking what I knew previously of love, and magnifying it, or peace and magnifying it, or hope and magnifying it." That is what grace does. And as we learn to start watching for what that feels like in our lives, and we can put our finger on it, then we realize this is Jesus Christ meeting me where I am, and making me more, making me enough. He's making me the best me in this situation, then that's grace.
Morgan Jones 7:29
So interesting. So do you feel like you always got that?
Emily Belle Freeman 7:33
Morgan Jones 7:34
Emily Belle Freeman 7:35
No, it is what came over time. And in the early years of my life when I was like Meg and Sam's age, I can pinpoint exact moments when I can tell you Jesus showed up in my life, I can pinpoint him. I know exactly what it was. It was the night when I thought I was going to lose Grace when I was pregnant. And I remember talking to Greg and saying, "We're going to lose this baby and there's nothing I can do about it." And having this peace, this calm assurance come over me and realizing no matter what happened, I was going to be strong enough for that. And it was so many nights with Josh, who's my diabetic, where we were up through the night and we were fighting what is that disease for him and trying to navigate it and get through it and the times when I was too exhausted, and I wasn't smart enough or I wasn't alert enough and I was made more in that moment, I can pinpoint those nights. I know when it happens. It's when I stood up in stake conference to give a talk and I wasn't used to speaking in front of people.
Morgan Jones 8:42
Which is hard to imagine now
Emily Belle Freeman 8:44
Yes, it is. But back then, I still remember those shaking knees, you know what happens. Looking out at those people and thinking, "Did I even prepare the right talk? And does anyone even care about my message?" And then just feeling that magnifying that happens, that capacity increase. As I've grown older and as I've studied grace in the scriptures, it makes me realize that grace is always there. It's always available. Jesus Christ stands with hands outstretched to us, ready to help do that, to enlarge our capacity, to strengthen us, to make us more in every situation. And our job is to receive the grace.
Morgan Jones 9:26
Thank you for sharing that. Your daughter, you mentioned this, your daughter's name is Grace. How did you decide to name her Grace?
Emily Belle Freeman 9:35
Okay, so this is a crazy story. Do you know this story?
Morgan Jones 9:38
Emily Belle Freeman 9:38
Okay, well, this is a crazy story. So I went into labor with Grace when I was 17 weeks pregnant, which is really, really early. Usually they don't consider a pregnancy viable until 24 weeks. So when I went in and I was in labor, the nurse at the very beginning told me, "There's nothing we can do for you. We'll just treat this as a miscarriage." And I just felt like we had done everything we could to get that baby here and we were going to fight for that baby. And so we came out of that and I went down on bed rest, and I stayed on bed rest for six months. And it was some of the darkest six months of my life. It was really, really hard. People had to come in and take my kids out, and I just had to lay on the couch. And what got me through that time, was a lot of priesthood blessings. And I had the opportunity to read the entire standard works during that time because I had nothing else to do. And we don't normally get an opportunity like that.
Well, because we were so nervous about the baby and every week when we went, we weren't sure we were going to keep the baby, I kind of didn't attach to the baby. And so I just went through the motions of being pregnant, but I removed myself from it. And so when it got time to deliver Grace, we hadn't picked a name yet. And the week before I started really thinking about it, and I decided we would name her after a family name. And then I loved the name Ann, because it means "an answer to a prayer." And so when Grace was born, her name was Taylor Ann Freeman. And we started raising her as Taylor. And every time I looked at her, I was like, "That is not her name, I know that is not her name."
And for a year, that was not her name. And when she turned a year old, my mom said to me, "You have to decide what you are calling this baby, you have to. She's a year old now." We had called her Tay Tay and Tailee and a million other names, but we just move forward and then right before she was going to go in the nursery, 18 months old, I just thought to myself, "This is not her name. I know it's not her name and I've got to decide what her name is." And so I put a list of six names that I loved, now that she was born and I know her and I knew her personality, and I said to Greg, "We are renaming this baby." Who does that, right? And my favorite name was Grace. And the reason why it was my favorite name is because that is how we got through. And when I looked back at that time, I thought that moment, that dark place, the getting through of that, and the lessons that I learned from that, that was grace. That's what that was. And so we decided to change her name. And that was a crazy process, because everybody knew her—she was 18 months old. So we hung signs all over the house that said "Grace," and I painted "Grace" on all of her. And if my kids could make it a whole day without calling her Taylor, they got a candy bar at the end of the day—that's terrible mothering, but that is what we did. And now her name is Grace, and it fits her perfectly. And I love that it is a reminder for me of who Jesus became through that experience.
I can remember driving home from the hospital and Greg asking me if I was happy that I could like, be up again and recapture my life and take care of my kids and do all of those things, which I was. Like, we didn't even have people bring in dinners after Grace was born because I was like, I just want to do my life. But I said to Greg, "This is the only thing I'm worried about. Through this process, Jesus Christ is no longer a porcelain figure that sits on top of my piano, or a picture that hangs on my wall. Jesus Christ has become real to me, I know Him. And I don't want to lose that after this is over. I don't ever want to go back to what was before Grace."
Morgan Jones 13:32
That story is so cool, because so many times I've listened to you speak or teach and I've thought, "How does she know Jesus that way?" And you just answered my question. So thank you, that was really helpful. But also there's there are a few things that I really I loved about that story. One, I think it's kind of cool that this book, I'll be honest, I expected the note at the beginning to be dedicated to Grace. But it was dedicated to Megan. Now that I know that, that makes so much more sense. I've always just heard her called Megan, not Meg. But also, I just think that it's so cool that you just kept having that feeling that that wasn't her name, and that you acted on that I think is really, really neat. There's so many different little things that as you were talking, and I'll have to go back and listen, then maybe they'll come to me, but I love that.
I want to kind of dive into this book. You are so articulate and as I read your writing, I think, "If someday I can write like that, I will be a happy woman.
Emily Belle Freeman 14:40
Oh, that is so kind.
Morgan Jones 14:41
But in the book you write this, "Here is what I believe, grace is not just for the salvation of sinners, but also for the bestowing of blessings. It is given through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He was willing to come down and come in to help each of us become. His grace is the gift of transformation, an endowment of strength, divine assistance and enabling power, the elevating of souls, and the healing of hearts. Grace is His favor and His kindness and the tenderness with which He extends His mercies. It is His touch on our heart and how we reflect that within our life. Grace is always there, but we notice it most in our weakness, in our brokenness." I love—we could dissect every part of that quote. But I love that you point out—because I think that we always hear it talked about in our weakness. And so I love that you point out that's where we notice it most, but that doesn't mean that it's not in and through everything that we experience. I especially love how you describe grace as, "His touch on our heart and how we reflect that within our life." Can you explain what you mean by that? And when did you first start to recognize God's touch on your heart? Because I look at you and I'm like, I would love to see like little Emily. So when did you first start to recognize His touch, His hand in your life?
Emily Belle Freeman 16:12
That's awesome. So that word, that phrase, actually comes from the "Strong's Concordance," which you know I love because you know me.
Morgan Jones 16:22
Can you tell the listeners what that is?
Emily Belle Freeman 16:24
It's a concordance that allows you to take a word out of scripture. And if you're in the New Testament, it's going to give you the Greek translation of that word. If you're in the Old Testament, it's going to give you the Hebrew translation. And the reason why you love those translations is, it's kind of like having a thesaurus there, where you look at one word, and then you open that up and it says, "This word could have been this or this or this or this or this definition," that just expands that word for you. So then you're like, "Oh, now grace has become more than just that one word in that one experience in that one story. But now it has become bigger, right? It means more to me." So if you look up the word "grace" in the Strong's Concordance, it's going to take you to the Greek word "keiris." And that definition for keiris is the touch of the Lord on your heart and its reflection in your life, but they say it a lot more responsibly than I do. But, in essence, that is what they're telling you. And I love that because of this, this is what I believe: The Lord has the capacity, He has the ability to reach into every one of us and make us the best we could be in that situation. So when I am talking to one of my girls, and we're in an argument and we're trying to figure something out, and we're not matching what is happening in that, I can pray in that moment for grace. I can pray for the Lord to come and touch my heart and make me the best mom for Meg in that situation. And He will touch my heart. And then I will be able to reflect that version of myself in that situation because of His grace. He's going to magnify me, He's going to increase my capacity to be the best mom, to be the best spouse, to be the best friend, to be the best of whatever I am entering into, because He has promised he will meet me there and He will extend His grace to me, and through Him, I will be able to accomplish that—whatever it is—so much better.
Morgan Jones 18:39
Yeah. So did you always, Emily, just like love the Lord, or did that come—I mean, obviously, it comes with time. But like, did little Emily just always have this burning passion for Jesus?
Emily Belle Freeman 18:58
So this is a true story and answer is going to be yes. Which is crazy, and my parents will tell you it is crazy. And my patriarchal blessing tells me. I don't know why I was born with such a love of Jesus Christ. I am honored that that is true about my life, but it has been true since the very, very beginning. The first moments. And I think the first time I recognized I had been given that gift was actually in first grade. And I had a teacher who we became good friends with and she had kind of noticed it a little bit in me. And then at the end of that year, at Easter, we were making easter eggs on construction paper. Remember construction paperwork, and then you would turn the page over and there would be the lined writing where you would practice your writing? And we were supposed to decorate the easter egg and then say what we were doing for Easter in our little first-grade handwriting, there was like three lines. And everybody did theirs. And when I get involved in a project, I don't really pay attention to what's going on anywhere else. I just loved the project. So I was in the project and we got all done, we were supposed to go turn our eggs in. And I took mine up there, and everyone else's had dots and like squigglies and decorations and colors. I had drawn a picture of the cross with Jesus on it and blood on his hands and a crown of thorns on his head and written Jesus on the inside. That is what I wanted Easter to be. And when I set it down with all the other ones I can remember in my first-grade head thinking, "I did it wrong." Because it wasn't a match. It was out of place.
Morgan Jones 20:42
Like one of these things is not like the others.
Emily Belle Freeman 20:44
It was out of place. And it's why that first-grade teacher is my favorite teacher. You know when it says at the bank, "your favorite teacher" and you
Morgan Jones 20:54
That's your password?
Emily Belle Freeman 20:55
Maggie Strausser. Every time.
Morgan Jones 20:57
You're going to have to go and change your password now.
Emily Belle Freeman 20:58
Now I'm gonna have to! She was such a good teacher because in that moment, I think she saw that, that hesitation of like, I think I did this wrong. And I'll never forget her grabbing me and pulling me over and telling me what a beautiful job I had done of representing Easter. And it was almost as if someone gave me permission to believe in Jesus as much as my heart wanted to when I was six years old.
Morgan Jones 21:27
So I have to tell you, I love this so much. And I think it's because—first of all, we've talked about this before because Emily and I were both at a thing where they had us do the Strengths Finder test. And I think if I remember correctly, both you and I had "belief" as one of the things that were like a strength. And for me that helped, in my mind, it helped me understand myself better because I've always been like, there was something in me that just like loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ so much. And that was like the number one thing for me. Looking back, I had a very similar experience in elementary school. I had a teacher that they gave us some kind of assignment at school and it was for Christmas, it wasn't Easter, but it was for Christmas and we were supposed to write like what Christmas meant to us. And I wrote this thing and it was all about like, Jesus and the different parts of the Nativity or whatever. And I remember my teacher making like a big deal out of it and making me feel good, but it probably was because it was different than the other kids and she may have felt like I would be embarrassed by that. But then my mom like printed it out and sent it with our Christmas card that year trying to make me feel good. But I think that it's interesting, like parallels in those two experiences. And I think that we should feel so much gratitude to those people who allow us to believe in that way and make us feel like we're not weird. You're loving those things the way that we do and whether that's primary teachers or elementary school teachers or whatever. I know that school is different these days than it used to be.
Emily Belle Freeman 22:04
Yes, so true. But it's also a call to each of us to help others believe, to give people permission to believe and to talk about that belief. And we don't say the name of Jesus enough. We don't talk about how He's working in our lives enough. It's almost like we need someone to give us permission to say, "Talk about your sweet experiences with Jesus Christ."
Morgan Jones 23:46
Yeah, absolutely. I love how you talk about how the understanding, our understanding of grace really begins in the Garden of Eden. Can you give listeners just kind of an idea of how that is where grace begins?
Emily Belle Freeman 24:04
Yes. So when you normally teach the Garden of Eden or when we study it, when we think about it, we think about two trees, you can't help it right? And everything revolves around Eve and that tree and that piece of fruit. And it gets a little confusing when you're trying to figure it out, unless you can stop for a minute and think, "This isn't about a tree. And it's not about a piece of fruit." And Elder Bednar is the one who gave me the permission to do that because he gave a talk in general conference several years ago and in that talk, he talked about the tree of life. And he said, "The Tree of Life is not a tree, it's Jesus Christ. And the fruit of that tree is everything that comes because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ." And as soon as he said that, I thought to myself, "Wait a minute, if that's not a tree, then this cannot be a tree either." And so what is the thing that happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden? What do we need to know about what happened there? And it made me want to start setting through that. And over time, I realized that as we talked about that story, as we talked about Eve, Eve wasn't standing at a tree trying to decide whether or not she should eat a piece of fruit. Eve was deciding if she was going to enter into mortality. That's a hard decision. That's leaving the presence of God. That's knowing that the fruit of that tree is going to bring cancer and death and accidents and hatred and all of the pain that comes from mortality, mosquitoes, and beestings. Also good though, we have to remember, it's going to bring children and family connections and it's going to bring, I mean, it's not all bad down here. But that was a big step, right? How do you know if you're ready for that step? And I love as you think about that, and you realize what Eve was trying to decide was, "So I enter into mortality and the fruit of what that will bring?" Our Heavenly Father said that there's not just one tree in the garden, there is a second tree. And the second tree will be everything opposite of the first tree, it will bring you back into the presence of God. And through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the fruit of this tree will counteract against the fruit of that tree every time. It'll take cancer and come up with healing. It will take death and come up with resurrection. It will take families which are "' till death do us part on this earth," and say no, actually families can be together forever. It becomes the answer to everything on the mortality tree. Jesus Christ becomes the answer. He becomes the plan. And all of that fruit, the blessings, the healing, and the love and the faith and everything that comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that is what grace looks like. That's how we would describe grace to people, it's when we feel that abundance of love, it's when we feel that hope, it's the increase of what Christ can bring into mortality for us, so we can make it through.
Morgan Jones 27:29
Whew, I feel like we should just stop right now. That was so good, thank you. It reminded me of a moment—so this episode is going to air in January. But it reminded me of a moment that I just hadn't right now as we're recording this, it's pre-Christmas, so just so listeners know, we are currently before Christmas, and I was at church a couple Sundays ago, and my family has been going through like a little bit of a rough time and just like changes, you know? Growing up, as it happens. And they were singing "Angels We Have Heard On High," and I lost it. I could not stop crying. My sister was making fun of me later, she's like, "I kept watching you, like tried to like wipe your eyes and you were getting makeup everywhere." But I think that it was because of that grace, I think that what I was feeling was just so much gratitude for having felt that. And in the song where it says like "Shepherds, why this Jubilee" and I was like, I want to sing with them, because I'd felt that enabling power, that grace so much recently, and I think that when you look back on that, it's overwhelming. It's that power of Jesus Christ in our lives and I feel right now so grateful for that.
You write a lot in the book about that phrase. So you mentioned that when you had the conversation with Meg and Sam, that there was this conversation about how you feel like you need to do something. And we feel like we need to do something because the scripture says, "After all we can do." and you talk in the book about what that phrase, "after all we can do" really means, or what it's come to mean to you. What does that phrase mean to you?
Emily Belle Freeman 28:32
Okay, so every study of Grace has to begin with that scripture, right? In 2 Nephi 25:23, "By grace we are saved after all we can do."
Morgan Jones 28:42
And really quickly, I think it's interesting. So you talked about how in our church, we don't talk about it as much. In other churches, they talk about grace, we've seen that with our Christian friends. We see how much they talk about grace. And I wonder if maybe the reason we don't talk about it as much is because we feel intimidated by that scripture in 2 Nephi.
Emily Belle Freeman 29:22
Yes, I think that could be so true. And we've heard a lot of people teach about that verse and try and help us reconcile that in our mind. And it's one that I have thought about a lot, but particularly after that conversation with Megan, and Sam, because I was like, "What was Nephi trying to tell us?" And the thought of that made me think, "Yeah, what was the fight trying to tell us?" And instead of going to general conference talks, or other people who have talked about it, or little articles written on that one verse, I thought, I'm going to go into all of chapter 25 and I'm going to see what was Nephi trying to tell us. And something really significant happened in that moment, because as I started reading, I realized there is one phrase that is repeated in chapter 25 so many times, that it is not there by coincidence. And it is the phrase, "believe in Christ," and it happens over and over again, this is what you've got to do. You've got to believe in Christ, you've got to teach your children to believe in Christ. If you can just believe in Christ, he keeps telling you over and over again. And when I got through reading it, I was like, Nephi is telling us, all we can do is believe in Christ. If we look at that chapter, we realize that's the message: all we can do is believe in Christ. And I can believe in Christ. I can do that.
Morgan Jones 31:23
Yeah, that's doable. I love that. I love that paradigm shift a little bit. Because I do think it's intimidating if we look at that verse by itself, it's like, "Okay, how much is all I can do?" I don't know.
Emily Belle Freeman 31:39
Yes. And it makes us start evaluating every single day by thinking okay, have I done my "all I can do?" Instead of thinking "What have I done with Christ?" Since that time, I've actually changed how I talk to myself at the end of a day, because instead of thinking, "How did I do?" I commonly will ask the question, "How did we do today?" Because I find myself not going through the day by myself anymore. I find that in the morning, I wake up and I anticipate Jesus Christ will be part of that day, I expect His grace to be part of what I am doing everywhere, everywhere, in my home, in my work in my relationships. I expect that He's going to show up. And at the end of the day, I look back and I think, "We did some really good things today like we are doing good things." Because it's not me, I'm not doing those good things, I'm not capable of those good things. I'm not smart enough, I don't have enough energy for those things, but in Christ, I am made capable. And there's something so empowering at the end of the day of realizing we did this. We did it. Not I did it, but we did it.
Morgan Jones 33:04
So cool. I couldn't help but think, I think that this kind of plays into this idea of being "all in." Because I think, and one of the reasons that we wanted to ask the question the way that we ask is, "what does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ," is that looks different to different people. But I also think we didn't want people to feel overwhelmed, because it's like, all is a lot. But reframing that even, by being with Him is all that we can do.
Emily Belle Freeman 32:46
Because He becomes "all," right? And then that becomes so empowering for us.
Morgan Jones 33:36
Absolutely. I love the statement in the book, you talk about having a conversation in a class where one of the students said, grace is what you cannot do. You mentioned that you know, you're enabled to do things that seem hard. But how have you learned that?
Emily Belle Freeman 34:02
I have been thinking about this so much just in the past couple of days. Because I think when we recognize grace the most is when we are in that moment, when we recognize that grace is what we cannot do. And I just, I started thinking about all the people in my life who are in a place where they really cannot. I've been texting back and forth with a boy who texted me several weeks ago and said, "I'm just really struggling with my belief in the church right now. Like, I'm not sure. I even have belief. I don't even know why I'm going through the motions of what I'm doing." And we've had some intense conversations about that. And I pray for him every day for grace because what he cannot do right now is believe. And he needs grace, he needs that capacity in large so he can. We've also, in our family, been talking a lot about that family with the plane crash where the grandpa and the all the boys in that family who were on that hunting trip. I had the opportunity to speak in that wife's of that husband of the grandpa, in her stake two months ago. She was the sweetest lady.
Morgan Jones 34:50
Up in Idaho, right?
Emily Belle Freeman 35:16
Up in Idaho. And we had such a sweet connection in that moment. And as I have thought about that mom, who lost two son-in-law's and a husband, and a son, and grandsons, how do you do that? Like she can't. How can she even wake up every morning? That's what she cannot do. Like I look at all of those girls and I think they probably wake up every day and say, "I can't do this. I can't," And every day I pray for grace for them because that's what they need right now. I mean, they probably need a lot of things right now, but the thing they need the most right now is grace. It's that enabling strength because they can't get through this. They can't. I can't even bear the thought of them trying to get through this. But He can help them get through this. I know He can because I've experienced Him getting me through things before.
Morgan Jones 36:24
I could not agree more. And I think that that's a point, you know, that we talked about earlier. You said something that made me think of that, that we have these experiences that we're able to look back on and how much power, even just being able to reflect on those things, gives us in looking and saying, you know, "He's given me grace before, He's going to do it again, or He can do it for someone else." And then we're able to share our testimonies, our beliefs of that. You have talked a lot on both "Don't Miss This" and in your book about Kris Belcher, your friend. I just selfishly, I've heard you talk about her a lot of times, but I still don't quite know who she is. Who is Kris Belcher? And why does she means so much to you?
Emily Belle Freeman 37:17
Oh, I think God sometimes aligns your course with someone else. Do you believe that's true?
Morgan Jones 37:23
Emily Belle Freeman 37:24
You just know the road went that way on purpose. And Kris and I first met when we were 16-years-old, and we met for two weeks and that was it. And we left and we went our separate ways. And then about three years later, our paths crossed again, and again, just as acquaintances, and we left and went our separate ways. And that happened five times. And about the fourth time, I started thinking to myself, "I think God wants me to know Kris Belcher. I think she is part of the story of my life." Now Kris Belcher lives in my backyard. I say that all the time and then people think she lives in a tent, but really, we're just backyard neighbors. We share the same fence. And those of you who know Kris Belcher, she spoke at Time Out for Women, she wrote a book that sold at Deseret Book for many years. She is a woman who struggled with cancer, who is blind, who lost her sight to that cancer. And she's a mom and she raised two boys and she's a wife. But she is probably the best listener I've ever met. That is my favorite gift of hers. Everyone else is going to say her best gift is humor and it is true. She is so funny. But she is the best listener that I've ever met. And I spend a lot of time sitting on Kris Belcher's bed in her bedroom, like more hours than I can even count. She is not well, she's really struggling with cancer and the effects of what is happening with her body and I watch her fight that fight every single day. And that fight has made her wise, one of the wisest women I've ever met. And I love when I have so much going on and so many thoughts going on, I think to myself all the time, "I just got to walk over to Kris Belcher's house and sit on her bed," and that is what I do. And we've had some amazing conversations on that bed. But the lucky thing for you is, I think two have those conversations are in this book.
Morgan Jones 39:25
Yeah, I think they are
Emily Belle Freeman 39:26
And they're good conversations. There is some good learning that she's going to give us through this book.
Morgan Jones 39:32
Yeah. Well, sometimes on this podcast, I like to extend challenges to listeners. And recently on "Don't Miss This," you all extended kind of a challenge in Kris's honor. And I was thinking that it would be cool to have you share what that challenge was and then to have our listeners to extend that challenge to them as well.
Emily Belle Freeman 39:53
That would be so awesome and she would love it. So a couple of days ago, well, it was actually a couple weeks ago now, she called me. And she was struggling, she's in a lot of pain, excruciating pain. And she called me in tears. And she said, "Can you give me five minutes and just help me get through the worst of this?"
And I said, "Yes. What should we talk about?" Because she just needs a distraction at that time.
And she said, "I want you to tell me about your one holy thing."
And I said to her, "I don't know if I know what that means. Like, what does that mean?"
And she's like, "The spirit told me I need to hold on to holy things. And so in these terrible moments, I'm calling people and I'm asking for their one holy thing." And it was so interesting for me to stop for a minute and think, in the midst of the whirlwind that is life and everything that is going on, if I had to come down and say what is the one holy thing in my life right now that I am holding on to, what would it be? And we had a really sweet conversation about the power of loving like God does. In my mind that is one of the holiest things in my life right now, is just learning to love at God's capacity. And how do we do that? Like how do we learn to do that? And we talked about that for a while, then we issued that challenge on "Don't Miss This." And now she her bedroom wall is filled with holy things. And they are the sweetest things. Some of them has to do with like the birth of Christ. One is someone talking about her daughter singing the primary songs. Someone talked about sacrifice, and their most painful moments being their holiest things, and watching people express what their holy thing is right now, has actually been so amazing. I can't even tell you. So it'd be fun, if you extend that challenge, I will make a commitment to write down all those things on yellow sticky notes and we will add them to the collection and you can post it on your social media.
Morgan Jones 42:07
That would be amazing. We'll put a post on Instagram and then we'll have people comment or DM us your one holy thing. I think that would be amazing.
Emily, as we wrap up, I just have two last questions for you. One, this book is called Grace Where You Are, most recently, how has the Savior met you where you are?
Emily Belle Freeman 42:30
Oh, that is so good. Um, I would say last night. I got a phone call at 1:45 in the morning from my daughter who was in excruciating pain. And she'd been in pain for 45 minutes to the point that she was shaking uncontrollably and couldn't figure out what to do, and she's not close to me, she's an hour and 20 minutes away so I couldn't just run over and figure out what was wrong. And so I was having to try and assess the situation over the phone. And she was with her husband and we talked about it for a minute. And then they hung up, she was going to try ibuprofen and call back. And I did what all moms do in that situation, I just started to pray. And I prayed that she would feel peace, and that the pain would lessen for her. But because I'm a mom and I'm a worrier, I also prayed, "Please help us figure out what's going on. Like it makes me nervous for her that that is happening and, and help us to know what to do and how to help her." And as I prayed, I felt that comfort and I felt that Jesus knew what was happening and what was going on and that God would hear that prayer and answer it. And it was cute because 20 minutes later, my son-in-law called and the first words out of his mouth were, "Have you been praying?" I said to him, "Of course I have been praying." But I love the thought that Jesus Christ will go meet a 22-year-old girl in her bedroom, in Ogden, Utah at 1:45 in the morning and bring peace. That's who Jesus Christ is. And that's what He does.
Morgan Jones 44:13
Absolutely. Emily, you've been on this podcast before, so you've already answered the question, "What does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" However, I have found it really interesting, so some people have heard me say this, but people have asked me, "What does it mean to me to be all in?" And I cannot pin it down, which is frustrating. But I think the reason is that being all in, and what it means to us is constantly evolving and changing because we're evolving and changing. Our testimonies hopefully are becoming stronger. And with that, what that means looks different. So what have you learned since we last talked about what it means to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Emily Belle Freeman 45:01
And I love that you set it up like that because I think this is true. What it looks like to be all in for me right now, and what that looked like five years ago, or 10 years ago is going to be different. What it looked like when I was in bed with Grace, compared to what it looks like when I met my full strength, right? That is different. And I love that it's different at every season, wherever you are. What does it look like for you to be all in right now? That's what I want you to ask me. And I will tell you, this is what it looks like right now. I have felt over the past two years a stirring in my soul, I feel it so strongly. A hastening of a thought there is an important work to be done, and it's to be done by the women of the church. And I want to be one of those women, I don't want to take that call lightly. I want to be all in. And what that looks like for me is every morning when I wake up, usually, I'm someone who loves to sleep in, you should know that about me. I have a little rule, I don't wake up before the eight, that's just my rule. And I don't have any kids at home so I can make that rule and still be responsible. And I kind of have lived by that rule for like, a long time. Except for the past year, because what happens is in the sevens, I wake up, ready to go. And the first word the spirit whispers to me is "Run." Run. There's so much that needs to be done right now. There are so many people who need to be lifted. There are so many lives that could be made better. And the Prophet has extended a call to us. And I want to be part of that call. I want to be part of the gathering, I want to be part of the hastening. I want Want to be part of this great work. And every day that looks different. I don't want people to think that I'm just exhausting myself at the end of every single day because sometimes being all in, is holding my grandbabies for the whole day and it's loving my family and it's having that time. And sometimes being all in is getting on my Instagram and saying, I'm going to teach scripture here. Regardless of what people think is and isn't appropriate. That's what I'm going to do. Because that is a gift I've been blessed with, and I'm going to share it and everyone, no matter where they are, there's something you can do to build the kingdom. There's something. And so maybe it's just asking the Lord every single morning, "How do you want me to be all in today? What does that look like?" That's what I'm going to do.
Morgan Jones 47:38
Perfect. Well, I just thank you so much for your example of that and for all that you are doing with Jesus because it is blessing lives, mine included. So thank you so much.
Emily Belle Freeman 47:51
Well thank you, you are welcome.
Morgan Jones 47:55
We are so grateful to all of you for joining us for this special "Don't Miss This" week of All In. And a very special thanks to Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler for joining us. You can pre-order Emily's new book, Grace Where You Are on deseretbook.com. Please be sure to leave us a rating or review on Apple Podcast if you haven't already. And we will be back next week with more great stuff to come.