Tuesday, March 3, 2015

From Good to Grace :: An Interview with Author Christine Hoover (And Instagram Giveaway!)

Hop on over to my Instagram account today to win a copy of From Good to Grace by Christine Hoover! (Click here.) Below is an interview with Christine about the book!

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Last week I shared with you guys that I've gained some pretty major victory in my life, in that I'm letting go of trying to be so good all the time. And what I mean by "good" is that I've been trying to work my butt off to earn a gold star from God, from my peers, my family, and my own weird standards. And it's been EXHAUSTING. And unnecessary - because Jesus was already all the good I ever needed to be; He was perfect, in fact.

One of the major tools that the Lord has used in my life the past few weeks has been Christine Hoover's book, From Good to Grace. I am CRAZY lucky to be internet friends with Christine, :) she is a woman who has doused my heart with life-giving truth over and over again. And this book, OH THIS BOOK you guys! Whether you're married, a mom, single, a grandma, no kids, ten kids - this book is for you. It's like Christine is reading my thoughts, as she describes her personal struggles with approval and her exhausting pursuit of earning God's "I'm pleased with you." But then she goes so much further than just admitting her struggles; she brings us into the freedom that God has given her, and offers it to us, too. This isn't a self help book - it really is about the Gospel. And the truth that Christine speaks of, in no exaggerating terms, has changed my heart and my life. So I'm incredibly excited to share a short interview with Christine about From Good to Grace, as well as hosting a giveaway of the book on my Instagram account! 
Christine, why did you write From Good to Grace? Could you give me a little snapshot of the book's concept?

This book was written on my heart through many years of wrestling with spiritual perfectionism. For so long I attempted to be good for God -- which is what I term the "goodness gospel" -- but then He taught me about His grace and that changed everything. I want other women to experience the same freedom and joy, the abundant life Jesus promised us yet so eludes so many of us because we live according to the goodness gospel.

The premise of the book, after debunking the goodness gospel of course, is that the Christian life is received from start to finish. Just as we receive our salvation by faith, we grow and are sanctified by faith, not through self-effort. We receive God's love and grace and it compels us to respond.

Is there a specific woman that you had in mind while you were writing this book?

I've found that many Christian women are deeply entangled in the bondage of "not good enough." They live their lives solely based upon what others are saying and the loud voices of expectations in their heads. These voices correspond closely with cultural messages of "do more, try harder," and "be the chance you want to see." They've infiltrated our churches and have confused the simplicity and beauty of the gospel of Jesus. I wrote this book for those women, the ones who don't even know they are living by the goodness gospel, but feel the effects of it: the comparison, competition, division, people-pleasing, isolation, self-condemnation, and guilt. They are the ones who felt like I did: unloved by God and certain that they'll never be enough or do enough for Him.

How has going from "good to grace" changed you as a wife, mom, friend, and minister of the Gospel?

Going from good to grace has changed everything for me. Everything. 
When God began to reveal His grace and my lack of understanding of it, we were about a year into my husband’s first full-time ministry position. I felt like a failure as a pastor’s wife, and we’d just begun! I tried to be like pastor’s wives I admired but felt inadequate. I looked for validation and approval from those we were serving, but the little I got was not enough for me. I tried so very hard. At the same time, I didn’t want to go to God for help or anything really, because I was so sure He would tell me all the ways I was failing Him and all the things I needed to do better. 

When He began to change my heart and mind, He did it through the book of Galatians. As I read through that book, I realized that what matters to God is faith, not my behaviors. I was using my role as a pastor’s wife to try to get Him (and others) to love me. In fact, He already did love me. He had all along. Not only did He love me, but He delighted in me. Once that really settled in my heart, I saw ministry so differently. Ministry is an opportunity to worship and love the One who already loves me. I can serve using my unique gifts and personalities without needing validation or approval. As Henri Nouwen says, “You have to listen to the voice that calls you the beloved, because otherwise you will run around begging for affirmation, for praise, for success. And then you’re not free.” That had been me, but after learning how to receive and respond to God’s love for me, His grace for me, I have experienced freedom in ministry.

When women read this book, and finish that last page, what do you hope they ultimately walk away with?

I hope it sticks that God willingly takes responsibility for both our salvation and our sanctification, because that really takes the pressure off. I hope that when they think they’re not “good enough”, they’ll immediately think “But God . . .” We see that in Ephesians 2:6: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead trespasses [not good enough] made us alive together with Christ--by grace we have been saved.” Mostly, I hope those who have struggled to comprehend that they’re loved by God will stop stiff-arming Him out of fear and finally receive what they most desire.

Christine Hoover (@christinehoover) is the author of The Church Planting Wife and From Good to Grace. She is a recovering perfectionist, the wife of a pastor, and a mom of three boys. You can find her online on her blog, Grace Covers Me, and on Desiring God, Send Network, or iBelieve. 

Purchase your copy today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, or iTunes and discover the gospel’s reach in your own life.

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You guys, isn't this amazing? Head over to my Instagram page to enter my giveaway, or click on the just links above to find Christine's book. 

Thank you to Christine, and to Baker Publishing Group for providing a free book to me, and also to one winner from my Instagram giveaway.

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