On the Porch At Ann Voskamp’s: The Pink Outfit (Day 14) 21 Days of Rest

By July 11, 2014 10 Comments
Ann Voskamp, me, and the ocean. {photo by Emily Freeman} Ann Voskamp, me, and the ocean. {photo by Emily Freeman}

Although we met online years earlier, I first met Ann Voskamp in real life three years ago — walking along a beach, against the soft brush of waves upon smooth sand.

I was standing at the cusp of my journey as an author.  I hadn’t written a single word of my book yet. I hadn’t even gotten a book contract.

But, I had felt the whispers of my childhood story wanting to be told.  But, I was afraid.

There are so many easier books I could write.  Books about what I’ve learned about God. But, separated from my little girl self.

I write for DaySpring (in)courage and one year, they invited all the writers for a beach house retreat in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

After lunch one day, after we first said hello in the kitchen the day before, I asked Ann if we could go take a walk out on the beach. I wanted to ask Ann about her journey to put her soul out in print in One Thousand Gifts, which had just published that year.

It’s amazing how a farmer’s wife in Canada and a girl born in Chinatown San Francisco could somehow meet on a beach and talk about the stories that whisper to us in the quiet places of the soul.  About fears and prayers, about the turns in our stories and God’s pull to write those whispers out on paper.

Little did I know the next day at the beach retreat, I would wake up to find a little email in my inbox with news that Revell had offered me a book contract to publish my debut book Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

With a heart beating with flip-flop amazement, I carried my laptop over to share the good news with Ann. Her eyes lit up with sunshine, and a exploding peal of “Thank you Father!” sung out from her, as her hand stretched up towards the heaven, as if she was doing a high-five with God himself (which I’m sure God gave one right back).

Today, Ann invited me to her front porch over at her blog A Holy Experience — to share an excerpt from Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

There were so many chapters to choose from.  How would I introduce myself to Ann’s readers?  Which excerpt should I share?

I felt torn. Couldn’t decide.  

So, I decided to cast my fate to the 100 kindreds who signed up to help me get the word out about the book’s release:  the Whitespace Launch Team.

I listed 5 chapters I was deciding between and asked for their vote:

Which chapter was most powerful *for you* personally. gut reaction please! thank you!

The Most Vulnerable Chapter

photo courtesy of Ann Voskamp {with my guest post at aholyexperience.com}

photo courtesy of Ann Voskamp {aholyexperience.com}

Of course, the most vulnerable chapter turned out the one with the greatest votes —  The Pink Outfit.

The other chapters listed are vulnerable too, but there’s something about that pink outfit. I don’t know if I would have dared to pick. 

The Pink Outfit feels safer in a book with the other chapters sandwiched next to it — rather than just out alone by itself in a blog post. It feels risky.  What would people think, without the context of the whole book?

So, I’m stepping out into the air of God’s grace today… with the gracious hand of Ann Voskamp pouring me a cup of friendship-mocha on the farm.

This chapter isn’t how I imagined introducing myself as a debut author: with a moment I have kept hidden away and wallpapered over. 

But, this is pink outfit moment is the moment Jesus has never been closer to me, more intimate as a Father holding his newfound daughter — and this is how He has chosen to introduce new friends to meet with me between the pages of our stories.

Join me at Ann’s porch for a sip of rest

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 10.44.01 AMBonnieGray_AnnVoskamp_AirportJoin me now friends on this journey of rest.  Because the best way to be your real self — while shaking and unsure if you’ll be accepted or rejected — is to do so with kindreds who walk the journey of rest together.  

Gather your stories and your beautiful hearts.  Click here to read my guest post at Ann’s place A Holy Experience – “The Pink Outfit: How To Move Beyond Surviving”.  

As you read, may your heart be prompted and encouraged to know this:

You matter.

Your voice matters.

Your story matters.

Because Jesus is living your story with you.

Because Jesus is your story.

He will always be faithful to carry you through everything and anything.

Because He loves you.  

As is.

“We, though, are going to love – love and be loved.
First we were loved, now we love.
He loved us first.” 




Is God prompting you to share a vulnerable glimpse into the real you - through your choices to dare and rest?

Pull up chair.  Click to comment. Your words make this place real.


{photo by emily freeman, chattingathesky}


Take The Journey of Rest With Me

Bonnie_SpiritualWhitespaceBookTake the Finding Spiritual Whitespace journey to make space to rest, despite whatever chaos and stress clutters our everyday lives.

You will find journal prompts for personal reflection and intimate group exploration. Let’s live a better story of rest. Together.

Purchase a copy of my memoir-driven guidebook for yourself and your friends.  Because rest isn’t a journey we need to take alone.  We need each other.

Because some stories can’t be told on a blog.  They are so intimate, they can only echo in the sacred space of the printed page. Letters from my heart bound together for you.

Let’s be kindreds. Let’s meet between the pages of Finding Spiritual Whitespace.


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unplugging returns us to our childhood self. at rest. present. fully alive. {eric & i broke out our Calvin & Hobbes comics to share them with Josh (middle), Caleb (left) & friend Tyler.} #soulgoodness

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a childhood dream come true.  {a 1st reading from a soulful #spiritualwhitesapce book launch party}

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Because some days you need a double shot of faith