There is Power in Sharing Your Story

Fifteen years ago, a friend shared a story with me. I was a college senior; from the outside I appeared “just fine,” but beneath the surface I was a tangled-up mess.

My resumé was polished: perfect grades, recommendations, and charity work, but inside I struggled with the pressure to be perfect and to impress a watching world.

I was twenty pounds underweight, daily dry-heaving from stress. I had attempted suicide and had no idea who I really was beyond what was on paper or what I thought the world wanted me to be.

I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was just fourteen. In my grief as a teenager, I struggled with rebellion, depression, and substance abuse—the opposite of the good girl I aspired to be in college, trying to atone for the missteps of my past. I was ashamed of who I once was; living with this shame caused me to hide the girl I had been.

For years I made every human effort to correct, overcome, and ignore the pain from my past. I believed forgetting what had happened to me in my small, Ohio hometown would give me the freedom to be a new person and start over. But untethering myself from who I was and where I came from—even with a shining new resumé—still left me longing for something more . . . living successfully in the present without accepting the dark places from my past left me feeling tangled-up and incomplete.

My friend shared his story, his struggles, and how God had changed his life through reading the Bible and trusting in Christ’s work on the cross.

I had never read the Bible for myself. In my personal religion based on my own experiences, I believed the way to heaven was to do the things I was doing: be a good girl, build a resumé, and contribute to charity—but I was exhausted and sick from trying to perform my way to heaven.

My friend’s vulnerability and trust in Christ stirred my heart. So, I began to read the Bible to discover who God is and what’s required for a relationship with Him.

As I read, I learned God doesn’t want people to build impressive resumés before they come to Him. I learned God died for me even when I was rebellious and wounded. The only requirement God has for me is to trust Him with my whole story—the dark and bright chapters.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved, this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, so no one may boast”(Eph. 2:4,8).

This is the gospel—the good news—I cling to daily, moment-by-moment. God loves us so much, He sent Jesus to die for us when we were spiritually dead, to give us everlasting life.  It has nothing to do with what kind of life we live—Christ died for the good girl and the rebellious girl too.

Eighteen months after I believed, I found myself at seminary with my husband of six days. Three years after that, God called my husband to serve as youth pastor of a church near my hometown. By the time I was thirty, God gave us four children, and the next year God called my husband to be the lead pastor of the same church, just fourteen miles from the place I had been running from most of my adult life.

When I see the unique story God is writing for me within the greater picture of the entire gospel story, I see God called me back to the places I was running from so He could heal me. Healing is a slow unraveling of the old and a gradual embracing of the new. In every chapter of my story, God is redeeming me layer-by-layer, from lingering layers of wounds, lies, and shame, as I learn to trust Him.

God’s purpose is to reveal His goodness and glory. He is the author of every chapter of my story, which helps me see beauty in every chapter. God is slowly unraveling me from the old to wholly embrace the new creation He is making me to be in the gospel. I share my story, so you will know God is writing a beautiful, redemptive story for you too.

There is power in the unique story God is writing for you. I hope you will embrace the dark and bright chapters. He is redeeming us in each chapter. The more we open up and let others see our chapters, the more we see how God is redeeming the world.

Your unique story contains the power of the gospel.

Embrace it.

Tell it.

Write it out. You never know how God could use your story to stir the heart of someone else—and draw them to himself.

God is writing your story for a unique purpose, and there is power it.

Rachel Craddock is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University (05’ B.A. Education) and a first-grade teacher at heart.

Rachel has been in the PCA since she became a Christian through the ministry of Campus Outreach during her time at Eastern Kentucky University. She has served in children’s, youth, and women’s ministries in the local churches she has attended over the years. Rachel currently serves as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at North Cincinnati Community Church, is a writer and speaker, and serves as CDM’s Regional Advisor of Women’s Ministry to Mid America. She writes on her blog and speaks at women’s events and retreats out of a desire to encourage women in a relatable way to practically apply the gospel to their daily lives.

Slowly Unraveled: Changed from the Inside Out was written from a heart that desires men and women to embrace the freedom of the gospel as well as encourage others to cling closely to a daily lifestyle of repentance, faith, and obedience. The gospel doesn’t require perfection, but it does require relationship with a God who unravels the old and makes us new in the redemptive blood of Jesus.

When not busy serving in her community as a substitute teacher in the public schools or parenting her four fun children Ezra (10), Asher (8), Caleb (7), and Lydia Jane (5), Rachel enjoys reading, dark roast coffee, trail running, traveling, date nights, and blogging. She and her family are members of North Cincinnati Community Church in Mason, Ohio where her husband serves as lead pastor. You can stay connected with Rachel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or right here on her blog,

Slowly Unraveled Launch Day Giveaways

My heart is so full. Slowly Unraveled has been a community project—and we are so close to the January 10th launch day. So many men and women have spoken into this book, edited this book, and contributed simply by being alongside me as I discovered power in the story God was and still  is writing for me in the gospel.

As I thought about Launch Day for Slowly Unraveled, I really wanted the launch to represent the book.

I wanted to collaborate with other women, introduce you to some amazing businesses, and create a women supporting women kind of launch event.

I’m going to lay out the whole launch party here on the blog—I like to communicate ahead of time so you all know what we are giving away and how you can win some of these amazing items.

The Facebook Live Launch Party will begin at 8pm Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, January 10th. I am predicting an hour and twenty minutes for the entire launch party—feel free to pop in as you are able—I will keep the contest open until 10:00pm.

First giveaway will be featured at 8:10 and from my friend Allison Brown. Allison has been in my discipleship group for three years, our girls are in school together and she is owner, creator, mom to four, and the momma-mastermind of Bellafesta. You can find her shop at

Allison is giving away any handmade dress from her shop—you choose the size 6m-6y.


How you will be entered to win the prize from Bellafesta: you must like the post with the above picture on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page during the launch event, comment “I’m here” in the comments, and you must have clicked the “going” button on the launch day event. If you haven’t clicked “going” on the launch day event yet 👉🏻 go do it now so you’re all set.

Click here for the link to the Launch Event

Our second give away will be featured around 8:15 and from Abby Shuman. Abby is an ambassador for Plexus and she is donating a set of simple skincare from their new line Joyome. Abby has been connecting with me here on the blog, and she attends Tate’s Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, KY. My husband attended Tate’s Creek for many years while he lived in Lexington. Go Cats. You can connect with Abby and learn more about Plexus on Facebook.

How you can win the simple skincare set: Like the post with the above picture, comment with a hello greeting of your choice, and tell us where you are joining us from. Double entry if you post a selfie of where you are and who you are watching with.

The second giveaway will be around 8:20 and is from my friend Carie Smittle. Carie is a room mom alongside me in our daughters’ preschool classroom—and she is so wonderful. Carie is donating a lip kit from Lip Sense. It is the most popular Lip Kit, Bella which is a neutral color. She also included a sweet travel pouch and it’s decorated with a snowflake ornament. You can connect with Carie on Facebook at Ready, Set, Lips and Beauty by Carie Smittle.

How to win this Lip Kit: Like the post with the images above during the launch party and comment with your name and tag friend’s name—someone you’d like to read through this book this year. Both will be entered to win.

Our fourth giveaway will be around 8:25 and it is from my sorority sister, Brittney Hammons from Bumblebee Photography. Brittney takes all our family photos and did a beautiful job on my headshots last spring. This prize needs to go to someone in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Area. Brittney is giving away a Mini Photography Session with digital images. You can connect with Brittney on her Bumblebee Photography Facebook Page.


How you can win a photo session: This is for a Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky winner only—Brittney is located in the Cincinnati area and this gift cannot ship. Like the post of the image above and comment with a picture of you or someone in you love wearing their favorite Ohio or Kentucky Team Gear.

Around 8:30 we will be giving away an item from another one of my sorority sisters, Megan Karr. Megan trained me how to be Kappa Delta Secretary, and I love her work over at CreateHappy Handmade. Megan is donating this beautiful, handmade mixed media sign with hand stamped letters and flowers, and hanging hardware on the back. The piece is 7×7. You can connect with Megan on instagram @createhappyhandmade.

How to be entered to win this sweet prize from CreateHappy Handmade: Show me your emojis. Like the post above during the launch party, and comment with the first six emojis in your recently used emoji library.

Around 8:35, I will introduce you to another Kappa Delta sister of mine, Kacy Massie. Kacy’s giveaway is for her two favorite products from WildTree! Rancher Steak Rub and Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil. These two products can be used on a variety of foods including all proteins and tons of vegetables. Wildtree is an organic food company that helps busy people get dinner on the table. Join Kacy on Facebook at Wildtree with Kacy Massie or check out her website at 

How you can be entered to win the Wildtree Products above: Like the post of the image above on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page during the Launch Party and comment a funny GIF that shows your current cooking style.

Our seventh giveaway is from my favorite preschool teacher and Rodan and Fields woman, Courtney Ryan. Courtney has taught all my children their letters, sounds, and how use their words, not their hands, to get along with others—she also has saved my skin. I love Rodan and Fields Products, they have really changed the way I wash my face and I love my new skin. Product picture to come, but here are my before and afters. This stuff is magical.

How you can win this amazing and magical gift from Courtney: During the party I will post a picture of my dog, dressed in a costume. Like the post during the party on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page and comment with a caption for the photo. Best caption wins.

Around 8:45 we will be giving another Wildtree Product from my good friend Melissa Smith. Melissa and I go to church together and she has been a life-giving friend to me for many years. Wildtree provides all of your mealtime solutions when life can feel a little hectic. Do you find yourself running out the door to get to work, the gym, or your kids’ activities?  Wildtree Wellness Shakes provide convenient, on-the-go nutrition, anytime!

Melissa is  providing a 15-day supply of Wildtree Wellness Vanilla Balanced Meal Shake Mix. Great on its own or add some berries, banana or spinach for a yummy breakfast or lunch on the go! For more information and recipes go to

How you can win this Wildtree Wellness Shake Mix: During the launch party, like the post that includes a link to the PCA Bookstore site for Slowly Unraveled and share the link to the PCA Bookstore on your timeline.

Around 8:50, we will do a giveaway from Thirty-One Gifts. My friend Tammy Rosenfeldt is donating an Essential Storage Tote. I know Tammy though church too. It is so generous of her to donate this bag from Thirty-One. You can find Tammy on Facebook to connect with her about other Thirty-One Items or on her site here.

How to win this tote from Tammy: Like the post of the above image during the launch party on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page and post your favorite funny meme in the comments.

Around 8:55, my friend Ashley Goebel from Chasing Belle Creations is donating some beautiful earrings. I used to dance with Ashley on the Mystical Dancer’s Dance Team when I was a young girl. Ashley has remained a sweet friend, and I am always so encouraged by her faith. You can connect with Ashley on Facebook and Instagram at Chasingbellecreations or at her Etsy Shop: Chasing Belle Creations.

How to win these beautiful handmade earrings: Like the image above during the launch party on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page, then in the comments I want you to share the name of a breast cancer survivor who inspires you or someone you love who passed away while fighting against breast cancer. This will be encouraging to both Ashley and I, breast cancer has touch both of our stories.

Around 9:00 we will be giving away a monogram quarter zip from Couture Bébé Threads donated by my friend Brittany Beaver.


How you can win a monogramed quarter zip: Like the photo during the Launch Party on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page, comment “shared cover photo” and make the Rachel Craddock, Author Page Launch Party cover photo your cover photo until the end of the Launch Party.

Around 9:05 we will give our twelfth item for the evening. My friend Jennifer Habra has donated a Beer Bread Value Pack from Tastefully Simple. You can find out more about Tastefully Simple from Jennifer on Facebook.


How you can win the Beer Bread Value Pack: Like the post of the above image during the launch party on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page and comment why you are excited about the book!

Around 9:10 we will do a giveaway from CraftRoom Studio. My friend Allison Leland is one of the owners of this shop—they create art kits for your little ones to explore, experiment, and create! She is giving away a “Becoming and Artist” art kit. You can find CraftRoom Studio on Facebook and Instagram. Allison was an art teacher and now is a stay at home mom to two precious girls and a little boy on the way. She also is a football coach’s wife. She is an amazing creator and you will want to check out her shop.

How to win this item from Craft Room Studio: Like the post on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page with the above image during the Launch Party, and comment with a GIF or MEME that best captures your favorite exercise.

Finally, around 9:15 we will be giving away a prize I am so excited about. A  Bible from Hosanna Revival. I am so excited to partner with this business. I found this shop at a vintage market a few months ago and fell in LOVE. Her journals and Bibles are so beautiful. Images of the Bible we will be giving away are below.

How to win this Bible shipped right to your door by me: during the party, like the post with these images on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page during the launch party and send Rachel Craddock, Author a private message with your proof of purchase of Slowly Unraveled from the PCA Bookstore.

All participants must enter by liking on specific image posts during the launch party on the Rachel Craddock, Author Facebook Page. All posts will be live at 8pm eastern standard time and we will close the party at 10pm eastern standard time. All winners will be contacted directly in the post thread by 10:30pm eastern standard time.

Facebook and instagram have no affiliation with this Launch Party and are in no way responsible.

I hope you will join us for this amazing collaborative event as we celebrate the launch of Slowly Unraveled.

P.S. Pre-order Link for Slowly Unraveled is Live Today. If you pre-order the book you can go ahead and send me that proof of purchase to or message me via Facebook on the Rachel Craddock, Author Page to be entered to win that beautiful Hosanna Revival Bible. This is the only giveaway I will begin accepting entries for!

Pre-Order Link Here

It Takes Courage

“It’s Christmas and we are all in misery.”

A Griswold family famous line from the holiday favorite, Christmas Vacation.

I laugh at this line every time I watch the movie. I laugh because the holidays can induce misery. Unhealed grief resurfaces, we long for broken relationships to be healed, we are reminded of difficult family dynamics, and we see evidence of brokenness in the visual reminder of who is no longer sitting with us around our Christmas Trees. I can’t sing some Christmas songs without big rolling tears running down my cheeks.

It takes courage to face the holidays with a heart-attitude of joy. Human nature is bent toward letting the misery in and rolling around in it for a while—for me, I rolled in misery for decades. In the Bible, Jesus refers to us as sheep, and sheep like stink (John 10). It takes intention to see beauty among the thorns. It takes hope to look forward to the things that are unseen.


It’s Christmas and we all need some courage. Courage is defined as strength in the face of great pain or grief.

I want to zoom in here on my definition of strength before I go on with courage. Strength is not defined by marching through a hard process without stumbling. Strength is stumbling though the hard things. Strength is falling down, but a continuous forward movement—even in the weariness of life. Strength is found by leaning on God and letting him hold us, even when we can’t hold up ourselves.

Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Courage is stumbling towards God in the face of great holiday misery. It takes courage to fight for joy.

The Intention to Live Courageously

Living courageously involves a lot of intention. It takes discipline to find the beauty among the thorns. It takes intention to focus on the beauty and not roll in the enticing stink of holiday misery.

It takes intention to not just simply make it through the holidays, but en-joy the glimpses of beauty among the thorns.

Joshua 1:9 is a verse I tell my children often: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. This is a verse on how we should live. But Moses tells Joshua in the verse before how to live courageously, with strength. 

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8. You cannot live courageously without the spiritual eyes to see the beauty among the thorns. You cannot strengthen your spiritual eyes without knowing who God is by reading his word. This takes intention—this is the intention to live courageously and also an invitation to prosperous living. 

Courage and Hopefulness 

It’s Christmas and we are courageously living because we have hope. There is a reason why we feel the weight of misery during the holiday season. It is a reminder that this world is not the way it is supposed to be. Holiday misery is a reminder that we need the rescuing hope of the gospel. The gospel is simply the truth that we are stumbling, and we need Jesus. We are in misery, but all around us there is hope if we live courageously enough to see it.

Try singing your favorite Christmas Hymn without hearing the gospel. Now that I live intentionally and courageously, I can’t sing a single hymn without singing about the world’s brokenness, misery, and need for saving—and how that saving comes by seeing, with hopefulness, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. He is the beauty among the thorns of this world. We are stumbling, but we can be hopeful because God is making all things new in Jesus.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33)

Again, the Bible is where you find truth. We can only know what Jesus has said if we read the Bible. But in His words, there is peace—even in times of holiday misery. The world is a place of great tribulation. I miss my mother who passed twenty years ago so much during the holidays, I am estranged from my father because of difficult family dynamics, and I have had a hard season of walking through a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I want to indulge in the pain and the grief, but it takes courage to fight for joy with intention.

It’s Christmas and we may all be in misery, but it takes courage to fight for joy. The beauty among the thorns of this world is a baby found wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. In him there is great power over misery. May you see him through any amount of misery this holiday season.

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm all is bright,
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child,
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth;
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Silent night, holy night,
Here at last, healing light,
From the heavenly kingdom sent,
Abundant grace for our intent.
Jesus, salvation for all.
Jesus, salvation for all.

Silent night, holy night,
Sleeps the world in peace tonight.
God sends his Son to earth below,
A Child from whom all blessings flow.
Jesus embraces mankind.
Jesus embraces mankind.

Silent night, holy night,
Mindful of mankind’s plight,
The Lord in Heav’n on high decreed,
From earthly woes we would be freed.
Jesus, God’s promise for peace.
Jesus, God’s promise for peace.

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born. 
Christ the Savior is born.

Need a Bible for Christmas? I recommend this one: ESV Bible

The Difference Between Mom Guilt & Shame: When We Fail To Love Our Children Well

I am an unraveling perfectionist. This means when I fall short, my human reaction is to wear a very heavy cloak of guilt and shame—I give myself very little grace; naturally, self-contempt has a loud voice within my soul.

What is guilt? Well, we feel guilty when we feel sorry for something we have done. Guilt is the ability to separate action from identity. Think guilty charges and the banging of a gavel. It is a clean, one time banging, the charges are read, and restitution is made at the reading of the verdict.

However, shame is deeper than guilt and ripples like a vibrating gong; there is no clean gavel banging when it comes to shame. Shame is believing that there is not only something wrong with what you have done—the ripple effects of shame infiltrate identity and guilty actions become tangled up in the way we see ourselves as people. Tangled up in shame, our guilty actions begin to define what kind of people we are—what kind of mothers we are.

Mom Fails, Mom Guilt, What Kind of Mother Are You?

One of my sweet children struggles in school. Truthfully, all of my children struggle with school in their own ways, but one of my children has a tougher time than the rest. He is a brilliant child, I have mature conversations with him on a daily basis. He is kind, he is helpful, he loves to chat with adults, he looks you right in the eyes when he speaks, and he loves to learn.

But almost each fall, when I attended his parent/teacher conferences, I would leave the school in tears. Sight words were a struggle, peer relationships were a struggle, spelling made me want to claw my eyes out, skill sheets took hours—my child constantly cried about school and about friends—I believe he was even depressed and struggled with shame attaching to his own identity.

His struggles in school became the way he saw himself. His actions rippled through him like a vibrating gong. He would say things like…

Why am I the worst? Everyone hates me because I am bad.

His bad actions easily turned into a tangled up identity. Guilt says: what I did was bad. Shame says, I am bad.

This breaks my heart, but caused me to take a long hard look in the mirror when it came to how I was dealing with my own mom fails and mom guilt. My personal actions easily become the vibrating gong of what-kind-of-mother-are-you self-contempt and tangle up my mom identity.

As mothers, if we let our shortcomings impact our mom identities, why wouldn’t our children do the same? Children are imitators. They do as you do, not as you say.

So Then, How Should We Live? 

There is hope in the story for that child who struggles a little more than my others in school. This year, my husband and I finally walked through the process of figuring out the missing pieces to the puzzle for our child. This was hard. So hard. But after several years, and trying everything else, we tested our son for ADHD and visual processing disorder.

And guess what? That sweet child of mine struggled with following multiple directions in school—every year, year after year—because his brain was unable to follow multiple directions in school. He is off the charts ADHD. And that same child doesn’t finish his work when copying from the board and struggles with sight words, reversals, and spelling because he has an identified visual processing disorder.

He has been taking a very small dose of methylphenidate at 7:15 every morning for two months. On the first school day he was on his medication he wrote me a note that said:

“Mom, I started my day at 8:10 and I finished my morning work by 8:30. Usually, my morning work sits on my desk unfinished all the way until lunch.” 

That note made me cry. My tears were mixed with happiness and sadness. Happiness for him, and sadness for him because he has struggled for so long.

His confidence is up. His grades are better. His handwriting is better. He seems to be doing better with peer interactions and homework no longer makes me want to claw my eyes out.

There are two personal threads I have needed to unravel from my what-kind-of-mother-are-you self-contempt. This feels like a double-edged mom fail.

One: it is easy for me to get tangled up in the lie that whispers “I am the one who caused this problem for my child.” Maybe, I didn’t breastfeed him long enough, maybe we watched too much television, maybe I didn’t read to him enough, or play with him enough because by the time he was four, he was an older brother to three other siblings. Maybe, I didn’t pray hard enough that his struggles would go away.

Two: The lies that whisper I wasn’t prompt enough in solving this problem. “If I could have just walked through this process when he was in kindergarten, then we would be in a better place academically, socially, and emotionally by now.” I am a trained educator, I should have recognized these signs sooner. I know my child, and I knew something was not right.

There is hope for mom guilt turning into mom shame too. The problem is my sin, the cure is the gospel. We all need the hope of the daily vitamin of the gospel, where we intentionally see ourselves as God sees us as mothers.

I have to be intentional to not let mom fails and mom guilt get tangled up in the way I see myself as a mother. Both of those tangled up lies are self-focused and fail to see the bigger picture of how God sees me, and how God sees my child. Both of those threads fail to see ourselves in light of God’s greater redemption story. Both of these threads look inward, and fail to see outward, onward, and upward.

So then, how should we live? We live by the one time banging of a gavel and not the vibrating sound of a gong. The sound of the gavel is clean and sharp, it may make us flinch, but it doesn’t ripple and infiltrate our identities or the kind of mothers we are.

We do fall short as mothers, (if you haven’t yet—you will) but if God doesn’t hold our shortcomings against us, why would we hold them against ourselves? Living by the one time banging of a gavel, our shortcomings unravel away through repenting (turning away from the action) and believing that God is working even when we don’t have it all figured out.

Don’t live by the gong. We are not are shortcomings. God doesn’t see us that way. If we trust in Jesus and his work on the cross, God sees us as perfect in his sight. We are stumbling on this side of heaven, but we are seen as perfectly loved sons and daughters.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus we are given life and set free (Romans 8:1)

If we love our children so much we could burst in their stumbling, imagine how much more God loves us as we mother our children? We are free to stumble and seen as loved in Christ. The gavel sounded when we first trusted Christ, now we are free to waltz in the gospel and be unraveled from the shame that tangles us.

When we look outward, onward, and upward and live by the gavel and not the gong, we are really free! Mom fails, mom guilt, and mom shame cannot bind us if we are truly trusting in the daily vitamin of the gospel.

Our children will imitate us. Show them how to live by the gavel and not be tangled up by the gong.


From Unraveled to Slowly Unraveled: The Stories Behind Writing this Book

I wrote the first draft of Unraveled about five years ago. And I sent it to almost ten people. It was terrible. My friends gave me honest feedback some said Unraveled was cringe-worthy.  I knew Unraveled needed some more fine tuning. The first draft of this project was simply a step towards the making of this book, and the beginning of an idea.

Never give up. Just keep fine-tuning.

There is a verse in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 4:

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

One year as I led a study alongside a mentor of mine, I was blown away by John Stott’s teaching on these few verses. It occurred to me that in my life, putting off the old self and putting on the new self is a daily dance and a constant process. We never really arrive in the Christian life. I discovered, once I overcome one layer of sin and selfishness, there seems to always be another layer underneath.

As we grow and mature, we are unraveling old layers of the old self.

Humble Beginnings 

In the spring of 2017, I took a three day trip to the beach—without my husband and my four children—to hone in on the structure of Unraveled.

I spent time reading, praying, and thinking about where Unraveled could start as a book—and where I wanted it to go.

I read two books on that trip. Paul Tripp’s What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

I read and listened to teaching and storytelling. But I also wrote. And I wrote, and I wrote . . . on an iPad with a keyboard attachment, on the beach in the sun: trying to see the screen through the glare and flipping back and forth between the Microsoft Word App and the ESV Study Bible App.

I wanted to really birth this book on the beach by the ocean. I wanted to write in a place where I felt small in comparison to a big world and a big God who controls the setting of the sun and the rising of the seas. I wanted to write from a place of humility and I wanted to trust that this project would go out into a big world and be held by a big God.

I spoke via email with Karen Hodge on that trip and I enjoyed spending time with my grandparents while I read, wrote, prayed, and slept.

At the beach, the idea to write Unraveled in sections came to me. The book is divided into six sections: Strength, Identity, Perfectionism, Marriage, Parenting, and Grief.

And at the beach, I started to think more deeply about the entire book of Ephesians and how the entire book  went alongside the sections of the book I was dreaming about.

From March 2017-May 2017 I studied Ephesians. I read James Montgomery Boice, John Stott, listened to Tim Keller, and struggled through Peter T. OBrien.

In May of 2017 I was invited to speak at New Vienna Church and I decided to try out my Unraveled stuff with everything I was learning from studying the book of Ephesians.

If I want to be honest about humble beginnings and starting from a place of smallness, here is my rough around the edges talk. The talk starts around 15 minutes and ends around 55 minutes.

In the summer of 2017 I had a real first draft for Unraveled. I sent nine copies out to different people, one copy to my husband, and one copy to a pastor friend.

I learned Unraveled was going somewhere. I learned about the Oxford comma, and I learned I have no idea what the difference is between a comma, a semi colon, an em dash, or parenthesis. I only applied to colleges that did not require an admissions essay—writing has never been my thing.

But teaching, encouraging, and storytelling are my things. So are humble beginnings. So I kept going and learned what I could as I went.

Most of my friends sent Unraveled back to me by August of 2017, and I went through all their notes by the end of that summer.

But then I sat on my draft for six months. I was so afraid to send Unraveled to a publisher and I had no idea where to start. Fear felt big for a time. So I waited.

Sending a Book Proposal

In February 2018 I felt the twentieth anniversary of my mother’s death approaching quickly. I really wanted to publish something before 2018 was over—this was a personal goal I had set for myself.

In February, I sent a draft (at this point read by approximately twenty people) to Karen Hodge and Christina Fox. Karen is a dear friend and mentor of mine, and the Coordinator of Women’s Ministries in our denomination and a published author. Christina Fox is the editor of our denomination’s blog as well as a published author. Both of these women were so encouraging. I was directed to the book proposal page for CDM and a book: Get Published: 11 Must Know Publishing Secrets by Mary DeMuth.

Again, I read and I learned. I fine tuned. I didn’t give up. I wrote proposals. I sent proposals. I never heard back. But one day I heard back.

I was subbing for a teacher who is now my second son’s second grade teacher. I was sitting at her desk during lunch, registering for our denomination’s national meeting, General Assembly, and texting with my friend Eileen about the details for the trip. All of a sudden I received an email that CDM received my book proposal and I would hear back in six to eight weeks.

Shock is an understatement here. When I talked to my husband about this I said, “CDM will never publish my book.”

Then, I prayed and I waited a little bit more. And I continued to revise.

This year  I decided to go on a trip to the beach with my family for the twentieth anniversary of my mother’s passing. April 7th, 1998 is the day she passed away and each year April 7th is a dark day for me. To break the cycle of sadness, I wanted to go to the beach, a place my mom loved, and I place I have sweet memories of mom mom from years past.

On my way to the beach, on April 7 2018, the twentieth anniversary of my mother’s passing—l was in the car at a restroom break somewhere in Georgia—I got an email from CDM saying that they would love to partner with me and publish the story, Unraveled.

The detail of this email coming on such an important day is a detail I will never forget to highlight. God cares for us in the small things and in a small way April 7th has been redeemed for me. On April 7, 1998 my mother passed away and on April 7, 2018 I received an email communicating that Unraveled would be published.

And the title change . . . 

From Unraveled to Slowly Unraveled. I have written this on my blog before and I will write it again: I still order chicken nuggets, fries, and a coke with no ice at McDonald’s because I am the kind of person who does the same thing all of the time. Change is not light and easy for me. So a title change was rough. I had so many layers to unravel when it came to the expectations I had for a one word title.

But, if you search Unraveled in Books on Amazon, turns out you will find a lot of books with title covers picturing men wrapped up in ropes. This is not the image we were hoping to capture with Unraveled.

I think our team suggested up to twenty alternative titles. But Slowly Unraveled: Changed From the Inside Out came as my sweet and smart editor was reading my final chapter.

And it is a true, noble, worthy, and fitting title. It is humble. And it is good. Because any kind of true change happens slowly. Any kind of process worth going through takes time, it takes a whole lot of not giving up, and it takes a village of people to help you fine tune. This book has been a Slowly Unraveling process and I am so proud this is the title of the book.

In the process, about thirty more people have read Slowly Unraveled. So now this community project is up to about fifty people. Some (Marlys and I) have read it more than hundred times . . . we are both Slowly and thoroughly Unraveled, but so pleased to share this book with you.

Find it in the PCA Bookstore on January 10th.

I’d love to come to your town for a book signing event! Message me soon.

Thank you for being alongside me on this long, Slowly Unraveled journey. Each of you have encouraged me to never give up and keep fine-tuning. I am thankful for you!