With a hopeful outlook on life and with such a passionate view on the Bible and everything it stands for, who wouldn’t want to get to know inspirational speaker and writer Emily Belle Freeman? She is the loving mother of four children “who came to her by birth” and two other children “who came to her by love.” With four of her children in college, writing her books, and traveling on the road to give speeches, Freeman lives a busy, yet blessed life. “I’ve been writing for about ten years and I’m also a speaker, so I have the opportunity to travel all across the United States speaking to different groups and I find a lot of fulfillment in doing that,” Freeman said. And now her life has been blessed once more with the publishing of her new book Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Seven Traditions to Lead us Closer to Jesus Christ.
This book goes hand in hand with her other holiday book Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas: Seven Traditions to Lead us Closer to the Savior, except now, instead of focusing on the birth of Jesus Christ, she is focusing on his death and rebirth. Freeman loves talking about the Bible and she loves stories with characters that house qualities that make them “difference makers” and Jesus Christ definitely fits into that category. “Probably the stories I love most in the Bible are the ones where someone becomes the difference maker. To be able to make a difference in their situation and in the lives of the people who surround them,” Freeman said.
Stories of “difference makers” were just the beginning of her inspiration for her new book. Freeman said one of her favorite experiences while writing was when she was researching a volume of books by Alfred Edersheim. She bought old versions of books written by Edersheim that once belonged to a Reverend who lived in Vermont. Upon reading about the Holy Week, the week leading up to Palm Sunday, Freeman came across an extraordinary find. “I read down the whole entire part as I was preparing to start writing and then I noticed, at the end of that part, that man who had owned the book had signed his name [and had written] ‘March 31, 1928, and then he had written, ‘Tomorrow is Palm Sunday,’” Freeman said. When she read that quote, she knew that Easter had been an important holiday to the Reverend who owned the books before her and Freeman, herself, understood that it was important to read and to prepare oneself to enter into a holiday as powerful as Easter. She also stated that to receive insight from a man who isn’t even alive anymore is truly a great blessing.
When actually writing Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter, Freeman said that researching the details of the stories within her book were easy for she loved them all so much, it was writing everything down on paper that took a bit longer. Each of the stories in Freeman’s book came from the Biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. “It’s just people who I love and admire so much from that story that surrounds the death and then resurrection of Jesus Christ and, at the beginning of the book, I talk about that you can read this book in any order,” Freeman said. “It doesn’t matter where you start or where you end. Each chapter kind of stands alone about that person and their personal experience with Jesus Christ.”
One of the most intriguing bits about Freeman’s new book is that she writes in the first person rather than the third person and, when asked why she wrote in this way, she said, “I wanted people to feel like they were having a casual or genuine conversation with me.” She hopes that a more casual conversation like feel will help draw people in and not push them away just because her book is one about Easter. This is a book that is supposed to help families find a holy experience and find it together. Finding a holy experience does not even need to take a long time and, with Freeman’s decision to make her book so short, families or even individuals can read the entire thing or pick and choose a couple of chapters to read if they’d like. “I feel like when you come to major holidays, there is so much going on already that what you don’t need is something that will add more to an already hectic time of year,” Freeman said. “So I wanted it to be simple enough that people would realize they just could add something different to this holiday season and not have to feel overwhelmed by preparing to do that.”
Having already been published, Freeman has witnessed first-hand what a rewarding experience it holds for writers. “Probably the most rewarding part for me is the opportunity I have had to take the things that I believe the most strongly about and being able to share those with other people, being able to pass those along,” Freeman said. She hopes people who pick up Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter are ones who are seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus and ones who are hoping to bring something different to the Easter holiday. She also hopes that once people are finished reading, they will be able to rejoice in Jesus not just during Easter, but every day of the year. “That they would come to know him in a personal way through the experiences of those who were closest to him and that those lessons would not only increase the celebration of this holiday time, but would be something that they would carry with them throughout the year,” Freeman said.
The future holds wonderful things for Freeman. She already has two books in the making. One will be coming out in August called Maybe Today that is the second in a series of books one can pass along to others by leaving on a table in a coffee shop or leaving behind on a bus. The first in the series is The Peter Potential and these books are not meant to be kept. “It’s meant to spread wherever the goodness can go,” Freeman said. Another book in the making is all about “difference makers” and the lessons we can learn from their stories. Freeman is a natural born speaker as well as a beautiful writer and there is no hope needed for her future for her path is paved with blessings that will only lead to success.
Originally published at www.examiner.com on March 13, 2015.