Last summer I got my hands on an advance copy of Jen Hatmaker’s newest book “For the Love” and let me just say right out of the gate that I LOVED it. I laughed, I cried, I shouted AMEN in hearty agreement. This is a book that women will enjoy most, but I know men have read it and loved it as well.
Do you know Jen Hatmaker? I don’t know her personally, but I did meet her once. In 2007, my church hosted a women’s conference called After Eve and Jen Hatmaker was one of the speakers. She was so candid and funny and relatable. She left me feeling inspired and empowered. In fact, I left that conference and started blogging because of some gentle(ish) admonishment from Jen to stop sitting on my dreams because “we aren’t getting any younger ladies!”
Jen has changed a lot since that conference. So have I. We are all in process and we should be transforming. Its a sign that we are actually living. And in “For the Love” Jen shares her perspectives from a place of wisdom and experience that can only come from years of transformation in the school of living life to the full.
She may have only been in the first few laps of what has grown to be a very public ministry when I was first introduced to her back in 2007, but even then she came across as someone whose opinion mattered. Someone who would use her influence to make a difference. She meant what she said and she was going to back it up with action. Now, years later, she takes over a decade of real, life-changing, faith altering experiences and writes a memoir of sorts encouraging us — sometimes pleading with us — to get over ourselves.
Using wit and wisdom as only Jen can, all of the essays in For the Love boil down simply to this: Be kind. Be you. Love Jesus.
If you are in a place where you are tired of the rat race, the battles fought in the courts of public opinion and urgings of the western world to have all the things and be all the things to all the people all of the time; if you are feeling slighted, overlooked, or betrayed by those who are supposed to love you; if you have a sense in your gut that society is focusing on the wrong things but you can’t pinpoint exactly what that means or what it may look like to live counter-culturally; then this book is for you. Also, if you just like sarcasm and funny stuff this book is for you. Or if you like cooking this book is for you (because there are some good recipes in there as well!).
If you are expecting this to be a Bible study type of book — its not. But it will give you a broader look into the global church and invite you to wrestle in uncomfortable tensions that will challenge you spiritually in productive ways. But rest assured, after she delivers a punch to the gut, she quickly follows with a chapter full of Jimmy Fallon style thank you notes that will launch you from ugly cry to side splitting laughter.
Permission to be honest? I was actually a part of Jen’s launch team for this book… that came out in AUGUST. And I am just getting around to writing this post today. I guess its a good thing I was launching a book about grace and forgiveness and unconditional love in a world of impossible standards, huh?
It’s already a New York Times best seller. You can catch several podcasts from Catalyst to Relevant to Happy Hour, and more to hear Jen herself speak about the book. But if you are like me and can’t seem to stay on top of ALL THE THINGS, and you haven’t read For the Love yet, I recommend you take some time to DO IT. Even better, read it with some friends and have a book club. Come around a table with friends or family or neighbors you just met and discuss the chapters. There are even videos you can tap into for book club fodder (find them here.)
And finally, if you want more Hatmaker, consider registering for one of two upcoming events that I strongly endorse. One is the IF:Gathering, a conference for women that happens February 5 – 6, 2016 or the Passion4Moms conference in DC coming up in April 2016. Jen will be speaking at both events and I am sure they will both be life-giving times of unconditional love and laughter. Side note: I will be blogging more about IF:Gathering very soon, if you are local to DC-metro, I am co-hosting an IF:Local for the third year and you’re WELCOME to join me. If you live elsewhere, click here for info on IF:Local gatherings in your area (they are WORLDWIDE!)
Jen Hatmaker is a mom to five children, a pastor’s wife, sought-after speaker, best-selling author and star of the popular series My Big Family Renovation on HGTV. She is best known for her books 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. For more information, visit JenHatmaker.com.