Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Review: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

Five months ago, something extraordinary happened.  On a whim, I filled out a form to be part of the book launch team for Jen Hatmaker's new book For The Love.  Seriously.  Who does this sort of stuff and actually gets a reply?

Turns out-I do.

For the last several months it has been an HONOR to be part of Jen's launch team.  What started as an orthodox practice for launching a book became a community of women (and a few men!) on fire for Jesus, each other, and of course For The Love.  We became a tribe full of encouragement, hope, passion and truth. 

Part of my duty honor as a launch team member is to share my review of For The Love.  

Now, I know what you are thinking.  You're a Jesus girl. One of thoooooose people.

I am and am not.

If you aren't a Jesus girl or guy, please keep reading.  

It is true, I am a Jesus girl.  But I am not one of those people.  I am not a fan of religion to be honest.  I am Christian by way of my love for Jesus Christ.  

But you love Jesus and all that stuff.  Of COURSE you loved this book!

I have read books people.  Lots of different books.  Truth be told: I'm not a fan of preachy books.  At all.  But this book isn't that.  This book is Jen.

Jen writes For The Love from with a real, raw, and fresh approach. 

If you aren't familiar with Jen Hatmaker, you should be. Get on that. She writes to you as if you are sitting on her couch, wrapped in a blanket, enjoying a cup of coffee and shooting the breeze.  She writes about serious things, like slowing down, growing older, family, kids, church, crappy Christians, women, marriage, and people.  She also writes with a ridiculous sense of humor and wit about crotchless yoga pants, supper clubs, leggings, and finding your people.  I've never read a book with such a balance between the real and funny in life.  She is transparent and does not mince words. She is brave and inspires me to be brave.  In life and in my journey as an aspiring author. I cried tears and laughed so hard...well you'll see.  I highly encourage you to pick up this book, and pick one up for your friend too.  Share the love.  It is THAT good.  Never have I wanted to buy a copy for every single woman I know-until now. 

Here are my top five long quotes from For The Love and my thoughts on each:

"Wise women know what to hold onto and what to release,
and how to walk confidently in their choices--no regrets, no apologies, no guilt."  


"You can say no, and no one will die."

I know, that's two.  But they just go together.

Jen opens For The Love with a topic that speaks to every woman. The balance game we all play.  The first chapter, titled "Worst Beam Ever" struck me to my core.  Already, I was crying. Social media, a blessing and a curse, creates the illusion that we have it all together, all the time.  We show the best of ourselves for the world to see.  The phrase #offthebeam began floating around the launch team conversations and I've referenced it a few times with my people looking at me like I'm insane.  We must chose what to keep on the beam and what to take off.  Examine what is truly important. Dolphin sandwiches aren't. Ok?  It is ok to say no.  Really. Not everything has to stay on the beam.

photo cred-@jengarwood

"The timing is never right.  Forget that.  It rarely just falls into your lap.  You are probably not guaranteed success.  This might be a crapshoot. It will require sacrifice from you and maybe your people and you might step out on shaky, shaky legs. But off your go because we are not created to stand still, even though that is safe and familiar and you are guaranteed never to fall or stumble or grow weary. We were made to run."

Eons ago, when my husband and I were trying to have a baby, my mother-in-law told me that the timing would never be right.  Indeed, the timing in my life has never been right.  Things happen when they happen, despite my deep need and complex efforts to control them.  Many times I've felt those shaky legs.  But Jen is right.  We were not created to stand still.  I think it is a safe assumption to say that safe and familiar are similar among all of us, but where we run and what makes each of shaky is very different. I don't want to stand still.  Do you?

"We live in a strange unprecedented time when face-to-face relationships are becoming optional. It's tricky, this new online connectivity, because it can become meaningful and true; it has given way to actual friendships I treasure. But it can also steal from friends on porches, the ones who truly know you, who talk about real life over nachos. Online life is no substitute for practiced, physical presence, and it will never replace someone looking you in the eye, padding around your kitchen in bare-feet...walking in your front door without knocking."

This.  Oh I have such a love/hate relationship with social media and all this technology.  Do I love it?  Is it convenient?  Of course.  Do I love keeping in touch with those I don't see every day?  Of course.  But it has also cheapened things for our culture. I feel disconnected from those immediately around them.  Community is a basic need. I want purposeful, meaningful, funny, sad, and everything in between conversations and interactions in my life.  I'm writing this in my favorite coffee shop,  staring at the spot where a friend and I take the time to meet face-to-face when we can and have those conversations. My heart is always full for days after those conversations.  Facebook don't make my heart full. 

"Grace has no discernment."

Dear Christians, Please Stop  Being Crappy.  Yup. That's chapter in this book. And its one of my favorites.  Christians can be crappy.  News flash.  And we need to stop.  We are extremely hard on ourselves and others.  Especially other Christians.  We should not be treating each other poorly or extending judgement where it isn't needed.  We're all on the same playing field.  All of us.  All us humans in this big 'ol planet.  Love one another.  Why is that so hard?!  That sounds like another topic to discuss at a later date.  Humanity is difficult. We need to love one another.  Extend grace. Cloak each other in dignity. Be comforting and welcoming. Be family.

"Maybe your best thing won't draw a paycheck, but it is how you shine and glow and come to life to bless the world. May I legitimize your gifts? Just because you don't get a pay stub doesn't mean you shrink back or play small or give it all up. Do your thing.  Play your note. We are all watching and learning, moved.  You are making the world kinder, more beautiful, wiser, funnier, richer, better,..Run your race."

photo cred-@jengarwood

If you know me, you know that I am mama to two sweet littles from two different countries. You know that I've been a stay-at-home mom since our first child came home.  That was not the plan.  See #2. His presence brought forth a whole new world to learn, new experiences, and more amazing people than I can count.  He gave me new gifts to harness and share. Do I feel like I am blessing the world by being a mother or sharing my story as an aspiring author?  Mmmmm, no.  But I'm going to continue to do my thing.  Cause its my thing.  I'm running.

For the love go get this book!  

I'd love to hear what you have to say after reading it.  
Give me a CALL.  
Let's meet for coffee or tea or whatever you drink for fun.  

Curious to see what others are saying about For The Love?  Go here.

Let's be meaningful.  

Let's love well.

Jen offers raw humor, truth, and grace through every word she writes. She holds your hand through the tough and dances next to you in joy. This book should be in the hands of every woman, offering Jen’s realistic and gracious approach to our crazy lives.
~ Heidi Schmidt, Special Needs Mama, Author, Blogger, 
and Lover of Hot Chocolate with Whip. Milwaukee, WI

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