For the Love of a Great Book

For the Love book coverHave you ever immediately connected to someone you’ve never met?

From the very first page of the introduction of Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love, we clicked. As the pages turned nonstop, I knew she was a soul sister.

For the Love is like a mom’s night out that you don’t want to end until you know for sure that the kids are in bed. You know those rare occasions when you’re out with your friends and you talk and talk and talk? That’s For the Love. Jen writes in such a conversational style that we’re already on a first name basis in my head after reading this book.

During this conversation, I was encouraged and laughed out loud. I also cringed and was challenged in my ways of thinking. I felt equipped with a plan to change some things. There were times I cried from sheer relief that I’m not alone in all these feelings.

Jen encouraged me when it comes to my “spicy” family. I had just retrieved my kid’s underpants from the neighbor’s yard and was feeling pretty frustrated with our lack of preciousness when she made me spit my coffee with this nugget:
“So anytime I am around a sweet family, I have a crisis…We need to figure out how to be more adorable! Our kids don’t even know any hymns! How will we break out in spontaneous family worship? WWAVD? (What would Ann Voskamp do?) Let’s just throw in the towel.”
It’s so good to know we’re not alone.

I was challenged to balance my beam by acknowledging my current season in life, assessing my priorities and learning to say no. After reading this chapter, I almost bought a tee shirt at Target that simply said, “NOPE.”
“We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.”

I was challenged to rethink my comfortable Christianity.
“I started hearing my Gospel narrative through the ears of the Other, and a giant whole bunch of it didn’t even make sense…There is a biblical benchmark I now use…If it isn’t also true for a poor, single, Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true…Theology is either true everywhere or it isn’t true anywhere.”

Oh and then there was this gem that felt like it could’ve been prefaced with a HEY YOU:
“I don’t like it when people minimize their gifts. There is a difference in humility and insecurity, and self-effacement does no one any favors. We teach our watching children to doubt and excuse and diminish themselves.”
Ouch.

Another bit just for me?
“I meant to learn cooking, but I was too busy keeping small people alive. This survivor mentality infected the kitchen, so cooking produced nothing but resentment and irritation. I was shocked daily that I had to cook dinner again.”

So I decided to follow Jen’s advice and try my best to make the cooking time more enjoyable by finding some good music, maybe pour a glass of wine, and try new recipes. It’s a work in progress but I’m getting there! I’ve chopped and sautéed and used fresh herbs. And I LIKED IT. I think the key for me in this season is to have a plan and make a menu for the week. The glass of wine and great music will come in time.

Y’all, I could go on and on. There are just so many treasures in this book that I wanted to highlight ALL THE WORDS. I will read it over and over again and I’m sure new things will continue to jump out and grab me by the shoulders.

There will be an online book club with Jen to discuss For the Love starting on September 15th. Be sure to check out the details and register here: http://www.faithgateway.com/for-the-love-book-club-registration.

I hope you will pick up a copy of For the Love. It will encourage, challenge, and equip you to find more grace in this crazy life. You will walk away from this book with a greater depth of love for Jesus, for people, and even for yourself.

Plus, we’ll understand each other when we use phrases like “On/Off the beam” or “horsecrappery.”

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