Jen Hatmaker and I have been BFF’s for awhile now…She just doesn’t know it (is that creepy?). Since learning about her via Jennie Allen and the If: Gathering, I fell in love with Jen’s sincerity, humor and honesty quickly. I added all of the If: Gathering speakers to my social media queue and continued to follow along with Jen as she talked about her family, her faith, and her love for Friday Night Lights. Our friendship flourished as I picked up her book 7 and cheered her on during her HGTV renovation show. And when I learned she was working on a new book, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
For The Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards covers a myriad of topics. Written in essay form, it’s a quick read that you can easily jump around in, rereading certain sections, and discovering new nuggets of truth.
First of all, the book is hilarious. Jen writes her own version of Jimmy Fallon’s Thank You Notes where she covers such hot button issues as yoga pants, Instagram filters and Netflix. She dedicates entire chapters on turning 40, surviving school and fashion. All of which had me laughing out loud as a 25 year old with no children.
“Thank you, Facebook, for being the ultimate proof that being popular in high school means nothing as an adult.”
Secondly, For The Love gets at the heart of our current condition as Christians. From mission trips to community, to dealing with difficult people and the church, Jen challenges and encourages us to live more like Jesus.
“If we allow people to be human and God to be God, the church has a fighting chance. If you show up brave and true, and leaders show up brave and true, if you own your place and I own mine, the kingdom will break though in every possible way.”
Finally, For the Love is an ode to women. I’ll explain with a few quotes right from the book:
“We are called to this work, and it might not seem like much, but if you play your one note and I play mine and she plays hers, together it will create a beautiful song that sounds like freedom for the captives and good news to the poor. May the brokenhearted be healed and ashes turned to beauty in our generation. God, make us worthy of Your calling.”
“Sisters, can you imagine a world where we could be free enough to tell the truth? Letting hard things be hard and confusing things be confusing? If we fought the instinct to prop things up, to polish and tilt and arrange the pieces in just the right lighting, we would be free. We could all exhale.”
“Sister, come near and listen: You are smart and capable, strong and wise. You are an overcomer, a prized member of the body of Christ.”
Whether you are a mom, a wife, a Christian or none of the above, you will be encouraged by this book. This may even be a great conversation starter for a friend who doesn’t know the Lord. Scan some chapters and share them with her. If nothing else you’ll probably get her to laugh.
As a young woman navigating life, Jen put things into perspective for me and gave me permission to “let it go.” We may not be BFF’s in real life, but I will continue to daydream about her mentoring me one day and cheer her on as she continues to lead and teach women extraordinarily well.
For The Love…Pick this one up.
If you do decide to read this book, be sure to check out Jen’s online book club through Faith Gateway. A fun way to feel more connected to the author and hear her take on the subjects she writes about.