This post is part of Jen Hatmaker’s “For the Love” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE.


 

I’m not a fan of Jen Hatmaker.

According to dictionary.com, fan is short for fanatic. A devotee, admirer or follower of a celebrity or other famous person. A partisan, booster or addict.

No, I’m none of those things regarding Jen Hatmaker.

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I’m not addicted to Jen and I wouldn’t call myself a devotee or addict. (Those words I reserve for Mugby Junction’s Black Iced Tea and TV show Gilmore Girls.) I don’t think she’s infallible. I realize she probably has cellulite, which, of course, is unlike other celebrities (wink) but not unlike the rest of us poor schmucks. I’m sure she’s probably survived a toddler tantrum or two, had a bad hair day this week and plucks chin hair like the rest of us 40-something women. I don’t think her and her husband are “saints” for adopting their two youngest children and, no, I don’t believe she’s my “best friend.”

I just like her writing.

I think she’s a neat woman.

I admire her tendency to “over share.” I call that transparency.

I think she tries really hard to balance family, calling and fun.

She makes me laugh and writes things I think but do not have the courage to say.

I’ve learned how to be brave as a writer from Jen and that Christians probably won’t stone me for it. (probably is the operative word, here)

I’ve heard and seen many of these sentiments during the lead up to today, August 18th. Jen’s new book launches today, For The Love. I’m on the fake* launch team, so here’s a picture of my copy, taken in my pajamas in my bedroom with my iced tea and Noonday Catalog (noondaycollection.com) in the background.

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You see, Jen’s just like us mere mortals. She started by writing a book with three littles in the house because God laid it on her heart to do so. She wrote a few more then started speaking to local churches and MOPS meetings. She honed her craft of writing and speaking, just like any professional doctissimo viagra 25 mg.

Along the way, she learned a few things.

Jesus’ message was universal. “Theology is either true everywhere or it isn’t true anywhere.” We, Americans. We, Christians. We are not special. We do not carry God in our pocket in order to pull out when we need to defend our rights, our speech, our liberty. As Jen mentioned on page 19, “sometimes my portrayal of God’s ways sounds suspicially like the American Dream and I had better check myself.”

If the Gospel isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.

Christians are afraid. We want clear boundaries, right and wrong legalism, people who are heros and saints, a God that is concrete in His ways. We want a formula so we know if we’re doing IT right. What is IT? Being like Christ.

On page 194, Jen puts it this way, “Am I getting this right enough? Do I understand God correctly? Is my theology accurate? Am I pleasing God? Am I banishing doubt? Can I defend my positions? Are my talking points sound?”

We spend so much time defending that we forget about grace. We forget to not be afraid. We forget that the ultimate win is not “getting it right” but loving others as Jesus did and continues to do through the Holy Spirit. We are, indeed, a hot mess like the early church, Jen, and it’s time to accept God’s grace for ourselves and practice the gospel of Grace for others.

“Jesus created a motley crew, plucking us from every context and inaugrating a piecemeal clan that has only every functioned with mercy. We should be grabbing hands, throwing our heads back, and laughing that God saved us all, because surely this is the messiest family ever and He loves us anyway. Our shared redemption should keep us grateful and kind, because what other response even makes sense?” (p. 197)

Congrats, Jen, on the new book. Thanks for leading the charge for women to be real, honest and raw.

Jen’s book is on sale now at Barnes & Noble, airport gift shops and all of the major online booksellers. Pick up a copy today. You’ll love it.

-Jana

 

 

*Jen’s actual launch team is a group of 500 real women, not evangelical author celebrities. 5000 applied and 500 were chosen. The rest of us rejected 4500 started a Facebook group and, essentially, deemed ourselves the B-team. We’re the rebel part of the launch team; we forced ourselves into the mix. As such, many offshoots have sprung out of The 4500 including Dauntless Grace Ministries (dauntlessgrace.org), meet-ups around the country, a closed group for sharing intimate issues and a writer’s group. All this from rejection.