I used to really love Jen Hatmaker. I read 7 (as should you), and fell IN LOVE. Later, I went back and read Interrupted (as should you) and fell even more in love, I picked up Barefoot Church by her husband Brandon and laughed for hours scrolling through old Facebook rants. The Hatmaker clan can fill a shelf on my built-in any day. When she and Brandon "came out" affirming LGBTQ+ I nearly died of joy. And when they were cast out from "Christian Circles" because of it, I mourned for her, proud that she would stand her ground. But I wasn't really reading books right then.
So I missed some of hers.
I picked up For the Love and Of Mess & Moxie at the same time from the Library and I jumped into For the Love first because it came out first and continuity is important to me. About two chapters in, I decided I wasn't going to do a Book Club on it because while it seemed like good, funny, fluff - it was maybe not "book club" material. HA - as if I have standards of any kind.
I was WRONG. Hatmaker fluffs you up with a bunch of cutesy stories and recipes for delicious sounding Pad Thai AND THEN SHE PUNCHES YOU IN THE GUT SO HARD. None of us were expecting that one, Jen. None of us.
Half way through the book comes the chapter Jesus Kids and oh. Oh, oh, oh. It is a home run, or a touch down, or some other sports-ball related reference that says "YES!" She calls forward the church and it's treatment of young people throughout the ages. There is science, there are facts, and there is so much heart you can't help but feel every word she writes. Supper Club and Porches as Altars speak to the very heart of who I am, but Poverty Tourism and Dear Church... tore me apart in the best way possible.
I can't even.
For The Love is funny and fluffy nonsense alongside soul wrenching goodness that challenges each of us to live into our best selves, questioning the status quo and reaching out for the best in others. I am so in love, all over again and I cannot believe I waited 3 years to read this book.
Luckily I am only a year late on Of Mess & Moxie.
Of Mess & Moxie
by Jen Hatmaker
Of Mess & Moxie starts off more solid than For The Love, a little more thought out. All the funny and the nonsense there is to love about Jen Hatmaker, but with a little more purpose.
In case you're new to the Hatmaker reads, all her books are like memoirs with a message. Which is my favorite kind of book, so it's easy for me to fall into. She has a natural voice and is always making me laugh. Part of it is the craziness of her life, but so much of it is how she frames it. Jen has a knack for capturing things all women, all moms, all people can relate to and making them easy identifiers to unify by. Does that make sense?
She makes us all feel like we could be friends. Not just with her, but with everyone. Because everyone has something we can identify with, that we can say "I hear that" to. Which just gives so much hope for the future in this difficult stage of life.
Of Mess & Moxie stands up, chapter by chapter, and ramps up to a glorious and fierce ending. Every chapter was life giving, with a take away or breath of fresh air that kept me engaged and wanting more until Forgiveness School just floored me. And then Fangirl - GUYS, FANGIRL. I want more of that. I want to be a fangirl of the beautiful people in my life, not randoms on the television, but the phenomenal loves working in my life. Finishing strong with String Eighteen Parties Together and Rewoven, I just closed my eyes upon closing the book and basked in how much I loved it.
My biggest draw from the book was this, which applies to more than just the one chapter where it is mentioned. And it is this, everyday this:
"Expect to love these years, even when they are hard, and you will."
I'm so glad to be reading Jen again.
Yes, I know it's not a singular book, but we watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and I picked all these beauties up from the Library and it's what we are doing next in preparation for the Holidays. So? We are reading them all. I think it's a good time of year to get into it.
Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
Clutterfree With Kids by Joshua Becker
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
and Zen Habits by Leo Babauta
I'll set book club for later in the month to give you all some time, because I love you.
See you then.