Earlier this year, my best friend Jen Hatmaker invited me to be part of the launch team for her next book.
Ok… so her invitation was a public one on her blog that her 5000 other best friends responded to. Somehow I was one of the 500 who got to be part of the team!
Even though I’ve only met her twice, I really do feel like Jen’s my best friend. Mostly because she writes with such honesty that I feel like I know her. And so much of what she writes speaks to my heart so well that it feels like she knows me.
This new book is no exception.
I underlined almost all of it as I read. In typical Jen-style, she weaves her sarcastic humor and spiritual teaching together in a way that had me laughing and crying and Amen-ing the whole way through. (Seriously, don’t read this book in public unless you’re ok with people giving you weird looks!) I finished the book with an “ahhhhh!”… you know… that sound you make when you take a swig of cold lemonade on a hot day and feel refreshed. This book is refreshing, breathing life into areas of my life I didn’t even know were dying. I’m not being over-dramatic (a Jen trait I love) when I say that every woman needs to read this book (and probably every man who has a woman in his life).
I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just share a few of my favorite quotes and let you decide for yourself.
“Annie Dillard was right: ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ You decide your days should contain laughter and grace, strength and security. You realize insecurity, striving, jealousy, and living in comparison will eventually define your entire life, and that is not the legacy you want. Let the young whippersnappers duke it out; you and your people are busy enjoying a bottle of wine on the deck.”
“Theology is either true everywhere or it isn’t true anywhere. This helps untangle us from the American God Narrative and sets God free to be God instead of the My-God-in-a-Pocket I carried for so long. It lends restraint when declaring what God does or does not think, because sometimes my portrayal of God’s ways sounds suspiciously like the American Dream and I had better check myself. Because of the Haitian single mom. Maybe I should speak less for God.” [This one got a YES and FOUR exclamation points in the margin.]
“I don’t like when people minimize their gifts. There is a difference between humility and insecurity, and self-effacement does no one any favors. We teach our watching children to doubt and excuse and diminish themselves. Do we want our kids to reflect on their mothers and have absolutely no idea what we loves? What we were good at? What got our pulses racing and minds spinning? Don’t we want them to see us doing what we do best?”
“Love God and follow Him. Really, nothing else matters. If you are ever unsure what to do, remember how Jesus loved people. He was the best at it. You can trust Him because anywhere He asks you to go, He has been there too. This is not an easy path, Lovies. Jesus went to hard places and did hard things; He loved folks everyone else hated or despised. But if you trust us at all, believe me: This is the life you want, this Jesus life.”
“Anytime the rich and poor combine, we should listen to whoever has the least power. Rich people are conditioned to assess the world through our privileges. The powerful tend to discredit or ignore the marginalized perspective because we can. We are shielded from the effects of a lopsided equation; we reap the benefits not the losses. We don’t mean to do this (or even know we do), but we evaluate other communities through the lens of advantage assuming we know best, have the most to offer. In doing so we unintentionally elevate our perception.” [This also applies to racial reconciliation where white people are the ones with the power who need to listen to people of color.]
And for a little bit of humor:
“Thank you, Netflix, for the fifteen seconds between episodes to decide if I’m going to do anything with my life today. The answer is inevitably no, but nobody can say you didn’t give me the option.” [See? She gets me!]
So yeah… go buy the book. You can thank me later.