Okay, people, we need to talk about Jen Hatmaker. We must. We get to.
The first time I ever heard her name I was packing to go pick up my daughter in Ethiopia and someone messaged me, “Do you know my friend Jen Hatmaker? I think you guys are going to be there at the same time.” No, no I did not know this anonymous person, but I liked her already since we were both adopting simultaneously.
I wish now that I’d stalked her around Addis Ababa so we could fall deeply in like and begin our momlationship. Because we’re MFEO. (Remember Sleepless in Seattle? Made For Each Other.)
Soon after getting home from Ethiopia, feeling shattered from the precious daughter pushing me to the breaking point, grimy from lack of showering, and alone from precious community giving us All the Important Space to Bond, I stumbled upon her post “After the Airport.” And then Jen and I became B-F-F. I know every woman in North America says she’s Jen’s BFF, but I really am. I will fight you for her, and I will pull hair.
See how close we are? Here I am with her realtor on her new show My Big Family Renovation:
See? Down at the bottom? Look closely. Her old house was decorated beautifully. I know, because my tweet was there.
Here’s one of me and Jen together. See how happy she looks to see me? She’s smiling because my tweet is right beside her.
We are so friends. Clearly.
(Watch her show. It’s so fun, and also suspenseful. I pounded Nerds Rope, because that’s what I do when my girl has a pane of glass dipping precariously close to her face and she needs me.)
Is Something Missing?
Soon after I started reading her blog, I preordered her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. And it was fabulous. I laughed and uh-huhhed my way through it. She knows just how to challenge us without alienating us, like we’re all just on the messy journey together.
I heard about her other books, but I hadn’t read them yet. Until now. She’s re-releasing Interrupted, and because
I stalk her we’re BFF, I weaseled my way onto her blog team and snagged a free copy.
Oh you guys.
If you’ve ever wandered over to my About page, you know my story and why this blog is called Unexpected and not SheOversharesPoopStories. This journey of waking up to what’s in the Bible about the poor, the orphan, the widow, this wondering “Have all these verses always been in there? How did I miss them?” This is my story over the last five years, and as I read Interrupted this week, I felt like I was having this conversation over coffee with my best friend.
Church people, do you wander from church to church feeling like something’s missing? Are you sick of going through the motions of cultural Christianity? I’ve felt like that.
And I’m not alone. I know a lot of you have experienced a restlessness over the last few years, because we’ve talked about it. We’ve found each other. And Jen puts all our feelings into words that we can chew on.
A Couple of My Favorite Parts
She prayed a little prayer with lots of big ramifications, “Raise up in me a holy passion,” and God interrupted her comfortable faith and invited her into something greater.
(Do you watch The Tonight Show? I’m completely addicted to Jimmy Fallon and the lightness I feel after a good hour-long belly laugh every night. You know how he’ll sometimes give you a tiny sample of the musical guest’s song on his laptop then break it off and say, “That’s it! That’s all you get!” And then we have to wait till later to hear the rest of the song? I’m going to do that with a few of Jen’s book words.)
We must run, not walk, the way of Isaiah 58, embracing authentic faith manifested through mercy and community. Living on mission requires nothing less, it is a grand adventure, a true voyage into the kingdom of God. Would you lose days, months, years pointing fingers and quarreling, or would you rather break yokes of oppression? Imagine what would happen if we all chose the latter (p.182).
THAT’S IT. That’s all you get. Until you read it for yourself.
Another thing that really makes this book pop is after each chunk of Jen, her hubby Brandon tells his side of the story and what God was doing in his heart at the time. As a girl who’s read Barefoot Church twice, I love me some bearded biker Brandon. (Christian side-hug love, Jen. No worries. Fist bump.) It’s such a treat that this fun couple has invited us into their God project so we can watch them work together as God percolates our own hearts. I love where Brandon goes with the “getting fed” thing:
If we’ve been in church for years yet aren’t full, are we really hungry for more knowledge…Maybe we love God, but are we loving others (p.229)?
THAT’S IT. That’s all you get. Read the book.
You’re in Good Hands
Lemme tell you something important. If you’ve read Jen’s writing before, you know this mama is full of passion but all kinds of gentle in a self-deprecating kind of way. You are safe with her. Not safe to remain unchanged, but safe to enter her story and journey with her. She big loves us through the pages of her book about “when Jesus wrecks your comfortable Christianity.”
And she’s funny. On one page she’ll have you ready to dig through your Bible and on the next, you’ll crack up about her hilarious kids. Above all, she’s relatable. You’ll never feel like this church stuff is for pastors and theologians. She takes kingdom ideas and makes them accessible to every one of us. She transforms your idea of mission from a trip you go on to a lifestyle you lead right here at home.
Jen Hatmaker INTERRUPTED Giveaway
So, now that you’re positively foaming at the mouth for this life-changing book with all the hardcore meatiness and humor and mama bear love we adore in our Jen, I have exciting news. I’m giving away a free copy, and I hope you win. (Don’t tell the others, but I hope it’s you.;)
If you’re all, “Wah-wah, I never win anything and don’t want to bother trying, wah-wah,” then you can go ahead and order the book here, and then we can all read it and talk about it together.