Review: For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards

I first received my Jen Hatmaker Fan Club card back in October of 2012 when a few friends and I started a book club, because that’s what SAHMs do to get out of putting the kids to bed duty and eat food without anyone asking us if they can have some discuss interesting topics. Our first book was Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

We were inspired. We were inspired to get rid of stuff and trim the excess from our lives. Perhaps more importantly, we were inspired to eat chips and salsa together more often, because that’s what Jen’s friends did (seemingly every day), and it sounded simply splendid.

Jen has a new book out now. If you haven’t heard of it you probably are not an evangelical Christian woman over the age of 30 and below the age of 50.

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For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, is a collection of funny essays about serious issues. Like tights-as-leggings, parenting quirks, advertising, community, poverty tourism and hope for spicy families. In her classic Jen way, she approaches issues that matter in a way that makes people laugh while also making them think twice.

I think my favorite chapter this read through is Jesus Kids. As my kids grow older (they are still so young, but 7 is way different than 3, let me tell you), I grow more confident in my belief that I can’t control them. They are going to choose how they act and what they say and what they allow themselves to think. I believe my job is to provide the boundaries, to teach them about right and wrong and all the grey in between, to provide lots of space to listen and talk and laugh and listen some more, and to point them to Jesus. Or as Jen says,

“The best we can do is give them Jesus. Not rules, not behaviors, not entertainment, not shame. I have no confidence in myself but every confidence in Jesus….Jesus is the only thing that will endure. He trumps parenting techniques, church culture, tight boundaries, and best-laid plans. Jesus can lead our children long after they’ve left our homes.”

My only teensy disappointment with this book is that not all of the content is new. The chapter entitled Hope for Spicy Families is basically this blog post without the cute pics of her kids.  The chapter on running the race sound a lot like this post. And then there’s the quirky chapter. Perhaps this is no big deal to many fans (and certainly not to new fans!). It probably only reveals that I’ve read all of the blog posts Jen’s ever written and for some reason they stick in my head like Daniel Tiger songs (“a friend just wants to play with you…” you’re welcome).

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, run to your library and put it on request (warning: you’re probably going to be waiting for a long time), or buy it over on amazon.

 

 

 

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