This article was originally titled “Why Jen Hatmaker should be our new best friend” when I was in the first stages of writing it. But I have found my own group of women who I call “my church.” They have lifted me through some of my hardest days; like, literally, carried me. You need a group of women too. Don’t envy someone else’s group on Instagram. Go and make your own and revel in the Glory of God’s Gift of Girlfriends. But still, there’s a lot to learn and chew on in Ms. Hatmaker’s writing.
Obedience isn’t a lack of fear. It’s just doing it scared.”
A friend of mine attended a Jen Hatmaker conference this year in Santa Barbara (insert jealous emoji here). She took a great picture with said speaker and “just because they were leaving at the same time,” took another one together at the end of the day. Now I’m not one to put people on pedestals, but for goodness sakes, that woman seems like a whole bowl of fun. I’m not saying let’s nominate her for sainthood, but it does make me think, “There are some good reasons we should all want Jen as our new best friend.” (Written in bullet point fashion, because we are all too busy to read complete, drawn out thoughts. Can I get an amen?)
Words of Wisdom (Jen Hatmaker-style)
-She convicted us in her book “Seven” but we knew we needed to be convicted, so it was all okay. Many women I speak to are afraid of raising entitled children. I don’t want my child’s biggest question to be “When will I get an iphone like my friends have?” But how do we change that? How do we form children who are empathetic? How do we continue to be empathetic battling our own selfish desires?
“I’m going to bed tonight grateful for warmth, an advantage so expected it barely registers. (…) I won’t defile my blessings by imagining that I deserve them. Until every human receives the dignity I casually enjoy, I pray my heart aches with tension and my belly rumbles for injustice.”
-She’s prepped me for this year (cue dramatic music), MIDDLE SCHOOL! In her words…
“Reader, tell me there is no worse three-year period in the human experience than 6th-8th grade. I’m scared, but I’m prepared.” -Jen Hatmaker: Some Things I Wish Would Just Go Away
-She has a wrist tattoo, and a tatted up husband. Working at a conservative Christian Reformist school, I may be the only one employed there who has a tattoo, or at least a visible one. I also love my tatted up husband. He’s like a walking art exhibit wherever we go. Unfortunately, some people don’t have the same art appreciation. She bridges that gap.
-Jen landed a TV show while wearing braces. I had adult braces for 18 months. Hollywood was not knocking at my door during that period.
–Interrupted was one of the first Christian books I felt like I really related to. It helped me in leadership (not taking anything personally from church higher ups) and confirmed that we don’t have to be khaki-white collars (although if you are, that’s fine too.)
-She encourages us to step out of our fear.
“Brave moms raise brave kids,” Honestly? I like a little grit in my story. I often feel suffocated by my generation’s insistence on safety and control and perfection and hegemony. I genuinely like my kids to be a little wild and free.” -Jen Hatmaker: Brave Moms Raise Brave Kids
-But, she then gracefully chides us that
“Our children are humans and deserve to be treated respectfully. Discipline doesn’t include raging, screaming, abusing, neglecting, humiliating, or shaming our kids. God never treats us like that. That sort of discipline never “produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.”
-She wears turquoise jewelry. Enough said.
-She’s willing to admit that adoption is hard.
-In Interrupted, she was convicted to place her brand new cowboy boots at the altar when the pastor asked for them to give their best for the homeless, for Christ. That story stuck with me. Not to praise her, but to convict me. Am I giving my best? Or am I giving just enough?
-When she spoke at IF this last year (where the vision was to Gather, Equip, Unleash), she let out some real gems. The following statements are my takeaway from her session…
Jesus measured greatness by SERVICE, not by POWER.
Tell our neighbors “We are for you!” We serve a kingdom that cannot be shaken; nobody can threaten it. We do not need to be Jesus DEFENDERS, but REPRESENTATIVES.
Mercy will cost you. Discipleship hurts. We will feel it and it will become our burden…But then we will LIKE IT.
We need to do MORE than Serving Safe people and Blessing Blessed people.
And my all time favorite (because perhaps I can relate to it the most), “I’m not precious, sweet, or kind. That’s fine, I’m other things.” Hallelujah for the other things.
-But the thing I would talk with her the most over sweet tea and picking at the local antique store, would be how in our fear, and in our lack of compassion, we are not raising missionaries for the next generation. That scares me, it saddens me, and it convicts me to do better, try harder, and get down on my knees and pray more.
Sidenote: This article was written before the attacks on Paris (11/15). Fear is among us, but it cannot rule us. Check out this article on Trekaroo Why We Travel: To Raise Compassionate Global Citizens. These mamas choose to continue to travel, despite fear. It resonates with me and with how I want to raise my children.