Buy this book. Carry it with you and read it cover to cover. Find grace, truth and your tribe. Give it to your friends. Repeat.
About six months ago, I was picked (convinced it was a fluke) along with 499 others from 5000 people who applied to be part of a book launch team. I knew a little about Jen Hatmaker, but nothing about book launches. Not shocking, because I hate to read. And I was honest and told them so.
That was my first indicator that this wasn't a fluke, but a beautiful blessing and very much an intentional part of God's plan for me. In this season. In my own search of how to measure up to impossible standards- some I had created for myself. This season of exhaustion of being a good rule follower, the best, but never getting it perfect.
It took me a while. to get it. In the early weeks it was about these really cool people who made bracelets and awesome mugs. But then I started to really get it- God was creating a tribe of 496 women and a #bandoffour men to live out what He had put in Jen's heart to write.
Being on the team meant I had got to read an advanced copy of the book. In doing my obligatory reading, I soon was laughing out loud as I soaked up the words. Then, I was speaking a different language- forthelovisms. Quotes that made no sense to anyone else, like off the beam, old lady hands sticking out of my sleeves, horsecrappery and crotchless yoga pants.
Jen grabs the readers attention off the bat with essays on things we tend to obsess over. Keeping it real here people, we try to take on way too much, turning Forty freaks us all out when we get there, and those fashion concerns. Those ain't pants!
In the midst of the humor the readers start seeing ourselves on the pages as if there's a mirror hidden between the paragraphs- and we can't miss grace and truth. And our burdens are no longer hidden in darkness but shared in the light.
Y'all, our faith is not about rules and it was never meant to punish and condemn fellow human beings. Who are we to try and convince a few that it isn't true for everybody?
People, "theology is either true everywhere, or it isn't true anywhere."
And so it began for me. Recovery. About my faith. About my marriage. About parenting my kids. About my relationships (my tribe). About running my race, the one God called me to and equipped me for. About how my love didn't look much like Jesus'. That Dear Church chapter about crappy Christians- praise Jesus somebody is saying it in a way we can understand.
Jen says life is convoluted but the Kingdom is simple. We overcomplicate the ways of Jesus. Uhm-hmm.
Love God, love people. Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. Treat people as you want to be treated. If you want to be great, be a servant. I'm a recovering rule follower. I knew there was more than rules a long time ago, but Jen shows us how to live in grace. What it looks like on our porches and in our pews. Now, I still don't like to read, so I'm pumped there was more to this launch team thing than just reading. Like getting to write an endorsement (typo and all) which you can read on her website- but mostly being part of the unbelievable loving and transparent community where #500 are doing life together. Not agreeing on everything but talking about our differences with love and kindness. And we haven't even met yet. I can't tell you how you might be changed by reading this book. I can assure you that you'll be challenged to think about where you are on the rule follower vs. grace scale. You'll be encouraged to press on, and I guarantee you will laugh along the way. Join me in recovery. Get your hands on this book. It releases August 18, 2015- in just a few hours. Buy it, or leave a comment here on where you need grace in your life. You're comment is your ticket for a chance to win one of two copies that I'll be giving away on September 1, 2015. Five Stars! #ForTheLove,