‘For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards’ by Jen Hatmaker

For the Lovestarstarstar“If you can make a pot of chili and use a cell phone, then you can create community. If you want to wait until your house is perfect and you aren’t nervous, then just forget it.”

Jen Hatmaker is a Christian inspirational writer mostly for women who are 30 or 40 something. She has five children, her husband is a pastor in a busy church, and somehow she finds time to write books. But she’s very self-deprecating and honest about how hard life can be and how much pressure we put on ourselves. Jen has a gift for writing in an uplifting way that helps you to laugh at yourself and carry on.

Her earlier book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess remains a bestseller as it chronicles her family’s 30-day fasts from seven different things, to combat excessive consumption. I loved this book. Hatmaker has a great sense of humour and her description of the journey through this experiment of living without stuff for periods of time, brought out the best in her.

Hatmaker QuoteFor the Love was just ok for me. I found her humour a bit on the edge this time and her use of the word (Bless) as in “aw bless” about someone or something sweet but slightly misguided that has a patronizing sound to it, was irritating. (Sorry Jen, I hear that a lot in England and it bothers me there too ).  She did have some good things to say about grace and wholehearted living. I especially liked some of her reflections on parenting in this day and age. She talks about allowing children to build up their own resilience. Don’t step in to cushion every blow. Hold children responsible for their own failures, don’t demand exceptions and don’t blame the teacher. And what she says to parents is, don’t think you have to be Pinterest parents…it’s exhausting. Of course children need to be loved and shielded from harm and encouraged regularly, but I think she is on to something here. These days some parents just seem too scared and over-involved to let their kids venture out and learn some valuable lessons on their own.

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