Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Book #7 of 2020 Of Mess and Moxie

Book #7
Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

Oh how I love Jen Hatmaker… but this hasn't always been the case.  My very first interaction with her... well listening to her was at the last Women of Faith Conference in KC.  I think that was 4 or 5 years ago?  Not sure... can't keep track.  Anyways... she was one of the speakers, and things were going fine till she was talking about her kids... and I am not going to be able to quote her exactly but it was something like... "well they are going to give me grandbabies one day."  And she said it in this way like... that was one of the highest treasures of having adult kids.... at least that is the way that I took it.  It has taken me a long time to wrestle with that.. not only because I am not a mom, but neither of my sisters have been able to have biological children either.  And so in my family... well my Mom her worth can't be found in her kids having kids.

That triggered something in me, and I guess still does because I just wrote a whole stinking paragraph about it.  But it made me realize just how much value we put in people being parents and grandparents.  I always knew this was the case, but the way she said it made it just that much more real.  I am sure when my parents were raising us three girls, they thought that one day we would just all grow up, get married and have kids.  I don't think it crossed their mind that we wouldn't.  Most days I am okay with it, but I know that my parents would have been really good grandparents to any kids that I had.  It still might happen.. I mean not the me actually having children part, but the me parenting children... it still could happen, but it is not going to be in the traditional way that our culture and society thinks it should....

But I have wrestled with that... and have decided that if I ever do see Jen face to face, we will have a conversation about it, but until then I will not hold it against her, because she didn't say it out of malice... she honestly just said it out of the desire to be a grandma one day.... and I think really just having the "parenting" part of her life over... at least in the story she was telling at the time.

So... it has taken me a little while to get on the Jen Hatmaker train... but I am on it, and I love her.  I love her sarcastic way, it speaks to my soul.  She helps me to know that there is not something completely fundamentally wrong with me because my main love language is sarcasm.  She writes like we are in fact sitting on her front porch drinking a glass of prosecco (because that is my drink of choice).  How I would love to have the kind of friends she speaks of.... the community of people that she has in her life.  The kind of girl friends that all I have to do is text, and they will be over on my front porch with a bottle of prosecco and sit for hours just talking me out of whatever crazy emotional mess I have made of myself.

But I don't have that....  not right now.  Maybe it will come one day soon... and maybe it won't ever be my story.  For now I mourn for that life, but I am thankful for mine.

I don't have the kind of friends that can just drop everything and come over, because I am the friend that would be the one to do that.  And I am okay with it, most days.  Most days I am perfectly fine with giving my all to everyone.

Reading this book was just one of the best things for my soul right now.  I needed to laugh and cry tonight. I needed to feel deeply.  I needed to connect with the parts of Jen's book that remind me of my childhood in the 80's.  When I was growing up, in my early childhood on both sides we lived close to our relatives.  We were at my grandparent's quite often.  My cousins still lived in the same town as we did, and we spent our childhood growing up around each other.  My fondest memories are of times spent riding in golf carts, building snowmen, snow forts, watching for deer, hanging out in the garage while the deer were getting processed, going fishing, riding on the tractor, collecting eggs from the chickens, playing with chicks once they hatched, making banana bread, making up games upstairs, and playing cards around the table.  My greatest memories are of my family.  Even now though family time doesn't look like what we thought, I still value and love the time I get to spend with my family.  My parents, sisters, step-siblings, step-siblings in law,  brothers-in law, nieces are some of my most favorite people to spend time with.

Our family isn't perfect... but we genuinely have fun together.

A few of my favorite quotes:

"You can love truly, without conditions, without agenda, without a fork in the road, without disapproval, without fear, without obligation.  You can love someone with a different ideology, different religious conviction, different sexual identity, ideas, background, ethnicity, opinions, different anything.  You can love someone society condemns.  You can love someone the church condemns.  You have no other responsibility  than to represent Jesus well, which should leave that person feeling absurdly loved, welcomed, cherished.  There is no other end game.  You are not anyone's savior, you are a sister."  page 82

"You are not required to save the world, or anyone for that matter with your art.  It isn't valuable only if it rescues or raises money or makes an enormous impact.  It can simply be for the love of it.  That is not frivolous or selfish in the slightest.  If the only person it saves is you, that's enough."  page 95

"Be the friend you'd love to have, call to the deep, and you will attract the treasured kind of friends like sunlight, like a lightning rod, like honey.  page 212

"We promised our kids early an often:  You can tell us anything.  We won't freak out.  You can't shock us.  Nothing is a deal breaker, and everything is up for discussion."  page 236   (so my favorite thing)

"They are going after all, mamas.  Let's send them off adored, believed in, enjoyed, treasured, lest they forget that until our last breath, our doors are always open, our tables will always be full of food, their people are welcomed with open arms, and no matter what they say, they will always be ours."  page 240

"May we be people who endure with one another well, slow to formulize and quick to empathize, because life is so very hard and until God reweaves all things, people are dying for a cold cup of water in their pain."  page 249

This last quote...  may I walk everyday in a way that shows empathy to those around me, more than formulizing judgements for their lives and decisions.

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