I gotta be honest, I’m about to write a review for a book that took me AGES to read….and I usually FLY through books! But let me tell you, this book was so worth it. My typical reading routine consists of reading on my kindle app on my phone whenever I have a few moments. I’ve trained myself to be able to read in short snippets: breastfeeding, waiting for my husband in the car, and- let’s be honest- sometimes before/after getting in the shower while someone else is watching the kids. Ha! All this to say- having a hard copy of a book is, yes, a luxury here in Rwanda- but not necessarily one I chase down, because it’s a lot more difficult for me to sit down with an ACTUAL book and do ACTUAL reading. Mercy. Now, I was blessed with an advance HARD copy of Jen Hatmaker’s Of Mess and Moxie to review for her launch team, and guys- it took me two months to get through this baby because I gotta CARVE OUT THE TIME. But I’m so glad I did! This is one of the best “Christian Living” books I’ve read in a while, and I’m happy to review it. With that, here’s THREE REASONS you need to get this book ASAP! PS: Need tips for getting reading done when you’ve got little kiddos at home? Check out my tricks here!
IT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH
If you’ve read any of Jen’s other books– or even if you’ve followed her on Facebook for 13 seconds- you know that she is absolutely hilarious. Her tone, the way she tells stories- she just gets me every time- and, let’s be honest- if I’m carving out the time to read a hard copy of a book (when I could be showering or, idk, drinking wine) I want to laugh! A favorite excerpt from a “How To” chapter: HOW TO GO SWIMSUIT SHOPPING THREE MONTHS POSTPARTUM 1. Gather as many “figure flattering” swimsuits as possible 2. Hastily try them on. Look in the mirror, but only through squinted eyes to soften the blow. Wear sunglasses if this helps. 3. Realize the form-fitting material reveals every lump and bump you recieved as parting gifts from your pregnancy. Have confused feelings about the underside of your butt. What exactly happened back there? Something has gone wrong. Some stuff is out of place. 4. Put all the swimsuits back. 5. Weep a little. 6. Eat some Cadbury mini eggs. 7. Wear an old suit to the pool, because you deserve that water even though your nipples are still the size of a silver dollar pancake and your belly skin is like Laffy Taffy. Whatever, haters (“haters” being the swimsuits). Your body gave birth to a human being, and if it wants to go to the pool, it will go in all it’s glory. Note: If sanity is important to you, simply execute steps 6 and 7 and be done with it. PS- I got you a FREE MONTH OF AUDIBLE (that’s 2 books FREE)- you should download Jen reading this book to you! It’s hysterical!
IT WILL CHALLENGE YOU
There were a few chapters in particular that really challenged me, but probably the most memorable was “Forgiveness School”, chapter 18. As I was reading this particular chapter, I felt like my life was flooded with examples of broken relationships and places that needed intentional healing- and I had no idea what a burden that was leaving on me (even if it was one being carried for someone else). I loved (and was deeply convicted by) the whole chapter, but here’s a particularly poignant section: …forgiveness rarely equals a one-and-done decision. Very few decide one day to forgive and never have to revisit that release. In most cases, it is a process that takes months and sometimes years of work, and just when you think you have laid an offense down, it creeps back up into memory and you have to battle it anew. Just because this work is stubborn does not mean you are failing or will never be free. Forgiveness is a long road in the same direction. Whew, y’all. A total kick in the pants for me. I thought about this chapter for….well, I’m still thinking about it daily, over a month later. Read this book just for this chapter.
IT WILL ENCOURAGE YOU & HELP YOU FEEL LESS ALONE
Maybe it’s just hearing the stories of someone else’s ridiculous days and simultaneously seeing them living in their sweet spot and raising a vibrant family, but reading this book made me feel like: “Yes. I can do this. I’m not the only one.” I LOVED reading a bit about Jen and Brandon’s marriage- there were so many similarities to my own, I was floored! Jen is an internal processor (like me) and Brandon, an external one- like Matthew. I found this description of conflict resolution/ processing events to be spot on: BRANDON: What we need here is words. Lots of words. Millions of words immediately… JEN: What we heed here is to retire to our private quarters, think many many thoughts about this internally, inwardly adjust behavior, recover from the confrontation, then carry on with our lives. Yes. So much yes. So accurate. Ha!
BONUS REASON: THERE ARE RECIPES
I love to read cookbooks. Usually, if I’m carving out time to read a hard copy of a book, it’s either a cookbook (my fave) or the Bible (this one!). There are yummy recipes woven throughout the book and it makes it so fun- and personal! Think: Bacon-Wrapped Dates (Jesus, be near), Panang Chicken Curry, and Fried Chicken Sliders. Something for everyone!
A QUICK NOTE:
People have had their panties all in a bunch about some remarks Jen made last year regarding homosexual marriage. I get it. It’s a hot topic and it’s pretty divisive these days. My two cents: don’t let that stop you from reading this book for ONE MINUTE. It’s not mentioned at all. There’s some general thoughts about love and inclusion that I found very challenging and encouraging, but nothing that would offend or turn someone away that doesn’t agree with her. So there- that’s my disclaimer. 🙂