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mytribe“Oh my gosh!  Me too!”

i love these words.  These words are some of my favorites.  I can’t speak for you gentlemen, but my lady friends and I find solace, validation and community in “glad cries of me too!”  I treasure my circles of friends, my tribes, who love me, take care of me, check in with me, cry with me and, of course, laugh at my jokes!

Recently I unexpectedly, delightfully, serendipitously acquired a NEW tribe of weirdos to love!

Back in February, I saw that Jen Hatmaker, one of my very favorite authors, was offering the opportunity to apply to be on her launch team for her new book. Not really expecting anything to come from it and having no idea what a launch team involves, I applied. Along with 5000 other people. Apparently, I am not the only person out there who enjoys reading Jen’s books!

Out of those 5000 applicants, 500 of us…496 women and 4 men…got this email from Jen (we are on a first name basis now, obviously) 🙂

Knock, knock. Who’s there? YOU, because YOU are on my Launch Team for ‘For the Love’!! Yeah baby!! We only had room for 10% of all applicants (what the??), and we think you got the stuff. THANK YOU for your amazing enthusiasm; I couldn’t possibly love you more if I tried with all my might. You are leading well and using your influence like a boss. We all think you are amazing. We are going to get this thing off the ground together! Let me tell you, launching a book is really fun. And some of you are going to end up on the inside cover, so THAT. I said on January 1st this year that one goal was to spend less time pleasing “Not My People” … well let’s be clear: YOU ARE MY PEOPLE. I love you so. I really do. I am loyally yours forever. Let’s do this thing.

My marketing team will now tell you all the fun details.

– Jen

ISN’T THAT SO FUN?  “All the fun details” included the opportunity to read an advance copy of the book, submit an endorsement that might be chosen to be in the book and, best of all, join a Facebook group that includes the other 499 members of the launch team, Jen’s darling publisher, Katy, and Jen.

First, the book. I have been asked to wait until August when the book is released to blog about it in detail, but suffice it to say, you need to go ahead and pre-order this book.  This is the Amazon link.  Go ahead, order it now.  IT IS FABULOUS!  You will laugh really hard.  Also, every single Christian in this country needs to read her “Dear Church” chapter.  I wept.

Second, my endorsement. I have no idea what I wrote, but I did turn one in by the due date. Something about not taking this book on an airplane unless you have a stack to share because you will embarrass yourself with the snorts of laughter, tears running down your face and exclamations of “Yes!” that are the inevitable result of reading this book. And something about Jen being the perfect traveling companion for your journey: the friend that believes in you, makes you laugh, makes you think and occasionally kicks you in the butt and tells you to get moving. It felt very fancy to write a book endorsement, but we will see if mine gets chosen.

Third, my new friends! The BEST PART! Oh my gosh, I love these people. I am one of the calmer, quieter ones, if you can even believe that! They love to read and many of them also love to write. They are crazy about Jesus, but some of them (like me) would describe their relationship with His church to be “complicated.”  They teach, they serve, they speak, they preach, they write, they paint, they create and most all of them blog.  They cherish their babies, other peoples’ babies, their parents, their spouses, their friends, the orphans, the homeless, the refugee, the unloved. They feel all the feelings. They live the Gospel message out loud in a million different ways. They inspire me and make me proud to be part of their little tribe.

They also make me feel braver and less alone. I have often wondered why I feel the need to share, teach, blog, write, talk, shout about every single flippin’ thing God teaches me on this journey. Frankly, it seems a little weird and exhibitionist in comparison to the way other people spend their days. So many words, Kelly! Prior to this group, I knew very few people who blog, write books or lead retreats and I often feel awkward discussing my dreams and plans with my friends, as though it was presumptuous for me to believe that I have something “important” to say to the world. When people in my real life mention my blog or comment on my writing, I feel both embarrassed and proud…torn between wanting them to stop talking immediately and begging them to give me more feedback about what they found meaningful.  It is empowering to get to know others who have similar aspirations, vocations, interests, dreams and plans, but each with a unique twist that makes me remember why each of our voices matter.

The people in this group…

Let me stop right there and say that I start to say “women in this group” every single time, but then I remember the four EXTREMELY brave men who are part of our tribe.  Can you even imagine?  These are 496 opinionated, emotive, living out loud, over communicating, feeling all the feels, using lots of words women. Did I mention that I am one of the calmer ones?  This is a group from which many men would run, but not our brave brothers. Shout out to our #bandoffour. I bet they all four had lots of sisters.

Anyway, the PEOPLE in this group are, as Jen said, “leading well and using their influence like a boss.” They are putting their many words to good use for the Kingdom. They are being brave, living free and loving big. When I grow up, I want to be like all of them.

I am crazy about my newest tribe.