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nextgenerationReleased TODAY, Jen Hatmaker’s new book For The Love: Fighting for Grace in A World of Impossible Standards is a gift you should purchase for yourself and all the people you love most. Here is my official endorsement written as part of her 500 member Launch Team:

Do not read “For the Love” on an airplane unless you have a stack of books to hand out to everyone around you. How else will you explain the snorts of laughter, tears running down your face or exclamations of “YES!” that are the inevitable result of reading Jen Hatmaker’s latest offering. Jen is the perfect traveling companion: the girlfriend who encourages you, believes in you, makes you laugh and makes you think. I was challenged and inspired by her belief that we can all be part of bringing about God’s Kingdom here on earth. I will be recommending this book to all my friends!

I wrote those words several months ago after my first time through the book and a failed attempt to read it unobtrusively on an airplane. Having recently read back through the book to mine for a few treasures to share, I am just as enthusiastic now about recommending it to you, my dear readers and friends. In fact, I bought a whole stack of books and one might just be for you, if you read to the end of this review 🙂

Without ruining the joy of discovery for you, here are a just few reasons you should treat yourself to this book.  If you unwrap this present, you will potentially gain the following:

Permission to let yourself and others off the hook: In the introduction, Jen shares her dream for this book: “I hope you close the last page and breathe an enormous sigh of relief. I hope you laugh out loud because you just got free. Then I hope you look with fresh, renewed eyes at all your people..and you are released to love them as though it is your job.”  Jen laments that we are a generation of people “on the hook“- tough on ourselves and on each other. Through her trademark humor and truth-telling, she encourages us to get real, get honest and give ourselves and each other a break. “We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.” With chapters on parenting, marriage, friendship, building community and dealing with difficult people, Jen reminds us that we are all in need of a little grace and that ultimately, we are doing the best we can.

Permission to embrace your life now: As Christians, many of us live our lives for the ubiquitous someday when we will find our true purpose. Jen cautions “In many ways, the perception of calling is a luxury of the privileged.” Instead, she invites us to embrace the place where we are now living our minutes, hours and days. “You don’t need to wait another day to figure out your calling. You’re living it, dear one. Your gifts have a place right now, in the job you have, in your stage of life, with the people who surround you…We are called to this work, and it might not seem like much, but if you play your one note and I play mine and she plays hers, together it will create a beautiful song that sounds like freedom for the captives and good news to the poor.”

Permission to own the broken places: Some of the most powerful parts of the book for me were the chapters about how we do church and how we can and must do church better. Jen has long been a prophetic voice in the modern church with her books Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity and 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. In For the Love, she continues to sound the alarm with a thought-provoking challenge to the status quo and a passionate pep talk to seek a better path. With two young adult children of my own, the chapter entitled Jesus Kids simultaneously broke my heart and healed it as I mourned with her our collective culpability for the ways our kids have become fed up with organized religion. “The next generation is screaming, “We can’t find God in church! How does God work in the broken places? Why are Christians so mean and scared and defensive?” In this chapter and the chapters on leadership, missions and my favorite entitled Dear Christians, Please Stop Being Crappy*, Jen continually points us back to the Author of our faith and the simple and revolutionary message He gave us to share. “There is a clear correlation between how we treat each other and how a watching world will feel about Jesus…And according to Jesus, God’s calling card is love. If folks don’t recognize God is good by watching His people, then we have tragically derailed.”

Permission to laugh out loud: In spite of my description up to this point of Jen’s penchant for profound spiritual truths, For the Love is actually one of the funniest books I have ever read. As her thousands of Facebook followers can attest, Jen has an irreverent, rowdy, uproarious, hysterical (thank you, thesaurus.com) sense of humor. This girl is laugh out loud, tears running down your legs hilarious, hence the reason I could not read it on an airplane. Although her humor is woven throughout the book, several of the chapters are sheer comedy fun, including three chapters of tongue-in-cheek, Jimmy Fallon style “Thank You Notes” to lifesavers such as Spanx, Instagram filters, Amazon Prime and Crotchless Yoga Pants (I’m not telling you about that last one…you have to go buy the book.) Here is one of my favorites: “Thank you, E-reader, for your highly reflective surface into which I can look downward and see my face’s future once my skin has lost all its remaining elasticity. I want a digital screen, not a terrifying mirror. Please work on this in your labs. Signed, Lady Whose Hanging Face Keeps Scaring Her As She Reads Gone Girl.”

Bottom line, this book is a delight and Jen Hatmaker is a joy. Heartfelt, real, encouraging and funny with a heaping dose of Jesus, For The Love reminds us that following Jesus and loving His people well is what makes life an adventure worth sharing and a race worth running. And the journey, with traveling companions like Jen Hatmaker, can be an enormous amount of fun!

Please get your copy here, read it and let me know what you think!  Or see below for a chance to win a FREE book and help me spread the word.

If you haven’t done so already, read this post for a list of a few of my other favorite quotes from the book. If you have already read it, read it again and comment there to tell me your favorite!

FREE BOOK ALERT!!  FREE BOOK ALERT!!

Share this blog post on Facebook/ Twitter and comment below that you did. Also, tell me why you want to read the book (you must leave a comment for it to count 🙂) and I will enter you in a chance to win a copy of For the Love. Free! A copy all your own! Comments are your entries, so show me some comment love!!

Chance to win starts NOW and lasts through Sunday, August 23rd.  

*In the final release, the name of this chapter was changed to Dear Christians, Please Stop Being Lame. I like the old name for the chapter better, but they didn’t ask me. 🙂