One of my unwritten goals for this year is to read a book a month. In my pre-parent life I’d come to enjoy a good book as a way to relax. In the nearly eight years since I’ve only managed to finish a handful of books. However, those books that I finished were filled with life-affirming words that in many ways changed my perspective. Thank goodness I found Shauna Niequist and oh how I wish I were in her cooking club. Her words helped me explore my growing faith and her writing voice gave me permission to write the way I’m comfortable.

January’s book selection was Jen Hatmaker’s For The Love. Despite the fact that this is Jen’s eighth book, it is the first of her’s I’ve read. I’m happy to say I finished it with a week to spare and have purchased my next book. Turns out that reading is easier to stick with than visiting the treadmill. IMG_3208

Jen (and I call her Jen, cause I feel like we are on a first name basis) is a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. If I would’ve been introduced to her knowing that and not having read one of her books that would’ve intimidated me. I would’ve assumed some high standards I surely couldn’t live up to. The majority of my church experiences prior to our current church were full of beautiful pomp and circumstance. I appreciate tradition and I’ll forever be a sucker for stained glass, but all of the fancy garb and other worldliness built separation. How could someone living such a different life than mine know the struggles? Then we began attending a church where the pastor dressed like my father-in-law and he shared about his own imperfections as a husband, father, and human being and the separation was shortened.

For The Love further bridges the gap. In my opinion if you’re a Christian mom with a sense of humor you will enjoy this read. Topics range from her love of yoga pants to her love of Jesus. She is honest and approachable, a couple chapters made me giggle and the chapter with letters to her children made me cry good thoughtful tears.

The entire book was enjoyable, but pages 31-34 made it worth the cover price. I can’t say for sure, but I think she wrote chapter 5 Run Your Race especially for me. Don’t worry it will be in your copy as well. That chapter encourages us all to stop ignoring our gifts and offers permission to chase whatever dream ignites you.

She points out that many say they are waiting for God to clear the path and she gives this kick in the rear,

“He is all, I love you, but get going, pumpkin, because usually chasing the dream in your heart looks surprisingly like work.”

Many of us need help to recognize our gifts, encouragement to nurture them, and then push to put those gifts into action. Repeat after me, run your race.