Of Mess and Moxie

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Of Mess and Moxie was my first Jen Hatmaker book.  I follow her on social media and have her heard her speak in person.  Jen tells a story that will have you holding your side from laughing and then brings it back with a but seriously point.  She is real and knows there are  no perfect Christians. Highly recommend!
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Jen has a way of helping women Learn to laugh and embrace every day.
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Hatmaker does it again in this funny, relatable book that has humor, recipes, and anecdotes both heartwarming and laugh-out-loud, while gently incorporating Christian principles.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishing for granting my wish for this book!

If you haven't read a Jen Hatmaker book yet, or aren't following her on social media, you're sorely missing out on hilarious honesty that comes when a woman has raised five children, been through a home renovation on television, and accrued the insight of a life working for God. When I saw she was releasing another book, I knew I would enjoy the hilarity inside. The first half of this book was exactly that for me. I especially loved Jen's lists titled, "How to Plan a Family", "How to Wake your Children up Peacefully from Naptime", or "How to get your Husband to Fix that Thing He's Been Saying for 3 Months that He'd Fix." These lists included split-your-sides-laughing truths such as, "Make out with your spouse. Have twins, making your child count five in five years" and "Pick up a hammer and walk in the general direction of the broken thing. This should effectively catapult your husband off the couch and into disgruntled service: 'I said I would do that!'" She perfectly describes every middle-class American family's woes in the most comical and relatable sense!

About halfway through the book, however, I found myself having second thoughts about this novel as Jen veers slightly left with her thoughts and theology. I felt as if she was trying to appease the World while still relating to Christians - two paths that often cannot parallel. As she goes on to describe loving people, I felt entirely conflicted. I know we are to love all people, include all people at our tables, and serve people as Jesus did. Unfortunately, love and acceptance are not the same things. I fear Jen may misguide people into believing all Christians are doing things wrong, creating an even bigger divide. 

With a Liberal dose of love, everything can be right in the world. We live in a place where love and acceptance are favored over Truth. That roaring lion, also known as Satan is as sly as a fox. Of course he would use the one good and pure thing we have in the world and convince us we’re doing it wrong.

We’re loving to spread tolerance, sure we’re doing the work of Jesus. We’re loving to spare feelings. We’re loving people to death, but losing their most important part when death meets us head on...the soul.

The truth is hard to face, sometimes it hurts, but our duty as Christians is to walk in its Light. Unfortunately, with parts of this book, I feel Jen Hatmaker has veered to the shadows. The light is a little dimmer, it doesn’t burn the eyes quite as badly, but still isn’t too dark to see. I wouldn’t look to this book for spiritual guidance or theology, but I did find fun, humanity and community inside the pages. I don't for one minute doubt Jen Hatmaker's Faith or love of God, but I simply don't agree with much of her theology. I think Christians would do well to compare notes with the Bible to find where they should Biblically stand on issues represented in these pages.

Like Jen said,

"Trust me: don't waste your time over-valuing Christian Famous people. It is so easy to cast public figures as prototypes of discipleship or pristine examples of faithfulness, but all that admiration is totally misplaced. I mean this sincerely: only Jesus is worth your full devotion. He alone will never let you down and will always lead you correctly."

While this book had numerous laugh-out-loud moments, good recipes I will be giving a go, and a sense of sisterhood that made me feel less alone as a mother, I still am on the fence about this book as a whole. I loved big chunks of the writing, but felt as if this was cross between a secular book and a Christian book in other ways. Unfortunately, the mixed messages I experienced were hard to reconcile. Nonetheless, I'd love to thank Jen for making me laugh!
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Jen Hatmaker is one of my favorite female voices in the Christian community. Even though she and I are in two very different places in life, I still relate to her writing and voice. She writes with an inclusive comedic awareness for all women. This is the second book of Jen's that I've read (my first being For the Love). Of Mess and Moxie is even more inclusive, even more relatable, and even more encouraging. I love the essay format--perfect for easy reading and picking up whenever you get a free moment. This book will have you laughing out loud, wiping tears away, raising up your hands and shouting "Amen!" Jen has done it again. Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for my review.
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I was introduced to Hatmaker in For the Love, a delightful collection of Christian essays. Of Mess and Moxie still relays the chatty charm of Hatmaker' s writing, some of the essays were rambling at times. Essays on marriage and friendship are strong and her how-to' s are spot on evoking laugh out loud humor. Fans will not be disappointed but if your new to Hatmaker, start with For the Love.
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I am a huge fan of Jen Hatmaker so I knew I needed to read this book!  It did not disappoint!  Hilarious and heartwarming, Jen's words make you feel like you've known her forever.  This book is infused with Christian values, but I never felt bombarded.  It felt like a big hug wrapped up in a book.
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I didn't think it was possible for me to love another Jen Hatmaker book more than FOR THE LOVE, but this was spectacular. It feels more like hearing stories from a close friend than anything else, but that doesn't make it less poignant and real - in fact, I think I made it more so. Jen just *gets* so many of my thoughts on faith and womanhood and creativity and I just finished this wanting to hug her for it. It made me feel refreshed, and even more noteworthy, not alone in my mess. This is one I'll be buying and gifting like crazy.
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"No one came to these pages unscathed; we are learning and understanding and figuring out what to hold on to and what to release. Sometimes life is great and sometimes it is painful beyond recognition, and yet here we all are: still standing."

I love how Jen brings in her readers making them feel like part of her community. She misses in deep thoughts with hilarious life stories---just like talking with your girlfriends. 

*ARC provided by NetGalley
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Hilarious storytelling that keeps real life in perspective. Jen Hatmaker is spot on in her framing of a very particular kind of 21st century American family life while acknowledging that she writes from a place of privilege. This would be a great book group book for young Christian mothers or a fun beach read for a mom who is keeping one eye on the book and another eye on her kids running around. It's an easy (though not superficial fluff) guide to life that stresses the importance of keeping God, family, and friends at the center of your priorities. I sometimes find her hyperbole distracting as well as her exclusively male pronouns for God. But I also laughed out loud, highlighted many paragraphs, and put notes next to some of the more meaningful and insightful phrases that I want to come back to. Thankful to netgalley for an advance copy to review.
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