One of my challenges for myself this year was to get back to reading. After grad school, I kind of avoided reading in favor of other, less brain-working, activities (read: TV and crochet). But having had several months to recover from the grad school burnout, I knew it was time to get more meaningful content into my life. I started a few books: one on philosophy that I supposedly told Phil I’d read (the downside to being the spouse with a poor memory) and Tim Keller’s book Prayer for our small group. On Saturday morning, however, I found myself trapped under a cranky, sleeping baby for about an hour while my son watched Curious George. With both books and my phone well beyond my reach, I spent the first few minutes finishing up a crochet project, but once that was done, I wanted to find another something to occupy my time (because let’s be honest, Curious George just wasn’t cutting it). In stretching to feel around the recliner, my hand fell on a book that I received at our small group gift exchange: For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker.
To be honest, when I opened the present, I thought, “Oh, that’s nice,” but I didn’t really intend to read it. Not my style really. But the past few months have brought me to a different place. Grace has begun to take a more and more prominent position in my thought-life. I marvel at the grace God has given me and ponder how to give grace to others.
So, in light of the subtitle, I decided to flip through the introduction…and the first chapter…and the second chapter. I was hooked. Not only does Jen (may I call you Jen?) write with a wit and charm that had me smiling and laughing, but she lovingly and persuasively calls us to examine the truth–about ourselves, about our world, and about our God.
I strive to give grace in my life. I know that I need grace from God and others desperately, daily (some days hourly). But I also find myself frustrated in my home life for not doing enough or being enough. Jen reminds us of the grace given to us by God and encourages us to give grace to ourselves and others. A few more chapters in, she presses us to reconsider the concept of ‘calling’ and encourages us to see our calling in the way we live life, not only in careers or big projects. They’re only part of the picture, and often only for a short time.
I’m not even half-way through the book, but Jen’s thoughtful yet playful approach to grace in our lives is changing my perspective. I don’t have to wait until “life’s a little easier” to find joy as a wife and mother, but I probably need to rethink my expectations, let some things go, and give myself (and my husband and kids) a little more grace.
To find out more about what I’m reading, check out the Reading List.