I recently read an amazing book about life and love from Jen Hatmaker called For the Love. There are so many great takeaways, but I really want to share 3 of them with you today.
1. Balance is a beautiful thought but not a realistic goal.
“Balance. It’s like a unicorn; we’ve heard about it, everyone talks about it and makes airbrushed T-shirts celebrating it, it seems super rad, but we haven’t actually seen one. I’m beginning to think it isn’t a thing.”
I learned this the hard way last year when I still believed balance was actually a thing. It’s definitely not. I was determined to be an amazing blogger, mom, wife, homemaker, friend,… This, of course, quickly became overwhelming to the point where I ended up completely unplugging for a month. (If you haven’t tried this, please let me tell you what an incredible gift it can be for yourself and your family.)
As much as I adore Pinterest, it certainly doesn’t help in this area. We see all of these great ideas for every aspect of life: parenting, marriage, homemaking, careers, party planning, etc. and think we should be able to do it all. Here’s the big problem as Jen Hatmaker so adequately sums up: “Then we combine the best of everything we see, every woman we admire in every genre, and conclude: I should be all of that.”
We need to understand all of these ideas and successes we see spread all over life and the internet are not the same woman. We are only one human being with limited time and energy. Please remember that.
2. We prepare our children for life by empowering them, not manipulating their outside world.
“A good parent prepares the child for the path, not the path for the child.”
Our love for our kids can overwhelm us at times and cause us to make less than stellar decisions. I have many teacher friends and hear often about how parents struggle with letting their precious little ones suffer with natural consequences teachers try to place on them. Bad grades, missed homework, and acting out in class are desperately attempted to be explained away by an email or phone call from a well meaning parent.
Unfortunately this hinders rather than empowers kids today. They are going to deal with difficult life circumstances. We want them to be ready and not shocked when these happen after they have moved away from us.
When my daughter was struggling with her faith, a few people within our church hurt her and she decided to no longer attend services with our family. I somehow turned away from my immediate thought to lash out at all involved. She had to find her path and her own faith which led her to a church family more suited to her in that season.
Her relationship with Christ grew monumentally as she journeyed through that struggle. She realized her strength and ability in a way that couldn’t happen with me trying to control the situation. And as a wonderful end to this story, last weekend my beautiful daughter, who now lives on her own, was sitting beside me in our Sunday morning church service.
3. Loving each other is the best way to teach others about Christ.
“There is a clear correlation between how we treat each other and how a watching world will feel about Jesus.”
Showing love and forgiveness to not only our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to others as well, teach about a relationship only Jesus could be credited for. When others see us loving each other well, they are much more likely to want to be a part of our Christian family.
I so agree with these hopes Jen shares in For the Love: “I hope the world sees a community with wide-open arms, which comforts and welcomes and seems determined to build one another up. I hope they find us kind and generous, committed and loyal.”
Isn’t that the kind of community you would run to? Let’s be comforting, welcoming, and above all else, unconditionally loving…
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
~Matthew 22: 37-40
Learn more about For the Love by Jen Hatmaker at Amazon.com.
This wonderful book is part of my to be read pile for 2016. You can find the rest of my reading list for the year here: