I don’t read blogs.
The only post I remember reading recently was sent to me with some deluded hopes that I might follow the step-parenting advice within.
And I likely won’t. Primarily because someone told me to.
So when I kept hearing about Jen Hatmaker, a Christian author and speaker with several published books (that people besides her mother have actually read) and a television show (again, with actual viewers) I wanted nothing to do with her. I’m not sure why, but let’s say it was something fancy like she was too commercial.
For Christmas, my sister-friend gave me a copy of her latest book.
So I read the sleeve.
Ugh. This woman has not only given birth to three children, but with a heart for the orphan crisis, she and her husband have also adopted two children from Ethiopia.
That’s five bodies, in her home, that she cares for.
With actual food. I know this because I skimmed through and there’s a recipe.
I had to hate her, right?
But whatever. I wanted to be able to send my friend a thank-you note and how could I do that if I hadn’t read the book?
(Who am I kidding? I haven’t written a thank you note since 1998.)
What? I also have a heart for the orphan crisis. There’s been no time to write thank yous. I have been too busy praying for Ethiopians, thank you very much.
So I started to read the book. Her first joke was annoying.
Yuk. She’s going to try and be funny.
I can’t take her seriously. I have no idea what all of the fuss is about.
I refuse to read further. And I will cancel cable immediately.
(OK, side note: I don’t typically read blogs because I’m super paranoid about becoming a plagiarist. At one point in my writing I began to believe that Ann Voskamp was starting to sound a lot like me. Like perhaps she was reading my blog and stealing my thoughts. I can understand how this could happen. But remember I also believe that Mariah Carey is going to call any day and ask me to sing back-up.So I checked the dosage of my medication and quit reading her blog).
Then something happened.
I went to see this Jen-lady. Me and about 5000 other women. And she was absolutely terrific.
Funny. As in hysterical.
She started her comments with a story about her daughter asking where babies come from? She was completely unprepared because her Mother had just given her a book back in the day and circled a what she deemed the important parts.
Oh my gosh! We are sisters!
She talked about running our race, finding our lane, putting ourselves out there. She reminded us that humility is not shrinking. That God doesn’t call us to be famous; only faithful. That our only requirement is that of obedience. She talks about the books that nobody (except her mother) read, but she kept writing. “Do the next right thing,” she said. And then the next right thing after that. She reminded us that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.That it is not OK that she gets to Mother another woman’s babies simply because she can afford them and the birth mother can’t.
And as she spoke. As we laughed and took notes and tried to soak in each and every word, something occurred to me.
I hadn’t read her book, not because she was annoyingly perfect. Not because of her annoying plan to try and make us laugh. (Really? Humor and faith?) Not even because of her annoyingly awesome heart for people. For orphans. For humanity.
I hadn’t read her book because she wrote it.
Because she wrote it. She did the next right thing and the next hard thing and her five children weren’t an excuse and resources weren’t an excuse and her television show wasn’t an excuse and her age wasn’t an excuse and she did it.
She wrote it.
And I hadn’t.
I opened that book and closed it because somewhere inside my head-space reading her book only served as a reminder of a promise I haven’t kept.
A story I haven’t told.
A book I haven’t written.
(The bless comments will only be funny or even remotely intelligent for those who’ve read Jen’s latest book and those who know of my fear of plagiarism. Where I might put duh! Or good grief! She says “bless.” How great is that? It’s so perfect. It’s like bless-a-my-soul and bless-a-my-Mother’s-soul and bless-a-the-woman-in-the-pineapple-tights-soul and it’s just literary genius.)
I’m so glad I thought of it! 😉