For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

I didn’t even know who Jen Hatmaker was. Someone gave me her book, For the Love, and for the love of life of me, I can’t even remember who. The book has been on my nightstand for a while now. It was published in 2015, but I don’t think I’ve had it that long. And Jen. She’s been around for a while; her podcast, For the Love, goes back to 2017 and she’s hosted some amazing people on her show over the years.

I added For the Love to my reading list for 2020. It was one of the first I picked up (I still had a couple books I rolled over for 2019) and I always have at least three books going in my read pile.

Jen had me oohing, awing, laughing, crying and standing up to take notice, from one chapter to the next. I giggled so much during her Thank You Notes chapters that my husband asked me, “what are you reading?” I nodded throughout the Dear– chapters. I loved her chapter, Hope for Spicy Families, but I’m not sure where mine falls. I wouldn’t classify us sweet, but spicy seems a bit of a stretch. Maybe that’s just me. I’ve never had a “spicy” personality.

I love For the Love and I opened it at just the right time. I’ve started listening to her podcast as well. Life is too short and too hard sometimes to get all twisted up and bent out of shape. I enjoy those who can laugh and can make me laugh. I enjoy those who want to live life well and invite others to come along and live it well, too. Jen does that. Here’s to inviting people over and doing it together.

We’re saving a seat for you, Jen.


  • You have permission to examine all the tricks and decide what should stay. What parts do you love? Whater are you good at? What brings you life? What has to stay during this season?
  • We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.
  • Throw out every should or should not and make ruthless cuts.
  • What does this season require of you? Unsure? Ask God.
  • Wise women know what to hold on to and what to release, and how to walk confidently in their choices–no regrets, no apologies, no guilt.
  • “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard
  • I started hearing my gospel narrative through the ears of the Other, and a giant whole bunch of it didn’t even make sense.
  • Worthy lives bloom under the nourishment of grace in every context, every country. Goodness, desire and implemented, is demonstrated by Christians wherever they’ve been set free.
  • A worthy life involves loving as loved folks do, sharing the ridiculous mercy God spoiled us with first.
  • A worthy life means showing up when showing up is the only thing to do.
  • God created an entire package. It all counts. There are no throwaway qualities. IN fact, those qualities might point you in just the right direction. Nothing is wasted: not a characteristic, preference, experience, tragedy, quirk, nothing. It is all you and it is all purposed and it can all be used for great and glorious good.
  • Do your thing.
  • Run your race.
  • Stop minimizing what you are good at throw yourself into it with no apologies.
  • God designed you this way, on purpose. It isn’t take or a fluke or small. These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you’ve been given, so use them.
  • It is okay for someone else to struggle. Furthermore, it is okay to not fix it/solve it/answer it/discredit it.
  • It is not our responsibility to fix every mess.
  • Pulling something difficult from its dark hiding place and into the light is innately healing.
  • We are watching the light win truth by truth, and when enough bright places are created, the dark has nowhere else to hide.
  • Self-criticism sometimes improves best practices, but it can also lie to you and probably has.
  • Condemnation is a trick of the enemy, not the language of the heavens. Shame is not God’s tool, so if we are slaves to it, we’re way off the beaten path.
  • God measures our entire existence by on ly two things: how we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong.
  • …develop eyes for pain, which is exactly how Jesus walked around on this earth.
  • So those are my dreams for you: Be Kind. Be you. Love Jesus.
  • In the marriage rhythm, figure out your notes and play them well. This is your part of the song. Stop being mad that your guy is terrible at your notes. He has his.
  • Marriage is no place to be inordinately sensitive. We cannot price over every little thing.
  • Treating your husband like a good friend will preserve your marriage forever. Just act like someone you would want to live with instead of a difficult frenemy.
  • God isn’t a wedge between spouses; if you aren’t walking side by side, I believe God will wait for you both.
  • Grow together, learn together, seek together, serve together.
  • If you are trying to change the very way your husband is wired, take the nooses off both your necks. Set him free, and you may remember how much you like the rest of him.
  • If your husband knows you love and want him, you empower him in every other area. This is one place he is vulnerable, and your desire in the bedroom is more than loving; it is powerful.
  • Parents of littles think they are still in control of outcomes, but mamas of bigs know better.
  • Treat their questions an concerns with respect, because in my opinion, they have a decent pulse on cultural Christianity. Rather than starting with, “You are young and clueless,” maybe we say, “Tell me what you see and what concern you. What draws you to church? What pushes you away? What do your friends say?” Humility attracts the next generation as easily as arrogance alienates them. This is so crucial. If we dismiss this conversation, we dismiss them from the church.
  • The best we can do is give them Jesus.
  • If Jesus is the heart of the church, people are the lifeblood.
  • Online life is no substitute for practiced, physical presence.
  • If Jesus’ basic marching orders were 1.) to love God and 2.) to love people, then the fruit of that obedience includes being loved by God and loved by people.
  • We are not promised a pain-free life but are given the tools to survive: God and people.
  • It was terribly liberating, because I quit trying to overcome my personality. The ugly self-talk stopped and I gave myself permission for quiet and silence and privacy.
  • We recharge differently–they need more of everything and I need less of everything. this personality gap can be so defeating, because I feel like not enough and make my kids feel like too much.
  • You are not responsible for the spiritual health of everyone around you, nor must you weather the recalcitrant behavior of others.
  • We prioritize keeping the peace ofver confrontation, but the result is more suffering, not less.
  • Ironically, the more responsibility people take for their spiritual development and their neighbor, the healthier they become–also, less resentful of the church, less dependent on programming, and less reliant upon pastors.
  • (My checkpoints, in order: 1. humility; 2. transparency; 3. integrity.)
  • we overcomplicate the ways of Jesus. Love God, love people. Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. Treat people as you want to be treated. If you want to be great, be a servant.
  • Find your little faith tribe (it exists) and learn to love it with all the grace and humility you can master.
  • We tend to formalize the mysterious, opting for a more manageable gospel than the wild, unpredictable one we have.
  • I also suspect “getting it all right” isn’t God’s highest order. The Bible constantly elevated love over knowledge, mercy over sacrifice.
  • Could the highest level of “right theology” involve loving God and people like Jesus suggested?
  • We are such a blessed generation. We don’t have to chose between gentleness and authority…We get the victories of past generations, plus the hope of ours.
  • We won’t let our own crazy stop us form affirming each other and banging the drum for our sisters.

About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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