It has been a slow few weeks of reading for me, but oddly enough, I finished both of these books pretty quickly, like within a week & in mom-world that is really fast. This month’s reviews are Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted & Emily Ley’s debut book Grace Not Perfection. Both books are very real, but in very different ways. Emily is like a pat on the back & a hug around your neck, while Jen is more of a kick in the butt & a punch in the gut.
The Hatmaker’s were called to plant Austin New Church (ANC) beginning in January of 2007. Back in February, I reviewed Jen’s book 7 (check out that review here). Interrupted is the prequel to 7. This is the story of how ANC came to be & as Jenn calls it “when Jesus wrecks your comfortable Christianity”. First of all let me say this is a book I think all christians should read. She really digs into how Jesus lived & how we are called to live like he lived, love like he loved, & serve like he served. Like all of Jen’s books that I have read, she just kind of tells it like it is. Sometimes it is funny, but most of the time it is convicting. She says things a lot of us think & never say because we are too afraid to offend someone. Well, maybe books like this wouldn’t need to written & passed along if we all said a little bit more of what needed to be said & less of what is comfortable to say. Just 3 pages into the introduction (that’s right- she gets right into it. There is no shallow end in a Jenn Hatmaker book) she says “Until we are all compelled and contributing, we’re settling for an anemic faith and a church that robs Christ followers of their vitality and repels the rest of the world.” And let me tell you it only gets more convicting & ouch-deserving from there. One of the many things I really liked about Interrupted is that you get to hear her husband’s side of the story too. It was interesting to read a story from both sides & to see that life events aren’t just coincidences or “well what do you know” kind of things, but that God really does orchestrate our lives in every detail. Overall, this is a must read for every believer, but especially if you feel like your walk has gone stale or your just not “being fed” …fyi/sidebar- don’t rely on someone else to feed you, be a big girl & feed yourself- check out 1 John 2:27 if you need a bit more on that…ok back on track… this book is for you.
It is absolutely no secret that I am a big supporter of Emily Ley, I mention her here & on Instagram a lot. GNP (as she calls it) is a beautiful collection of the messages she felt deeply needed to be not just shared, but absorbed by us mommas & business women & church ladies. GNP truly is a message each of us needs to hear. The tagline of the book is “embracing simplicity, celebrating joy” but the message that is driven home is “I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection”. Now let’s stop real quick & admire this book- Emily is the CEO of Emily Ley Paper. Paper & planners are kind of her thing, so the visual & textural presentation of this book is fantastic. The cover is beautiful & bold & feels fancy in an approachable way, but the paper inside…oh the paper. It is just relaxing touching this book lol [I am a paper nut in case you didn’t know- I love all things paper. I even go to the paper section of craft stores to relax]- anyway– The photography is bright & beautiful & clean. Honestly, just the experience of touching & thumbing through the book is relaxing. But the words of love & wisdom that grace the inside of the pages is honestly like sitting down & having coffee & desert with a friend. This isn’t just a book you read, but a book you get real with. Through out each chapter, she challenges you to take a deeper look at your life & the areas that need a little more simplicity & grace. There are 3 sections in GNP: Grace With Yourself, Grace With Your People, & Grace In Your Calling. Where Jen Hatmaker is like a finger-wagging intervention (in the best way possible), Emily Ley is like a temple-to-temple, squeeze around the shoulders. She talks about comparison & how it robs us, the unbelievable expectations we try to hold ourselves to, & how we don’t have to do it all, among many other deeply needed words of grace. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she simply tells the reader “We have a gift right now, in this moment. It’s an opportunity to welcome God’s grace and to free ourselves from the traps of self-labeled inadequacies. Now is your chance to tell yourself the truth: You are measuring up. You are doing a good job. You, just as you are, are enough. Enough for yourself. Enough for God. And enough for the ones you love.” This is a message, I have needed to hear as I have found myself saying a lot in the last month “I’m never good enough”. It’s a timely message. A message all us women & momma’s desperately need to hear….I think I am going to sit down & read it again, right now.
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