Saturday, March 28, 2015

"For the Love" of Laundry Piles

Guess what people?  I got a copy of Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love.  It did not fall off a truck and I did not steal it, though I would have, if a precious friend had not gifted it to me.  Because she knows I just can’t get enough of Jen Hatmaker.  I count JH among my people.  My best friends.   But before you get so excited and ask me for an autograph you should know that Jen Hatmaker has never met me.  I just love her to bits because she knows what to say to the hurting out there.  And I count myself among the hurting, sometimes.

Here’s a spoiler alert, Friends.  For the Love is amazing.  A-MAZ-ING.  I think it should sell no less than 762 skajillionbillion copies.  Because if all the people in the whole wide world would just read this book there would be a lot less grouchiness and a lot more love, joy, and hugging out there. 

Also, here is another secret.  I have only read the Introduction.  But I need to tell you about it RIGHT NOW.  Because if the whole book only consisted of the first three pages it would be ENOUGH for us to take a bite out of and digest for a day or two until it became the fuel we need for our souls. 

Here are a few things that GOT TO ME.

“I see a generation of people ON THE HOOK.  Man, we are tough on one another, starting with ourselves.  Folks who thrive in God’s grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical.  We love other people the way we love ourselves, and if we are not good enough, then no one is.”

Take a moment and just think on that one.  What were the 954 ways you were hard on yourself today?  Shall we start with the moment you woke up and the sweet morning sunshine hit your eyeballs?

Let me just share a couple of my personal favorites from the last 24 hours of my own life. 

I have a pile of laundry that reaches to our ceiling.  If it was not full of smelly socks and molded dish towels I would hide in there so the triplets could not find me while I took a nap.  I looked at that pile today and almost cried “I give up” tears. 

Did I mention that I have 15 years of teaching experience in early childhood, a master’s degree in education, and I still cannot get my own children to learn outside of school?  Homework time at our house more closely resembles a prison break with a) Tears and cries for mercy. “Please, PUH-LEASE MAMA, don’t make me WRITE MY NAME on this paper!”  b) Weapons.  “Mommy, she just tried to stab me in the EYE with that pencil!”  c) Threats and negation.  “Girls,” I say, “If you complete your homework you will get to select a piece of candy out of the Halloween stash (it’s March, BTW).  If you don’t complete your homework, or if you continue to fight and cry, I will take your stuffed animals into the driveway and set them on fire.” 

And, for my final number, I arrived at our spring break location only to learn that I DON’T HAVE ANY CLOTHES ON THIS TRIP.  They did not get packed.  They are sitting on the ironing board at home.

My list of shortcomings, failures, and catastrophes is endless. 

So, how does this influence the way I treat others?  Because I think my best friend Jen Hatmaker is on to something.  How can we truly be kind and accepting of others when we beat ourselves up?

It doesn’t bother me at bit to think that I spend most of my day in a hot mess of craziness, but I hate the thought that my self-criticism may impact my relationship with my husband, my family, my friends, and the precious woman who helps me at the local post office.

And since we are all so busy thinking right now, add this (from the Introduction) to your thoughtful deliberation, “I believe we can do better than this.  I think God wants us off the hook, since Jesus pretty much already handled that for us.  Can I tell you my dream for this little book?  I hope you close the last page and breathe an enormous sigh of relief.  I hope you laugh out loud because you just got free.”

ME TOO best friend, Jen Hatmaker.  So I’m going to keep reading.

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