The truth is, God created us with resiliency. Mankind is incredibly able to heal, to rise back up, to stare down pain with moxie. Jesus strengthens our minds for the task of recovery. We’ve got chops, girls. Pain is universal; there is no avoiding it, no system that will sidestep struggle. This terrible, mean voice screams out, “What did you do wrong? How did you go so terribly off the script?” when life bursts at the seams, but that’s a lie. Life can be hard because life can be hard. We’re not doing it wrong. What matters is excavating our pluck from the rubble and refusing to be defined by loss. Sometimes it looks like fury, sometimes determination, activated by a flash of our eyes and a straightening of our spines. Rather than cower under its weight, we force pain into a partnership, using it to grow, to learn, to catapult us into a deeper, wider, sturdier life.”
Excerpt From: Hatmaker, Jen. “Of Mess and Moxie.” HarperCollinsChristianPublishing, 2017-06-09. iBooks.
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HOPEspotters, did you read that? Read it again and drink it in like water on a hot day. Take it in like a holy, holy truth.
I love reading and I love writing and reading what good writers write is like a hot fudge sundae for me. Jen Hatmaker has all the words, knows all the things, feels all my feels and nails it, every damn time. My deep love for her messages is what keeps me from wanting to gouge out her eyes in jealousy of her talent. This book, “Of Mess and Moxie” is as good, if not better, than all her other fantastic books and her podcast “For The Love”
I’m not here to promote Ms. Hatmaker, however. She has a well paid staff that performs that task more than adequately. I want to go back to this particular passage. It is from Chapter Five in “Of Mess and Moxie”. In this chapter, the author discusses a multitude of personal trials she endured, seemingly all at once, that involved the people in and aspects of her life that she held most precious. Her description of her feelings during this time went straight to my heart and the above passage comes as she rediscovered her own power and faith during her hard times.
I'm gonna say right here and now with all honesty, and not just to keep me out of copyright trouble, if the opening passage had meaning for you, get this book and read this chapter. Its emboldening.
There’s a reason I paid extra attention to the words in Chapter Five and re-read it regularly. One of the first things Ms. Hatmaker acknowledges is there are things in her life that she felt were immune from hardship. She writes, “ “Until recently, I possessed a very developed sense of entitlement to my best things. I mostly expected them to live on their own island of protection, tucked away from harm, disease, disintegration. I bought the notion that my own attentiveness and control would maintain the island, and for good measure, I imagined that God Himself endorsed my system. Especially if that particular main thing was used in His service (double immunity!). I invoked “a hedge of protection” around my island like contemporary prayer circles taught me to.” She goes on to say, “I had no idea how addicted to self rule I was or how much confidence I placed in false security”.
Friends, I’ve had a rough couple of months. Deeply personal issues that seem creepy when described that way have weighed heavily on my heart. People and relationships that are my most cherished have experienced conflict. For me, there couldn’t be anything worse.
Given this situation, I’ve sought therapy, life change, advice, support, and held on fiercely to fellowship and kindness. This place of pain was foreign to me because it was not brought on by illness or unforeseen misfortune and I did not know where to turn. My sunshine-y optimism wasn’t changing shit.
I’ve learned along the hospice road that one never knows when the grenade pin will be pulled and one never knows the remedy that can come for fear and pain. The latter is an everyday miracle that I’ll never underestimate.
For me, in this personal catastrophe, I’ve had a lot of angels, no doubt. I hope, that if a day of need comes for them like some of the recent ones I experienced, that I could share something as helpful, as hopeful, as powerful as Ms. Hatmaker’s words.
“Life can be hard because life can be hard.”
“Rather than cower under its weight, we force pain into a partnership, using it to grow, to learn, to catapult us into a deeper, wider, sturdier life.”
And I can believe it, because I have seen it. I know that is true. Don’t you? I have had the privilege to know many young ( and old) widow and widowers who’ve made lemonade with their grief and reached out to help others. Cancer survivors who embrace the mantle of survivorship and inspire those still battling. Or how about those in recovery who’ve faced the hell of addiction and lend a hand to men and women still struggling to find a way out?
If you are looking for the presence of Jesus on Earth, the demonstration of these heroes cause you to look no further. Courage in the face of misery. Grace and Mercy in places of pain. Humanity is places of need. Perhaps I am very, very blessed but I see all of this every single day. I look for it, but I see it, to be sure.
Pain can be a partnership because, as Ms. Hatmaker said, we refused to be defined by loss.
Go back to her first sentence, “God created us with resiliency.” She’s right. She’s RIGHT! Again, not sure? Sit in a NICU waiting room with parents, proudly wearing their “I’m a Dad” and “I’m a Mom” buttons. They might have a 2lb preemie in the unit but their heart is resilient. Or how about the parent that braves pregnancy after a miscarriage? Go to any cause based 5K, and find a starting line full of resilient people ready to prove that the cure to their diagnosis of choice is just a few more dollars away and they are willing to genuinely physically exert themselves to find it.
HOPEspotters, I know when I am out classed and I am more than willing to admit it. If you are engaged in the message of the HOPEspot blogs, I know you will love Jen Hatmaker, especially “Of Mess and Moxie” and especially Chapter Five. For me, I found it at an essential time and its message spoke to my heart. I’ve shared what I shared because I think/ I know we all have struggles/ battles/ concerns that may not be obvious but are no less painful. Ms. Hatmaker makes clear that fear is no ally in these times and digging deeper for the love of your tribe and your faith in a loving God are the absolute remedies for these feelings.
Wishing you all peace and moxie.