Of Mess & Moxie – Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishing for granting my wish for this book!


If you haven’t read a Jen Hatmaker book yet or aren’t following her on social media, you’re sorely missing out on hilarious honesty that comes when a woman has raised five children, been through a home renovation on television, and accrued the insight of a life working for God. When I saw she was releasing another book, I knew I would enjoy the hilarity inside. The first half of this book was exactly that for me. I especially loved Jen’s lists titled, “How to Plan a Family”, “How to Wake your Children up Peacefully from Naptime”, or “How to get your Husband to Fix that Thing He’s Been Saying for 3 Months that He’d Fix.” These lists included split-your-sides-laughing truths such as, “Make out with your spouse. Have twins, making your child count five in five years” and “Pick up a hammer and walk in the general direction of the broken thing. This should effectively catapult your husband off the couch and into disgruntled service: ‘I said I would do that!‘” She perfectly describes every middle-class American family’s woes in the most comical and relatable sense!

About halfway through the book, however, I found myself having second thoughts about this novel as Jen veers slightly left with her thoughts and theology. I felt as if she was trying to appease the World while still relating to Christians – two paths that often cannot parallel. As she goes on to describe loving people, I felt entirely conflicted. I know we are to love all people, including all people at our tables, and serve people as Jesus did. Unfortunately, love and acceptance are not the same things. I fear Jen may misguide people into believing all Christians are doing things wrong, creating an even bigger divide.

With a Liberal dose of love, everything can be right in the world. We live in a place where love and acceptance are favored over Truth. That roaring lion, also known as Satan is as sly as a fox. Of course, he would use the one good and pure thing we have in the world and convince us we’re doing it wrong.

We’re loving to spread tolerance, sure we’re doing the work of Jesus. We’re loving to spare feelings. We’re loving people to death, but losing their most important part when death meets us head on…the soul.

The truth is hard to face, sometimes it hurts, but our duty as Christians is to walk in its Light. Unfortunately, with parts of this book, I feel Jen Hatmaker has veered to the shadows. The light is a little dimmer, it doesn’t burn the eyes quite as bad, but still isn’t too dark to see. I wouldn’t look to this book for spiritual guidance or theology, but I did find fun, humanity, and community inside the pages. I don’t for one-minute doubt Jen Hatmaker’s Faith or love of God, but I simply don’t agree with much of her theology. I think Christians would do well to compare notes with the Bible to find where they should Biblically stand on issues represented in these pages.

Like Jen said,

“Trust me: don’t waste your time over-valuing Christian Famous people. It is so easy to cast public figures as prototypes of discipleship or pristine examples of faithfulness, but all that admiration is totally misplaced. I mean this sincerely: only Jesus is worth your full devotion. He alone will never let you down and will always lead you correctly.”

While this book had numerous laugh-out-loud moments, good recipes I will be giving a go, and a sense of sisterhood that made me feel less alone as a mother, I still am on the fence about this book as a whole. I loved big chunks of the writing but felt as if this was cross between a secular book and a Christian book in other ways. Unfortunately, the mixed messages I experienced were hard to reconcile. Nonetheless, I’d love to thank Jen for making me laugh!

Purchase on Amazon!


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