Let me introduce you to my best friend, Jen Hatmaker. I’ve never actually met Jen, so she doesn’t know we’re best friends, but we have so much in common that if we ever do actually meet in person, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a BFF at first sight kind of situation.
I honestly cannot remember exactly when I first came across anything about this person. There are vague, scattered memories about adoption from Africa, reaching out to the homeless population in Austin with food and friendship and shoes, but no succinct “this is the moment I learned about Jen” experience. Still, the name had been familiar in my mind for years before I ever began actually reading her books, or following her on social, or attending events where she is speaking. Once I did start reading her books, I was hooked. She’s just a genuinely real person. Her writing style is conversational and relatable, and her books are fun and engaging even while tackling topics that are hard and impactful. I read Of Mess and Moxie first, and then got it and For the Love on Audible, and let me tell you there is no more fun way to read a book than to have the author herself read it to you; and go completely off text down a side road of personal story. Pure greatness.
I had been drinking the Jen Hatmaker Kool-Aid for a couple of years by the time I had the privilege of seeing her speak at Rachel Hollis’ Rise conference last July, and it was everything I thought it would be. She is just as precious and fun and authentic in person as she is in print and on her podcast (For the Love). She brought the entire venue of 7,000 women to tears with a beautiful story about how female elephants form a circle around a laboring mother to protect her and her newborn calf, and then trumpeting in celebration and solidarity; and relating that situation to how we as sisters rally around each other when we are in need of support. We have each others backs in times of need, and we celebrate each others accomplishments in the good times. It was breathtaking.
Given how much I have spent the last few years loving every single thing about this person, when I heard that she had a new book set to be released this spring, and there was an opportunity to be on the launch team for that book, it was a no brainer; I had to apply. The day the launch team was to be announced, I checked my e-mail every chance I had, and was thankful for distractions to keep my mind off it. I alternated between telling myself that disappointment was a part of life, and that rejection wasn’t tied to my self worth – that I would still get a copy of the book through the Jen Hatmaker Book Club (yep – she even has a book club), and it would still be great; and telling myself that there was no reason to doubt myself – that I was just as qualified to participate in a launch as anybody else. AND I MADE IT!
So what does this mean? It means I get the opportunity read what is guaranteed to be one of the most honest, genuine, and true texts to be put in print before it comes out. I get to tell the world (my tiny corner of it anyway) about it as I read it. I get to be in community with a group of people that have the same ideals and goals and enthusiasm for this book as I do. Other than that, I’m not sure. I’m not sure how my being on this launch team benefits anyone other than me, because this is obviously a home run for me. Regardless I am going to do my best to do Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You the greatness it will no doubt earn. This book is sure to be a life changer, and I am 100% here for it!