Hi. I'm Jen. 

In the fall of 1992, a college junior named Brandon Hatmaker pretended he needed another fork in the Oklahoma Baptist University cafeteria so he would “randomly” arrive at the utensil cart just as my freshman self was getting there in line. Obviously with moves that smooth, we got married. Twenty years after the wedding, we’ve created a whole life, including a bunch of headstrong kids, a temperamental garden, and a church plant in Austin, TX, where we have lived for 15 years.

I love a handful of really important things. 

I love writing. Words are my first love, because they matter. Words actually change lives, move people, sustain us. They take us to another world when we need to go and bring us home when we need to come back. Whatever you need, words can deliver: laughter, solidarity, encouragement, thrill, courage, silliness, spirit. I have been a reader and writer my entire life, and every single day I marvel that I get to make a living with words. I hope to use them for beauty and Jesus and life. I hope to make them count. 

I love people. The messier, the wonkier, the further out from the bullseye...the better. I understand God best through people; their gifts and strengths, their love and compassion, their character and courage. I sincerely believe we were made in God's image, and when I evaluate the goodness of people, I love God more. I crave a world of justice where people are safe, loved, empowered. I plan to use whatever influence I've been given on behalf of edged-out people for all my days. If I loved well, I will consider my entire life a success. 

I love home. I am a homegirl. I love my husband and family, my neighbors and friends. I love good people around my dining room table, eating good food and having good conversation. A cool vintage print on my wall is like Christmas morning; I want our home to be lovely and comfortable and sacred. I hope folks leave our home more restored than when they walked in the door. May our kids think back on these four walls and remember a childhood in which they were loved and treasured. I live for lazy evenings on the patio with our best friends. My beloved church is up the road. Austin is my favorite city on Planet Earth. I thrive here. 

I love Jesus. I am absolutely that girl. I feel so tender toward Him that sometimes I think I'll die. Everything about Jesus moves me: the way He loved outcasts and shunned power, the subversive way He challenged religion, His genius teachings that managed to stay perfectly relevant for 2000 years, the cross. Simply everything. I often think that if people don't love Jesus, they just don't know Him. He is the standard to which I hold up everything: theology, behavior, relationships, culture, church. I love Him and I want to be like Him. I so hope to make Him proud. 

I love my readers and our little community. I think about you constantly. I see you in my mind with every word I write. I care about you and what you care about. Your success and heart and soul matters to me so much. Protecting our space is vital: you are always safe with me. You can bring every ounce of doubt and hypocrisy and worry and struggle to me, and I will hold it with careful hands. You can love Jesus or not. You can go to church or not. You can believe or not or maybe not or maybe so. You can ask hard questions, and I promise too as well. We will work hard together to champion grace and goodness. 

Welcome.