A Note to My Former Self and the Interrupted Link-Up
by Jen Hatmaker on August 18th, 2014

I’m sitting here looking at Interrupted on my desk.
 

It is like the dearest friend, an anthem, this book. I feel so tender toward it and the conflicted, fervent girl who wrote it five years ago. I remember the deep sense of loneliness and spiritual frustration that marked its every page. Many, many writing days were wracked with tears and sobs.
 
I want to go back and tell the Jen Who First Wrote Interrupted a few things:
Hi, dear one. I know you feel crazy and alone. You don’t even know how many people occupy this same spiritual space yet. Guess how many people out there are craving God in the margins, on the edges, in the broken places, with the outliers? More than you can imagine. You have no idea how many good people are asking new questions, taking risky risks, stepping out into new spiritual territory, going brave. You would not believe it. Across generations, demographics, denominations, races, regions, nations…God is doing something powerful and fresh in your generation. You are about to find these people. They are going to help save you.
 
You’ve taken some friendly fire and it hurt really, really bad. Sometimes it scares people when God moves you in a new direction. Change is hard, and not just for you. I know your heart is broken, but you are going to rise. There is a cost to following Jesus; pay it. You’ll be so glad you did. It is pittance compared to what is coming. This is the best yes you’ve ever offered. The loss-and-gain rhythm of the gospel is real. You are in the loss part. You can’t skip it. I’m so sorry because I remember how much it hurt and how scary it felt. But the gain. Oh, the gain. Hang on, sister. It is so coming.
 
That crawling out of your spiritual skin feeling? Well, I’m afraid to tell you it really never goes away. Now you’ve seen too much and you can’t unsee it. I know you’ve never been out of the country and you don’t even have a passport, but girl, buckle up. Your international miles are about to get cray. You are fixin’ to fall dead in love with the world. And I’m not sure how to tell you this (you might want to sit down), but next year you will start the adoption process. For two children. From Ethiopia. (No I am not kidding. Here is a glass of wine. Take a minute.) I know you don’t know anything about human trafficking but you are about to. I know you don’t know anything about systems of injustice but you’re gonna learn. You’ll never go another day without thinking of the world’s precious people and how much they suffer. You are at the beginning of your Interrupted story, but you haven’t the slightest idea how far God plans to take this.
 
Two things I want you to get rid of as soon as you can: first, that guilt. Really. You were born into privilege. You didn’t pick that, earn it, or deserve it – this is simply your lot in God’s sovereignty. The sooner you can quit lamenting your advantages and your distribution of them, the better. God is not engineering a Guilt Trip. Just go ahead and knock that off. He is giving you eyes to see a little better and ears to hear a little clearer, and you wringing your hands and mourning lost years is not helping. You did the best you could with what you knew. Now God is just giving you more to know, so off you go. Don’t be guilty; be grateful, be generous, be brave.  
 
Two, that arrogance. Listen lamb, I know your heart is spilling over and the fire in your belly is burning a hole, but – and I mean this nicely – you do not know everything and you are not always right. (I know this is a shock. Take your time.) You don’t even know what you don’t know yet. This is not a great time to tell everyone in the church what they are doing wrong, pet. Church planting is harder than you think. Following Jesus is complicated and not everyone comes to grace on the same path you’ve walked. God has set you ablaze, but you have much to learn still. Be humble, be a good listener, be gracious, be kind. You will regret burning bridges like a pyro but you will never regret gentleness.
 
Can I tell you something? I know everything feels chaotic and all this spiritual upheaval has left some scars, but I just.cannot.even.tell.you. Here, I’ll show you some stuff that is coming:

These two. You don't even know. The little one likes to talk. Get ready.

 
Life is hard for so very many. Your days of apathy and ignorance are over.

 
God is going to do a miracle in Oklahoma one weekend. You'll never forget it.

 
Your children will learn to serve. The ones with the greatest loss will be the bravest.

 
You will be ruined for Ethiopia forever. You will love every inch, every person.

 
Oh, and Haiti. Gloriously ruined for Haiti. And little girls with big bows.

 
A school is coming to Haiti! Right here! You are going to help build it!

 
Oh, and Uganda. You have no future as a drummer, but you love these people.

 
You will kiss your young translator in front of all these Ugandan children
and they will lose their minds.


 
Adoption Family Camp. Half these kids are adopted. I can't remember which ones.

 
That's your girl in Ethiopia. She fell hard.
Kiss that one good-bye because she loves the world now.


 
Oh, and Rwanda. This is Teresa's porch. She will make you the best french fries of your life.

 
Yeah, this one is pretty crazy. I'll explain it later.

Life, sister. Life is coming. Good, hard, meaningful, challenging, beautiful, wonderful LIFE. It’s going to be so fun. Well, and sometimes not. (I don’t mean to scare you, but you will use the bathroom in a hole in the ground with children watching in rural Ethiopia soon. It’s fine. Relax.) This is the beginning of the rest of your life. Embrace it all – all the struggle, all the tension, all the humility, all the beauty. It is safe to be faithful to a faithful God. He loves you and is for you. He loves this world and is for it. Put that YES on the table indefinitely and, seriously, go with God.
 
And try to be patient when He asks you to eat the same 7 foods for a month in two years. THAT is a whole ‘nother thing, dove.
 
_______________________________________________

Oh, how I want you to have this story. So very much. Interrupted has been on a fabulous Blog Tour. I sincerely hope it has had fun out in the world, hopping around blogs like the Queen of Sheba. It has been to North Carolina and California and Georgia and it even went to Vegas, because Interrupted loves a bit of scandal. It has partied hard and now it is time to report its journey.
 
Below is the link-up to THE MOST AMAZING BLOG TOUR TEAM ON PLANET EARTH. These writers snatched up advance copies of Interrupted and their thoughts are reviews are linked below (they will be linking all day, so come back and see what gets added). Reader, you are welcome in advance for introducing you to these writers. You are about to subscribe to some new favorite bloggers. Poignant, funny, profound, irreverent…these girls have it all.
 
And don’t forget the online study we are doing later this fall with Interrupted. Grab your copy so you can join me. I think it is going to be complete awesomesauce.
 
Without further ado, I give you my amazing Blog Team:


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