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Jen Hatmaker on ‘Of Mess and Moxie’

Author Jen Hatmaker shares what inspired her to write her book, Of Mess and Moxie, and what makes the book stand apart from her previous works.


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Hey, Guideposts—I’m Jen Hatmaker. I’m the author of a brand new book called Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life.

When I first sat down to write Of Mess and Moxie, I thought, “How do I start this book? What are the first words that I want to say to my reader? What’s the first punch I want to land?”

I decided that I wanted that message to be: You don’t have to be who you first were. And that can look a thousand different ways, but one thing that I wrote in that essay is this: “You are far more than your worst day, your worst experience, your worst season. You are more than the sorriest decision you ever made. You are more than the darkest sorrow you’ve endured.”

And I just kept thinking, this is our life. This is normal life and it is hard but we are good and smart and strong. So that is why I titled the book Of Mess and Moxie—because we get both. We don’t get to be exempt from either, and we have the capacity to rise up and be strong.

So I think my message to women is that I am your sister and I am your friend. I’m walking alongside of you when life is hard—because mine is, too—but we have everything we need to overcome.

One way that Of Mess and Moxie is a little bit different than some of my previous books is that I just shared more in this one—a lot of things that I haven’t necessarily said in public or I didn’t really share in social media over the last couple of years, but our family’s just…we’ve been through some stuff and we have suffered together and alongside one another. And we’ve kind of gotten to the other side of it, so it was good to talk about.

I identify with whatever in your life is hard right now, whatever in your life is going under, whatever feels like it’s in the gutter. And the things specifically that you thought you had all together, and that it turns out you didn’t? I’m there.

So I talk about that a little bit, about what it was like to go through it, about how I hung on to my faith in the middle of it, and ultimately how my faith delivered me through it. And so I would say this book in some places and in some ways is a little bit more tender, a little more earnest, a little bit more truthful. And I hope that it’s a gift and a service to the women who read it.

In the intro to Of Mess and Moxie, I reference a song that I grew up listening to, and I love it. It was by Martina McBride and it’s called For the Girls. And in it, she sort of goes through this song she’s written; she says, “This one’s for the girls.” And she sort of does it decade by decade. In some ways, at some point, along this book, I hope every single woman will see her reflection somewhere, that she will find some courage and hope for her story.

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