We’re All Messy – Book Review “Of Mess and Moxie”

“I have always said that if you don’t love Jesus, you just don’t know Him. He is the full and complete jam, and we would all be fighting to sit by Him at dinner if He was here now.”
– Jen Hatmaker

Do you ever have a love/hate relationship with a book?

That’s what I have with Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker. Here’s why.

First, the bad news.

I like my non-fiction books to be focused and informative. I want my serious books to be serious. And my funny books to be funny. But this book refused to stay on track with either. Even the funny parts seemed to ramble and wander.

Jen also includes several recipes, which I also don’t like in a book (recipe lovers, don’t hate me, but isn’t that what Pinterest is for?).

But second, the good news.

After sludging through a few chapters of what you might call fluff, Jen would surprise me with a chapter of spiritual insights. She’d make me pause and rethink. She’d help me find grace for myself and want to extend grace to others.

Jen is a fangirl of Jesus. She helps us love God more. She helps us love ourselves more. We all can be a mess, but that’s okay.

You are far more than your worst day. Jen Hatmaker

So would I recommend Of Mess and Moxie? A tentative yes. It depends on what you’re looking for (although this book likely has it all, at some point).

If you’re looking for something serious, you might get frustrated at times. I did. This book does have serious, but you have to see-saw back and forth with the funny. It’s messy.

But if you’re looking for lots of funny sprinkled in with some serious, and you’re already a Jen Hatmaker fan anyway (I am), you’ll enjoy this book. And might even consider it one of her best.


Here are ten favorite quotes by Jen Hatmaker from Of Mess and Moxie.

  1. “If we get seven out of ten things mostly right as moms, we are winning the majority, and the majority wins the race.”
  2. “Simply identifying fear as the dominant emotion is a helpful red flag. It tells us: Whoa up, sister. These thoughts and ideas cannot be trusted.”
  3. “Making your home pretty is nice, but making it nourishing is holy.”
  4. “It is easy to believe God’s pleasure in us hinges on our aggressive defense of the kingdom, when, in fact, He told us repeatedly our chief identifier is how we love.”
  5. “When in doubt, ask yourself: What would love feel like here, to this person?”
  6. “My dream is for a safe church, a wide table, no secondary kid tables. If Jesus made the sanctuary free and available for all, we should too.”
  7. “Trust me: don’t waste your time overvaluing Christian famous people. . . . I mean this sincerely: only Jesus is worth your full devotion. He alone will never let you down and will always lead you correctly.”
  8. “I possess full confidence in God but a healthy skepticism of the human understanding of God.”
  9. “Loved people love people. Forgiven people forgive people. Adored people adore people. Freed people free people.”
  10. “Forgiveness comes easier to people who regularly ask forgiveness themselves.”

* * *

How do you do with “messy” books? Please share in the comments.

My thanks to BookLook Bloggers
for the review copy of this book

24 thoughts on “We’re All Messy – Book Review “Of Mess and Moxie”

  1. Crystal Twaddell

    I am such a quote person, and Jen Hatmaker always has some great ones! The truth of this one resonates with me continually…“I possess full confidence in God but a healthy skepticism of the human understanding of God.” I appreciate your balanced review. In this season I’m in, a little funny and serious sprinkled together works just fine!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wanted to include more of that quote, so here it is for you, Crystal. 🙂 Jen did have some wonderful quotes in this book.

      “I possess full confidence in God but a healthy skepticism of the human understanding of God. (I used to be the opposite, and I miss the days when I knew everything.) So in this case, I can see the clear answer at the end of the problem and realize I simply don’t understand the equation. I know the final answer is right, but I haven’t worked out the spiritual math.”

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Linda. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for funny when I was reading this one. I’m not sure what my problem was. ha. It just didn’t seem to blend well for my taste, but hopefully it will for others.

  2. Michele Morin

    I’ve been curious about this book, Lisa, and I’m beginning to count on you to read and report on books that I’m eyeing. There are some thunderously good sentences that you’ve featured (thank you), and I have to wonder if some of your frustration with the book is pointing out that the book itself needed more time (since the last book) to come into being. I’ve come to feel a bit sorry for successful authors because sometimes they feel a need to keep ’em comin’.
    And the result is a published rough draft.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s working both ways, Michele: I often depend on your reviews to help me decide if a book will be worth my time investment.

      When I went back to read the notes I took, I was amazed at how many wonderful sentences there were. But overall the book just seemed disjointed to me. You could be exactly right: maybe she was under time-pressure to get another book published. I know many people have loved the book, though, so perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mood when I was reading it.

  3. Horace Williams Jr

    Sounds like some insightful quotes that challenged you Lisa. I would love to send you a copy of my short book on prayer for a review on Amazon. Please let me know if you are interested in reading. Have a wonderful weekend and God bless.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate your offer, Horace! I wish I could take you up on it, but I’ve dug a hole already of books to review. 🙁 I usually only have 1 or 2 at a time, but for whatever reason, I have 5 or 6 that I need to finish reading and writing before I can let myself get another one. I’m sure your book has been and will continue to be an inspiration to many! We never can hear too much about prayer.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hope I’m not leading anything astray one way or the other, so I hope I was able to point you in the right direction, Theresa. It’s funny how we can hear such different things about the same book, depending on who is talking about it.

  4. Pam

    The answer to your question….not so well. I appreciate this candid review, but I also don’t like recipes unless it is a recipe book I need to try beyond Pinterest or Carlsbad Cravngs blog site.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sounds like we both like our books to be straightforward, Pam. One of the books I’ve disliked the most in the past few years was “Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl” – it felt like I was on one the whole time I was reading the book. Like this book, it did have some good insights, but it was a crazy ride to get to them. I get motion sickness too easy. 🙂

  5. Jean Wise

    I enjoyed the quotes but agree with you about recipes and mixed messages in books I am reading. Glad you still dug through and found those gems. Too often I will quit a book instead. Good review, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your approach is probably the healthier one, Jean—just stop reading. I’ve tried getting better at stopping a book instead of feeling compelled to finish, but it’s hard for me. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Even though I didn’t like the mixed style of this book, there was definitely lots of great insights in it. I’m glad you enjoyed these ten things too, Betty. There was lots more but I couldn’t share it all.

  6. Betsy de Cruz

    A friend is bringing me a copy from this book from the States on Tuesday! Interesting to read your comments. I actually love funny, I found it really refreshing in For the Love, a book which rescued me during a very traumatic trial season two years ago.

    But I can totally understand what you’re saying. Now I’m curious to see if I like this book as much…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m hoping that you will enjoy this book, Betsy. I am keeping it on my Kindle because one day I may want to return to it for the humorous parts, too. She is a great writer with great thoughts, so I hope I’m not being too harsh here. There is definitely lots of good in it!

      1. Betsy de Cruz

        No, Lisa, I definitely don’t think you’re being too hard. I know what you mean, and I really appreciated your honest review. I think when I read For the Love, I REALLY needed funny. Curious to see if this new one fits my current life/needs or not. 🙂

  7. Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    Thanks for the honest review, Lisa. I’m not inclined to read the book. But this…

    “It is easy to believe God’s pleasure in us hinges on our aggressive defense of the kingdom, when, in fact, He told us repeatedly our chief identifier is how we love.”

    That’s a great take-away!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I loved that take-away, too, Susan. The quote started with this, which I think you’ll also appreciate:

      “When being right is our highest aim, our most intimate bedfellows are academics, apologetics, and rigorous defense, and we have to use the tools of the world to secure our rank.”

      I know I’ve used those tools far too often in my quest to convince people how loved they are—instead of just loving them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *