Best-selling author Jen Hatmaker spoke to the hearts and minds of both Oklahoma Christian University students and the Edmond community yesterday.
Hatmaker began the day by speaking to the student body in Hardeman Auditorium during chapel. In her talk, Hatmaker addressed the issue of college-aged students leaving the church.
“In every generation that has ever been, Jesus is being manifested in new ways,” Hatmaker said. “Sometimes the old forms struggle to contain it.”
Hatmaker called students to remain in church because the church needs their generation. At the end of chapel, Hatmaker reminded students of their worth in Christ.
“I think you are special and I think you were set aside for a holiness that is unprecedented,” Hatmaker said.
Later in the evening, Hatmaker spoke at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., also in Hardeman Auditorium, on the subject of suffering. Hatmaker shared personal struggles and provided three ways in which she overcame hardship: declaring God’s faithfulness, seeking community and “doing the work.”
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind,” Hatmaker said. “Practically that means making a decision from a place of fear will lead us away from truth, away from health and away from Jesus.”
Hatmaker said seeking community is important during times of suffering. According to Hatmaker, being transparent with others can help heal the hurt many people deal with.
“Being vulnerable is scary,” Hatmaker said. “But when you do the work to earn intimacy with other people I can hardly think of a better treasure.”
Hatmaker concluded her thoughts by calling the audience to stand firm even when times seem hopeless because faith leads to victory.
“God is good,” Hatmaker said. “He is faithful and He can be trusted.”
Junior Abby Giddens said she heard of Hatmaker’s work in the past and came to the event because Hatmaker is a voice for women everywhere.
“I’ve been on a big kick of women empowerment,” Giddens said. “I went and watched the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ and went to the women’s march in Oklahoma City on Saturday, and I figured this would be kind of along the same lines as that.”
Giddens said hearing Hatmaker helped provide her with a new perspective on dealing with suffering. According to Giddens, Hatmaker offered hope for dark times.
“Her main point at the end was we will live,” Giddens said. “Even if we feel dead or things of life have killed us and brought us down, we will live on, and there is nothing too dead in this world that can’t be resurrected. I think it’s so beautiful and so true.”
Giddens said people tend to ignore talking about personal struggles, and Hatmaker encouraged audience members to find healing in sharing their hurts.
“Talking about things heals,” Giddens said. “I think most people aren’t used to talking about it, so when a beautiful, strong independent woman like Jen comes and talks about suffering, it empowers us to talk about suffering.”
Freshman Payton Jackson said she decided to attend Hatmaker’s talk after volunteering to help during the event. Jackson said she appreciated both Hatmaker’s humor and her encouragement on God’s faithfulness.
“I liked how she told stories at the beginning,” Jackson said. “Then towards the end, she said God is good and to trust Him. It really hit home with me.”
According to Jackson, Hatmaker’s transparency helped audience members understand they are not alone in suffering.
“She’s a big author and obviously has a lot of influence on women,” Jackson said. “Her getting up there and speaking about her struggles can show others everyone struggles, and not just certain people.”