I first thank you for the kindness you have shown these last two months. We are in a moment with no handbook and without a single clue how to navigate this privately, much less publicly. I don’t know how to hide grief, so I haven’t, and I am grateful for your absolute decency these last few weeks. I don’t know how to say this, and I still cannot believe I am even saying it, but Brandon and I are getting divorced. Although the details are ours alone, this was completely unexpected, and I remain stunned as we speak. I am shocked, grief-stricken, and broken-hearted.
Although this community is impossibly dear, beloved to me, in case you are an interloper who revels in the pain of another, I beg you to spare us your cruelty. We have suffered so greatly. (Hateful comments that harm our family will be deleted.) The kids and I are getting away to retreat for awhile, and I ask for your kindness…and for some room to breathe. Please respect the privacy of our children and our extended family. Our loss is not for public devouring. We are real people managing this in our real life in real time, and we are doing the absolute best we know how to do.
If you pray, pray for us. Hold us so dear to your hearts. We have felt your prayers these last few weeks. We have experienced your mercy. Thank you for being good to us. Know that we are deeply surrounded by love and have not been alone a single second in two months. Please help protect us and keep us safe as we try to heal and rebuild.
I first thank you for the kindness you have shown these last two months. We are in a moment with no handbook and without…
Jen and Brandon became very popular when they hosted the HGTV show, ‘My Big Family Renovation’ that documented the Hatmaker family renovating their 1908 farm house. You could say it was ‘Fixer Upper‘ before there was ‘Fixer Upper‘.
They have 5 children, 2 of them are adopted and Jen appeared on TODAY early this year speaking out against racial inequality. She said her Ethiopian daughter asked her why ‘white people thought they were better than black people,’ and it cause Jen to break down and start speaking out.
In April of 2016 Jen said on social media that she had “opened her arms” to the LGBTQ community.
“Here are my arms open wide. So wide that every last one of you can jump inside. … There is nothing ‘wrong with you,’ or in any case, nothing more right or wrong than any of us, which is to say we are all hopelessly screwed up but Jesus still loves us beyond all reason and lives to make us all new, restored, whole. Yay for Jesus! Many are concerned that sentiments like these might be enabling someone to stay in their sin—which would not, in fact, be very loving to the person in the long run.”
Later that year in October of 2016, she revealed that her views on same-sex marriage had changed, and believed that a same-sex union could be ‘holy’. After announcing her support for same-sex marriage LifeWay pulled her books from their shelves, and many responded questioning her new found belief that same-sex marriages were holy (in God’s eyes). Former lesbian Rosaria Butterfield responded to Jen in a blog post and said that although Jen’s words are meant to be encouraging, “if I were still in the thick of the battle over the indwelling sin of lesbian desire, Jen’s words would have put a millstone around my neck.”
Sydney (20), one of Jen and Brandon’s daughters, publicly announced she was a homosexual on her mother’s podcast ‘For The Love’ this past June. While listening to her daughter’s story, Jen spoke to pastoral leadership saying that is ‘so irresponsible’ to break the hearts of gay people in the congregation, referring to a pastor teaching Biblical scripture says homosexuality is a sin (wrong). Sydney then explained that if a Christian pastor isn’t fully acceptant of someone with a gay lifestyle and didn’t considered them a child of God, then it isn’t enough even if they are ‘just’ loving. Her mother elaborated on her daughter’s comment saying “that is maybe the worst cruelty as opposed to just outright homophobia. It is not enough Christians to say ‘Well we love you anyway’. I don’t want to be loved anyway,” Jen said.
On July 31, 2020 Jen posted on a Facebook post requesting that her followers to please pray for her and her family. She asked in the message ,“don’t pry or ask or push, even out of sincere concern. Please don’t blow up our phones and inboxes and DMs (or our friends’). Just hold us close to your heart in great love. As I reengage our online community here, I’ll be whatever I am that day, so thanks for the space to be a human person. I’ve always known you were a soft place to land. Thank you for loving us in all things, at all times, through all moments.” While some called her post cryptic and speculated her marriage was in some kind of trouble, she reassured them not to worry, but to please pray.
As she wrote in her Facebook response to her marriage ending, the one thing a Christian can do is “If you pray, pray for us. Hold us so dear to your hearts.”