Saturday, March 16, 2013

Christ in the Chaos: A Review

I remember growing up, painting or drawing a piece of art would be a common thing for me to do. When I was close to finishing up the piece, I would show my parents the almost-finished product for their opinion. To them, these pieces of art were beautiful. To me, there was always imperfections and room for improvement. I was critical and always very hard on myself as an artist. I remember my mom telling me that "You are your worst critic." Oh how true it is! 

In reading Christ in the Chaos, I have had the opportunity to examine my heart, especially in regards to the motives of my heart.  My motives seem to be driven from high expectations from myself and false (or perhaps nonexistent) expectations from others.  I will never meet these expectations.  I will always find myself lacking.

No matter how I may see myself lacking---a canvas painted with many imperfections and mistakes---God sees me as a perfect masterpiece because He sees Christ. You see, I can continue to try to improve and cover up my bad brush strokes and blemishes. I will. It's in my nature. I can continue to care about what other people think and seek their approval. That, too, comes very natural. Even as I write this post, my sinful heart seeks your approval and many views from my followers---all 14 of them. But, those things don't matter. All God sees is Christ! Not my imperfect paintings or my blog posts seeking approval! Oh, and for that, I am so very thankful! That drives me to obedience. I pray that The Lord continues to work in my heart and that I would more often look to Christ and not to what others think of me. 

 Now, I have a confession to make.  Christ in the Chaos is the first book written to women (but not only for women) that I have finished since I became a mother.  I started plenty, but I was never motivated to finish them because they showed me my weakness (the weakness I already very well knew of!) and didn't show me Christ.  Yes, they showed me passages in Titus or Ephesians or Proverbs which are great reminders of how I am to act as a woman.  But I always would become discouraged because I could not live up to those expectations.  I always mess up.  Always.  This was the first book that not only assured me that would happen, but pointed me to Christ in that he has already done all the work for me.  Now, I need to clarify that this doesn't make me lazy.  Quite the opposite.  This amazing outpouring of God's grace drives me to repentance and obedience.  In fact, that grace is the same grace that sort of "smacks the sense" into me with I go on a sinful rant when something (or many things) don't go the way I think they should.  Kimm points that out several times in this book.  And it is true!  It's truly extraordinary what God's grace can do!

One of my favorite passages from Christ in the Chaos is as follows: 

"Mothering has taught me how very weak I really am, and that is a hard, hard truth to accept.  But by living in my weakness, I see more and more how powerful God really is.  I come to understand that his power is shown to be perfect through my weakness and failures."  

Oh!  How I relate to how mothering has truly shown me my extreme frailty as a human being!  What comfort to know that especially in our weakness, God is showing His power!

Summing up the same chapter, Kimm writes, "Let me encourage you to take off the "strong mother" mask and embrace your weakness.  Stop hiding the very inadequacy God wants to use to display the gospel.  Believe his grace is sufficient.  Allow his power to be made perfect in you and then boast!  Boast all the more gladly so the power of Christ may rest upon you.  In your weakness, you will be made strong."

One of the chapters in Christ in the Chaos addresses the "Masks" that we put on in order to "fake it" so that we may get the approval, acceptance, and love of others.  I am constantly, in the deepest, darkest center of my soul, comparing myself to everyone around me.  Whether it be the mother at church who has more kids than me and somehow seems to be holding it together very well, or the mother who home-schools with several little ones with what looks like ease, or the mother who manages to find time to weight lift and compete and has more muscles than I would ever know what to do with.  I am constantly seeking the approval of my own self.  My "self" tells me that I need to have the kitchen sparkling everyday, that my kids don't need to watch any TV (Ha!), that I need to workout six days a week, and that I can never show any weakness to my kids, my husband, or my peers.  I have to constantly battle this.  Kimm shares that she does too.  That makes this book different than all the rest that I ~ahem~ started to read.  She says that these things will always be a struggle, but to run to Christ---to remember (Christ's work on the cross and how it relates to YOU daily), to repent (daily of those sins and desires to do it on your own) and to rest (in knowing that Christ has FINISHED the work for you.  He has paid it all.  We owe nothing.) REST!  What a truly freeing concept!  

Here is where I am going to say that if you have not read this book, READ IT.  It is only $9.99 in paper form and $5.99 in Kindle form.  I knew Kimm before reading this book, but even if I hadn't, I would feel as if she is one of my dear and closest friends after reading this book.  She is the first woman who has said to me, "You will fail. And when you do, run to Christ.  Rest in Him." I appreciate that honesty so very much.  And for that reason, as Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) would put it, I feel as though the author of this book and I are "Kindred Spirits."  I know she has gone through (nearly in earthly terms) hell and back as a mother.  I know she understands me and my weakness.  I know she prayed that it would effect me and everyone else who ate up the words from cover to cover.  I am so very thankful that God has used her life ---from the seemingly bottomless pit of despair she was in to the completely freeing Grace of God that she has come to know as a mother--- to speak to women who really, really needed to hear how the Gospel changes motherhood.  Thank you, Kimm, for the love, effort, prayer, and hours you poured into this book. 

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