Friday, March 8, 2013

Christ in the Chaos: What Sweet Truth!!!

I just received Christ in the Chaos by Kimm Crandall in the mail a few days ago.  For two days in a row, I got some much needed (and very rare) quiet time while my two youngest napped.  So, I took a break from my chaos---from my kitchen counter stacked with dishes, from my living room with couch pillows strewn about, from the laundry in the washer waiting to be transferred to the dryer before it gets sour, from the already wrinkled clothes needed to be folded in the dryer, and read the first two chapters of this book.  As I sat down and started to read the forward by Elyse Fitzpatrick, my two cats got into a fight in the kitchen and the patio umbrella fell down from a gust of wind outside.  I silently laughed.

I had a good idea of what the first chapter would be about.   I met Kimm about eight years ago through my husband, who is an old friend of Kimm and her husband, Justin.  Several years ago, I remember sitting at Kimm's table and her telling my husband and I that she came to the conclusion that see wasn't a Believer---that she was trying earn her favor with God and that she was working through those things.  She believed that she had been saved since then.  I saw the changes in her shortly after I became a mother.  Instead of conversations on homeschooling or how to make your own sour cream, I started to enjoy long, late-night Gospel-centered conversations with her when her family slept over at our house.  I value her candidness and honesty as a fellow mother.  I even breathed a big sigh of relief when she told me she used paper plates all the time, just like I did.  Her willingness to "rest" in the Christ and the Gospel has been such an blessing and an example to me.  I am so thankful that she encouraged me to steer clear of those "dress-wearing, child-bearing, homeschooling, bread-baking, perfect-living" blogs that I naturally had an interest in (not that there is anything wrong with those things themselves, but you know what I mean).  With that said, reading chapter one of Christ in the Chaos still brought me to tears.  I struggle with focusing on Christ's faithfulness to me.  I struggle with beating myself up if I don't get my bed made in the morning, or if Jackson is late for school, or if I drop 3 dollars worth of Greek yogurt on the floor, or forget to buy the butter (all of which happened yesterday).  I must admit, those things, at the moment, seem tragic to me.  My sinfulness creeps into my heart and mind and the truth I know---that Christ is faithful, even with all my shortcomings, HE IS FAITHFUL---becomes harder to grasp in those moments.  It is in hindsight, perhaps moments later, or hours later, that I realize His faithfulness despite my imperfections, and the chaos, once again, becomes strangely dim.

At the end of each chapter, Kimm has a few questions for the reader entitled "Getting Real."  Here are my answers:

Chapter One
1)  A summary of my testimony:  I was very young when death and mortality became a reality.  I saw a man drop from a heart attack right in front of me.  My mom was in and out of the hospital with severe, sometimes deadly illnesses.  My friends were murdered at a very, very young age.  My dad was diagnosed with Melanoma.  Not only that, I saw that I couldn't depend or rely on the material things of this world.  [Parent's] Jobs are lost.  Houses are lost.  This all happened before or around the age of ten.  Sometime in the mix of those trials, I was saved.  I had said The Prayer at five, but I surely didn't understand the Gospel then.  It was when I realized that everything was out of my (and my parents') control, when I realized that the things I relied on the most wouldn't always be there, when certainty became uncertain, that Christ showed me his faithfulness, despite my sinfulness and my undeserving of favor.   I, too, like Kimm, rededicated myself many times to God, but I remember realizing that just because I still sinned, didn't mean I was no longer a Christian, or had fallen any farther from God's favor.
2)  What do you think makes someone a "Good Christian?"  Why?  What makes someone a "Good Christian" is absolutely nothing.  I can do nothing to become a "good Christian."  God does His work in me.  He changes my heart.  His son, Jesus, covered me and all my impurities so I am spotless and blameless to him.  What a sweet relief!  I'm not saying that I don't struggle with trying to be good, or patting myself on the back when I do something that would look good to others.  It is a struggle to remember these truths in the midst of sin!
3)  What do you find yourself putting your faith in today?  Does the hope you have in your parenting, marriage, or ministry override your hope in the finished work of Christ?  What does it really mean to "rest" in Christ?  I find myself putting my faith in myself and my abilities (or lack thereof) to clean house, cook, and take care of my family in a way that pleases others.  This is a struggle of mine.  Christ always seems to reel me back in to the reality that none of that matters and that I need to "rest" in him.  But, sometimes, that may be after my sin has gotten the best of me and I've wallowed in my frustration, anger, or resentment for a few hours.  Resting in him to  me, looks like this:  Instead of running around all day cleaning, cooking, washing, and tirelessly taking care of kids, then, then throughout the day, throwing up prayers to God in tough moments, "Oh! Lord, please help me!", not expecting, or having faith in the how much I complete in a day.  Resting in Christ means knowing that it doesn't matter if I get the laundry washed, the dishes loaded, or the kids bathed.  Although I will continue to try and do those things in order for my family to function, I have the comfort to know that no matter what shortcomings I have, Christ will always be faithful, and he is my portion.  As 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
4)  What assures you of your salvation?  Are you afraid that if your commitment to God waivers, then he will drop his commitment to you?  What does 2 Tim 2:13 tell us about God's faithfulness?  I am so very thankful that my salvation does not depend on anything I can do.  It is a gift.  I often cling to Ephesians 2:8-9 in regards to salvation.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  There is nothing I can do to earn my salvation, and there is nothing I can do for it to be taken away.  2 Timothy 2:13 is a wonderful reminder that no matter how much we screw things up or don't accomplish what we think we should have accomplished, no matter what, He is still faithful.  What a relief, isn't it?

I have completed the first two chapters of Christ in the Chaos, and there are so many sweet truths that God is using Kimm to remind me of.  I look forward to reading chapter 3 today!

PS:  If you are a mother, I would recommend this book, even though I've only read the first chapters.  That is how good they were.  So, buy the book here:

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