- Book Reviews
- About me
Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
Christ In the Chaos
May 29, 2013
As a co-founder of Cruciform Press, I like to provide occasional updates on news and tell you about our most recent titles. We recently released Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood, by Kimm Crandall.
If you ask what makes a woman a good mother, you will get a lot of different answers. From how you feed or diaper your children or how they are schooled, everybody seems to have an opinion. All of these things are important, of course, but the deluge of information and opinions is overwhelming. When women feel they can’t live up to these standards, they often feel guilty and hopeless.
In the beginning of Christ in the Chaos, Crandall tells of a time when she hit the wall. She had come to the conclusion that there was no God. With four children aged six and under, she felt she was drowning in a sea of unmet expectations. When she sought advice from others, their advice ultimately boiled down to “try harder.”
Honestly, I had tried to do it right. I had pushed myself to read God’s Word when I didn’t understand, and I made myself pray when I didn’t want to. I sewed dresses, baked bread, sang hymns, volunteered in the nursery, and read all the right books. I didn’t need to “try harder;” I truly couldn’t try harder, and I couldn’t take on one more duty. As it turned out, I couldn’t even continue to shoulder what I was already carrying, so I broke. If this is what it meant to be a Christian, then I obviously didn’t have what it took.
It was then that Kimm learned to apply the gospel to her life. She discovered that she wasn’t primarily a mom who happened to be a Christian, but a Christian first. When she understood that her identity was as a beloved daughter apart from anything she had done, she found freedom. Motherhood was not about doing the right things in her own strength, even on those days when she felt she was doing okay.
Whether I’m lamenting my imperfections or celebrating my Awesome Mom-ness, in each case I have forgotten my righteous standing in Christ. And either way, my love is tainted. It’s tainted with the sin of selfish desires, pride, and so much more. As much as I long to have perfect love for my children, and as much as I sometimes deceive myself into thinking I have exactly that, my love is never perfect. My love for my children comes from a heart in constant battle with sin.
Christ in the Chaos spends a lot of time talking about the gospel and the Christian’s identity in Christ. It also talks about the loneliness many mothers feel, either because they don’t feel safe admitting they don’t really have it together, or they fear that other moms do have it together.
Kimm is honest and transparent throughout the book. Books of this type can become nothing more than a rehash of the author’s sin that invites the reader to be content in their failure. We all mess up, so why try? Christ in the Chaos, while honest, is more than that. It invites the reader to bask in God’s grace, and also shows how we honor God by serving with a loving heart—even if we often fail.
This is a book about motherhood, so it’s going to appeal to mothers. Kimm’s faith was put to the test in the context of motherhood, so that’s where the bulk of her story lies. But since it’s primarily about how the gospel changes how we go about our everyday lives, I think anyone – male, female, married, single, or childless – can benefit from this book.
Christ in the Chaos is available now from Cruciform Press (starting for as low as $3.99).