Recommended Reading: Christ in the Chaos
Today I’m pleased to present a guest post from Katie Koplin! She and I were chatting about the book Christ in the Chaos and decided we should share how great this book is with readers. Definitely check it out and consider buying it as a gift for new moms like Katie does!
Being a mom is hard. Keeping kids alive, making sure they don’t turn into ax murders or butthead Pharisees. Then there’s giving them the right foods, ensuring their sleep patterns are steady, letting them learn and grow but still giving guidance, answering 1500 questions a day and hoping you are giving the best answer.
I could go on and on about how hard mothering is but if you are reading this you already know.
When things get hard I want answers. I want how-to’s. I want to save myself, my kids, and my circumstances. But is that really what I need? Is that really what God wants to give us?
Are his gifts to us to do lists? Or is the gift God himself? I’m going to give you the punchline here. One of His gifts is actually the law. The gift of the law is given to drive us to Him. Our struggles in life are given to drive us to Him. What He loves to give us is Himself. He created us to give us all of his love and all of his goodness. All of Himself.
It has been a struggle to find studies that lead me away from myself and toward my Savior. I don’t want to blame the Christian bookstore companies. They write, publish, and sell the books that sell. We have a desire to save ourselves, our kids, and to redeem our circumstances.
Our nature loves the checklists and the to do’s.
But Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood by Kimm Crandall is different. Which is why it’s on my shelf. Why I give it to new moms as a baby shower gift. Because it is centered in the Gospel and not centered on us and our actions.
My hope is that after reading the rest of this blog you will go out and buy the book for yourself, read it, then read it with a friend or a group of friends.
The following are examples from the book that have stuck with me and are the reasons I give this book to moms.
- She gives real life examples of what it looks like when we confuse law and gospel. Examples of what it looks like when we are trying to use the ‘to do list’ to save ourselves. Let me tell you, I have been right there..
Some evenings I put the kids to bed and am soon overcome by tears of guilt and shame. I imagine that because of my sin, my children must feel so unloved, and that I must not be good enough because I love them so imperfectly. Other evenings I put them to bed and pat myself on the back, thinking what a great mom I just was and basking in the artificial glow of my self righteousness….Christ has good news for me though: I don’t have to despair, even at my repeated failures-because my identity is not a ‘loving mom’….My identity is rooted in the righteousness I have in Christ….The only way I can move forward from failure and love my children well is if I find my identity in what Christ has already given me. Then and only then, can I begin to love them with his love.
- Kimm disarms the “if…then” understanding we all have and replaces it with a concept of “because…therefore.”
I have found it helpful to look at scripture’s commands in a ‘because-therefore’ framework. Because Christ died for you – making you fully loved and fully acceptable before God – you therefore are able to obey the command to love your neighbor (for example), armed with a Biblical understanding and a Biblical motivation. This means you don’t do good works to try and secure your position before God or man. You do it because your neighbor needs your good works, and because your good works serve your neighbor and give testimony to the goodness of God and your love for Christ….What we do in the moment is not unimportant. But the gospel is not about what we do. It’s about how deeply embedded Christ is in my heart. The gospel won’t tell you what to do; it will remind you of what’s been done by Christ.
- The author illustrates what it looks like to give the law and the gospel to our neighbor and point them to Christ, instead of a clique Christian answer that often points our neighbor to themselves.
I’m so sorry you are having a bad day. I had a really horrible day like that last week and yelled at one of the kids. I found it hard to be patient with all the crying and just wanted to hide. I had the same thoughts you are having right now, but the Lord reminded me that I’m not the one who saves my children; only He can do that….WE ARE ALL BAD MOMS. THAT IS WHY WE NEED JESUS. (emphasis my own)
See what I mean. You want to read it, don’t you?
Even if you don’t go buy it today or tomorrow, remember this always: “He who started a good work in you will bring it to completion.” (Phil 1:6)