Saturday, June 22, 2013

Christ in the Chaos

Book Review of Christ in the Chaos by Kimm Crandall

I remember my friend, Pastor and author Tullian Tchividjian, saying after writing his first book Do I know God; "That was a book I had to write."

I think if you were to ask my friend Kimm Crandall she would say the same thing. Christ in the Chaos was a book she had to write. Kimm has captured the beauty of brokenness and the extravagance of God's grace like few people have because she has lived through the nightmare of depression, isolation, doubt, guilt, and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy.

What compelled this book is an outright crumbling into the hands of an Almighty God who pursued her relentlessly - not by releasing her from her pain, but by meeting her in the midst of her despair. Kimm articulates her attempts to run from God and she is out to prove one thing to her readers - in all of our human-ness and human-mess, God does not run from us.

The glorious truth is that In Christ, all of our efforts to do this thing on our own are always met with love, mercy and grace that know no bounds.

That's good news!

This book has a permanent home on my nightstand because it is a fresh reminder of the gospel and the need that my sin sick soul has to hear it over and over again. One dogeared page reads:
What The Gospel Does
     "How does the gospel make any difference to me when I am in the middle of the real down-and-dirty, nitty-gritty stuff that happens throughout my day?" I ask the same questions, too.
     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...
     What the gospel does in my chaos is it tells me who I am. It forces me to get over myself, to be real, and to call on Christ for help because I understand more fully how weak and unloving I am...
     In those moments of chaos, the gospel frees me to believe I am still loved...the gospel frees me to believe there is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ..."
The freedom you will find tucked into every page of this book is life-giving. To the question that lurks, "Does it mean that what we do doesn't matter?", Kimm boldly answers yes, of course it matters. However, she reminds us that coming to an understanding of the gospel makes us stronger in our battle against sin by freeing us from crippling guilt and pointless comparison. For example, she says, wouldn't it be freeing to say "Yes I'm a bad mom. That's why I need Jesus." Or "Yes, I've let you down again, that's why I need Jesus." We can be free to agree with the apostle Paul and exclaim "I am a wretched sinner! Praise God for Jesus! (pg 103-104)

Motherhood is hard. Parenting is difficult. Somewhere along the line we realize we have lost control. It is probably in that moment that we surrender to the truth that we never really had control at all. At that point we are left with clinging to our own efforts and our own "rightness", or we cling instead to the One who made the ultimate effort on our behalf. His righteousness is now ours. His perfection is ours. His record for ours. A glorious exchange has been given - freely.

I commend Kimm's book to you even if you are not a parent. The gospel of freedom in Christ is refreshing good news for everyone. That's exactly what you will find in Christ in the Chaos - cover to cover!

Listen to this outrageously fun interview with Kimm on Steve Brown Etc.
Find Kimm on fb and twitter @big_kimm

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