Christ in the Chaos
How the Gospel Changes Motherhood
Foreword by Elyse Fitzpatrick
“I especially recommend this to the heart who strives to know God and make him known to little ones who call her ‘momma.’”
– Lauren Chandler
“Amazingly wild and wise…One of the most helpful and encouraging books on parenting I’ve read in 20 years.”
– Scotty Smith
Also Tullian Tchividjian, Gloria Furman, Trillia Newbell…
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Description & Excerpts..SHARE..
Moms: Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop striving to meet false expectations. Stop thinking your performance dictates your worth.
For far too long mothers have been beaten down by the law of “do better” and “try harder.” The burden of “getting it right” threatens to crush weary souls who desire to serve their families faithfully. Christ in the Chaos brings comfort to conflicted hearts that are starved of grace and longing for the freedom in Christ the Bible promises.
In this book, Kimm Crandall emphasizes the importance of the gospel and how Christ’s life, death, and resurrection change every aspect of motherhood. From finding our identity in Christ and understanding God’s grace to taking off the mask of acceptability and dealing with the comparison crud, this book will free you to serve your family knowing that his love for you does not change based on your performance.
Christ in the Chaos is a “must read” for every mother who longs for what is seemingly impossible: peace and freedom in the midst of her chaos.
About the Author
Kimm Crandall is a mother of four kids (12, 9, 7 and 5) who is never short on examples of how God has flooded her with the excessive grace that the gospel brings. She lives in the small town of Valley Center, CA on three acres where she does her best to embrace the chaos of the non-stop adventures that dirt, rocks, chickens, and sheep can bring to a house full of kids. Kimm’s desire is, through writing and speaking, to bring the much-needed freedom of the gospel to other women who have been beaten down by the “try harder” and “do better” law. Kimm and Justin, her husband of sixteen years, serve at Valley Center Community Church, a reformed congregation in their hometown. When she is not on the basketball court, baseball field, beach, or enjoying horses she can be found blogging at christinthechaos.com and faithlifewomen.com.
God’s Faithfulness to Mothers
An Identity Other Than “Mom”
God’s Love for Mothers
Living in the Gospel
A New Obsession
Taking Off the Masks
The Comparison Crud
Remembering the Extraordinary
endorsements & reviews..SHARE..
“What an amazingly wild and wise, disruptive and delighting, freeing and focusing book on gospel parenting my new friend, Kimm Crandall, has written. The heck with this just being for mothers, Kimm’s book is for every parent willing to take the stewardship of children and the riches of the gospel seriously. This is one of the most helpful and encouraging books on parenting I’ve read in the past twenty years, of any length. Kimm writes as a multi-child mom and a grace-saturated woman, who understands the exhausting demands of good parenting and the inexhaustible supply of God’s grace. This will be a book you will want to give to parents, to-be parents, and grandparents.”
Scotty Smith, Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church, Franklin, TN. Author of Objects of His Affection, Restoring Broken Things, and Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel Centered Faith.
“Although Kimm Crandall’s message in Christ in the Chaos would revive any soul longing for the breath of the gospel of grace, I am especially eager to recommend this book to that heart who strives to know God and to make him known to the little ones who call her ‘momma.’ Kimm is a candid and gracious fellow sojourner, faithfully pointing to God’s immeasurable steadfast love and grace in the midst of our mess. She helps us peer beyond what our eyes can see to behold the glorious end on which our hearts can rest.”
Lauren Chandler, wife of Matt Chandler (pastor of The Village Church), mother of 3, writer, singer and speaker
What a healing balm this book has been to my heart. In Christ in the Chaos, my dear friend Kimm points us to the rest that every mother longs for. This rest that each tired and burdened mom needs is found in the work that Christ has done. Kimm shows us how the gospel changes our motherhood from a drudgery to a joy. She helps us to see that Christ meets us in the middle of our everyday and loves us in the midst of our failures. She gives us the truth of free grace that unshackles us from trying to be the mom of the year. Kimm makes herself small and makes Christ big. I pray each mom who finds this book falls more in love with her Savior and becomes more aware of how his love for her changes everything about her.
Jessica Thompson, Co-author of Give them Grace
Jesus tells us that “His yoke is easy and His burden is light”. Why, then, as a mom of a rapidly growing family did I feel as if I were carrying the weight of the world and these children on my shoulders alone? I had forgotten the gospel and instead was piling on the “have-to’s” that promised to fulfill me as a wife, give me purpose as a mother, and produce guaranteed spiritual kids. I just wish I had read and absorbed the truths that Kimm so gently reminds us of as mothers: Christ is not only in the chaos, He sees you, loves you, and is beckoning you to rest in the work He has already completed.
Kendra Fletcher, Homeschool mother of eight and blogger at PreschoolersAndPeace.com
As mothers we are tempted to stack up our maternal achievements as a measure of our godliness. Consider Kimm’s book as a megaphone—loud and clear—calling out the better way: Moms need to build their hope on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Read this book in the context of community and see how the gospel intersects and powerfully affects the details of your motherhood and friendships.
Gloria Furman, author of Glimpses of Grace
“Few people on the planet know chaos better than moms of young children. Wanting everything to be right, safe, and in order, moms know that it rarely is. This easily leads to feelings of fear, guilt, and exasperation. My friend Kimm Crandall lives in the trenches of motherhood and has discovered that chaos can be the perfect context to experience God’s liberating grace. She is a wise, practical, gospel-drenched guide for anyone navigating through the wearisome terrain of parenting. I highly recommend this book and hope that it’s the first of many from Mrs. Crandall.”
Tullian Tchividjian, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and author of Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free
“Let’s be honest, motherhood—though a great joy—can be quite chaotic. Kimm Crandall, mother of four and author of Christ in the Chaos, knows this all too well and wants to encourage us that God is there with us through every sickness, messy room, baseball game, trial, and joy. Kimm had learned to do all the right things like so many Christians do, yet when her performance and good works weren’t bringing her joy and contentment, she broke. Part of the chaos of motherhood may not be external at all, rather an internal chaos produced by striving to be the perfect mom and forgetting our identity in Christ. This identity, as Kimm explains, is rooted in a perfect love for an imperfect mom. Our greatest need as mothers isn’t the latest news and trends, our greatest need is Christ. Kimm gently but boldly reminds us that our performance won’t sustain us. We need the sweet and gracious mercy and love of God found in the cross of Christ—found in our chaos.
Trillia Newbell, author and editor of Women of God Magazine
“As I read through each chapter, I could feel the burden on my shoulders getting lighter,”
I’ve read a lot of ‘mom’ books over the years, but very few have touched on how the gospel actually impacts day to day life. After all, how can knowing that Jesus died for you, provide any tangible help when you’re surrounded by messes, bickering children, and you just wish you could hide or preferably run away!
Add to that mix, the nagging feeling that you’re messing up your children, you then fall into the comparison trap, thinking if only you tried as hard as so and so, then you’d be a much more sweeter mom. If you’re like me, you have tried and tried to do better, you’ve thought to yourself ‘It must be that I’m just not a very good Christian, because everyone else seems to be so much more godly’.
Sadly, too many books (and now blogs) don’t give you Jesus, they give you what you think you’re looking for, tips, ideas, schedules, a 60 day plan to not being such a grumpy mom, with such a messy house, with such whiny children, after all that is what we want!
And although you’re so thankful for what Jesus has done, right now, amidst the chaos, knowing you’re going to Heaven ‘one day’ isn’t that helpful (if you’re honest).
But, the message of the gospel is so much more than a ticket to Heaven that leaves you with having to ‘grin and bear it’ while down here. And that is why I love this book, it is real, honest, and points me to Jesus, and reminds why the gospel (the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus) does actually have some bearing on every day life and is actually more helpful for living in this mad, old world than you probably have ever been told.
Christ in the Chaos is aimed at moms, but really it’s aimed at everyone. The subtitle is How the gospel changes motherhood, but you could change that last word to virtually anything. Whatever sphere of life you are in, wherever you are at in your walk with God, this books is applicable.
I was disappointed at first that the book was short (I like to read!), but now I’ve read it, I’m glad that its not too long (plus it’s such a reasonable price anyway), because it is something I am going to want to re-read again and again (because I forget the gospel again and again!), plus Kimm Crandall hasn’t filled it with lots of fluff and padding, there isn’t a wasted word, she gets to the point and doesn’t give you page after page of gumph. It is all worth reading again.
There are several questions at the end of each chapter, which are useful and again aren’t comprised of fluff! I’d have liked a little more to be written about the fact that it is God’s grace that fuels our ‘good works’, Kimm does write about this, but because I personally trip up on this topic – I just wanted more said, as I can be tempted to think that if I was more amazed by God’s love, then I’d respond and do more – so I then conclude I must not be amazed enough. But, as always the remedy for this is not to look more at myself and what I’m ‘not’ doing and then try harder to do more stuff, but to look at Jesus who has already done it all, and Kimm thankfully does makes this clear.
I do hope Kimm writes more in the future, because as I read through each chapter, I could feel the burden on my shoulders getting lighter, which is rare when reading a book on this topic.
You can buy Kimm Crandall’s book Christ in the Chaos from Amazon in the usual book form or for the Kindle. It is also available at the Cruciform site www.cruciformpress.com in various formats, at very reasonable prices. Cruciform also has quite a large sample of the book available for you to read.
“I highly recommend this book!”
It would be easy to read this book and label Kimm Crandall as “an overwhelmed mom with an anger problem.” Yet as I read the book, the Holy Spirit consistently pressed on my heart that I am an overwhelmed mom with an anger problem as well. Kimm’s deeply honest look at her heart, her thoughts, and her interactions with her children allows me to get honest with myself about the state of my own heart. But, boy oh boy, honesty can be painful. Thankfully, Kimm doesn’t leave it at, “I’m messed up and so are you,” nor does she give you a list of “42 steps to a better attitude and more organized life.” She brings everything back to Jesus and the cross and the grace and freedom I have in Christ. She reminds me that my identity is not “overwhelmed mom,” “organic gardening mom,” or “stayed-up-late-to-bake-cookies-for-my-kid’s-class-so-I-deserve-a-pat-on-the-back mom.” My identity is “beloved daughter of a merciful God,” and nothing (good or bad) I can do will make Him love me more or less than He already does. When I remind myself of this truth, such hope floods my heart. As Kimm points out in her book, this hope doesn’t make my kids instantly behave better, doesn’t change my over-full schedule, nor does it help to de-clutter my laundry room, but it does free me from the vicious cycle of sin/guilt/try harder that I so often fall in to. I highly recommend this book!
Mama Joy, in a 5-star review on Amazon
“Puts the gospel on clear display to wash away the guilt and failure which so often accompanies motherhood.”
“The heck with this just being for mothers, Kimm’s book is for every parent willing to take the stewardship of children and the riches of the gospel seriously (Crandall, loc 23),” says Scotty Ward Smith about Kim Crandall’s book Christ in the Chaos. My sentiments exactly – Scotty! Christ in the Chaos is a genuinely transparent look at how the gospel may transform a parent’s approach to both parenting and self-image. Kimm Crandall provides a window into her home as she shares her own journey of how the gospel captivated her into seeing all that she is in light of all that Christ is. Mothers, yes, read this book! Husbands and fathers, read this book and receive a glimpse into the challenges your wife face as she nurtures her home. Fathers, read it to be refreshed with the grace required to shepherd your children out of Christ’s love.
In ten concise chapters Crandall dispels myths that mothers believe and sheds masks that mothers put on to escape reality. The governing principle behind Christ in the Chaos is found in this quote. “But here’s where the Christian version of the mom manual so often gets it wrong – Jesus didn’t do all this so I could primarily focus on trying harder and asking “What would Jesus do?” every time chaos ensues. Jesus is not only my example…He is my replacement. Jesus came to do everything I haven’t done and could never do, and he did it sinless and perfectly (Crandall, loc 194).”
For the remainder of Christ in the Chaos Krandall successfully stands by this paradigmatic shift in motherhood and puts the gospel on clear display to wash away the guilt and failure which so often accompanies motherhood. She exclaims, “Let this book shout “Gospel!” loud and clear over all the noisy, pushy mom laws. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing you need now in the thick of mothering.” As a husband watching and serving my spectacular wife as she attempts to keep up with all the details and all the responsibilities of the home, it is no wonder why this message needs to be clearly heard. Every Christian mother ought to internalize the gospel truth found within Christ in the Chaos.
What are some of the notions conveyed in Christ in the Chaos? Crandall distinguishes a true identity hidden in Christ from all the labels mothers self-impose upon themselves such as: homeschool mom, the working mom, the mom of many, PTA Mom, and the soccer mom. She frees mothers from the inadequacy of their imperfect love for their children by reminding them of their adequacy found in Christ’s perfect love for all of His children. She builds into mothers a firm foundation of what it means to be under, in and surrounded by the grace of God. She exhorts mothers to embrace living in weakness rather than putting on a perfectly chiseled mask of strength, reminding them, “A strong mother is not the glue that holds a family together; only a strong God can handle such a colossal task (Crandall, loc 859).”
Now that you have grasped the back-bone of this excellent addition to the Cruciform Press line of books, go forth and read Kim Crandall’s Christ in the Chaos. This book may best be found at Cruciform Press’s website here. I encourage you to purchase a subscription. It is well worth your investment.
Joey Cochran, jtcochran.com
“This amazing outpouring of God’s grace drives me to repentance and obedience.”
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!
Here is where I am going to say that if you have not read this book, READ IT. And, if you have read this book, spread the word! 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.
Melissa, in a 5-star review on Amazon
Short, Sweet and Refreshing!
I was incredibly blessed and encouraged through reading Christ in the Chaos. In a culture where we are faced with “mommy guilt” every where we turn, whether it be through magazines, blogs, TV, Facebook or even the local church, this book was a refreshing reminder to look to the gospel in our daily struggles in motherhood. Kimm’s exhortations to stop making lists and comparing ourselves to other ‘super moms’ in our attempts to be more lovable to God (and those around us) were laid out in such a clear, honest, down to earth way, it made this book a joy to read. I feel more zealous to bask in the glory of the gospel each day rather than viewing the gospel in a purely evangelistic light as I have done in the past. I too found that “I failed to make the gospel personal in any sense beyond my initial salvation”. Another wonderful thing about this book is that it is short, sweet and to the point, which is what Mom’s need! Christ in the Chaos is very easy to read and can be read in just a few days. I plan to share this ‘short and sweet’ treasure with my friends and sisters in Christ so they too can rediscover the joy of their salvation on a daily basis.
Kimberly Renihan, in a 5-star review on Amazon
Gospel truth painted with fine brush stokes suited for tired moms or troubled parents
Kimm Crandall, in the thick of motherhood with four children, yielding to the turbulence of life, pens a book ripe with gospel truth for mothers. It’s a book that wants to combat the “mom laws” and shout “Gospel!” loud and clear to moms who are starved from grace.
This concise, ten-chapter, 120 page book is written for “the mom who has been up all night with the baby, the mom who only has a few minutes waiting for the school bus, and for the mom who relishes her own bathroom breaks.” She aims to free moms from the pressures and expectations of motherhood by telling and retelling the liberating truth in the gospel. It was birthed from her own chaos and trials that God used to awaken her heart to the good news – that there is grace for the sinful mother. She writes, “God has changed me through the gospel, giving me a new love and a new life, and I hope the same thing will happen to you as you read the good news of his grace and mercy in this book (14).”
The subtitle is How the Gospel Changes Motherhood, but really it could be how the gospel changes parents, but especially mothers. Though it’s not a “parenting” book per se, Kimm’s tender writing and soft heart for the gospel truth will reach your impatient, chaotic, messy family context as it did for me: a dad of two small boys. Parenting is no easy task, especially for mothers. Mix in the (verbal and nonverbal) pressures from various Christian cultures (particularly other moms) and life can get quite burdensome, heavy and possibly bitter. I know this from my wife’s own experience. That is why in this book, Kimm shouts “The gospel is for Christians too!” And that is why it is for moms, grandma’s, moms-to-be and dads who are seeking encouragement from someone who’s going through the chaos right now with them. That’s this book.
And that is what makes this book stand out for me. In it, I am amazed at Kimm’s candor and ownership of the chaos that inevitably ensues all families. It is as if she is inviting the reader to peak inside her front door, to gaze at the messiness of her own family, and see how grace covers a multitude of their failures and victories alike. She basks in the the finished work of Christ daily. Her stories are our stories. And that is why she writes. She’s writes to point moms (and dads) to the gospel over and over again. Each chapter is ripe with gospel truth, painted with fine brush strokes suited for tired moms or troubled parents. Yet those who are well and energized parents (do they exist?) will be deeply impacted by this book as well.
Clearly influenced by her friends Elyse Fitzpatrick, Tullian Tchividjian, Paul Tripp and others, Kimm writes humbly but passionately knowing how the gospel has changed her views of motherhood and upon finishing this book, I am convinced it will change yours too.
J. A. Block, in a 5-star review on Amazon
It’s for fathers too!
I originally bought this book for my wife since she doesn’t read a lot, the chapters were short, and she is the mother of two. However, after seeing another one of my favorite authors and fellow “Grace Junkie” Elyse Fitzpatrick wrote the foreword, I thought I’d read some just to see how it was. And I kept reading…and I kept reading… and eventually I borrowed (Read:STOLE) the book from my wife and devoured it over the next week. This book is fantastic for a lot of different reasons, but the main reason is because of how truly Gospel centered it is. What you will find by reading this book is NOT a manual or a 12 step program to “do more, try harder and be better”-instead what you get is some 200% proof of the Gospel and a reminder that Christ-and only Christ alone is what matters in parenthood.
Kimm Crandall (who is also a terrific follow on Twitter @Big_Kimm) is soooooooooooo vulnerable in this book you can’t help but to think 1 of 2 things. Either this woman is nuts and out of her mind for sharing all she did and doesn’t understand Christians aren’t supposed to share their weaknesses OR she is SO convinced of who she is in Christ that she doesn’t feel she has to hide behind her mistakes or failures because Christ alone has become her reputation! (I personally think it’s a little bit of both haha)
I cannot recommend this book highly enough and yes I even put it up there with books like “3 Free Sins” by Steve Brown, “Jesus + Nothing=Everything” by Tullian Tchividjian and “Because He loves me” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. All of these books unleash God’s crazy, radical, scandalous, Grace all up in your face with no strings attached, no filter and no ifs ands or buts to it. And in the crazy world of parenting, “Embracing the chaos” is about all you can do without losing your mind at some of the things our children put us through. This little book has really helped me get through some truly chaotic situations in my own life!
To me, her chapter on Grace (Chapter 4 “Discovering Grace”) is worth the price of the book by itself. Here is an excerpt:
“…is grace really that tame? No!…Grace is a lion whose roar shakes the ground beneath my feet: scary and dangerous. And grace is a mystery so disturbing I can’t bring myself to look away. In fact, I can’t help but to inch closer because I want a better look…But somehow as I draw near to God’s grace-somehow in all the confusion, wonder, and ridiculousness-I fall in love. Not in a sweet, tender, cautious way, but like a kid loudly opening great presents. That’s what grace does. It transforms quite patrons of creation into blubbering, joy-filled maniacs. Grace makes me want to pump my fist into the sky and yell "Right on, God!” The impossibility of it all makes my hands fly when I start talking about it. Grace moves me".
I urge you, moms, dads, potential parents… READ THIS BOOK and embrace the chaos!
Gracekidd33, in a 5-star review on Amazon
Must Read For Moms
Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood is an excellent read for any mom. I highly recommend this book. Moms do not need any help with heaping guilt or new invented ways to raise your kids perfectly. Often books on motherhood are written like that only giving you more to do. This book is a breathe of fresh air among those. Instead of helping you feel condemned like most moms are apt to feeling, this book reminds you of the gospel and God’s amazing love and grace for you mom.
There is a place for instructional type books that may aid in your parenting but this book is an absolute must read before you read anything else. There are others out there who can share their wisdom and experiences with us so we can glean from their wisdom of how to. But there is no certain way to raise all children. God made each one unique so our parenting them will vary. Parenting must be one of those tools God uses to keep us dependent on Him. So instead of searching for what to do, rest in what Christ has already done. This book will help you with this rest.
I am thrilled with this title because I completed it feeling more free as a mom and more thankful for what Christ has done for me because of His love. Don’t we need to feel more free as moms? I am telling you you will be better off for reading this one. It is a parenting book that inspires your heart to worship Him in the chaos. In fact here is just one brilliant quote, “The call to motherhood is not about you and your ability to raise your family; it’s about a Savior who has called you to serve Him as He fulfills a beautiful redemptive plan. Whether you are working joyfully or struggling to keep your head above water, He is loving you and working all things for His glory.”
The book is divided into ten encouraging chapters that will refresh your soul in Christ. It can be read individually or with a group of moms. There are thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter which enhance your reading experience and would be great to use with a small group. The appendix of the book includes many Scriptures to help you in areas you may struggle as a mom like when you blow it or when you feel weak among other things. This is a great part of the book so don’t miss it. It will only help you as you lean on Christ in your parenting.
Angela Parsley, in a 5-star review on Amazon
Amazing Truths We All Need To Hear!
Where is our identity? It is not found in what we do, our gifts, or where we find ourselves in life – but it is in Christ. His perfect love – His righteousness given to those who are not only unworthy but didn’t even want it. He came to us, search us out, said “You are going to be my beloved” – these are some of the truthes I walked away with after reading parts of this book. Can’t wait to sit down and read all of it! It is the good news of the Gospel – in real life. This is not “another brick in your backpack” book (telling you do this or that) but it is Gods love displayed which is the transforming work of the Holy Spirit that compels us. Thank you Kimm!!!
Michele, in a 5-star review on Amazon