Read This: Christ in the Chaos (Kimm Crandall)

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Christ in the Chaos

Sometimes it may take me a while to get to a book, but God knows why he had me pick it up at that moment.  I’ve had this book for a while, and just really picked it up in earnest this weekend. As you can see by this review – I’m done with it and it has many underlines and !!! sections!

Kimm Crandall is a mommy of four – and a funny one at that – and one who knows her weaknesses and is steeped in the Gospel.  And even though she has written a helpful and gracious book, she would probably tell you herself that she needs to practice and rehearse the gospel every day (even after she wrote the chapter on rehearsing the gospel).

I liked this book because she shared stories I could relate to – even though her kids are definitely older than mine.  She pointed me not to my mistakes and where I fail every day as a Mom, but instead she pointed me to Jesus – who is perfect in every way and intercedes for me as my Great High Priest.

I liked it because it was short and practical – two things I need as a Mom to two active toddler boys.

I liked it because she encouraged women to be honest with other women – and to use wisdom in sharing – but not to hold on to this idea of perfection that we seem to do so well in many of our churches.

I would recommend this book to any mom but especially ones who are :

1.  Like me, in the throws of teaching two boys what it means for mommy and daddy to have authority and how they won’t get everything they want just because they throw a temper tantrum.

2.  Like me, who loves their to do lists and hates it when everything isn’t marked off by the end of the day.

3.  Like me, who knows the Gospel but still needs help in accepting it every day and also passing along that acceptance to their husbands and children.  Oh, ladies – how I struggle with that.  Teaching my boys to obey and listen and accept authority – and doing it with the love of Christ in my actions, words, and tone of voice.

Here are some of my favorites from the book:

“God’s faithfulness is not measured by tangible blessings.  It’s measured by his character and his promises to us.” (22)

“God’s grace leaves us with nothing of ourselves but all of Jesus.” (32)

“Grace is a mystery so disturbing I can’t bring myself to look away.” (44)

“When you know you are being pursued by a merciful admirer, the lure of sins’ crude pleasure loses it’s sparkle.” (51)

“Take off the strong mother mask and embrace your weakness.  Stop hiding the very inadequacy God wants to use to display the Gospel.” (61)

“Everything in Scripture points, not to our obligations, but to our Redeemer,” (67)

When you live in light of the Gospel – you are set free from your incessant need for approval.” (93)

Live in light of these truths – grounded in the Word and the Gospel.

(Thanks Kimm for providing me with a copy of this to read.  All comments and thoughts are my own.)


Glory and Grace: Deuteronomy 6

Deuteronomy 6

Today my little boy turns one.  One.  Seriously?

And I think to myself I’ve had one year to teach him – to love him – to pour into him.  What is he going to remember?

I hope he will remember the love, the kisses, the midnight feedings, the giggles and tickles.

What I hope he will always remember is that fact that his mommy and daddy love Jesus.  We want him to know the truth of the Gospel.  How will we do this?

We will pray that with endurance we will talk about the Gospel and live the gospel out in front of him and his brother every day they are with us.  How can we do that?

Teaching him (as little as he is): the authority of God and His Word – and the love of the Father.

1.  Use a chalkboard in your dining room to learn a Bible verse a week.

2.  Sing songs in the car that speak of God’s love.

3.  Watch shows that teach good things – and then talk to them about how the Gospel intersects with that.

4.  Pray with them every chance you get.

5.  Read Gospel-centered books to them – and teach them about God while reading any book you can.

The Gospel & Relationships

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The Gospel and Relationships

This weekend I’ll be spending 36 hours kid-free with my Mister exploring our town and just hanging out with each other.  I’m thrilled at the chance to do this.  We’ve not done an away trip since last Christmas.  Way too long – but so much has happened since then.  While we absolutely adore our two littles, we know there is much value in getting significant alone time with each other – more than the occasional date night (which I love too).

For our relationship, we thrive when we have quality time together.  With his new job and our season of life, this is not always possible.  So, we value those free evenings and don’t try to fill our lives with too much “other” stuff.  But, we know that we need to communicate well for our marriage to thrive.

He is my husband after all.  We’ve now spent three years being married, and 8 months before that getting to know each other, building that relationship, building trust, building intimacy, having arguments and figuring out how to bounce back, seeking forgiveness and seeing what new way we can apply the gospel to our marriage.  He is most definitely my best friend.  If I have any news to tell – he is the first one.  There is no one I would rather travel with.  I so miss him when he’s gone or I’m gone.

That is how I’m beginning to realize that God is with us.  Yes, I’ve been a Christian for 32 years now.  Wow – that’s a long time – but oh, sanctification is a continual process and Jesus keeps getting sweeter.

I’ve read some Scriptures today that talk mostly about suffering – and we’ve definitely had our share of that in our marriage – but to me, the personal pronouns stood out to me.  And lately, those little grammar wonders have been leaping off the page at me in my reading of the Word.

*God Himself will be with us as our God (Revelation 21)

*The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3)

*That I may know the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3)

*The Spirit Himself intercedes for us (Romans 8)

*His ears are open to our prayers (1 Peter 3)

*That he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3)

Do you hear the personal relationship that is intended and required for the Gospel?  We can’t be second-hand Christians.  WE have to cultivate a personal relationship with the God who created everything.  And you know what – He makes that possible.  He sent Jesus.  He gave us the Holy Spirit.  He will be forever with us – so we can forever know and worship Him.  He’s not going to send His assistant.  He himself will be our God!

And that my friends, is good news.

What a Stolen Wallet has taught me about the Gospel

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The Gospel in our Everyday Lives

What a morning?  Let me back up – what a 24 hours!

Real life: my mister and I didn’t have the best 24 hours in communicating about finances.  God is good.  Communication is good.  A husband who pursues wholeness in our marriage is good.  Thankful for him.

More than once he’s asked me not to leave my wallet in the car.  I’ve ALWAYS left my wallet in the car (please don’t lecture me).  Never have had a problem.  This morning, I go to get in my car and notice a random hot pink knit glove in my seat.  I have little boys, not a teenage girl.  I thought maybe I’d picked it up from the gym somehow or one of the boys had.  Then I got to McDonalds to get a Diet Coke to drink during Bible Study.  No wallet.  Sorry McDonald’s drive thru lady.  Screaming boys because they weren’t going to get any coke.  Call my husband who is in a meeting.  Look briefly in the house but know its not there.  Realize I’d probably left the car unlocked last night because of several trips I made to the car.  Looked for my emergency cash stash and that was gone too.

Seriously.  Right after having hard conversations about finances?  Really, Lord?

Well, this is what I have learned in the last 4 hours:

1.  God will never tell a child He loves I Told You So.  He doesn’t spitefully throw our sins back in our faces.  He doesn’t haughtily say that He is right (which He always is).  He lovingly graces us with his continual presence even when we fail. Oh the joy and assurance of the gospel.  My husband didn’t tell me I told you so.  He graciously waited where he was till I got there so I could have 2$ in cash for the day.  He called all of our credit cards and the cops to get the ball rolling for a police report. All of this while fighting ATL traffic on his way to work.  I really just wanted him to tell me I Told You So and get it over with so I could have my punishment and go on with my day.  Oh, the last words he said to me as he walked toward his car was “go in grace.”  Oh, how he loves me – because Jesus loves him!

2.  Acts 2 is graciously lived out in our local church body.  I had just gotten our cash envelope for the week of groceries.  Gone.  This morning – God is so gracious.  Thank you ladies for your gracious giving and your prayers.  It was a tough morning.  God is good.

3.  God has told us He will provide for all of our needs!  Matthew 6 tells us many of the things that we could and often do worry about – and how God has commanded us not to because he is faithful.  He is faithful.

4.  Also, a lady in our Bible study group this morning asked the question of how will Christ be exalted every moment of our lives.  I then mentioned this incident this morning.  I wondered if I have the opportunity to meet the young girl who stole my wallet how I will respond.  How will I show her Jesus?  I thought of her as I drove to church this morning: does she have parents who care?  Does she know Jesus?  Is she dealing with guilt that only Jesus can remove?  Why did she feel the need to steal my wallet?  What will she turn out to be when she grows up?  Oh, Father – change her heart, right now!

Do I believe God?

31 Hymns: There is No Sin that I Have Done

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31 Hymns: There is no Sin

This hymn that I feature today was such a pivotal one in my ability to worship back earlier this year – and I poured it into my husband as well.  Thankful for our friend, David Ward, who brings this text to life!

All of the words of this hymn are pure gospel – so I didn’t know which ones to choose – but these waft over me with such purity and surety knowing that I don’t have to be perfect to gain an audience with my King and Savior.



Motherhood is Not Just About Dying to Self

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Motherhood & Dying to Self

Motherhood, a joy, a calling, and a privilege – is also TOUGH!  And I’m in the midst of it.  New area (with relatively new friends), two under two – both boys, and a husband who works long hours – but is such a trooper at home and to take my many frustrated phone calls and texts and pray and encourage me throughout the day.

My boys are the most cutest (superlatives, I know) boys in the whole world.  Their blond hair, big blue eyes, super long eyelashes – and their laughs, and smiles, and hugs, and giggles.  Doesn’t that make all the disciplining, nights where there are 3 feedings, and saying no 100 times a day, worth it?  Hmmm – of course, but it doesn’t make those days easier.

I was enjoying some hours of quiet courtesy of sleeping boys and a gracious husband and I wrote these next words.  When I went to read it to my Mister I was hesitant too – not because I thought he would laugh at me, but because I don’t live this out – and he, more than anyone, knows it.  But, it is the cry of my heart.  And I need the Gospel every day and pushed harder and harder in on my life and my parenting  – to look more like Christ in front of these littles that I call Lijah Bean and Bubba.  I hope the next words are encouraging to you. Pray for the Moms you know.  It’s a tough job.

The point of motherhood is not death to self.

If it was, we could be justified in our mopey days, our impatient attitudes, our temper tantrums.  We could justify our need to be everywhere and do everything so we could earn the title of Super Mom.

It’s not about finding your life in your children.  If so, we could warrant involving our children in everything so they could be good at what we weren’t.  If so, we could boast in our children’s smiles, vocabulary, batting average, or report card.

It’s not about finding your life in all the things you multitask in – or the things you don’t.  We could brag about our recipes, our photographs, or our pre-baby jeans.  We could post pictures of our well-designed Anthro house that never looks like children live there.

It’s not about never doing anything you want to.  We don’t have to live a slain and mopey woe-is-me life.

Instead, something I need to be daily pray for myself is that I would boast in the Gospel and die to sin so that I might life in and for and through Christ.  On the days when I burn dinner, or feed my children all chocolate and junk food  – I need Jesus.  The days our son bites other kids in the gym child care – Jesus still died for me and loves me.  On the day when I feel fat and don’t want to work out, but longingly look at the woman three treadmills away – desiring to look like her – Jesus still wants my heart.

I’ve read so many posts about you just have to die to self as a Mommy.  In a way that is true – but not in its morbid-sounding worldly outlook.  You can still ask for time for yourself – to feed your soul, to grab a cup of coffee, to grocery shop without toddlers eating the bananas before you pay for them, to take a walk, to exercise – to do things that refresh you – even if it is just to take a bath or have a date with your husband.  These aren’t bad things.

If Motherhood isn’t just about dying to self – it must have a better end.  We don’t die to self just for the sake of dying to self.  We die to self and sin and flesh to live to Christ.  Paul, in his letters, constantly wrote about not being the man he was but constantly fighting that battle and waging war with his flesh, but pressing on in Christ.

Motherhood – living to Christ – looks like:

Admitting when you are failing at motherhood and seeking help from other moms who have been there and done that.  Not trying to put on an act like you have it all together and your kids are the poster children for all church kids.

Admitting when you need some “time off”.  My Mister knows that some time off during the week does me a world of good.  Writing, reading, praying, journaling, doing errands by myself, drinking unsweet tea, eating a macaron – whatever it is – as the saying goes “If momma ain’t happy”.  He knows that me being refreshed is good for the whole family!

Crying out to God instead of yelling at your children.  Even though I hate raised voices and I hate being yelled at myself – I find myself raising my voice at my boys – as if that’s going to do any good.  I need instead to breath, pause, pray, and then speak in a manner to my boys that will glorify God.

Read the Bible in light of Motherhood.  How does the Bible address teaching your children, being anxious or prideful in your spirit?  The Bible has the final word on everything you could be struggling with.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed – 1 Peter 2.24 (This verse was suggested by my Mister for this blog – and so fitting.  If we try to do motherhood, or dying to ourselves, in our own strength – that is sin and it is futile.  We will fail.  It we seek the Gospel and the strength of Him who died for our weak, selfish selves – than He has promised He will ever be close to us in every moment of every tempter tantrum and birthday party and first date and bicycle riding lesson.

Motherhood in light of the Gospel – is still the toughest job, the best job, the most demanding job – and only with the strength of Christ will we survive.

W&BT: Found in Him (finale)

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We are truly alive!

This is going down as a very engaging, life-changing book.  It is that good.  I’ve always loved the grace impetus that Elyse Fitzpatrick has in her writing – and this one is no different.

Here are my thoughts on the last two chapters.

One of the most hope-full sentences in the entire book is found in chapter 9 – “No matter how you’ve sinned or been sinned against – your identity is that of a beloved, pure bride.” Often in this world, we are categorized by our sin.  Think of all the “self-help programs” or even in our churches when people know you have committed a sin – that’s what our minds shift to when we see that person in the hall or in Sunday School.  Not so.  This should not be.  We should look at other Blood-bought Christians as Christ would – through His blood.

“We are truly alive.  We are free and no longer enslaved to sin or the law.” (183)  If this is true in our standing in front of a holy God – can it ever be true in the local church?  How can we love each other even though we see their sin – they see our sin – how do we display Christ to ourselves and others?

“What would your life look like if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were loved and that there was nothing you could do to spoil that reality?”  Oh what glorious truth!  How can we again live this out in the local church – in our small groups, in our play dates with other mommies, or in our ministry teams?

“I am free to serve my neighbor because I don’t need to demand to be loved – I have already been fully loved in Christ.  I am free to serve my neighbor because I don’t need to be respected – Jesus knows exactly who I am.” – How much of our lives are lived in front of others, so others will see us, so that we can look good and climb ladders or get pats on the backs?  This is not how the Christian life should be lived.  We are who we are in Christ.  Let us live there – in that reality – not keeping score or a list of things we have done.  Good book on this topic: When People are Big and God is Small – by Ed Welch.

“Idolatry is crushed beneath true worship.”  Oh how true.  If we are focused on the gospel, sin will grow so faint (idolatry is sin).