I wrote Calming the Chaos: How to Live Beautifully in a Broken World to encourage other Christians who attended church regularly—now and then—or not at all. I had been attending church every week for 40 years when a sad, scary, sick realization hit me right between the eyes. It could have been a baseball bat, or a shotgun blast, even a four inch round drainage pipe. A rude awakening—that’s what seized me; I likened myself to the three monkeys who do not see, speak, or hear. Yes! Calling myself a Christian was freaky, foolish, and frightening. You see, I talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. I thought I was a Christian, but I was a pew sitter. Yes, a pew sitter. My time in church ended on the drive home.
Once I comprehended my lackadaisical attitude toward my Christian faith, probing questions scampered through my mind, and I made a life changing decision. I began to read the Bible every day with Navigators Daily Walk. The goal was to read the entire Bible in one year; from the very first verse in Genesis. And I found what I had been missing all those years. Of course, I believed God existed, but I did not know anything about him. I learned quickly to see my life as a garden. A garden that requires full time attention. You will find a poetic response to my dilemma in Calming the Chaos.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
We each have a garden
That God has designed to grow
It’s in our heart… deep within
It’s the pulse of life as it flows
When the Father knits us in the womb
He makes our garden lush and fertile
But as we grow up surrounded by the world
It becomes parched, barren, and brittle
God gives us desire to bring it back
We long for a watered soul
But Satan sows pain and sorrow
He dares us not to be whole
His plan is for wasteland
To wither and wilt away
Can our garden in love exist?
When Satan plants every day
Living Water is what we need
It will nourish and sustain our days
Our garden’s earth will start to soften
Refreshed and redeemed, we explore new ways
As the Water begins to give new life
Within the center of our soul
A pool of clarity and purpose gathers
An oasis that will forever flow
This Living Water comes only from Christ
When we seek Him for all of our needs
It never stops flowing in our heart
As we prepare to accept perfect seeds
Some of the seeds are of righteousness from truth
They must be planted throughout our garden
The Holy Spirit will sow the first seed
That because of Christ we are pardoned
Other seeds become plants of discipline
The Holy Spirit prunes and shapes them
The flowers give sweet, sweet smells of joy
Petals once faded are now precious gems
All other seeds will find a place
With Living Water to nourish and sustain
The seeds in our garden grow into Him
A garden of purity will be our gain!
Our garden becomes a sacred harvest
As others reap from the precious seeds
God is the only One who knows
To what destiny each harvest will lead[i]
We need comfort, genuine love, connections with people who care for us, and a stable dimension in our lives that never changes. My hope for you when you read Calming the Chaos, is that the book will be your chaperone and companion on your pilgrimage through the pages where you will learn, as I did, that a relationship with the living God is the only way to live beautifully in the brokenness of this world.”[i]
The four parts in Calming the Chaos consist of The World in Which We Live, Where Do We Start, Nominal Religion or Authentic Faith, and Living Near to God. Each part asks pointed questions from which you develop self-awareness. Contrary to some peoples’ ideas, self-awareness is not a form of narcissism. Rather, it is getting to know about who you are, what makes you tick, why you feel passion, sadness, joy, and love. Like taking a class on Emotional Intelligence, self-awareness takes you to a more objective view of the big picture, in which we are but the size of a flea.
In addition, informational topics such as Secular Society, Nominal Religion and Worldview gives us a better understanding of otherness, such as disregarding our “it’s about me” syndrome and knowing we are all important. No shaming, no judging, no embarrassment.
For example, the conversion experience, which some describe as euphoric, isn’t the same for each person seeking God. It depends on background, personality and when church became a tradition in the family. The term “religious” takes on a new meaning, as does ritual, denomination, witness, and society.
God’s love, peace, and grace reigns. Church splits or pastors found guilty of adultery, which we often hear about, aren’t discussed, nor is there finger pointing. The uppermost in this book is that readers can decide to what extent they choose to grow in their faith journey. For me, an all or nothing kind of gal, I wanted nothing less than to surrender my entire life to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, for eternity.
I wanted wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. What about you? Are you willing to sacrifice self to receive the three R’s—rescue, renewal, and restoration? From my experience, there is nothing in this broken world that could make me into a new person like Christ dying for me on the cross so that I could experience God’s forgiveness and have guidance from the Holy Spirit in my life.
If you read Calming the Chaos as a person wanting more in your faith journey, this book is for you. Once you have finished it, you’ll see impressive changes in your life.
[i] Giles, Carol Flohr, Calming the Chaos: How to Live Beautifully in a Broken World, (2017, Clay Pot Publishing, Denver) 134-135
[ii] Giles, Calming the Chaos 12