Finding Calm in Chaos

By Martha Stringer

In my house there is a clutter problem. Everywhere I look there's stuff. Unpaid bills and school papers litter my kitchen counter. Refrigerator magnets anchor take-out pizza coupons alongside a budding Picasso's artwork. Baskets of folded laundry wait patiently by the bottom step to be carried upstairs and unloaded - their contents returned to the rightful owners. And the shoes…..

Ah yes, the shoes. Five pairs of feet live in this house. Five times that many shoes are visible at any given moment. We have school, play and church shoes. Snow boots for winter and rain boots for spring. There are high heels, flats and wedges, cowboy boots and clogs. Cleats for soccer and t-ball, high-top sneakers for basketball. Shoes are always underfoot: by the front door and back door, by the TV and on the stairs. No wonder the socks are hiding in the dryer.

Sometimes I embark on a shoe reconnaissance mission - a strategically planned battle designed to thwart the enemy of footwear fray. Most of the time however, I just step over them.

Maybe I am finally coming to terms with the fact that family life is chaotic and the chaos grows exponentially with the addition of each pair of feet. It's a good thing the newcomer (and their shoes) start out very small. It gives us a chance to ease in - to bend to the bedlam without breaking.

I think God knows all about confusion. In fact, it's one of the tools he uses to get our attention. He uses it to demonstrate his faithfulness and the breadth and scope of his power.

God promises us everlasting life when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Yet he never made 'neat and tidy' a pre-requisite for salvation. He doesn't ask me to conquer the clutter in my soul - he asks that I follow him. As I seek to know and obey him, he deals with the clutter. I am reminded of God's words in the Bible, "Be still, and know that I am God." i

When the mess and mayhem are getting the best of me I try to remember I'll find calm in the confusion if I let his Spirit guide me. For Jesus already walked in my shoes. He knows the size of my feet and the path I am traveling. When I veer off course he'll lead me back. And when I'm weary, and feel like one more step is one step too many, all I have to do is ask and he will carry me. He promised, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."ii

Martha Stringer is a freelance writer living in Yardley, PA with her husband and three children. In addition to editing and writing a personal column for her church newsletter, she works part-time for a non-profit, social services agency. Contact her at

i  Psalm 46:10
ii Matthew 11:28

Related Article: Peace with God


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