Biola's student-run newspaper
for 80 years

“Clean Home, Messy Heart” applies to any audience

Christine M. Chappell’s self-publication promises a bright future for the first-time author.  |  Christine M. Chappell


After a recent bout of postpartum depression accompanied by anxiety during her husband’s unexpected health issues, Christine M. Chappell felt God at work in her life. What began as journal entries and personal devotions as her way of coping with her trials quickly transformed into the manuscript for a book.

Stories of Struggle

In the fall of 2015, WestBow Press, the self-publication division of Thomas Nelson/Zondervan, held their annual New Look Contest. Chappell submitted her manuscript and received top ten honors within the contest. After this recognition, Chappell decided to self-publish. Four months after starting the process, what was previously her contest manuscript is now her debut book — “Clean Home, Messy Heart: Promises of Renewal, Hope, and Change for Overwhelmed Moms.”

Despite the book being geared to an audience of mothers, the content applies to any Christian. Chappell humbly recounts stories of struggles she has experienced as a mother and, in exchange, delivers the gracious truth of the gospel — we are far more flawed than we ever care to admit, but still loved by a God who is larger than any sin we commit. Each chapter is dedicated to a different scenario in which Chappell’s children tested her both as a parent and a Christian and how each instance showed her something about her relationship with God. I am not a mother, or even a wife, and yet I find Chappell’s words resonate with where I am in life as a senior in college.

A Relatable Touch

This is Chappell’s first book, but since she has previously written for local magazines and newspapers, her handle on language and personal writing style is well established. So many Christian living books fill their pages with religious jargon that holds no meaning for those outside of the Christian community. Thankfully “Clean Home, Messy Heart” does not follow this trend largely because of the introduction, in which Chappell plainly states what the book is and is not. “Clean Home, Messy Heart” can be read by those who do not identify as Christians or do not belong to the Christian community at large. Although the chapters themselves are full of scripture and preach the need for people to accept Christ as their personal savior, it is done in a way that engages readers rather than turning them away. Chappell recognizes that at the end of the day, we are all humans and fall short of the expectations we have for ourselves. Because of what Chappell said about her journey, I felt compelled to read “Clean Home, Messy Heart.” I was not disappointed when I did.

Part of what makes the book so beautiful is the team that helped bring it to fruition. Over 35 people from the local church helped to turn Chappell’s manuscript into the successful book it already is. Within 24 hours of its release on Amazon it placed in the top 10 for personal growth, top 15 for women’s issues, top 40 for spiritual growth and top 100 for Christian living, making it an Amazon Hot Release.

“Clean Home, Messy Heart” may have been born out of hardship and struggle, but its writing and success is anything but that.

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. medlagu

    this story is very useful for mother mother, thank you <a href="">medlagu</a> March 8, 2018

Your email will not be published as part of your comment.
Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
© Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved.