There is a lot of talk these days about doing radical things for Jesus. While it is a good and right thing to encourage Christians to lay their lives down for the sake of the gospel, the push for the next big thing leaves many wondering if their lives are simply too ordinary to matter in God’s economy. And for the woman who works inside the home, there is no greater challenge than trying to see God’s purpose in the daily grind of scrubbing toilets, washing dishes, and wiping snotty noses. Thankfully, Gloria Furman understands this tension. In her new book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home, Furman writes to encourage women to see that while their lives may seem boring and ordinary, God’s grace is for all of life—not just the big things.
The book is broken down into short, readable chapters, ideal for any woman whose life is already full with running a home and taking care of children. It is divided into two parts: the foundational and the practical. In the first four chapters she provides the theological foundation for this mundane life and then spends the remaining chapters encouraging her readers to see God do miraculous things in the ordinary.
And it’s really a groundbreaking book, if you think about it. We live in a culture where your worth and value is determined by what you bring to the table, and I’m not talking about the dinner table. Only when women contribute to the marketplace are they seen as worth giving ear to in today’s society. The homemaker is a dying profession, but it’s a necessary one. For the Christian woman, striving to live a faithful life in the midst of the daily drain of raising children and keeping a home, this book is a breath of fresh air.
While the entirety of the book is extremely helpful, there are two specific aspects to the book that I found particularly encouraging. These points are hardly exhaustive, but they made me want to keep reading and gave me a fresh perspective as I live my gloriously mundane life raising twin boys.
A Unique Perspective
There are two chapters that deal with issues that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a book about homemaking, but I think her unique perspective on them will be a source of encouragement to you. One is called “God’s Abiding Presence in Our Pain” and the other is “United With Christ but Lonely for Friends.”
It might seem random to have chapters on pain and loneliness in a book of this nature. If we want to learn how to treasure the gospel in our home we need practical gospel applications for the myriad of mundane tasks we do every day, right? Absolutely. But Gloria knows, through personal experience, that pain and loneliness are both very real parts of our lives as Christians and as homemakers. In these chapters she shows how believing that God is good and trusting his character are our only hope in moments of crushing pain and loneliness.
“We say, ‘God is good,’ when our children are obedient, we don’t feel any pain, the house is in order, and we spent two cheerful hours doing homemade crafts together without any whining. And we would be right to say so. But God is good for deeper reasons than our experience of temporary relief in fluctuating earthly circumstances” (130).
She goes on to say:
“Every time God acts, he acts in righteousness and grace. The God who is immeasurably better than all his gifts and is the standard of perfect righteousness could never answer a prayer request for grace by giving you a gift less than himself. He’s a good Father who doesn’t give his children rocks and snakes, but bread to sustain their lives and make them glad” (132).
It is only by trusting in this grace, she says, that we are able to find help for our pain and help for our loneliness. This has tremendous implications for our lives as homemakers. Everyone knows that even in the most painful, lonely moments the responsibilities of our lives don’t change. Even though we want to crawl into a ball and cry it out in the corner, life must go on. Our infants still need to nurse and have their diaper changed. Our families still need clean clothes and food to eat. Bills must still be paid on time. What is most helpful about her perspective in these sections is that she doesn’t provide a twelve step process to feeling better about your circumstances in order to get through the day. Rather she points even the weariest reader to the cross of Christ, where we will always find grace to help us in our time of need.
A Beautiful Word Picture
It can be really easy to tell people how to believe the gospel but have very little empathy for their place in life. Gloria doesn’t do that. One of the greatest strengths of this book is the vivid examples laced throughout the book. With a touch of humor, Gloria makes you feel like she is your friend across the kitchen table waiting to share this busy life with you. You get a strong sense that she knows what you are going through because she has been there. She has dealt with a fussy baby who won’t sleep through the night. She has felt alone in a new place trying to raise children. She has seen her husband suffer and worked through the implications of his illness in her own life. For every season of your mundane, she is there ready to encourage you and point you to the Savior. And for this tired, new mom, I’m thankful for that.
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