by Candice Watters
When I was single, quiet time was the hour or more I spent reading my Bible and praying before heading off to work for the day. There was a season of life, however, when uninterrupted quiet time was a distant memory. Quiet was measured in minutes, not hours, between crying babies, squawking toddlers, beeping toys, and bickering children. Night wasn’t much better. For years, my sleep was interrupted by midnight feedings and 3 a.m. search-and-rescue missions for missing binkies.
I remember one morning waking before dawn with high hopes of finally having an uninterrupted hour to read my Bible and pray. The day before had been especially long and challenging and I was feeling a little desperate for a reprieve. I tip-toed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and was just settling into what used to be my prayer chair. 5:10 a.m. I closed my eyes and opened my Bible and … down the hall I saw our 2-year-old walking toward our bedroom. He was smiling, eager to start this new day. To him it was pure gift. To me, pure frustration. I was not happy. In fact I was angry. Steaming. My quiet time was interrupted. Again. In my mind, his early waking was the problem. I felt fully justified in feeling angry at him.
Mercifully, Steve saw where this was heading. He called me out. “Candice, you’re really angry.” I knew from his tone that he was right. My problem wasn’t lack of sleep, an early rising son, or days and days and days with no quiet time. Those were just the circumstances that were squeezing the sponge of my heart. My sinful anger that came out under pressure was my real problem. The solution wasn’t a son who stayed in bed till 7. It wasn’t uninterrupted quiet. It wasn’t even more time to read my Bible.
A new book is reminding me again of the only answer to a mother’s frustration and failings. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, by Gloria Furman points to our only hope as busy, overwhelmed, under-rested moms. She shares her experiences of mothering four children alongside her husband Dave, pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai. Add to their busy family life her husband’s ongoing health challenges and the difficulties of navigating life in a foreign country, and she has plenty of reason to complain. But this is not a typical mommy-blogger book full of wickedly funny stories told at the expense of her children.
Are you worried, overwhelmed, disappointed, or frustrated by motherhood? Furman shows that Christ really is the only source of comfort. A lot of good books and blogs talk about the gospel, but Treasuring Christ shows it applied directly to mothering. The reality of Christ crucified and resurrected changes how you mother. It changes how you think about sacrifice, suffering, and sorrow; changes how you think about what God thinks about motherhood. It’s full of Scripture–itself a gift for those who don’t know where to start applying God’s Word to the work of motherhood.
Parenting is one of God’s primary means for sanctifying believers–for transforming us into Christ’s image. Furman’s book shows from her own life, in the magnificent and the mundane, that “God glorifies the name of our Lord Jesus in mothers who serve by the strength he supplies.” It’s a Mom-length book with short chapters filled with scenarios from everymom’s life. From dawdling toddlers, grocery store challenges, and bed-time delays, to losing a baby in the crush of a crowded train station, and discovering the unexpected surprise of morning sickness, Treasuring Christ meets moms in their range of circumstances.
When disorder seems the order of the day, because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross, a mother can quiet her soul.
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me (Psalm 131:2).
And when it seems nothing will ever be calm again, she can rest in God’s power to save. He is the one who quiets us.
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
Treasuring Christ is full of hope, reminding moms that:
Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, we need the Lord’s strength to honor him in our motherhood. … If we think we can do “this motherhood thing” in our own strength, then we are fooling ourselves. … Only God’s grace in the gospel can strengthen our faith to let Jesus carry our burdens in parenting.”
Jesus tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). But when we abide in Christ, nothing, not even the demands of raising children, is too difficult (Philippians 4:13). Only when we’re full of His love will we have the overflow to love the little ones God has entrusted to our care (Ephesians 5:1). Motherhood is worthy work. This is a treasure of a book that reminds us where our power to do it comes from, as children ourselves, to the glory of God our Father.
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