Gloria Furman. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 160 pp. $10.99.
Every mother I know longs to be a better mother. And we often want women who are older and wiser than us to help us in our journey (Titus 2). Gloria Furman is a wise woman and a gift to the church. She is certainly farther down the road of life than I am; and she definitely has her hands full. Furman explains in this book some of her experiences as she does life with her family in Dubai. The anecdotal nature of her writing makes the book Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full a captivating lesson in motherhood. Her book, though broken down into two parts, really has one goal in mind: motherhood is all about bringing glory to God!
Treasuring Christ gives a new glimpse on our need for the gospel of Jesus. Milton Vincent, in his book The Gospel Primer, encourages believers to rehearse the gospel. Furman encourages us to do the same thing in the context of motherhood. This is not a “to-do list on how to be a good mother. It’s about our good God and what He has done (20).”
The Mundane as Worship
One of the hardest times for me to rehearse the gospel to myself and my children is in the midst of a crazy day. Yet, Furman reminds us that God knows every minute of our day and the trials and joys that fill them. He delights when we bring our needs before him and when we come to him in prayer. Jesus’ desire for me is to worship him at all times in my mothering; in those long, sleepless nights, in those hugs or tickles, or even in the disciplining—especially in the disciplining.
My husband has been a worship leader for almost twenty years now. Long before we met, got married, or had children, his ministry was to lead others in the church to worship through corporate hymns and prayers and Scripture readings. Furman reminds moms that their job is much like a worship leader. When we look at our children and see the gifts that God has given us—that is worship. When we are training up our children to love and delight in God—that is worship. When we help our children see who made all the stars in the sky and all the birds that tweet and dogs that bark, pointing them to God—that is worship. When we sing The B-I-B-L-E or Jesus Loves Me, teaching our kids glorious and infinite truths about God—that is worship.
Our Help in Mothering
It is not always easy to see these times as worship. They may get mundane. We will definitely be tempted to lose heart in this ministry, but God’s Word encourages us not to grow weary in doing good—and Furman’s book is a great encouragement on this very point. She divulges her own struggles with weariness and then gives direct gospel truths to heal and help.
In a culture that denigrates the role of mothers or empowers mothers in an ungodly way (usurping authority in the home), we need to protect our minds and hearts with the gospel. As Furman explains, “By God’s grace I can resist the temptation to treat my children as interruptions to my will for my life. Instead, God enables me to treat my children as precious gifts he is using to shape me into his image according to his will for my life” (55).
The Truth We Need at the End of the Day
Furman’s book, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, is a refreshing book for the busy mom. The same is true of Furman’s earlier book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home. These books can be used in a number of ministry contexts for women in our churches and in our neighborhoods. Moms, as you continue to pour love and truth into your children, may you constantly rehearse the wonderful, impactful truth that God, our heavenly Father, truly loves you and Jesus is your great reward. “Believe God is with you in your good work of mothering. Respond to God’s calls to worship throughout your days and nights (81).”
Kimberly Campbell is a wife and the mother of two active little boys. Moving to Atlanta soon, she loves to adventure with her family and explore all that God has beautifully made.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.