Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full; Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms – Book Review

Gloria Furman does it again. In this little book Furman goes through the truth of the Gospel: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then she takes that truth and applies it to the everyday mess and busyness that is motherhood.

The subtitle for this book says “… for Busy Moms” but to be real, what mom isn’t busy. This is for all moms. That being said, I cannot recommend it enough. It is a short 160 pages, which includes all of the notes and back matter. Yes, it’s a quick little book, but man does it pack a punch.

If you’ve ever read Furman before, you know what I’m talking about. Her writing style seems, to my eyes, to be heavily influenced by her life as a wife to a disabled husband, a mother to multiple children, a woman in ministry struggling through all the demands that work entails, and lives in a challenging international city in the Middle East. She does not have time for the fluffy, round about way of saying things. “Get to the good part! Tell me the good news, now! I need it!” Her words seem to say. That’s exactly what she does in this book.

Yet, there is not a sense of urgency or chaos, as sometime is the case when this attitude of immediate need is applied to writing. She presents the message, or the “Treasures” as the title puts it, of this book gently. With the tenderness of a woman, and a parent. It is a breath of fresh air after a long slog type of feel she gives in her writing.

I think this is mainly due to the content of this book. It is difficult to come across as harsh, chaotic, prideful, or condescending when you are presenting a message that is not essentially your own. Gloria Furman in this short, sweet book presents Christ, the Message himself, to tired, busy women, with children in tow. Her books is life giving, because Christ is. Her words are comforting, confronting, and refreshing, because Christ is.

She does this through, not her own words, but through the scriptures. I type this with a smile, for it is difficult to read farther than a sentence or two without some scripture reference or quotation. Further proving that this treasure, this good news, this hope, is not her message, but God’s message, is Christ himself presented to the world, and through Furman, funneled at mothers.

Moms, pick up this book! Read it. Re-read it. It is that kind of book that you can read a few paragraphs, filled with scripture quotations, as your quiet time and dwell on truth all day long.

I read this in the carline while I waited to pick up my children from school, with my toddler in the backseat. Grab a paragraph or two while you nurse (actually you may be able to get a whole chapter while nursing). Read a little while your kiddos do their homework next to you. It’s small enough to fit in most purses! Take it to work and sneak a chapter in on your lunch break. It’s not dense, so even a few sentences before you collapse into bed is possible.

If you’re not a mom, read it! It’s the gospel. It applies to you too. Better yet, read it, and pass it on to a mom. Then, you can have discussions about what’s in the book! What a blessing! And you will get much more out of it talking about it, as usually when you talk about something, your mind and heart dig into it a little deeper.

Whatever you do, where ever you are in life. Read on, friends!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Patience? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

During this season of mothering littles, I find my number one prayer request being “that I would be more patient with my children”.

Man, I love my kids, and they never stop. I think the constant motion is pretty standard for littles, but it’s exhausting!
My youngest is still in diapers, and doesn’t have all her teeth in yet.
My middle has colossal meltdowns where no one but Daddy can calm her. My oldest is turning five at the end of the summer and will start kindergarten in the fall. I have a whole new set of things to think about! Have I prepared him enough? Does he know enough to be independent at school? Will he be kind to others? Will he listen to and obey his teachers? Will he get teased? Will he get in trouble?

My worries for my oldest, have often turned normal parenting moments into this “do or die” test, to see if he is really ready for school. Many days, my patience is gone before I even wake up, because I’ve lost sleep worrying.

But, God calls me to be patient.
Actually, He calls all believers to be patient, not just the “extra holy ones”. Patience is a characteristic of God we are called to have ourselves as his children. It is one of the many ways we image our heavenly Father to a broken world. This world has no patience.

So what is it? What is biblical patience?

Well first, let me tell you what it is not: patience is the not the same as waiting.

I don’t know why we think just waiting this is “good enough”. When we think about it, the act of waiting cannot be the same as patience, it just doesn’t make sense. I mean, have you ever seen a someone wait impatiently? Therefor, waiting cannot be what patience is.

Biblical patience is this: a Godly attitude towards circumstances and people, which is founded in and completely resting in God.
It’s an attitude of trust.
Why do I struggle with being patient with my kids? Because I am not trusting God. How did I diagnose that? Because I am worried.
More often than not, my attitude of anxiety has replaced the God-trusting attitude of patience.

When I get off, I need more of God, I need his word.
God’s word is our living water, our primary cause for heart change, and our gauge for our lives.
Here are some passages I found to do a quick study on what practicing biblical patience looks like:

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

Practicing biblical patience means not worrying about circumstances or even about evil people, but focuses on the LORD, rests in God’s goodness, in God’s good promises. Therefore, we can be still before him, and wait patiently for him.

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

Practicing biblical patience shows up in how we love others. See all the “not”s that follow? All three are me-focused. Therefore, a love that is patient and kind is others centered, it is God’s-will centered.

2 Corinthians 1:6
If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

Practicing biblical patience is playing a long game, an eternal game. It is seeing our world for what it is, temporary, not our true home, knowing that the relatively brief pains now pale in comparison to a joy-filled forever after.

1 Thessalonians 5:14
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

Practicing biblical patience is remembering that those around us have an eternity ahead of them too. Dealing with others with patience infused love, focused on their good, not your own desires, or schedule.

How can we possibly do this? (That’s what I’m thinking, I’m sure at least some of you are thinking the same thing!) I lose my patience with my family all the time.

Here’s the progression: our love is shaped by our attitude of patience, which is caused and motivated by our remembrance of who God is and what he’s done for us. It’s all about perspective, and our perspective needs to stay fixed on God or we will get off track. On our own, we could never do it, but because God was gracious, loving, and patient with us first, and continues to be everyday of our lives, we can refocus our perspective, readjust our attitude, and restart our actions in a way that glorifies him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

What I’m filling up with

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a bit drained these days.
Turns out, even introverts need people!

My husband is home, and thankfully is still working. It’s a tricky situation in our little house, but we have found a sort of groove with it, and the kids have adapted.
What has been the hardest is being home, inside, and away from family. It’s especially hard on my kids, which breaks my heart.

This new isn’t normal. This will change, but we don’t know when, and man can these days feel long.
So, what do we do?

Fill up! and fill up with truth.

Here’s what I’m doing to help fill me up, and maybe it will inspire you to fill up too: (the first one daily, but the others are scattered throughout the week pretty much)

  1. Bible – There is no way I, or you, or anyone on the planet who can make it through life, much less through stress, suffering, change, hurt, brokenness, without God’s Word. (I’m currently reading through Exodus, and seeing how God provided for his people is amazing, even through the law!)
  2. Sufficient Hope: Meditations and Prayers for Moms by Christina Fox – Having a solid, bible central devotion has helped me immensely. This book is perfect because it’s relatively short, full of scripture, has questions at the end, and has a prayer written out at the end of each little chapter. The prayers are my favorite, because they are so solid, often praying the words of scripture, and give me words to pray when I’m out.
  3. Friend-ish: Reclaiming Real Friendship in a Culture of Confusion by Kelly Needham – Maybe an odd choice for being secluded away from friends, but man has this time also revealed some of the idols that have crept up in my heart, especially in the area of friendship. This has been a very convicting, and comforting book always pointing to the truth.
  4. Risen Motherhood Podcast – Hands down, my favorite podcast. No matter what, these ladies are always pointing to the truth of the gospel, from make up, to marriage, to parenting, and everything in between that falls into the realm of motherhood. Go listen. So good. The resources page on their website is also fantastic.
  5. Journey Women Podcast – In the same idea and purpose as Risen Motherhood, but aimed at young(er) women. Topic and interviews to encourage and point women to God in our journey through life.
  6. Foundations Podcast with Ruth and Troy Simons – This is centered on biblical parenting, and I have just started listening to this with my family (husband and kids).
  7. Biblicaltraining.org – I’ve listened to a few good classes and seminars for free on this site. I love learning and this free resource is great for that. They also have some certificates you can earn (these are not free).
  8. “Marks of a Healthy Church”, teaching series by Ligonier Ministries – This has been a balm to my soul, though I’m missing my church soooooo much right now, I’m enjoying this series about church. Ligonier Ministries also has a ton of other free teaching series, and other resources too.
  9. Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This is what I have been reading to my children everyday at lunch time, and they remind me when I miss! They are into this routine of ours. Their little hearts are anxious and scared in this time too, recounting promises, hope, and truth of Jesus is just what they need now, and all the time! It helps Mommy’s heart too 🙂
  10. Any/all music by Keith and Kristyn Getty and/or City Alight – definitely favorites right now for our whole family.

There you have it!
I’m also reading some fiction for book club, an audio book for fun, and have at least three more books I’ve started, and set down for now. Trying to be better about finishing what I begin. 🙂
What are you filling up with?

Soli Deo Gloria!