Motherhood is arguably the most daunting vocation known to humankind. As Gloria Furman affirms often in Treasuring Christ, a mom's hands are always full—full of dirty dishes, full of laundry, full of little squirmy bodies, full of food cooked and uncooked, full of everything that goes into raising little kiddos.
But one thing many mommies tend to forget is that, more than any of these things, their hands are full of blessing. This is because mommies who rely on Jesus Christ for salvation are nurtured and sustained by him. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full is about relying on Christ for all things, even when you're overwhelmed by life's mundane routines.
This isn't a particularly practical book, at least not in the way that word has come to be used. It is very practical if you understand that the Gospel touches and informs every aspect of life, even changing dirty diapers. If you think "practical" only refers to little tricks and advice for saving time and effort, however, you'll be disappointed by Furman's little book.
That's because Furman is very direct and forthright about the ways in which she often fails as a mother. She doesn't claim to be supermom (in fact, she labels supermom a myth), she admits she loses her temper, she is honest about the ways in which she's let her kids down. But for each admission, she boldly and joyously proclaims the truth that Christ is her strength, that her sins are paid in full by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and that the love of God for her children is even greater than her own.
A lot of Treasuring Christ revolves around simple statements of Gospel truths and deeper explorations of them. She demonstrates with refreshing clarity how the Gospel enters our daily lives with wisdom and strength for the faithful, even when they've run out of steam. Yet she never allegorizes, never uses Bible stories as mere examples.
If you think this is just the sweet drivel of a woman who doesn't know how bad motherhood can be, think again. Furman has four very young children (the oldest is still in primary school), writes a blog, constantly hosts guests in her home, and is the wife of a pastor in Dubai who often is unable to use his arms due to a serious medical condition. And where does she constantly return for strength, peace, and the ability to continue? The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There's nothing wrong with books designed to help mothers get more done with less stress, but ultimately such books will never sustain you the way our Lord does. Recognizing his sustenance and relying on him for strength and peace isn't a duty or sacrifice that mothers make—it's a privilege given them by God, and one Gloria Furman celebrates and revels in. Highly recommended.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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