Saturday, April 19, 2014

Book Review: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full

I would love to buy cases of this book and hand it out to all the moms I know!
If you are looking for an honest and gospel centered book on mothering - Buy this book!  Whether you are a mom to small children or grown...even grandmas!  You will want this book!
Husbands:  This would be a great Mother's Day gift! Buy this book for your wife!

"Yes, mother, your hands are full, literally. And your hands are filled to overflowing with grace by the one who stretched his hands out for you on the cross. "

I highly recommend (can you tell?)  Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman. 
Gloria's bio states, 

"I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, wife to Dave, mother of four young children, and a Tex-Mex enthusiast. When my husband and I moved to the Middle East in 2008 to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai it was just the two of us and our baby girl, and we had no idea what the Lord was going to do. Not a day goes by that we're not astonished by God's grace in calling us here, in using us to minister to people from many nations, and in blessing us with three more children along the way."
 She is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home and blogs regularly at the Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and

I was so thrilled to read a book, written by a young mother, that is so full of godly wisdom and truth.  So much so, that I have little doubt that it was written through the power of God and for His great glory.

"The gift of motherhood points mothers to treasure Jesus Christ as he transforms our heart from the inside out. That’s the subject I am going to unpack in this book. In case you’re too busy to read the rest of it (I know what that’s like!), the gist of my thesis is this:
Because of the gospel—the news about what Jesus did on the cross to save sinners—mothers who make Christ their treasure can rejoice in their work as God works in them. "

I love how she points out in the beginning of the book that, 

"Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full is not a to-do list on how to be a good mother. It’s about our good God and what he has done.  AndWhile I do not venture to give sage advice in the how-to’s of mothering (my oldest child is still in primary
school), the application of the gospel to motherhood is immensely practical. I kept a note on my desktop while writing these pages. The note says: “Resist the urge to reduce God’s Word to nice tips for nice living: give them the gospel.”

Once I got to this point in the book, I knew I wanted to read more!

Mrs. Furman has an uncanny way of shining a scriptural light upon the lies and misconceptions of motherhood.  She is transparent in the motives of the heart and quick to combat her sin and wrong thinking with the Truth of the Word.  I so love her heart in this book and her desire to point everything to Christ.  Sometimes a book will have a title that is just catchy.  Not this book.  It is clear that Treasuring Christ is not only the title, but the intent of the entire work.  From first page to last, Furman points herself and mothers to Christ: Part 1-God Made Motherhood for Himself and Part 2-Motherhood for Worship. Every section of this book is so filled with Christ and the Truth of scripture, that there are 3 full pages in the back to notate the Scripture references!  I always say don't read any man-written book without your bible right beside...I still say it for this book, though it is wonderfully on point with referencing every thought or statement against the Word of God.  So refreshing.

And grace.  Grace is a popular topic throughout the history of Christian writers, yet many are seeing and understanding grace in a new light in this generation.  Furman stays biblically firm in her application of God's grace:

"Family Tradition #1: We Always Need God’s Grace

He fulfilled God’s highest expectations of perfection, and in Him all the promises of God find their Yes (2 Cor. 1:20). In Him we find mercy in our time of need—which is alwaysGrace is the most important thing for us to keep in mind as we shape the expectations of our home. Our children need to grow up knowing, “We always trust God because he’s willing and able to help us,” and, “We always praise God because he is our most valuable treasure.” And we need to get up every morning knowing, “I always trust God because he’s willing and able to help me.”

Yet, she lovingly causes us to take an honest look and  true inventory of our need for grace:

"Do you need God’s grace? Or do you have what it takes to multitask your busy routine? Do you need God’s grace? Or have you been “down this road before” with your husband, and your conflict will sort itself out in time? Do you need God’s grace? Or do you just need Google? Do you need God’s grace? Or do you pretty much have this motherhood gig in the bag? 

She gives so many real world and transparent examples in her own life...when she blows it, being willing to ask her children forgiveness, and to defeating unrealistic expectations and guilt:

"Things like “mommy guilt” cannot crush us because Christ was crushed on the cross in our stead. Jesus is our consistency;"

"The Lord is just as near to you when you’re using a bulb sucker on a tiny, congested nose and as you’re summoning the wisdom of Solomon to settle a spat over a disputed toy."

"Indeed, the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Ps. 63:3) because his love gives us his life. Because of his love we are able to love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
It is this love—the love of Christ—that compels Christian mothers to love their children."

"Why was I so depleted in love for others? Why was my attitude so hostile toward the people I love the most? In my prayerful reflections on that incident, the Lord graciously revealed to me that I had a deep craving to satisfy my own needs before the needs of others. I saw how my nearly unceasing service toward my family had actually been powered by attempts to resuscitate myself through sheer willpower and control my environment. "

“There are no perfect moms,” we quip, but we’ll die trying to prove we might be the exception. "

In a time when countless books are being written on how to be a better mom, how to get your kids to love you more or how to get more "me-time", Gloria Furman's book stands out as the book that shows us how to treasure Christ more, how to glorify God in the privilege of motherhood, and how to point our children to Christ by showing and embracing grace.

"Treasuring Christ as preeminent in our lives gives our children a self-sacrificing, neighbor-serving, sin-forgiving, grace-extending illustration of how God is worthy to be seen, admired, and displayed as the greatest hope we could ever have. Jesus is the one who loves us most of all with his redeeming love."

(I was given a copy of this book by Beyond the Page/Crossway Books in exchange for an honest review)