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An Interview with Gloria Furman (Part 2)

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We recently asked you to submit questions for Gloria Furman on motherhood, marriage, and treasuring Christ in the midst of the busyness of life. In part 2 below, Gloria offers encouragement on staying balanced, living far from family, the dangers and blessings of social media, and reading good books. Be sure to check out part 1 if you missed it!


What is your biggest struggle as a mom right now?

The first thing that comes to mind is putting meals together that everyone will eat. If marshmallows and multivitamins were an acceptable diet then the only weeping at dinnertime would be tears of joy.

But honestly, I think my biggest struggle as a mom right now is my penchant for playing the blame game that our first parents invented. I hate that when I get frustrated that I’m not doing the good mothering I want to do then I turn and blame my kids and my husband for my own sin.

What “baby gear” would you recommend for a new mom on a tight budget?

I don’t know what kind of baby gear is available to you where you live, and I wouldn’t want to make an assumption of what you need for your particular life circumstances.

But there is something I have learned about baby gear due to all of the traveling we do (our oldest has been on 74 flights). I hope this thought encourages you as you consider your tight budget: You and your baby need far less stuff than what the marketers/advertisers would want you to believe.

How do you balance keeping your home ready for hospitality and being present with your kids?

Sometimes, when our doorbell rings, my preschool-aged son will shriek: “Friends! Or pizza? Yay!” Either way, he is excited, and if a friend is bearing pizza then it’s doubly awesome.

It helps to think of hospitality as part of the life of your home. Hospitality is a giving issue, so it makes sense that my selfishness is what gets in the way in my hospitality. I’m really encouraged by the principles laid out in 2 Cor. 9:6-8 which lead me to pray that God would give me grace and cheerfulness to give in this way.

What are some practical ways my church can support missionary wives/mothers living overseas?

I’m so glad you asked this question! I think the churches that support us are models of encouragement. When they ask for reports on our family and our work they always ask about how I’m doing and they insist that I not be shy about telling them specific ways they can support me. They even spoil me with American treats in the mail.

Remember that encouragement is mutual—please make it a point to share with missionary women about the things God is doing through the women in your local church as well.

What advice do you have for someone raising children far away from the support of family?

Someone could write a book about raising children far away from the support of family. But I’ll just quote a Kenyan sister who just moved away from Dubai to Italy with her young family. She said in a “see-you-later” video message to our church members: “You all have been my mothers, my fathers, my brothers, and my sisters.” I agree with her wholeheartedly, and I know that our own parents appreciate this as well. When our folks came to visit us here in the Middle East they mentioned that they were pleased to see how well our local church cares for us.

How should a mom balance the blessing of social media with the distraction of social media?

I’ve opened up Facebook to see things posted by moms in my season of life and thought: “Thank the Lord, I am not crazy or alone.” Social media is a blessing when we use it to invest in people (because there are image bearers on the other end of those status updates and tweets). But I’ve found that my use of social media can become a distraction to me when I socialize to the point of becoming an idler, going from blog to blog in 1 Tim. 5:13-style.

Like all our relationships, the way we interact with people online is a matter of the heart. May I recommend two outstanding books that specifically address relationships and technology from a Christian perspective? Check out: The Next Story (Challies) and From the Garden to the City (Dyer).

If you were to recommend one book for mom’s to read this year, what would it be (excluding the Bible)?

Not By Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith by Jon Bloom—it’s a new book filled with short reflections from God’s Word that do some serious eternity-stamping on your eyeballs.

How do you find time to write in the midst of all the other responsibilities you have (wife, mother, etc.)?

Writing, for me, is part of being a healthy human. My husband is able to verbally process his thoughts out loud, but I need to have a keyboard at my fingertips or a pen (or a crayon—whatever is available, really) in my hand. I hunt down time to write because I have to.

It helps to make notes on an app in my phone throughout the day, and when my kids are in bed I get out my laptop for some extended writing. During this season I have discovered the hard way that if my computer is out while my kids are afoot then they post tweets in tongues that no one understands and edit my working documents with abandon.

How do you ensure that you’re spending one-on-one time with each of your kids?

I think this happy endeavor is an ongoing pursuit and a creative art. Something that has always impressed me is the flavor of the quality time that Jonathan Edwards spent with his kids each night (as described in the book, Marriage to a Difficult Man). This busy pastor would “enter freely into the feelings and concerns of his children and relaxing into cheerful and animate conversation accompanied frequently with sprightly remarks and sallies of wit and humor.” I’m so encouraged by Edwards’ perspective on quality time with his kids because it leaves a sweet taste to savor instead of a burden of anxiety or a law to check off my list.

What would you say to someone who says, “Why have kids? Say goodbye to your life!”?

I’d say that you might indeed say goodbye to your life as you know it. But, by God’s grace you will find that you would be willing to do it all over again if given the chance.

Underneath that comment is an iceberg of issues that can’t be addressed with one-liners. But if there ever was an icebreaker that could get you started, I would highlight C.S. Lewis’s remark in his essay, “The Weight of Glory,” in which he talks about human beings as God’s image bearers and their eternal destiny.

Lewis says, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” “People” includes babies, children, and teens. Think of it—you have never read a bedtime story to a mere mortal. You have never taught a mere mortal their times tables. No mere mortal has ever cried in their carseat in traffic. Because of eternity, there is serious joy to be had when you raise kids.

And, as Lewis says, “The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.” Our children are our littlest neighbors.

May God give us the humility and grace we need to nurture life through death-defying and death-to-self-embracing motherhood.


Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four young children, doula, and blogger. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. She is the author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and she blogs regularly at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and GloriaFurman.com.

An Interview with Gloria Furman (Part 1)

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We recently asked you to submit questions for Gloria Furman on motherhood, marriage, and treasuring Christ in the midst of the busyness of life. In part 1 below, Gloria offers  encouragement on reading the Word, loving your husband, enjoying Nutella, and navigating the “mommy wars.” Be sure to check back tomorrow for part 2!


In your book, you talk about stamping eternity on your eyeballs. How do you do this practically throughout the day?

Sounds like a fancy contact lens, doesn’t it? “Stamp eternity on my eyeballs” comes from a prayer that is attributed to Jonathan Edwards. It hearkens back to 2 Cor. 4:18 (“we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen… the things that are unseen are eternal”). We are a people who choose to look to God’s kingdom instead of to things that are transient. We smile at the future—an eternity of future grace is always hurtling toward us because of the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross two thousand years ago.

The seeing and remembering of this gospel, however, does not come easily. One way I try to think about this throughout the day is by listening to God’s word via our Seeds Family Worship CDs, the ESV audio Bible, or a chat with a friend on the phone.

How can a mom who struggles to get up in the morning and can barely stay awake at night due to exhaustion from raising young children make sure she’s staying in the Word?

Oh, that’s easy. Just name your bed “The Word.” Ha!

Sister, I am right there with you. This afternoon I realized that I did an entire morning routine as though it was Tuesday. Today is Thursday so I figure I’m five days ahead of the game.

Exhausted friend, I’ve got good news for you: the Lord knows and he loves you. He has numbered the hairs on your head and he knows the number of minutes of legitimate sleep you got last night. Isaiah 40:11 says, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” Jesus is your Good Shepherd. He’s got you and me, sister, in his hands.

When you are dead on your feet then taking a nap can be the most spiritually invigorating thing you can do. But you specifically asked about staying in the Word, a struggle I can certainly empathize with. In times of desperate fatigue I’m often kicking myself for choosing to use what little, precious mental energy I do have to fill myself with fake food that can’t satisfy. Here are three thoughts that help me especially in those times:

  • God’s Word is sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103).
  • “Staying in the Word” is not a mental, academic exercise; the Bible is the very breath of God speaking to us (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
  • And I love what this mental image from John Piper’s glad-hearted encouragement does for me: “Swim in the Bible every day—it is an ocean of bright, glorious, weighty, all-satisfying truth about the one for whom you were made.”

Do anything and everything you can do to press on to know the Lord (Hosea 6:3). For the health of our hearts and souls and our service to our precious little ones, we need to hear our Shepherd’s voice, especially in the midst of our exhaustion.

Other than reading God’s Word, what are some other ways moms can soak in the truths of the gospel each and every day?

Treasuring the gospel is a community project—find girlfriends to help you (and you can serve them in this way, too). There are lots of excellent books, podcasts, and blogs out there that are specifically about drilling down to the heart of the gospel and applying it to all of life. Music is also a tremendous gift.

These days I can’t stop listening to the Getty’s recording from the TGC National Conference. There are some heavily weighted truths in those hymns that cast an anchor on Christ to hold me steady in the busyness of life. Read and listen wisely to material that is Scripturally-sound and will point you to keep seeking the city that is to come (Heb. 13:14).

What are some of the most meaningful ways your husband demonstrates his love for you on a regular basis?

So many things come to mind! Is reading a “love language?” If so, it’s mine. My husband finds ways to budget money so I can buy books, and he sets aside his favorite things to do in order to help me find time to read them. Another gift to me is that he often helps me with dinner. Because he’s not physically able to cook he blesses me by “calling dinner with the phone” (as our preschooler puts it).

What are some of the ways you demonstrate your love for your husband on a regular basis?

I know that it means a lot to my husband when I listen “with my face” when we’re talking even as the children are clamoring for my attention. This is far easier said than done, but I know he feels loved when I make an effort. It also blesses him when I try to anticipate the various help that he needs and gladly order my priorities to make those things happen.

How do you sift through all the conflicting information about “best practices” related to parenting?

I will give you the secret in exchange for a lifetime supply of Nutella.

Seriously, though, I think the key to this question is exactly what you said—understanding that “best practices” can be in conflict with one another. In a world of conflicting information, I would encourage you to seek wisdom from godly older moms—perhaps your own mom, your sisters, and women at your local church.

Something I keep learning (and forgetting) is a time-tested best practice called humility—according to Titus 2 I have a need to be trained and taught by older women in how to love my husband and my children. Books and blogs are good for this, but there’s no substitute for being with godly older women who know you and your family.

Embrace a sense of humor about the conflicting “best practices.” Isn’t it goofy that “they” (whoever the experts are) change their minds all the time?

How do you respond graciously to people who offer unsolicited parenting advice that you may or may not agree with?

This is a neat question. We moved to a global city in the Middle East when our oldest child was a baby. My experience with “unsolicited parenting advice” seems to be different than what I hear from my friends in the West. Most of the people here come from cultures in which “the village” raises the children, and the idea of “mommy wars” is foreign to them. In their worldview there is no such thing as “unsolicited” parenting advice because surely the frazzled mom in the checkout line at the grocery store is waiting to hear your encouraging words. Singles sit next to our crazy family in restaurants so they can distract talk to our kids while we’re eating. Grandfather-types and young men stop what they’re doing in government offices to play peek-a-boo with a fussy baby. A middle-aged woman in our building always opens her purse to give my kids candy in the elevator and she squeezes my shoulder saying, “God has blessed you!” The community dotes on children, and I love this about where we live.

When people say things that I don’t agree with I might talk with them more about it (depending on the context). Mostly I just say thank you because it’s not about their advice so much as it is an expression of their desire to help me be the ringmaster for four cheeky little monkeys.

I’ll tell you what is challenging about this, though—living under the expectation that I am part of the village that is helping look after other peoples’ kids. “Can’t they see that my hands are already full?” My flesh recoils at the selflessness required to serve the children afoot out in the community. It comes in conflict with the “mind your own business” mindset that I’m used to.

Read Part 2.


Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four young children, doula, and blogger. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. She is the author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and she blogs regularly at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and GloriaFurman.com.

 

Watch the Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full Trailer

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“Moms don’t need another book telling them how short they fall or what they can do to ‘be a better parent.’ Moms need a book that will lift their eyes away from themselves and onto Christ. Gloria Furman has delivered just that book.”

Jessica Thompson and Elyse Fitzpatrick, co-authors, Give Them Grace


Motherhood is tough.

It often feels like the to-do list just gets longer and longer every day—making it hard to experience true joy in God, our children, and the gospel.

In Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms, Gloria Furman, a pastor’s wife and mother of four, shows us how to pursue a vibrant and ever-growing relationship with Christ in the midst of the busyness of life.

Be sure to download an excerpt and check out the free study guide!

Watch the trailer:

 

 

March 31, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Books,News & Announcements,Video | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:55 am | 0 Comments »

Weekly Specials – 3/31/14

Crossway’s weekly specials are available to members of Crossway Impact. You can also find this week’s featured resources with participating online retailers such as AmazonBarnes & NobleBookshoutChristianbook.comeChristianiBooks (Apple)Vyrso (at each individual retailer’s discretion). Discounted prices available through 4/6/14.


Women’s Ministry in the Local Church

By J. Ligon Duncan, Susan Hunt

E-book: $11.99 $3.99

The benefits of women’s ministries are great: training and discipling, evangelizing, and reaching out to the poor and needy. This book, written by seasoned ministry leaders, provides many proven tools to help start a women’s ministry in your church.

“In this day and age, we need more courageous visionaries who seek to release women in ministry while honoring the complementarian framework of God’s Word. This is a helpful resource for all who wish to join in this pursuit.”
Mary A. Kassian, Professor of Women’s Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild

Buy: E-book

 

The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus and the Gospel in the Old Testament

Edited by D. A. Carson

E-book: $13.99 $2.99

Eight prominent evangelical pastors and scholars team up to demonstrate what it looks like to faithfully preach Christ from a variety of Old Testament texts.

Contributions by Alistair Begg, Mike Bullmore, Matt Chandler, Timothy J. Keller, James MacDonald, Conrad Mbewe, R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Buy: E-book

 

12 Challenges Churches Face 

By Mark Dever

E-book: $10.99 $1.99

Mark Dever, a longtime pastor and leading authority on church health, draws from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians to tackle twelve major challenges facing the church today. As he presents each challenge, Dever provides ways for individuals and churches to respond biblically.

“You will be edified and encouraged by Pastor Dever’s treatment of important issues that confront the church on a daily basis.”
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Buy: E-book

 

Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault

By Justin S. Holcomb, Lindsey A. Holcomb

E-book: $12.99 $1.99

A compassionate and hopeful resource to help adult victims of sexual assault move from brokenness to healing. This book outlines a theology or redemption and includes an application of how the disgrace of the cross can lead victims toward grace.

“Careful research, lots of Scripture, and a demonstration that the work of Christ says ‘you are washed clean’ to those who feel like outcasts, which will speak to victims of sexual abuse.”
Ed Welch, Counselor and Faculty, The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation

Buy: E-book

 

| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Impact Specials,Weekly Ebook Specials,Weekly Specials | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:45 am | 1 Comment »

Christ in All of Scripture – 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

 

 

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”


Unlike the ministry of Moses, which was limited, impermanent, veiled, and lacking transformative power, Paul’s new covenant ministry is characterized by an all-surpassing, permanent, unveiled, transformative glory that is mediated by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:10–11, 16–18). Moses had a remarkable encounter with the presence of God (Ex. 34:29–35), but the new covenant believer’s access is even more astoundingly complete. While Israel could not even look at Moses’ face without the aid of a veil (Ex. 34:33), Christians can now behold the glory of the Lord with an unveiled face. This experience is ours “through Christ” (2 Cor. 3:14). He himself is the answer to the question, how can we behold the glory of God? Jesus, the new temple, has given us full access to the presence of God “through his flesh” (Heb. 10:20), literally tearing the temple curtain that formerly acted as a barrier between a holy God and a sinful people (Matt. 27:51; Ex. 26:31–33).

The implications of this are profound. First, we have unlimited access to the very presence of God (2 Cor. 3:18). Second, in Christ we are given an unashamed boldness to enjoy our free and limitless access to God (2 Cor. 3:12). Third, this bold beholding of God’s glory is the very means that the Spirit uses to bring about our utter transformation into the image of God’s glory (2 Cor. 3:18). From start to finish, the believer is being transformed by God’s glory, for God’s glory, and into the image of God’s glory.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.