12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I am sure that almost every homemaker, every mother, every woman, has experienced the disconnect between what she knows and what she feels, between knowing that her calling is good and the reality that it can be exasperating and so often feels unfulfilling. In Glimpses of Grace Gloria Furman brings the gospel to bear on a woman's distinct calling and calls her to treasure the gospel in her home. Speaking on behalf of Christian women she says,
"We need to know: What does the gospel have to do with our everyday lives in the home? How does the gospel impact our dish washing, floor mopping, bill paying, friend making, guest hosting, and dinner cooking? How does the fact that Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness make a difference in my mundane life today?"
The big question she explores is simply this: How does the gospel change the way a woman lives out her calling as a homemaker?
In the first section of the book she looks at the gospel, saying "Theology is for homemakers who need to know who God is, who they are, and what this mundane life is all about." My favorite chapter here is "Don't Smurf the Gospel." Furman is both amusing and convicting as she writes about the importance of properly defining the gospel and properly distinguishing between the gospel itself and its many implications and applications. If "smurf" is a word the Smurfs used when they didn't know what else to say, "gospel" is a word many Christians use whether they really meant it or not. It's a word that may mean very different things to different people, so Furman calls for clarity and precision in its use.
The second section, the bulk of the book, looks at a homemaker's many callings and shows how the gospel speaks to each of them. The chapter titles give a sense of the subjects and the tone: "Divine Power and Precious Promises for the 2 a.m. Feeding," "All Grace and All Sufficiency for Every Dinner Guest," "Treasures In Jars of Clay, Not in Fine Bone China." One of the stronger chapters in this section is "The Idol of a Picture-Perfect Home." I appreciated this chapter because there is such a clear gospel remedy and gospel application to the kind of heart idolatry that desires and demands the illusion of a picture-perfect home.
I will turn it over to Kristie Anyabwile to provide her perspective on the book since she writes as a member of the core audience:
"We need gospel fuel to joyfully serve our families, and that's what Glimpses of Grace provides. Many days I unload a barrage of law upon my family, when what they need from me is grace, encouragement, and reminders of God's faithfulness. I thank the Lord for using Gloria to point me to the glorious gospel of his grace so that I might extend the same grace to my husband and children. As homemakers we can be smothered by the ordinary, blinded by the mundane, living in a fog of routine and fatigue, unable to see how to clean messy noses or break up sibling squabbles for the glory of God. In Glimpses of Grace Gloria helps to lift the fog by showing us how the gospel can change our perspective as we serve and love our families."
Aileen and I both read this book and both enjoyed it a lot. We saw that Gloria uses both precision and grace as she shows that the good news, when properly understood and carefully applied, must transform the way a woman carries out the task the Lord has given her.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2013
This book was a fantastic and easy read! Gloria Furman's writing is witty and conversational but by no means "fluffy." Through much of the read I felt like I was sitting opposite Gloria at a café table enjoying fun and edifying conversation over pumpkin spice lattes. There is a good balance of personal stories and life lessons mixed with sound theology. But the best and most encouraging thing about Glimpses of Grace is its center on the Gospel. Every page points to our great Redeemer and how the finished work of Christ transforms our lives.
While this book is written from the perspective of motherhood and homemaking, the premise is highly applicable for anyone in all walks of life. Furman fleshes out how the Gospel impacts every mundane part of our lives. And you don't have to be in the thick of motherhood to know what mundane looks and feels like--we all live there don't we? As a single adult with no kiddos, I feel like I've gleaned much from this quick read both in my spiritual walk and my ability to understand and encourage the mothers in my circle of friends. Most importantly however, this book has helped me grow closer to my Savior and deepen my understanding of the Gospel.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2013
I received a copy of this book at no charge for the purpose a an honest review.
This book is an incredible read, in fact I would go as far to say it is the best book of encouragement I have ever read for moms. However, I do not believe it is only for moms. I think any woman (or honestly any reader) would benefit from this book. It encourages and points you continually to Christ which is the only thing that can help you when it boils down to it. Many want to give you lists of rules or instructions but this book points you to Christ for answers, because of what He has already done and will do for us. It is encouraging to your faith so you hold your gaze on Him as you faithfully work in the mundane.
The author has an unique way to hold the reader's attention. She opens herself up in a way that is completely beautiful with all honesty and makes you wish you were her friend. In fact you don't even have to wish for she welcomes you in such a way you feel as if you are listening to a good friend. It feels like she understands your very own struggles in the mundane of life then she cheers you on to remember what Christ did and the promises that are true. This is an unusual gift for writers and she has it. I hope to see many more titles come from her.
Logistically the book takes you through many passages of Scripture and helps you see how your calling as a worker among the mundane is indeed miraculous. It is a place that God uses you in huge ways. We must remember who we belong to and what we have in Him regardless of where we are placed. The author states the reason for this book is so we can know, "Theology is for homemakers who need to know who God is, who they are, and what this mundane life is all about." The rest of the book unpacks this for the reader. In fact the "biggest questions explored in this book are: What does the gospel have to do with our lives in the home? and How does this grace change the way we live?"
You see the gospel is not a one time event but it is an everyday grace we need to remember as we live in it day by day or even moment by moment. Furman takes you through how to do this as a homemaker. She addresses how the gospel applies in mothering, marriage, keeping the home, friendships, pain and more. Pick it up and read it. You will not be sorry!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2013
Again and again, God used Glimpses of Grace to remind me that my experience is simply ordinary; and that's a good thing! My struggles, trials, and challenges aren't all that unique; they are, in fact, common to human existence. Some days ARE hard. Some seasons ARE lonely. Sometimes, we hide in the closet and let the tears flow freely. It's all normal in a broken world. It's okay. God has given us grace in Christ and continues to supply all that we need.
Gloria Furman and I have been reading a lot of the same authors. The influence of John Piper, Milton Vincent, Wendy Alsup, D.A. Carson, John Calvin, Jeremiah Burroughs and many others was evident throughout Glimpses of Grace. Gloria isn't uncovering new truths in her book but simply restating the one, essential truth about what God has done for us in Christ again and again and again. She faithfully applies this Biblical truth to home life with a conversational tone and sense of humor that helps her reader treasure God, savor the beauty of Jesus, and keep her eyes on the Gospel by which we can behold the glory of God (pg. 67). She reminds her reader of the importance of taking "...pains 'to study Christ.'" She writes: "We study Christ because we've been saved for the purpose of being transformed into his image, and in our beholding, the work of transformation occurs" (pg. 68).
Reminiscent of John Piper's book, Future Grace, Gloria Furman reminds us to look back and to look forward (pg. 85) and persevere:
"Faith looks backward to the cross and believes that Jesus has purchased every spiritual blessing for us with his blood (Eph. 1:3). Faith also looks forward to the reward of all that God has for us in Christ. This is the kind of faith that changes the way you live today and makes you into a homemaker whose goal and delight is in God and in being conformed to his image" (pg. 165).
I'm not sure if it was my "mommy brain" reading the book, Gloria's "mommy brain" writing the book, or some combination of the two, but there were several times throughout Glimpses of Grace that I had difficulty following Gloria's train of thought. This doesn't necessarily diminish the content of the material; it just made me feel a little scatterbrained at times as I tried to wrap my mind around what the author was trying to communicate. It sort of reminded me of walking in on the middle of something; I wasn't always sure where it started or how I got quite where I was, but it was beautiful nonetheless.
Gloria sees and communicates the Gospel clearly in many little life moments and shares these anecdotes with her readers. These chapters are encouraging to those who are seeking to "preach" the Gospel truth to themselves again. This is not a practical "how to" book, but an example of how one mom seeks to apply Gospel truth on a daily basis in her home. I think Glimpses of Grace will be an edifying read to all who desire to savor the beauty of Christ afresh (pg. 58).
*Many thanks to Crossway for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2013
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home is a book I am glad I have read. Gloria Furman and her husband are missionaries in the Middle East, but that is not this book's focus.
Instead, Furman shares how the simple and mundane things of life...really just life...can be used to and should be used to reflect upon our saving grace through Jesus Christ. I really appreciated her writing style. She is easy to read and practical.
She talks about life, laundry, hospitality and serving. She discusses friendship, motherhood, and me-time. Most of all, she keeps the focus on Jesus. Furman writes...
"You muscle through the days and pray the nights pass quickly. You lack thankfulness to God for the gifts he's given you; you avoid reflecting on the day out of guilt over your failures. You fantasize about how other women live, your prayers lack emotional attachment to your heavenly Father, and you feel lost. You're right. You can't do this anymore, and neither can I."
Then she later says,
"Whatever the 'this' that you desperately feel you can't do anymore, it's ultimately not about your circumstances. It's about peace with God. And God has provided a way for you to have that peace that dominates any and all circumstances, regardless of how difficult they are."
Glimpses of Grace is a book full of value. Thoughtful and practical, while focused on Jesus it is a book I can recommend. As I was reading I started off strong...I was riveted! Then I think I allowed myself to be distracted (probably by another book), and I didn't finish as strong. (I honestly don't know how much of it was me and how much was the book.) Regardless, this is a book that is encouraging for a woman, especially a homemaker, and especially if she has young children, though practical for all women.
Thank you, Crossway, for providing Glimpses of Grace for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2013
I've been looking forward to reading and reviewing a new book by Gloria Furman titled Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home for a while now. Gloria has been one of my favorite female writers on the blogosphere to follow over the past year or so. Her posts at Desiring God blog and Domestic Kingdom are always packed full of grace and biblical insight into the ordinary challenges kingdom women who are seeking to prize the gospel above all else face on a daily basis. Today, as her book officially launches, I have the privilege of heartily recommending it to you.
In Glimpses of Grace, Gloria writes candidly and often humorously on a very serious topic: how the gospel affects our lives as homemakers. Sure we all know that the gospel makes a difference in how we serve our families and that it is the reason why we serve our families, but oftentimes I think it can be easy to get caught up in generalities and popular Christian slogans. It certainly is popular these days to speak of grace empowering everything we do and the gospel driving everything we do, but when you get right down to it and find yourself in the middle of a toddler's meltdown seconds before your guests ring the door bell while the chicken that just doesn't seem to want to have clear juices flowing out of it continues to bake in the oven, you may find yourself wondering just how the gospel empowers and drives you. What gospel truths are meant to give your nerves peace and give your will the desire to serve and give your heart the ability to love in a moment like that? This is exactly the kind of practical and incredibly helpful information you will find in Glimpses of Grace, and it truly will give you a vision for treasuring the gospel in your home.
Gloria has divided her book into two sections: Your Foundations in the Mundane and The Miraculous in the Mundane. The first section is aptly named as it lays out a foundation for the more specific and practical implications of the gospel shared later on. In it, Gloria shares our need for the gospel to pervade even the most (seemingly) trivial of circumstances. She puts forth the notion that there is indeed a distinctly Christian way to go about our work and responsibilities as managers of our homes--a way that treasures and trusts the gospel message. I could easily relate to her admission of feeling as though gospel meditation and spiritual wakefulness necessitates peace, quiet and orderliness. I immediately thought of a conversation I had a couple nights ago with a dear friend (another young mom) in which we lamented our false rationale that says "if only we could get away and think, if only we could have some moments of solitude to commune with the Lord, if only we could rejuvenate our spiritual lives with some ALONE TIME, then we could get our spiritual acts together." Gloria encourages us to find freedom in God's ability to transform our most chaotic moments into worshipful and transforming ones:
"Your spiritual life is not restricted to early mornings before the noise makers in your life wake up. If you feel that God meets with you only when the house is empty or quiet, you'll view every noise and every noise-maker as an annoying distraction to your communion with God. Or worse--there are times when I'm tempted to think of my whining toddler or ringing doorbell as obstacles that Satan has put in my way to take my eyes off of Jesus. The temptation is to believe that if you could only transcend this spiritually devoid existence, then you could meet with God on a higher level. This idea is not only practically impossible and pastorally unhelpful, but it is unbiblical as well.
Even so, we must be careful not to swing too far the other way. When we immortalize the material and elevate it to the highest good, we set up idols to worship and pay homage to. This can happen when we attach our reason for being to our current role in life--even roles like being a mother or housewife." (pg. 33)
This is the purpose of Glimpses of Grace: to explore the ways the glorious truths if the gospel work themselves out in the whirlwind normalcy of life that most homemakers find themselves in.
Gloria is careful in this first section to explicitly explain the gospel message so as to provide a firm foundation for her readers. She boldly and beautifully proclaims the good news and encourages us to claim its wonder and power for our own normal, everyday, mundane lives as homemakers:
"God's triumphant grace in the work of Christ on the cross assures us of this: when our hope is in God's glory, for ourselves and others, then our life in the home is anything but dull, diminutive, and disappointing." (pg. 72)
After sharing her heart and passion for the gospel's practical implications, Gloria takes the remainder of the book to navigate through various struggles and circumstances homemakers find themselves in. Though most of the personal anecdotes and confessions shared by Gloria come from the perspective of a mother of young children, the gospel truth shared in each chapter can easily be applied to homemakers in any stage of life--even single women. Her book isn't written for mothers per say--the principles and biblical council she shares can be applied to any woman--but mothers who have young children will find her personal testimonies to be particularly encouraging and those whose children are grown will be able to knowingly relate and chuckle at the humorous stories shared. Most of her personal examples are shared for the purpose of illustration rather than specific instructions for specific circumstances. The majority of each chapter is filled with pure, exhilarating, and insightful applications of the Word of God to everyday life.
So what aspects of everyday life does Gloria cover? In the second section of Glimpses of Grace, she explores the implications of the gospel for our weaknesses, our anxieties, showing hospitality, enduring suffering, fighting perfectionism, seeking contentment, developing friendships and more.
I found her chapters on hospitality and suffering to be two of my favorites--particularly the chapter on suffering. In it, Gloria openly shares some intimate details of the difficult trials she and her husband have faced due to a genetic nerve disease which often leaves her husband unable to physically help with any task that requires the use of his arms. Being in a similar stage of life as Gloria (with several young children underfoot) I could instantly understand how trying this circumstance would be. I can't help but sense that this ongoing trial has greatly impacted and undoubtedly shaped her dependency and passion for the empowering grace of God. As is often the case in the Christian life, trials seem to breed a reliance on and appetite for the sustaining grace of our Savior.
Glimpses of Grace is unique in two ways: 1.) It is specifically written to the busy homemaker who lives in the seemingly mundane (though I believe anyone can glean important gospel encouragement from its pages) and 2.) It isn't a "how-to" book on homemaking. This is a book about the gospel, it just happens to be written to the homemaker who desperately needs to know that she too can apply these miraculous truths to her everyday tasks of ironing, sweeping, changing diapers and paying bills.
I was greatly encouraged by this book and will be telling all my friends to get a copy as soon as they can. It is biblically accurate, incredibly accessible, and saturated with the liberating, empowering, and joyful news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2013
What does a busy wife and mother need more than anything else in her home for her family? Super-human strength? Four arms? Eyes in the back of her head? Thirty hours in a day? According to author Gloria Furman, mother of four young children and wife of a minister who moved the family to the Middle East to plant the Redeemer Church of Dubai, what she needs most is the grace of God. In the introduction, Gloria writes, "As homemakers who are made in God's image and desire to live for God, we need to know what God's intentions are for us and for the work we do in the home. More specifically, we need to know: What does the gospel have to do with our everyday lives in the home? How does the gospel impact our dish washing, floor mopping, bill paying, friend making, guest hosting, and dinner cooking?" (p. 16).
After the four chapters of Part 1 in which Furman seeks to lay "Your Foundation in the Mundane," she goes on in the next nine chapters of Part 2 to apply the gospel principles of God's grace to such everyday situations as raising children, preparing food, showing hospitality, relating to friends, suffering burdens, dealing with loneliness, being real as earthen vessels, working at homemaking, and learning contentment. In the process, she mentions how God provided grace by sending someone to help in homeschooling her children. Especially noteworthy is her explanation of the problems related to her husband's genetic nerve disorder and the application of what she has learned from the struggles resulting from them. She writes, "This book is about how we experience the grace of the gospel as we go about our daily lives in the home" (p. 20).
Bible believers from different backgrounds may not necessarily agree with all the theological implications presented, such as inherited sin, the imputation of Christ's righteousness, and celebrating Easter as a religious holiday. There is also a reference to dancing. And to be honest, I personally didn't get much out of reading the book, most likely because it was designed to appeal to women regarding their specific needs and thus written according to how women think. I'm a guy. We guys have different needs and just approach things differently from women. However, women who want to please God in their home lives will undoubtedly find a lot of helpful encouragement in this book. Furman concludes, "We see glimpses of God's grace in our homes when we cherish God through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The solution to our problems in the home and the impetus for our enjoyment of life in the home is fellowship with God through Christ Jesus's atoning sacrifice on the cross" (p. 180).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2013
*Glimpses of Grace* is a convicting, uplifting look at the way the Gospel saturates every nook and cranny, every moment of our lives. Whether we are single or married, whether we have children or not, no matter what out station in life is, one thing is certain: we Live and Move and Have our Being within His Redemptive Story, the Gospel.
Glimpses of Grace surrounds us with that truth as we read,
and reading this book is a special blessing to the homemaker.
It is easy to forget the Gospel in our daily lives...very easy.
Gloria Furman shows us how the Gospel is fully relevant to every daily test and every severe trail that we experience. She uses parabel style stories of homemaking to point us to the
Gospel jewels that have grown dusty in our minds.
A crystal cake-stand that I would hesitate to use for holding peanut butter sandwiches to serve to small girls reminds me that God trusts my frail and faltering fingers with His Gospel.
The tale of a childish fight that begins with "She hit me first!" strikes too close to my own finger-pointing heart for comfort. How often is that my defensive posture in relationships?
And don't let those two examples fool you: they are by no means just cute little stories... they are real-life happenings we relate to, and they are used to point us to the grand and glorious Gospel itself.
Every page in this book is focused on the Gospel, every chapter is Christ exalting.
This book is unlike many other books, in that it does not contain a check-list, and isn't about self-betterment. Glimpses of Grace is not about being a better Christian homemaker, it is truly about Treasuring the Gospel in our Homes.
Thank you to Crossway for my review copy... I gave it to my mother to read, and she was blessed by this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2013
I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of this work. It is an excellent and encouraging read, full of Gospel truth and practical application. This resource is not just for stay-at-home moms, but it speaks to everyone who lives most of their lives in the mundane. For those who try to maintain a front of perfection, or those who despair of ever "getting it together," this book shows over and over how the Gospel frees us from the slavery of our own efforts.
The author offers examples from her own life with honesty and humility to connect with the reader. These stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic, remind us that our lives here on earth will be filled with everyday moments. The hope that the author provides is not a perfect life, where everyone is healthy, kind, and prosperous, but that of a good God who loves us and cares for us in our laughter and tears.
The most real and heart-rending chapter is God's Abiding Presence in Our Pain. In it, the author describes their life and difficulties caused by her husband's chronic nerve pain. There are no boasts of how super-spiritual they must be to endure it, or proclamations of magical healing, but rather an account of God's grace in the midst of pain. The chapter ends with John 6:29 and Romans 11:36, verses that call us to believe, trust, and glorify God.
The conclusion is an apt summary of the entire book. The author masterfully relates her infant son's desire to swirl his arm in the toilet, to our own desires for things not from God. Like children, we complain that we do not get our way, when really we have a loving heavenly Father that protects us from all of our hurtful and petty demands, and instead gives us the good gift of Himself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2013
I sometimes go for hours not thinking about God. Isn't that odd? He's here with me, but I don't think about him. When I'm in my wife's company, I don't go a minute unmindful of her existence. But with God I can stop thinking about him, even though I'm positive he never forgets that I'm around.
Glimpses of Grace - Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home, Gloria Furman's new book, helps draw our attention back to the One who is constantly mindful of us.
If you go by stereotypes, you'd think it would be easy for her. After all, she's a cross-cultural church planter and a real minister, right? Take a look at the title of this post, though. That's taken from a section of the book where Gloria describes a rare and wonderfully serene moment that she decides is perfect for some quiet prayer. And as she sits on her couch to speak her heart to God she ... thinks about throw pillows. And a blanket. The couch needs another throw pillow and a blanket. It's all she can think about. Add a throw pillow! Find a blanket! Get this couch what it needs!
It turns out that what happens to people in the ministry is the same as what happens to the rest of us. They organize their time in order to focus on God, and then they don't focus on God. As Gloria writes: "You can't organize your way into communion with God."
What can you do, then, to be mindful of God, to know you are always in his holy presence? That's what this book is about, catching glimpses of God's grace in life's orderly moments and in life's chaos.
"Peace and quiet are not ultimate. Activity and responsibility are not ultimate. Because Christ is ultimate, the loss of any of these things - solitude or circus - makes no difference in the sufficiency of Christ of in his ability to give you everything you need for life and godliness.
"Living your everyday life for God's sake is spiritual worship."
The first part of the book lays the groundwork for how to catch those glimpses of God's grace and worship him throughout. Gloria acknowledges that people feel happy and hopeful when everything is going smoothly. In fact, as she notes, some people think this is the goal of our walk with God, to enjoy life when it's easy, a state Gloria calls "circumstantial optimism". She sets the record straight:
"By the way some people write and speak, you could easily think that circumstantial optimism is the very essence of the Christian faith.
"Surely those things - a cheerful attitude and sense of hopefulness - are wonderful by-products of rejoicing in God while in the midst of our homes. But that's just what they are - by-products.
"The source of our faith, hope, love, joy, and gospel-grounded optimism is God himself and not our stuff or our circumstances. Isaiah 61:10 says, 'I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.'"
That quote from Isaiah points out that these issues aren't women's concerns, but things that women and men both need to recognize and engage. Exulting in God himself every day - because of what he has done, so that we can enjoy him, not "our stuff or our circumstances" - that is the point of this book.
It's a point worth considering because, "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." (Psalm 145:8-9.)
God's graces are there for all to see. Catch a glimpse.