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Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God (Gospel Coalition) Paperback – April 30, 2017
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“Glory in the Ordinary is a needed reminder of the beauty and blessing of work within the home. Courtney Reissig reveals how serving others in small ways builds a lifetime of glorifying God. The simple tasks of cooking a meal, taking out the trash, fixing a car, or washing laundry might seem mundane, but offered to God, these daily tasks have kingdom significance.”
—Melissa Kruger, Women's Ministry Coordinator; Editor, The Gospel Coalition; author, The Envy of Eve and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood
“Have you ever considered the significance of your work at home? Everyone needs encouragement in his and her work, and in Glory in the Ordinary, Courtney Reissig provides just that. Reissig shares honestly and humbly about the various temptations and struggles of at-home work, reminding us that our work—from cleaning dishes to wiping runny noses—is good and meaningful work, ultimately because it’s meaningful to God.”
—Trillia Newbell, speaker; author, Enjoy; Fear and Faith; and United
“Living in daily life what an author writes in a book is the sure mark of authenticity, and Courtney passes that test well. She invites God into every area of her life, especially her home. I love seeing young women choose the often lonely and thankless road of mommy-land knowing the rewards will come one day, if not from grownup children, from a Father who sees all and is pleased with her sacrifice and service in his name.”
—Barbara Rainey, Cofounder, FamilyLife; author, Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife
“From the invigorating depths of theological reflection as well as personal life experience as a stay-at-home mom, Courtney Reissig opens our minds and captures our hearts to the messy grandeur of noncompensatory work. Glory in the Ordinary adeptly maintains gospel-centricity and cultural relevance while making a persuasive case that neighborly love begins in the place we call home. Whether you are presently a stay-at-home mom or your workplace is outside the home, Glory in the Ordinary will help you better connect Sunday to Monday with a more integral, coherent, and seamless gospel faith. This is a book that needed to be written, one I have been waiting for. I highly recommend it.”
—Tom Nelson, author, Work Matters; Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, Overland Park, Kansas; President, Made to Flourish
“Ordinary is a word that perfectly describes my life and the lives of most women in my church and community. Each day presents a fresh to-do list that looks remarkably like the one from yesterday—and the one from last year: lunches and laundry, dishes and dusting, gardening and grocery shopping. But with warmth and wisdom Courtney Reissig opens our eyes to God’s glory in this ordinary. Exploring questions of identity, community, service, and rest, Reissig sets work in the home in its historic and biblical context and gives meaning to our mundane. Whether your priorities include gleaming windows or PB&J for six, this book will help you to value your work in the home because God himself values it. That dirty floor can wait. Read and be encouraged.”
—Megan Hill, writer; speaker; pastor’s wife; author, Praying Together; contributor, The Gospel Coalition and CT Women; editorial board member, Christianity Today Magazine
“As one who never expected to work in the home, this book is refreshing, gospel-saturated encouragement for all of us who are knee-deep in laundry, childcare, and dishes. Be prepared to see your work in a whole new way: with joy, for the kingdom, and with eternity in view.”
—Christina Fox, writer; speaker; author, A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament
“I'm thankful Courtney has joined the generations of wise women who build their homes (Prov. 14:1). Her book affirms the dignity and worth of homemaking and homekeeping, even as it reminds us that such work is faithfully loving our closest neighbors: the ones who live under our own roofs.”
—Candice Watters, Cofounder, Boundless.org; author, Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen
About the Author
Courtney Reissig is a wife, mother, and writer. She has written for numerous Christian publications including the Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, and the Her.meneutics blog. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with her husband, Daniel, and their three sons.
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Top customer reviews
The author also encouraged me by saying, "we are simply called to run the race God has placed before us with faithfulness and joy."
There were other aspects that I enjoyed in this book too, but I loved how she ended it with "This work, though mundane, is good work."
I can't speak for anyone else except myself, but sometimes I view my identity as a homeschool mom, or a stay at home mom, or a volunteer of ______, and forget who I am in Christ. It's not a competition-I don't feel that way often, but sometimes I do. My self worth doesn't come from what I do. My actions matter and they do affect those around me. I want to be found faithful one day when I stand before the Lord.
I really liked this book. You might too. I think it will have lasting effects in my life.
While I got through the book, I felt the book started strong then quickly slowed to a crawl - the book isn't difficult to read, but not totally engaging. While only 300 pages long, I found it difficult too want to finish. Also, while I am the target audience for this book (moms who are primarily stay at home but still working outside of the home), I didn't find the book entirely encouraging and occasionally too apologetic. It seemed that the book was engaged in it's own "Mommy War" at times. Overall, I felt the main message was good - all work, no matter how seemingly trivial it is - it valuable. While this book wasn't a great encouragement for me, it may be helpful for others.
The author looks at how doing stay-at-home work means something completely different for her than it did for her mother and grandmother. She writes that in many ways that is due to the shift in how we view the nature of at-home work itself. She shows how we have moved from the idea of a housewife to a stay at home mom.
She writes that moms are tired. They are weary of the pressure to live up to expectations and ideals that no human being could ever attain. On one hand, they hear that their work at home is the pinnacle of greatness, and on the other they hear that they are letting down women everywhere by staying home instead of taking advantage of the strides women have made in the workplace. She states that instead of looking at their work as stay at home moms through God’s eyes, many look at it through their own—and wonder if they measure up.
She writes that many wonder about the work of a stay at home mom. Does it matter? Is it simply a way to survive? Is there something more to see in the dirty diapers, temper tantrums, dishwashing, and repetitive nature of housework? Does it have value? Does it serve a greater purpose? Or is it too mundane? Too daily? Too frustrating? Too inefficient? She tells us that the way forward to find meaning in at-home work is by seeing how it fits in the larger scheme of community, culture, and life. She tells us that she has learned that God is glorified in the mundane work as much as he is in the magnificent. In fact, it is the mundane moments, the moments where we live each and every day, where we come to see the true greatness of God and his love for us.
She writes about the curse of work due to the fall, and how that curse impacts work at home. Stay at home moms wonder if there is something else beyond the cycle of mundane tasks that they do every day.
A contributing factor to disillusionment with at-home work is that stay at home moms aren’t paid for it. She writes that it is important for to see work as a contribution, and not always with a dollar sign attached to it. She writes of the fine line between valuing unpaid work and providing people with the compensation they deserve for their work. She writes that work is not simply about closing a business deal, teaching a class full of children, or discovering a new treatment for a disease. It is also about loving and serving our neighbor.
She states that we are living in a time when being ordinary is the worst thing that can happen to a person, and nothing screams ordinary like at-home work. Many feel a strong desire to do something radical with their lives, to not waste it. And at times it may feel wasteful to spend your life on at-home work. But she correctly states that is not the way God views your work. No, He sees the work of a stay at home mom and delights in it.
She tells us that we were created to work because God himself works. It is a function of being image bearers. Everything we do, whether it is work in the home or outside of the home, is imaging the God who made us to work. Because we bear his image, stay at home moms are imaging him with every task they accomplish in their homes on any given day.
She talks about how at home work is a way to love God by loving others. She quotes Martin Luther who said that if our work is not done for the good of our neighbor, then it is of no real value. At home work at home is actually a God-given opportunity to serve your neighbor with your good works. It is an opportunity to love others (including your spouse, children, neighbors, aging parents, etc.), in Jesus’s name.
She writes about collaboration and community, and says it is so important to stay-at-home moms that an entire industry has been built around women writing strictly about the mom life, called “mommy bloggers.”
She writes about the important subject of rest, another way we bear God’s image. After God worked to bring forth creation, he rested. Because of sin, all work exhausts us on some level. Although not a stay at home mom, I appreciated her thought that this side of heaven we will always face the tension of incomplete work in the midst of rest. That is an idea that is good for all of us to embrace.
She states that in our Christian subculture, at-home work is praised as good and faithful work. But she correctly states that if you find your hope and identity in folded laundry, a spotless refrigerator, and children who praise you from the rooftops, you have misplaced affections regarding your work.
She writes of the idea of the “supermom”, the myth of “having it all” and the temptation for stay at home moms to compare themselves to others. The comparison leads to envy, discontentment and guilt.
She writes that as believers, our work is preparing us to rule and reign with Christ in a new earth, where the curse is gone, and we will work for God’s glory, always. She helpfully states that Christians work differently, in every kind of work, because we work for the Lord (not others) and we work hopefully (for the future). It’s good work, meaningful work and work that matters to God.
Each chapter ends with a “Getting Practical” section in which the author drives the point home that the work of a stay at home mom has value by seeing it through the life of another stay at home mom.
Highly recommended, not only for stay at home moms, but for all of us.