Glimpses of Grace

glimpses of graceWhat is your normal? What mundane duties do you wake up to most mornings? Gloria Furman’s involves sweeping desert sand from her floors, cleaning dried, crusty fruit from unrinsed smoothie cups, and clipping four sets of finger nails and toenails (with another set on the way). Although her life might sound more exciting than ours as a church planter’s wife in Dubai, Gloria's days are filled with potty accidents and wiping noses just like any other mom. The question she has is, how can diapers set her heart and mind on things above? Can growth in holiness happen in the same place that fuzzy mold is growing on a stashed granola bar under the car seat (28)? So many of us women grow up dreaming about having a family. We dream of the kind of wonderful wife and mother we are going to be. I know I imagined it just like the Bible verse, “Her children arise and call her blessed.” But that didn’t happen for me. They arose with dirty diapers demanding breakfast. Those beautiful blessings awoke determined to ruin the house, stain their clothes, and challenge my sanity. We dream of a glamorous life as a homemaker, and the reality is exhausting and humbling. This is exactly where Furman shows us the glorious grace of God, in our unsuspected mundane. One thing that I really liked about this book is the intentional thought that must have been put into the lay out. If your mundane involves raising young children, you just don’t have much “quiet time” to read a book. And when you do, you may need some toothpicks to keep your eyelids open. The chapters in this book are both short and comedic as Furman shares glimpses into her own mundane. The more important thing I love about this book is that it is saturated with the gospel. Furman demonstrates how both crusty smoothie cups and red crayons in the electric socket are opportunities to see glimpses of grace (33). The author asks some challenging questions. Does God just want us to be happy about our life’s circumstances? Does God just want us to have good attitudes while we are rinsing soiled bed sheets for the third time in one week? Does God just want us to think of our life as “glass half full”? Is that all God wants? (59). When you read it like that, it sounds a little Stepford-wifish, doesn’t it? But sometimes we trick ourselves into believing that this is the picture of a mature wife and mother. Furman lovingly shows the reader that “God wants to use our lives in the home to glorify himself and lead us to worship him because he is the ultimate treasure who is worthy of all of our affections, attention, preoccupation, and strength” (59, 60). Throughout the book, the author is demonstrating how what we know about God (our theology) shapes how we deal with the good times, the mundane everyday, hospitality to others, the dark times of suffering, and when you just begin to doubt you will ever grow spiritually. “I know, for my own part, my skepticism of my potential for growth or someone else’s is rooted in a faulty view of who God is and the implications of his gospel” (122). She shows us that God is able, God is willing, and it is all for the praise of his glory (123). Like I said, you may think of a church planter/pastor’s wife in Dubai as a pretty exciting role. But Furman is very candid about her own struggles in both the mundane life of homemaking, and the her own challenges in spiritual growth. You will both laugh with her as you identify with the craziness of her everyday, and be convicted with her as you identify with her struggles with pride and insecurity. My favorite line was when her children were acting up in public, and she imagined grabbing a microphone to announce,
“Hi! Welcome to our demonstration of human depravity. What are they fighting about, you ask? Well, let me tell you. The featured argument from 9:00 a.m. to 9:06 a.m. is a petty disagreement over lip balm. Whose lip balm is more sparkly? And whose is pink and whose is purple? Step right up, folks, and witness our family’s validation of the doctrine of original sin” (137).
I know I’ve dreamt of that one before. Thankfully, the reader will not be left in despair, but rather pointed to the One who is willing and competent to save. Indeed, Gloria Furman offers many glimpses of grace.   *Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.