Let’s face it; whether you have one child or four, parenthood is hard. Sleepless nights, runny noses, a moody or unruly child, challenges beyond our control (did I mention sleepless nights) make it difficult. We know Scripture says that children are blessing from the Lord, but in the reality of our flesh, in our tired weary states of parenting, “blessed” is not always how we feel or think about our children.
Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman is a refreshing take on the challenges, humor and sanctifying moments of motherhood. Composed with wonderful brevity in length, it is a small book full of powerful reminders of grace that point the reader back to Christ and all that we have in Him. As you read her book, you feel like you are an invited guest sitting across from the author in her living room and she shares the wisdom she has gained from her own journey and adventures in motherhood.
With What Are Your Hands Full?
As parents we have good days and bad days. Our children have good days and bad days and as families we collectively have good days and bad days. Oftentimes what the criteria we use to determine whether it’s a good or bad day is based on our perspective of what are hands are filled with. Are our hands filled with problematic children, who if they only would listen, would make life far easier? Or maybe we think, if only I didn’t yell at my kids, I would be a good mommy. Maybe we tend to emphasize problems over blessing, maybe we feel our life contains both. Either way, Furman reminds us that the greatest reality for a mother is to rest in the work that Jesus has done on the cross on her behalf (16).
So for the believer, with what are our hands truly full? Ones hands may truly be filled with hardship on a day-to-day basis but there is so much more. Gloria reminds us that for the Christian mother, her hands are full with every spiritual blessing in Christ by which we lack nothing good resulting in hope and rest for mothers who seek to persevere for the glory of God and the good of their families (Eph. 1:3; 10) (17). Further still we are reminded that as a born again mother, she is born into a living hope through the resurrection of Christ and has an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for her (1 Pet. 1:3-4). Thus, we have reason to rejoice even in the midst of changing smelly poopy diapers, reason to hope when we feel we have failed as parents, reason to see and remember the big eternal picture of what God is doing through our parenting via the power of God’s Holy Spirit and grace (17). The process and outcome are not on us! God knows the end of the story and He instructs and invites us to trust, believe and obey Him along the way.
Fix Your Eyes on Heaven
As a Christian mother, one’s eternal perspective impacts one’s view of the day to day. Our daily acts of service and care, no matter how seemingly mundane, must be seen as what God intended them to be—worship (18). Gloria continues in saying that “as mothers, we need to train ourselves to focus on the things that are unseen and eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18) (18). That means we must know God’s Word and believe it—“even when we can’t feel it” (18). Mothers must be students of God’s Word with teachable hearts in order that we may walk in His truth.
Furman also emphasizes the importance of growing and doing life in community. What does that mean? It means having healthy spiritual friendships with other godly women who can point one back to Christ and His Word when we have lost our way or the point of parenthood. It means growing in a mentoring relationship with a more experienced and wise godly woman who instructs us in His ways so that we can better live for God as we live out our relationships with our families (Titus 2).
Jesus Has You, Your Family is Covered
Furman reminds the reader that no matter how fearful one may be of “messing up” their kids, God is in control. He is sovereign over a mother’s successes and failures in parenting. He alone is responsible for the children’s salvation. He alone is the Source through which any good is able to come from the day to day attempts to love and care for our children in a way that brings Him glory and results in their good.
Gloria points the Christian mother back to her responsibilities as she leans on Jesus to parent in and by His grace. She is responsible to faithfully teach them and model God’s Word and His glorious gospel of grace. She is also responsible to entrust her precious little ones in His hands by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, what does it mean to treasure Christ when your hands are full?
This Jesus, whom we gladly serve, offers rest to mothers and fills our hands with his blessings. Day and night, moment by moment, we must choose to rest in Jesus (17).
I highly recommend this book for both mothers and fathers alike. This would be a great resource for small groups or for a mentoring relationship. It is conversationally written and funny. The book is Scripture-rich pointing the reader back to Christ and all that we have in Him. It also contains insightful heart examining questions as we seek to better understand the sanctifying work that God is after in our own hearts. Furman does not try to come across as having it all figured out or put together, rather she knows the One who does. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms is a blessing to busy moms who simply don’t have time for a lengthy book but crave honest reminders of the power and grace we have in Jesus to get us through each day!