Glimpses of Grace – Gloria Furman (Book Review)

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It’s 3am and the baby is crying. You groan, roll over and wriggle yourself out of the sheets. While the baby eats, you’re squinting at your iPhone and looking through Pinterest in an attempt to keep yourself awake. When suddenly, the potty-training toddler starts yelling, “mommy? … MOMMY!??”… you rush in to find her pajamas soiled. While attempting to burp the baby, you strip your toddler’s jammies with your free hand, clean her up, put her in fresh jammies and put her back to bed. You feel a warm sensation down your back… spit up. You want to be mad and maybe even cry out of frustration, but you leave it there until the baby is back down. You change your top in the dark then snuggle back into bed as quickly as possible. After it feels like you’ve slept for 10 minutes, it’s already 6:30am and it’s time for the baby to eat again… you’re exhausted and the day has only begun.

Many women struggle with the feeling that their lives are boring or purposeless. They know in their heart that it does have purpose, but it’s so hard to see it in the mundane tasks of every day. Maybe they had a successful career in the past that made them feel productive and important, when now, their human interaction is mostly with little people who can’t talk and don’t always appreciate what you’re doing for them. You love your children, you feel guilty for feeling this way, but you are struggling to cherish the life you are living. Gloria Furman’s Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home is a priceless resource to any woman who desires to see the gospel in the mundane tasks of life.  It’s not only an encouraging book, but it will transform the way you view your life by teaching you how to identify the rich truths of the gospel in every aspect of your life. A few years ago, Furman moved to Dubai with her husband to plant a chuch. As a pastor’s wife, a busy mother of three children, a doula, and a blogger/author, it’s easy to see that her writing comes straight from her own experiences of choosing to see the gospel in the mundane of her own life.  Her style of writing is refreshing, funny, and entertaining. She spares us no difficult story, example, or anecdote in order to show us how to see the gospel in every thread of our lives.

“God can use the ordinary moments in your life to glorify Himself by conforming you into the image of his Son.” (chapter 1)

Glimpses of Grace has two major parts. The first part (chapters 1-4) is called “Your Foundation in the Mundane”. In this section, Furman spends a significant amount of time setting the stage by defining the word gospel, and by expressing the difficulty but importance of hearing the gospel over and over. Chapter two was so foundational to the point that any Christian could read it in any context and gather such rich truths. She talks about our tendency to believe counterfeit gospels, such as: Self-Justification (“we work hard enough and do good enough to outweigh the bad”), The Good-Life Formula (we treat the gospel like a “how-to” manual for a nice life), and Making Your Own Rules (we create our own standard of right living, ignoring the holiness of God).  While it’s good to be aware of these counterfeit gospels, we will identify these false Gospels by really studying the true gospel. She uses the example that people who are employed to identify counterfeit money are good at what they do because they really know the real thing. Not because they have studied all of the counterfeit possibilities (there would be too many varieties of counterfeit money to study!).

“Spiritual Disciplines serve as gateways to cherishing the gospel, not as substitues to the Gospel.”

The second part of the book (chapters 5-13) called “The Miraculous in the Mundane” focuses on the process of seeing the gospel in the every day life. Just like a good gospel-centered sermon includes practical application, the second part of the book provides us with the ground-level implications. Furman walks through many, many different areas of life (marriage, raising children, friendships, hosting, perfectionism, comparison, cleaning, rest), and applies her method of seeing “The Miraculous in the Mundane.” By the time you get to the end of the book, you will have related to her life stories and examples in so many ways, you will feel empowered to look for those gospel truths in your own life.

I highly recommend this book for all women (even if not married or a mother) seeking a deeper understanding and experience of grace in the gospel. Glimpses of Grace helps us to see that the things which once seemed so mundane are actually opportunities for the gospel to be illuminated in ways that it has never been before.