Glimpses of Grace
Tim ChalliesTim Challies, a self-employed web designer, is a pioneer in the Christian blogosphere, having one of the most widely read and recognized Christian blogs anywhere (www.challies.com). He is also editor of Discerning Reader (www.discerningreader.com), a site dedicated to offering thoughtful reviews of books that are of interest to Christians. He is author of The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, published by Crossway.
- 2013 Jun 11
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.