Review: Gloria Furman’s Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full

I am a busy mama. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve the three kiddos whom I adore, the husband I love and care for, dedication to serving my church and up until recently full time work outside of my home as a university accountant. I’m a busy mama. Try as I might, reading the many books I purchase just doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Most nights I collapse in bed exhausted with “just one more hug and kiss!” still ringing in my ears. So when Mathew asked if I would be interested in reviewing a book for him I jumped at the chance because I knew the only way I would finish a book is if someone else was depending on me to do it. What grace to me that the book was Gloria Furman’s Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Mamas. I just have to laugh at how applicable that title is to my own life.

I had read Furman’s previous book—Glimpses of Grace—so I was familiar with her writing style and to a degree her life. I anticipated liking the book, which may make me un-objective, but there you have it; I was not disappointed. Treasuring Christ has been to me these last weeks, grace in itself.

Furman begins the book by letting her readers into the life that she as a wife and mother lives daily. Her husband, Dave, suffers from a nerve disease that afflicts both of his arms and renders him helpless and requiring her help much of the time. On top of that she is a mother of three (spoiler: four by the end!) small children. Her life is one of struggles and chaos mixed with joy and routine. It is in this milieu that she desires to write to help other mamas—“Even against the backdrop of pain, I see abundant evidence of the grace of God at work in our lives” (14).

In Treasuring Christ, Furman walks her readers through some important facets of motherhood. She implores us to remember the importance of not finding our identity in our parenting style and the necessity of gathering with our sisters in Christ in spite of those differences (40-41). She reminds us, as I am liable to forget, that our children are eternal creatures (chapter 3).

While the whole book is fantastic, I personally found chapters six and seven to be poignant in their pointing me to the grace of Christ. Furman writes these chapters with a tone that reads less as an author to readers and more as a sister quietly and gently confessing her successes and shortcomings. Through these chapters—now so fully marked up and underlined in my own copy—she prompts us to recall that “No mother’s nightmarish valley is so dark that Jesus cannot bear her burdens the whole way through” (85). She implores us to go low in service to our families from a Christ-like humility (86), and emphatically recalls the sovereign grace of God and how it releases us from believing that we are making hash of our children’s lives (93). Throughout the whole book I was greatly encouraged, but these chapters in particular brought me to tears in the way that Furman time and time again pointed me to the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Treasuring Christ is grace and Gospel saturated. Furman understands that as mamas managing mundane chaos we are inclined to forget our position in Christ and to fail to see His glory in our daily lives. Her solution to that is to graciously lay out examples of her own life—both triumphs and failures—and to point out the ways that the Lord has reminded her of His unceasing mercy. She has done a marvelous job of writing in such a way that busy mamas like me can read and glory in who we are in Jesus Christ.

Not only do I recommend buying and reading this book. I whole-heartedly suggest keeping it as a sort of “devotional.” I’m not given to reading devotionals, but Treasuring Christ was written in such a way—with chapters divided in to bite-sized bits—that a busy mama with only five minutes can pick it up and be reminded of the unending mercy of our gracious Father. If you are a busy mama or if you know one I cannot urge you strongly enough to go purchase this book for her good and God’s glory.

Renée is a Texan married for a decade to her best friend Cory, the mom of three rambunctious children, Eli the Scientist, Joss the Contemplative, and Jenny the glitter-sprinkled Princess. She’s a graduate of Midwestern State University, and serves at Pantego Bible Church in the high school ministry to the Glory of Christ. You can check out more writing from her here and at The 5 AM Fight.