Monday, June 03, 2013

Review: Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman (Reviewed by Renée Bates)

5 out of 5 Stars
Author: Gloria Furman
Publisher: Crossway
Buy Glimpses of Grace
Reading Level: Easy

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.

When Mathew asked me if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing Gloria Furman’s book Glimpses of Grace I was thrilled. Not only was I already expecting my own copy in the mail, but also thanks to some Twitter buzz and my appreciation for her blog Domestic Kingdom I anticipated this being a genuinely good read.

The Gospel for the Chaotic and Mundane

Glimpses of Grace is Gospel saturated. Were I to highlight every instance the Gospel was expressed in the book I believe it would have be on at least every other page. I suppose that some could argue this is too much (“Okay, we’ve got it already!”) but I disagree. The book is written with those mothers among us called to manage busy households, full of family. To her credit, she makes no differentiation between mothers who are primarily stay-at-home and those of us called to also work outside of our homes. In either circumstance, the management of household is, well, simultaneously chaotic (“Get the hammer away from the window! Why do you even have a hammer?!”) and mundane (“Another load of laundry? Didn’t I just wash this one?”). It is ripe with opportunities for self-pity, frustration, anger, loneliness and discontentment. I imagine there is not one among us who has not dealt with these emotions in any given day. Every day can be a battle wrought with discouragement; thus, reinforcing how desperately we need the Gospel and the grace therein.

I say these things from experience. I am a wife, mother of three children; I also work full-time as an accountant at a local university. My days begin at five in the morning and typically end at eleven at night. There are few times throughout my day when I’m not hearing, “Renée!” “Mommy?” “Renée...” “Mom.” “Ma!” “Mama.” “Renée?” “Hey, Renée.” “Mommy.” Or “Moooo-oooom!” This is my life and I love it. I don’t always have loving feelings towards it, but I love it nonetheless. That’s why I think the strong emphasis of the Gospel was so appreciated and necessary by Furman. The minute-by-minute nature of this role requires Gospel saturation!


Furman breaks Glimpses of Grace up into two parts. The “Why” (Part I) lays the foundation of why we believe what we believe including a sound explanation of the Gospel. She also examines how the Gospel transforms our “mundane.” In light of Christ, she says, we view our lives and roles not as ordinary, but as having been changed by God so that we may glorify Him in our day-to-day. Furman also serves her audience kindly by providing a breakdown of false gospels in “Don’t Smurf the Gospel” (Chapter 2). Personally, when I began it I thought “Well I certainly don’t adhere to any false gospel,” but through her careful explanation I found myself able to identify areas of my life where I fall in to the traps of the Good-Life Formula.

I’ll be quite honest, by the time I finished Part I, I lost it. As I sat on my son’s bed contemplating what I’d just read - the beauty of the Gospel, the grace that Christ has shown us, and our tendency to treat it as something so blasé in our day-to-day dealings - I felt simultaneously convicted and so thankful for a sister willing to take the time to point these things out to me. What a blessing!

While Part I was exceedingly beautiful and important it left me asking, “How do I make this work in my life?” Enter Part II, the “How.” Furman through her refreshing honesty and willingness to use her fighting kids, personal pain, and stinky floor as examples, unpacks how the Gospel has the power to transform our everyday lives. She broaches topics like food, friendship, and loneliness in explaining how the presence of these everyday things have both the power to draw us in to self-worship or Christ exultation. She addresses not only the symptoms of sin, but also the heart issue of each topic. And rather than having a “you should just” kind of solution she reaches out to her audience and implores us to walk with her through finding the joy in our chaotic mundane. When I finally finished Glimpses of Grace I felt as though I’d had a series of good talks with a kind and honest sister.

Timely Words

I strongly recommend Glimpses of Grace to all of my sisters in Christ, regardless of whether they’re wives and mothers or not. Throughout Furman demonstrates an ability to rightly handle the Word of God and spurs her sisters on to love and good deeds. Rather than spending these 180 pages to create a How-To list of practical steps to managing a Christian household, she encourages her sisters to view all of our hectic lives in light of the finished work of “It is finished.” For me her words were timely and greatly appreciated. I think you’ll finish Glimpses of Grace agreeing with me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Glimpses of Grace free from Crossway. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

If you plan on purchasing Glimpses of Grace, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

No comments: