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And just in case you think you are off the hook from reading this book because you don’t have children in your home, THINK AGAIN…
In Gloria Furman’s new book, Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God, readers are called to examine the word “mother” as a verb, as she challenges us to realize “nurturing” involves discipling, serving, caregiving, mothering, teaching, showing hospitality, and more” by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. If you have two X chromosomes, you will see this book takes mothering to another level. A deeper level.
Part One – The Meta-Narrative
This encouraging, Scripture-saturated book is divided in two main sections. The first half of the book consists of a “fly over” of the Old Testament and how God had a redemptive plan from before the foundation of the earth. Gloria articulately unwraps God’s story presenting how God’s redemptive plan plays into our relationships, whether they are within our four walls, within our neighborhood, while discipling girls from a nearby college, over coffee with girlfriends, or bringing a meal to a newly widowed friend. She describes our nurturing opportunities as an intervention just as God intervened with mankind.
Not only is the book saturated with the Word, Gloria calls us to rely on the sufficiency of the Word that was breathed by God into a living and active work. She also calls us as nurturers to be equipped by his Word to do the good work of mothering. She graciously helps us examines our heart as she shows God’s design for us is to be “word consumers” rather than “world consumers.”
Gloria also speaks directly about our homes, encouraging us to see our homes as centers of hospitality to show strangers and neighbors the light of Christ, as well as a “equipping centers” for traveling ambassadors to help them on their way to doing the King’s business. Her description of our dwellings as “fox holes” rather than retreats reminds us God is our only true refuge. Can I just say, this statement strikes a nerve right in the center of our self-absorbed American mindset?
Part Two – Everyday Ministry
The last half of Gloria’s book shows us “Christ in the Everyday Ministry of Motherhood” as she encourages us to “go, therefore, and mother disciples.” It was so refreshing to see an emphasis on the Savior radiate from every page of the last half of the book as she reminds us missional motherhood looks away from our works and “mom-made rules” to the work that Christ has already accomplished for us on the cross.
Living out our lives as image bearers is skillfully woven throughout the book asking us to evaluate if we truly believe “image is everything” and does the way I mother demonstrate the One we are imaged after in everything. Yes, everything. She is not ashamed to call us to whole hearted love and devotion to Christ making sure we are mindful the glory goes to Him and Him alone. Yet missonal motherhood is not accomplished alone. She reminds us we are a royal priesthood, and we are to live missionally together as we live out this God ordained mission.
And prayer, oh the power of prayer! Gloria shows us how prayer announces to God our weaknesses, and reveals our faith that God is able. She calls prayer a reflex that sees that God is sovereign. No spiritual arm-twisting here! Her high view of God is what compels her to call us to pray and see God do amazing things in the lives He has allowed us to mother.
I was pleased to see the twist in which Gloria addresses the epidemic “helicopter parenting” that is actually keeping our children from taking risks for Christ. She calls us to “unhinge our obsession with safety, and see that this type of parenting is not held together by God’s wisdom but by a demonic strategy to hinder God’s mission.” Her perspective on this parenting phenomenon is insightful asking us what kingdom have we really dedicated our children to. She doesn’t hold back any punches when helping us to evaluate how we nurture those God has placed in our path.
As a woman who has spent the better part of 20 years encouraging women to read good books only in addition to THE BOOK, I can gladly say Missional Motherhood will be added to my recommended reading to ALL women!