AUTHOR: Gloria Furman
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, (224 pages).
"Jesus invites women to missional motherhood: to follow his
pattern, to trust his promises, and to nurture others by the
power he provides."
As the title suggests, motherhood is not simply a state of being. It is a mission. It is intentional. It is targeted from God's Word and aimed at how the entire vocation of motherhood can reflect the glory of God. Furman even supplies an application framework through thinking of motherhood in terms of 'head, heart, hand, and mouth.'
- Head: How does the truth renew the mind in the truth?
- Heart: How does the truth thrill one to love Jesus?
- Hand: How does the truth strengthen one's hands for sacrificial service?
- Mouth: How does the truth open one's mouth to share the gospel?
Desiring to let her reflections and thoughts of motherhood center around God, the author gives us an overview of the Old Testament in Part One. If God has created Motherhood, should we not go to Him as a first reference? More importantly, once we understand what Christian nurturing really means, we will not equate mothering to simply a lifestyle choice or a consumeristic preference. It is essentially grace through faith. Motherhood is an act of grace through faith. This calls for the renewal of the mind. From creation to Father Abraham, we are reminded that God made everything. God reveals Himself to creation that all may know Him. We need the Spirit to illumine our minds. We look at Eve, the first mother to see that in the midst of disobedience, tragedy, and grief, there is much grace from God. This theme is repeated from Egypt to the Promised Land where time after time, God spared Israel from worse situations. From living in the promised land to being exiled to faraway lands, we see how God mothers Israel by offering hope. From the exile to the return to their own lands, God continues to provide. Just like how God offers hope, encouragement, and sustenance to Israel, mothers reflect the character of God by doing the same for their children. Part Two is about how the mission of mothers gets carried out in "Go, Therefore, and Mother Disciples" which is a clever play on the introductory words of the Great Commission. With a Christ-centered point of view, Furman expresses her thoughts on motherhood through the person and mission of Jesus Christ. We imitate Christ by feeding on His Word, that we may reflect Christ to our children. We receive redemption from Jesus and learn to share of ourselves as redeemed people of God. We are all failures in our own strength. Thus, we should not beat ourselves to bits based on our own failures but to receive the grace of God as forgiven people. Jesus as a prophet guides us. Jesus as priest sacrifices on our behalf. Jesus as King leads us. Jesus as Resurrection raises us. Every opportunity for motherhood can be seen as an outpost opportunity to represent God's mission for the world.
Well-written with a quick overview of the Old and New Testaments, this is a decent attempt by Furman to look at motherhood and mothering from the perspectives of God's Word. Unlike some books that aim to expound motherhood based on a few scattered verses from the Bible, this book gives a bird's eye view of major themes of the Bible. It is a mini-biblical theology for motherhood. Throughout the book, one can sense that God is very much in and through the whole process of being a mother. Mothers, mothers-to-be, and experienced mothers will find this book a refreshing biblical reflection of what it means to be a mother. It is also a discipleship guide for mothers. Mothers have one of the most, if not the most difficult vocations on earth. It is a 24x7 task, often unpaid, and unrecognized. It is also taken for granted in many ways. Many have to take up a full-time job while struggling with the responsibilities of motherhood at the same time. Saying it is not easy in itself is an understatement. In fact, just having one day a year to celebrate Mother's Day is totally inadequate. Rather than trying to bring relief or some respite from the daily demands of motherhood, why not empower mothers? Why not encourage them with biblical wisdom? Why not give them lots of motivation to be the best mothers that they can be? This book does all of these.
Gloria Furman is a cross-cultural worker, an author, a wife, and a mother. Her blog can be found here. Writing primarily for mothers and mothers-to-be, this book is intended for small groups of women to read together and talk about relevant motherhood matters. It can be used when mothers are carrying or holding on to their babies. It can be read by mothers in waiting. It can also be read by long time mothers or empty nesters.
Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Crossway Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.