Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Missional Motherhood- Mothering towards the ultimate goal

It's so easy as a mother in our quest to do our best by our families to get caught up in all the obvious details of what that could mean- Giving our kids a picture perfect childhood, keeping a Better Homes and Gardens house and implementing a constantly Pinterest worthy lifestyle. Because, you know, it's totally possible to check all that off of your daily to do list. All of the mom bloggers we follow are obviously nailing it, so we should be able to as well. I have chased after those goals, had shining moments of "success" but consistently failed. As I have matured as a mother and a christian I have come to see the need for a "big picture" view of what motherhood is all about. One of the most formative voices I have come to seek out in this quest is Gloria Furman's. I first picked up her debut book, Glimpses of Grace, when I was a mom to just a toddler boy and I confess, I didn't really see the need for it. It was an "easy" time in life and I felt I had mothering somewhat mastered, it wasn't until I had a few more years (and kids) under my belt that I reread and so appreciated the hard and sweet truths of the gospel that Gloria shares with readers. When I heard about her newest offering, Missional Motherhood, I knew it was a book I needed to make time for.

What a perfect name for our holy calling- Missional Motherhood. When we really think about the eternal implications of our job, our goals become a whole lot loftier and success, on our own, seems even more impossible. Gloria comes alongside us and points us to the huge and ongoing narrative that we play a small, yet infinitely significant role in and where to turn our eyes to keep the course. She starts with laying out the idea that Mother is a verb- an ingrained in us by our Creator drive to nurture and bring life to those around us. All women mother- whether it be children, other loved ones, or disciples-we all strive to take care of those around us. And with all the brokenness and disorder we have to battle to do our job well- to fix and put in order- it can be so easy to become discouraged and disillusioned. I love the scripture laden journey Gloria takes us on thru the entire biblical story. To have the scriptural knowledge Gloria has, to be able to weave together the Lord's faithfulness and foresight into the messy human stories the bible contains- I strive to be a student of the Word like that! 

The second part of the book illustrates for us the many roles Christ fulfills perfectly for the mothers of the world. He is our Creator, our Redeemer, Our Prophet, Our Priest, Our King. Gloria does a marvelous job fleshing out what each of those "names" means to us- it means a lot. My absolute favorite chapter of this book was the last- Christ, the resurrected life for mothers. Wow, what a powerful message and so very relevant to my life right now. Gloria exhorts and encourages us with the reminder that Christ died on the cross to break sin's curse and to set all things right thru the soon to be new heavens and new earth- an eternity of perfection. But he is also making all things new right now! His Kingdom is coming here and now and we are a part of that! We can bring life in the face of death- because of Christ. We can endure these trials and pour ourselves out for others because we are truly living the resurrected life now. 

This book is a rich feast of truths and grace- I really would recommend it to each and every mom. It is the kind of book that is probably going to be just a bit over your head theologically and call you to a higher place- the perfect situation for spiritual growth. I will say, it is really isn't a "DIY christian mom" book, in the sense that it is a more of a thesis on mothering than a practical action guide. If you would like some beautiful and implementable mothering inspiration I would highly recommend The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson! I also am so excited to have the opportunity to review the coordinating bible study book to go with Missional Motherhood! Be on the lookout for that post soon. 

In my other family life reading this summer, I had the privilege to preview the newest book from The Better Mom's Ruth Schwenk, For Better of For Kids: A Vow to love your spouse with kids in the house.  I have read ALOT of Christian marriage books and it takes a very unique message to pique my interests in picking a new one up anymore. When I was given the chance to preview "For better or For Kids" I was intrigued by the premises since this is exactly the season of marriage I am in- figuring out a healthy "new normal" with multiple young kids in the house. The first part of the book was pretty normal protocol- keep God at the center, your marriage comes before your kids, keep intimacy a priority, etc. The second half was where I felt this book stands out from others. I was energized and encouraged by the chapter- "when you're running on empty"; it speaks on not neglecting you're spouse when life gets crazy and to protect each other by bearing each other's burdens. I loved this part of the book, I think because it is so relevant to the season of life my family is in! Circumstances have been hard and the best strategy my husband and I have found is to cling to each other and help to beat each other's burdens. When I read this chapter it put the pieces together of why and how we were "surviving" all of this and encouraged me to be even more intentional about watching for ways to put it into practice more.

This is a marriage book I would highly recommend for couples looking to not only be great Christian parents, but have a thriving marriage that is growing thru the "kids in the house" years rather than just surviving. "For better or For Kids" has some worthwhile insights on parenting as a team, making space for intentional and quality time together and how to keep falling love. 

On my "would love to read" book list-

I received these books in exchange for my honest review- thanks to Zondervan and Crossway Publishing!

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