Mar

31

2014

Gloria Furman|12:01 AM CT

God Meets Busy Moms Right Where They Are

When my first baby was born I sensed that my perspective on the nature of my spiritual life was being rattled and reshaped. In the midst of a venting session with a dear friend I confessed that I felt I'd forgotten the Lord since I became a mother. She shared with me 2 Corinthians 9:8: "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." God plans the end from the beginning, and he governs all the time in between, and he is able to give me the grace I need for the times he has planned right when I need it so that I can be about his will. If Jesus has assured me that he is with me to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), then surely he is...

 
 
 
 

Jul

03

2013

Gloria Furman|12:01 AM CT

Jesus Canceled Your Mommy Guilt Trip

What mother doesn't want to be a "good mom"?

The proverbial encyclopedia entry for "good mom" varies across cultures. I've seen a variety of mothering ideals as I raise my kids in a global city. For some, a distinguishing mark of a good mom is the food she feeds her children. Or the accolades her child earns in school. Or her baby's accessories. Or her child's behavior. The list never ends.

But I've noticed a common thread that threatens to unravel us all. Moms live with a sense of guilt that we'll never be or do enough.

What, then, can save us from this "mommy guilt"? I've heard moms from different religions answer, "Give yourself some grace." We...

 
 
 
 

Jun

13

2013

Gloria Furman|12:01 AM CT

God Rules the Mundane

There was no way the crusted blueberry bits were going to come off this cup without some serious work on my part. I started talking to myself aloud. (Do you do this too?) "I don't have time for this," I mumbled. I gritted my teeth and set to scrubbing with vigor, and when my husband, Dave, passed by the kitchen I let out an exasperated sigh and exaggerated my scrubbing efforts. "Gee, I hope I can get this cup clean. You didn't rinse it out."



Dave apologized and said he had simply forgotten.

How rude, I thought. He knows how much work I do. The least he could have done was rinse out the cup. Rude . . . But really, I was the rude one, and I knew it. The Holy Spirit brought to mind the famous love passage...

 
 
 
 

Apr

17

2013

Gloria Furman|12:01 AM CT

God's Promise and a Petrol Station

It seemed like such a small thing in comparison to the Hebrews' deliverance through the Red Sea. Nonetheless, I felt like bursting into a song of praise like Miriam did when the water came crashing down on the pursuing Egyptian army (Ex. 15:21). The Lord had triumphed gloriously on our behalf, parting the tempestuous waves of our fears. We rejoiced to see the rock-solid foundation that remained unshakeable beneath our feet. My husband, David, and I often reminisce about this story from nearly five years ago. We don't want to forget what the Lord taught us that day.

It had been two days since we stepped foot onto the sizzling tarmac at the airport, with all our earthly belongings strategically packed into six black trunks. "Hey guys! Over here!" we heard an American accent lift above the din of the noise once we...

 
 
 
 

Sep

12

2012

Gloria Furman|10:00 PM CT

10 Ways Ecclesiology Encourages Me

As the wife of a pastor and mother of three little kids, I know how challenging it can be to get everybody out the door to go to church gatherings.

I can also empathize with those who struggle with being "present" once you're there. I recall one morning at a church gathering where I spent the entire time either caring for my colicky baby in the bathroom or collecting pieces of borrowed clothes for another child who had multiple accidents involving bodily fluids in children's church.

It's tempting to dive into feelings of futility on these occasions: "Was this morning all for naught?" or even to utter the more faithless despair, "What a waste!"

Personally, I tend to blame my attitude on my circumstances. But the real battle wages in my heart as I fight...

 
 
 
 

Jul

30

2012

Gloria Furman|10:00 PM CT

Cacophony in the Kitchen Coliseum

Lunchtime with my young children can sometimes resemble a gladiator match.

I'm simultaneously the empress who wants to please the crowd and the gladiator fighting for life.

The juice-thirsty crowd jeers: "I no want dis cheese!" "We ate turkey sandwiches yesterday. Can you make something that doesn't have turkey, ple-e-e-ase?" "[High-pitched shrieking that only dogs can hear.]" "I no like jelly anymo; I only like peanut butter!"

And then all the silverware crashes to the floor and echoes in eternity. The gladiator quells the ravenous lunch beasts by tossing javelins of carrot sticks onto their plastic plates. Sometimes I feel like roaring back: Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?

This description of lunchtime sounds rather extreme, doesn't it? Of course I'm exaggerating (a little), but only to make this point:

The cacophony in...

 
 
 
 

Jul

19

2012

Gloria Furman|10:00 PM CT

Sometimes God Doesn't Open Doors



A coffee press and a set of icing tips are examples of gifts that keep on giving. So is Milton Vincent's 97-page book A Gospel Primer for Christians.

It's rare for me to remember how I happened to own any particular book. Books fly in and out of our house like the dusty Dubai air.

This book is different. I remember standing in Kevin and Katie Cawley's living room in Kansas City, and I noticed a thin, brown book on their coffee table. "A Gospel Primer for Christians. What's this about?" I inquired.

"It will change your life! Take it." Kevin likes to give grandiose endorsements for great books, BBQ, and Death Cab for Cutie songs. And I like free books.

I was not aware that in God's providence I would soon be clinging for dear life to the truths in...

 
 
 
 

May

08

2012

Gloria Furman|10:00 PM CT

The Pastor's Wife and Her Primary Ministry

Editors' Note: This is part three in a series on pastor's wives. Previously:

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An article in our local newspaper announced an airline's new policy---"your fourth wife flies free"---in honor of a ruler who had just taken his fourth wife.

When my husband traveled to India for ministry he brought back an interesting anecdote. He said, "Every pastor I met introduced himself to me like this: 'My name is So-and-so; I have one wife and however-many kids.'" One of our church members from India explained that the rules of English grammar might be the reason the Indian pastors said that they have "one" wife instead of "a" wife.

Even so, in this area of the world, monogamous marriages are not assumed. I suppose it couldn't hurt for married pastors to affirm that they are married to only one wife!
...

 
 
 
 

Apr

22

2012

Gloria Furman|10:00 PM CT

The Pastor's Wife and Her First Love

Editors' Note: This is part two in a series on pastors' wives. Click here to read part one, "The Pastor's Wife Is a Pastor's Wife."

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"I just want to take a minute to soak this in." Our cheeky South African friend had a big grin on his face as he approached my husband and me after a church meeting.

"What do you mean?" my husband inquired.

"It's just so strange to see you two standing next to each other at church of all places! Shouldn't you both be working?" He chuckled. Our friend's remark about us rarely being in one another's presence during church gatherings is humorous.

But some remarks aren't very funny.

Someone once told me, "Excuse me, you are the pastor's wife? I expected you to be different."

I'm slowly getting used to the forthrightness...

 
 
 
 

Apr

03

2012

Gloria Furman|10:00 PM CT

Put Off Nagging, Put On Love

My husband and I can be counted among that strange stock of people who like to make To Do Lists.

We get excited about action steps and dry erase boards. We ooh-ed and aah-ed over the organizational software we installed on our computers. One time we spent an entire evening cataloging our sloppy 12-page To Do List in our shiny, new computer program. It was exhilarating and very, very nerdy.

To Do Lists can be a beautiful thing. But sometimes things get ugly when you become a slave to your To Do List. What's worse is trying to put shackles on your spouse and make the To Do List their master, too.

One way I try to share my To Do List chains is by nagging.

When I say nagging I am not talking about how I...