Forgetting the Risen Christ
About the Guest
Author Gloria Furman reminds mothers they have been designed to nurture the lives He creates. The biggest challenge, she admits, is forgetting that the Jesus she worships has walked out of His grave and is alive, and that He is with her in this parenting mission.
Author Gloria Furman reminds mothers they have been designed to nurture the lives He creates.
Forgetting the Risen Christ
Bob: If you have young children, do you find it hard to find time for you to be in God’s Word every day? Gloria Furman has a solution.
Gloria: Read your Bible in the presence of your kids. If your kids are awake—and they’re tumbling around, they want to touch it, they want to talk to you at the same time—that’s fine. You don’t have to have a perfect “quiet time” where there are zero decibels except for you turning the pages. You are able to have “quiet time” in your soul, even in the middle of chaos. What your children will see is that: “Mommy loves the Word of God. Mommy needs the Word of God.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, December 27th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Gloria Furman wants us to zero in on what ought to be our top priority, as parents.
We’ll talk about being missional today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I’m looking at the back of this book; and right here it says, “May thousands of women accept Gloria’s challenge to be used by God to transform lives for the glory of His kingdom in their homes and in their worlds.” That’s what Barbara Rainey said about the book that we’re talking about today and the author that we have with us, Gloria Furman.
Dennis: Welcome to the broadcast, Gloria.
Gloria: Thank you for having me.
Dennis: That’s a good person to have endorse a book.
Gloria: I know! I’m so happy! [Laughter]
Dennis: She’s [Barbara’s] a great woman.
She [Gloria] has written a book called Missional Motherhood. She is a mom of four, but she’s talking about a broader concept of motherhood than I believe most women think about themselves.
Let’s just talk about, right off the bat, your concept of what is at the core of motherhood.
Gloria: At the core of motherhood, God has designed women to nurture the life that He creates. So now, in Christ, we see through Scripture that Jesus calls women to missional motherhood—to trust His promises / serve others by the power He provides—and do all of this unto His glory.
Dennis: What’s the biggest challenge you face?
Gloria: Forgetting Easter. I often wake up and I have forgotten that Easter has happened. I forget; because I have a list of things to do, I have notifications on my smartphone, I have people talking to me, I have the burdens of the day, and I forget the Man I worship has walked out of His grave. He’s ascended back into heaven, at the right hand of the Father.
He said that all authority’s been given to Him, in heaven and on earth, and He’s given me a mission; and then He said He’s going to be with me always, even to the end of the age. So I forget that Easter happened, and I feel like all of those other little things are the biggest thing I have going on.
Dennis: They distract you from being on a divine mission.
Gloria: I miss it, yes; because they feel like the biggest burdens I have / the most important tasks I need to do—all of those things are part of it.
Dennis: But Gloria, you start looking at wiping runny noses—you have four children, ages three to nine; right?
Dennis: I mean, they’re staggered in there.
Gloria: That’s four noses. [Laughter]
Dennis: Yes; it is!
Bob: Eight nostrils; right?!
Gloria: Eight nostrils! [Laughter] Thanks, Bob!
Bob: Think about it that way! [Laughter]
Dennis: The diaper days may be gone right now—
Gloria: Lord willing.
Dennis: —but I’m serious—how do you maintain that perspective? I appreciate your answer about forgetting Easter—that’s a good place to start—but life / the daily-ness of life for most moms, who are in the thick of it, what can lift you out of that?
Obviously, remembering Easter; but how does the Scripture help you remember who you are?
Gloria: Scripture helps me remember who I am in placing me in the same spot as my kids. I think I—I don’t know if other moms tend to struggle with this as much as I do—but I tend to think that I am above my kids in some way and that they owe servitude to me / they owe me praise when, really, I want to train and raise my children to serve and love and praise the Lord Jesus.
When I look at them in the morning—this is when I’m most forgetful / is when I wake up—I think that they ought to be about their busy work of worshipping me: “Would you please just do what I say? Would everything go exactly as I had planned today?”—because the more that things spin out of control / all those mundane things spin out of control, the more it reminds me that I am not the center of the universe / I don’t like that!
I struggle with those things; but then, when I remember that we’re all in the same place—in that we specifically need atonement for our sin. The only way we can be atoned for our sin is through the death of Jesus—I remember that gospel for myself, and then I pray that my children would embrace it as well. I see them as sinners, needy sinners, who need the grace of God more than they need my plan for their life or my plan for 8 a.m.
Bob: You’re getting to the core of what we’re supposed to be about as we raise the next generation. But sometimes—the abstraction of that, in the midst of the “What do I do with a two-year-old who just threw a tantrum?”—how does the missional approach affect a decision like how you treat a child who’s throwing a tantrum?
Gloria: You phone a friend. [Laughter] No; not kidding, though—I have several older ladies in my life / in my local church, who are—
Dennis: You said they’re on your speed dial.
Gloria: They’re on my speed dial! I speed dial my friends. They speak to me from a place of wisdom and experience. They are Scripture-soaked women—they point me to eternal truths. When I come to them with a problem—like a practical mommy question or an issue—they know my kids / they love my kids—they know me, my sin / they love me still—and they love the Lord, and they point me to Christ. Then they also help me understand better from the position where they’re standing.
Bob: I’ll turn that around and put you on my speed dial; okay?
Gloria: Alright; yes. [Laughter]
Bob: A mom calls you and says: “I just caught my three-year-old telling a lie. How do I be missional in this moment?”
Gloria: Yes; well, realize God has sent you to that child. It gives me great confidence that God can equip me to do whatever it is He’s called me to do. He’s not up in heaven, going: “Ha! Ha! I got her! She’s not able to do what I called her to do.” He will provide what I need for that.
I think a good tip—if you want to talk about tips—is using biblical language for things like that and saying, “That’s lying,” instead of using a cutsie word for it to soften the sin issue a little bit. Say: “That’s lying. It’s a sin. This is where we get that in Scripture. We need to repent. This is what repentance looks like—you need to turn from your sin and you embrace God’s way / God’s way is telling the truth.”
Talking through those things with a three-year-old might not be as easy as with a five-year-old or a seven-year-old, but you can start. We never really know how much they understand, but you can always start talking with them about that. I think modeling for them is also really useful: “Mommy said something that was partly untrue, which means it is a lie. What Mommy needs to do right now is repent, and embrace the truth and love the truth, because God loves the truth because God is truth.
“So how I do that is—I say: ‘I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me?’”—using forgiveness language and then talking about grace and the gospel, reminding our kids that the only person who ever lived, who never told a lie, is the Lord Jesus. He gives us His righteousness by faith. When we understand that we are sinners, we repent of our sin and embrace Him and His death on the cross.
Dennis: You did it, in part, by your illustration you just gave—but I just want you to share with our listeners what it looks like to be a missional mom with children and what it looks like in terms of being a part of missional motherhood, out and beyond your home. From your life, just give us two snapshots—one in your home from something that occurred recently and one, outside your home, with those that you minister to.
Gloria: Inside my home, my kids are around / they’re around. If I’m talking with one child, chances are there’s another child who’s listening, observing, and watching.
If you are a mother of only one kid, they see you deal with your husband—they see your interactions, back and forth, like this. They’re seeing you model your faith.
One way that is super practical—and I exhort moms to do this all the time—is: “Don’t read your Bible only by yourself.” Read your Bible in the presence of your kids. If your kids are awake—and they’re tumbling around, and they want to touch it, and they want to talk to you at the same time—that’s fine. You don’t have to have a perfect “quiet time” where there are zero decibels except for you turning the pages. You are able to have “quiet time” in your soul, even in the middle of chaos. What your children will see is that: “Mommy loves the Word of God. Mommy needs the Word of God. All Mommy loves to do right now is just to soak in God’s Word,” and “Mommy is so happy to do that, because these are the words of life. This is her very life.” Your children see this in your life.
I think we might be encouraged to step away for a season and do that in private—and that’s fine for seasons—but if your children never see you reading your Bible / pouring over your Bible and praying, they see an invisible connection there. They need to see the tangible connection of, “Mommy is in the Word.”
Dennis: And outside your home? Give us an illustration of something you have done or someone you’ve engaged with, where you have nurtured life / spiritual life.
Gloria: Outside my home—my kids see this as well—a good example would be something that’s pretty common. I go around in my neighborhood—in different places I get to go in Dubai when my kids are with me / we’re running errands, we’re doing every day, ordinary things—we’re out of orange juice / we have to go to the store. I get to talk to people all along the way. It is very fun and easy to talk to people in Dubai—they’re super friendly people. They love to engage in questions about spiritual matters, just generally-speaking.
My children watch me initiate conversations about Jesus / they watch me develop conversations about Jesus.
They watch me ask questions—so they watch me interact with these things. One time in particular, my daughter saw me skirt a question / a direct question from somebody. Afterwards, she said, “Mommy, why didn’t you answer her question?” I told her: “I’m sorry I did that. I missed an opportunity to say something that is true and life-giving. I wish I had taken that opportunity when I saw it. Hey, next time if you see me skirt a question like that, step on my toe!” [Laughter]
I want, more than anything, just to share good news with people, especially when they’re ready, and willing, and excited to hear it. So she’s [daughter] on my team. She wants to come talk with me about these things, and I love that. I love that she feels engaged enough to follow these things. It was sobering to me, because my children are perceiving through my example boldness or lack of boldness when it comes to proclaiming the truth.
Dennis: There are some moms listening to us today and they suffer from feeling like the mother ship is sinking. What you’ve just done—by virtue of our broadcast this week, talking about missional motherhood: “You’ve just added two or three new checkpoints on the checklist that I’m already failing at.”—at least, that’s what a mom’s thinking in her heart. What do you say to moms who tend to create these checklists, and don’t match up / feel like failures?
Gloria: I’d say: “Throw away the checklist, and look at what the Bible says about who you are. I think having a big-picture view of who you are, in your place in redemptive history, is so, so, so useful. As you chuck away the checklist, look at what God’s ‘list’ is: He’s chosen you to be part of His ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light because once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy [1 Peter 2:9,10].’”
So often, in those checklists, we’re looking at ourselves. The more we look at ourselves—we’re not going to find mercy / you’re not going to be able to give yourself enough mercy. But if you look to Christ, and you see who He is and who He’s recreated you to be in Himself, that’s where you find mercy.
Dennis: We haven’t asked you a question that I think is appropriate at this point. Your relationship with your own mom—how was she a life-giver to young Gloria, the eighth grader who was so good in reading that she got fired from her first job?
Bob: The Type A personality was ready to go take the hill early.
Dennis: I’ve been thinking, “I’d like to meet her mom and dad.” [Laughter]
Gloria: My mother modeled for me supernatural perseverance and patience.
When I think back and have those snippets / those flashes of memory every once in awhile—where you’re not doing anything in particular and then, all of a sudden, you remember your 14-year-old self—you’re like, “Whoa!” when those memories flood back. I remember myself and how I treated my parents and my siblings, I just think: “God, thank You! Thank You for the patience that You gave them. Thank You for the perseverance that You gave them—all of things that they’ve done for me—not rejecting me, not throwing me off, not forgetting me, not consigning me as some kind of a lost cause.” All of those gifts I see as from God’s hand.
Bob: What was 14-year-old Gloria like?
Gloria: I was pretty awful.
Dennis: Were you rebellious?
Gloria: I was.
Bob: So, when you’re talking about your mother’s supernatural perseverance, she was dealing with a wild—[Laughter]
Dennis: —wild child?
Bob: —a wild stallion who refused to be broken?
Gloria: I refused to be broken. My pride was overinflated.
Bob: When did the breaking happen? Was that in college?
Gloria: The end of high school was really dark for me—emotionally/spiritually, I felt I was at the end of myself. All of those dreams I was chasing that I thought were going to satisfy me—the world had totally let me down. I remember, at the end of high school—in that summer in between high school and college—thinking, “All I want is just a new life.” I wanted to cut off everything before that and then just have something new.
When I came to university, I saw opportunities for me to have a new life. One of those ways that I saw new life was in all of the opportunities you have for socializing. All those clubs that pass out fliers the first week of school / all those organizations that try to recruit you to be part of them—I think I took every flier.
Bob: Joined them all?
Gloria: Well, I wrote down my name on every list. I wanted to be—I just wanted to be like: “Somewhere, I’m going to find it. I’m going to find my new life.” I did not know that I was going to find new life in Christ by losing it. So it was one of those other things that I joined—some ladies asked me to join a freshman Bible study: “Sure! I’ll take that opportunity too!”
I went to Bible study every week my freshman year of college. Midway in that first semester, I told one of the leaders: “I don’t want to be a part of Bible study anymore, but it’s not personal. If you hang out outside of Bible study, call me. I just don’t want to do the workbook, and read the Bible anymore, and pray. I definitely don’t want to do that.” She said, “Well, can I suggest a reason you don’t feel comfortable is because you’re not born again?” I’d never heard that before. I’m sure I’d heard it at some point in my upbringing; but just, spiritually, I was blind. The Lord opened my eyes to the gospel. When she shared it, and my heart burned within me, I think I said words to the effect of, “What must I do to be saved?”
Gloria: So she said: “Keep coming back to Bible study. Let’s keep talking / let’s keep looking at the person of Jesus.” That was it for me—so sometime in that first semester at university.
Bob: How long would you say it took before the wild stallion—because flesh patterns that we grow up with are stubborn; right?
Bob: How long before that was—I know it’s not been completely conquered—but subdued in your life?
Gloria: “Come quickly, Jesus!” In time—I mean, I still—the old man creeps up / I still cope with some of those things. I have to kill sin at the root / “mortify the flesh,” as the Puritans like to put it.
Gloria: I remember in the spring semester, still in college, having relationships in particular that I needed to deal with. Right before I was baptized, I remember being on a mission—like, “I have to do deal with some of these very sinful relationships.”
In time, God helped me, through His Word specifically, cut sin off at the root—and some of the eating disorders and other issues that I had been involved in. I remember being delivered from that after a couple years, maybe. I think total deliverance is coming—I believe it is / I know it is—and I can’t wait for it, but I’ve seen these little mini exoduses, so to speak, along the way. I’m so grateful for His patience with me.
Dennis: I think what you’ve shared with us this week really creates a lot of hope for moms—not only in lifting their eyes up out of the challenges of the mundane and raising rug-rats, or teenagers, or maybe adult children / still in the process of seeing our children launch into life—
—but there really is a mission that transcends the family into the world that every woman / every man needs to be a part of. You’re calling it, for women: “Missional Motherhood: Be on a journey of giving life to others, whether it be physical life and nurturing moral and spiritual character in kids that are your own, or doing that same thing for those that you relate to.”
I just appreciate your writing, Gloria, and your life. I’m glad that stubborn 14-year-old was chased down by your heavenly Father—
Gloria: Praise God! [Laughter]
Dennis: Yes—and has turned you into a disciple and an ambassador. I’m kind of glad you’re taking back one of Barbara’s [plaque of[ making your home Your [God’s] embassy—the embassy of the King of kings—
Gloria: Me too!
Dennis: —a little sign that’s going to hang outside your apartment that signifies: “Here’s a mom, who’s an ambassador, who’s on a mission, who’s raising the next generation of ambassadors to reach their generation.”
Thanks for being on the broadcast.
Gloria: Thank you. It’s been so much fun.
Bob: Well, and let me remind folks, if they’d like to see what’s going to be hanging outside the Furman home, they can go to FamilyLifeToday.com to see that plaque that Barbara has created that declares that your home is an embassy of the King. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. While you’re there, get a copy of Gloria’s new book, Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God. You can order from us online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to place your order. Again, the toll-free number is 1-800-358-6329; and the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
We want to offer our congratulations today to a couple who live in Diamondhead, Mississippi, celebrating their silver anniversary—Alan and Susan Simmons / 25 years as husband and wife. “Congratulations!” to the Simmons as they celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Here, at FamilyLife, anniversaries matter. We think anniversaries are important, and we’re glad that people take time to celebrate them. We’ve been celebrating our 40th anniversary all year long and really been celebrating how God has used this ministry in the lives of millions of couples, all around the world, to help strengthen families and to help couples thrive in marriage.
Dennis: And Bob, I am more convinced than ever that FamilyLife Today and FamilyLife are about the ministry of the hour for our country. Where are consciences formed and shaped?—it’s in the family. Where does life make up its mind?—it’s in the family. And America today, I believe, is in moral and spiritual decay because of the breakdown of its families. FamilyLife Today is committed to helping you think biblically about your spouse, your marriage, your family, and about the generations that follow.
I am more convinced than ever: “This is the ministry of the hour.” Yet, we are still short of the donors that are needed to keep this broadcast coming on the air. Bob, as you know, about 60 percent of our donations come in [during] the month of December. This fall, we entered into December running behind. And so we need our listeners, who believe in the mission and ministry of FamilyLife Today, to step up and say: “I believe in this. I want to keep this on the air, and I’ll do it through a generous gift to this ministry.”
I looked at it, Bob—we touch a life through FamilyLife Today for about a nickel a day. That means a gift of $30 will touch about 600 people; a gift of $50 about a thousand; $100 will touch 2,000; and a gift of $1,000 will touch 20,000 lives. I think that’s a pretty powerful impact for your giving.
If you agree with me, and you’d like to be a part of reshaping the very foundation of our culture / the family, then I’d like you to call right now and say: “I stand with you guys. I want to be a part of this ministry.”
Bob: Well, and there’s good news here, too—we’ve had some friends of the ministry make matching funds available. We’ve not yet taken full advantage of that matching gift fund so any donation that a listener makes today is going to be effectively tripled. Whatever you give will free up double that amount from the matching gift fund so the impact of your donation is increased significantly. It’s easy to make a donation. You can do it online at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY; or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we are going to hear what was a highlight of 2016 for me—a message that I had a chance to hear several months ago. We’ll tell you more about it tomorrow—a message from Dr. Al Mohler, the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is powerful, and I hope you’re able to tune in to hear it tomorrow.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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