Ep. 32 || Gloria Furman, Missional Motherhood - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily:  Welcome back to Risen Motherhood. Laura and I are so excited for you guys to hear today’s special episode. It’s an interview with Gloria Furman. We’ve been holding onto this for a little while now, and we know you’re going to enjoy hearing wisdom from her, as much as we enjoyed having the conversation.

Gloria is a mom to four little ones, a wife to Dave Furman, and they actually live in Dubai. She’s a writer and she’s on a lot of big websites like the Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and you’ve probably seen her stuff shared on our Facebook page and on our show notes. She’s also an author, a speaker, a volunteer doula, so she does many thing, but we wanted to have her on the show, specifically to talk about her new book, Missional Motherhood.

Laura and I both read it, loved it, and thought she did such a great job of communicating how God speaks to moms through the redemption story. Today on this interview, you’re going to hear Gloria talk about that in more detail. God’s plan for moms since creation, the way that sin affects everything we do, but there is still hope, and God has an ultimate future grace for us that we can cling to. She is also going to give some great practical ideas about how to preach the gospel to yourself, and even how to have time with the Lord in the midst of really busy moments as a mom. Definitely stay tuned through the whole thing as there are some great nuggets in there, even at the end. We are so excited for you to listen in, so enjoy our interview with Gloria.

Laura:  Hey everyone, thank you so much for joining us today on Risen Motherhood. We are so excited to have a very special guest here, Gloria Furman.  She lives in Dubai, so we are grateful that she is willing to join us through technology. I also have Emily, my sister-in-law here.

Gloria, do you want to take a second to introduce yourself? We are thrilled that you are here, but we’d just love to know a little bit more about you. Can you tell us about your family, what you do? All those good things.

Gloria:  Thanks for having me. This is so fun. I love talking about these things, and it’s really nice to have an adult conversation in the middle of the day. [laughter] Thank you for providing that outlet for me. My name is Gloria. I have four kids, my husband is a pastor and we live in the United Arab Emirates which is on the Arabian Peninsula. We’ve been here – next week – it’ll be eight years - so this is home. Our kids don’t know anything but the desert, so it’s always fun to see them have culture-shock when we go visit the United States like we did this last summer. We’ve just come off of a nice summer, and then a holiday, and school is going to start in 12 days but who’s counting? [laughter] So I am counting down the days to school, and that’s what I do, at least right now. And maybe when the kids are in school, I’ll find a hobby or something to do.

Emily:  Gloria, you also do some writing. Tell us how that fits into your day.

Gloria:  It fits into my night [laughter]

Emily: Into your night!

Gloria:  Before I had a smart phone, I would keep a little golf pencil and pieces of paper in my pocket and then I would write down words or phrases or Bible verses throughout the day, and then compile them together and then journal them in the night time. But then I got a smart-phone – so fancy [laughter] - and it has notes up on it, and so I just keep that in my pocket. So when words come to me throughout the day, I write them down; phrases, Bible verses, concepts, ideas. I keep them and then merge them onto a word document after the kids are in bed and I have some time. If we’re not doing anything that evening,  it all comes out.  Writing doesn’t really fit in during the day, pèr ce... [laughter]

Emily:  We’re in the same boat. We totally understand. [laughter]

Laura:  It’s why we’re recording with you, our time at 6 a.m.

Gloria:   Thank you for that.

Emily:  I know that we wanted to jump into our main topic of our conversation today, which is about how God speaks to moms through his Word. Laura and I have experienced this before, we’ve talked to other moms who’ve said, “I wish there was a moms passage in the Bible!" [laughter]  But that’s not really quite how God speaks to motherhood. Instead, it’s through this greater redemption story, and so we were just excited to have you on. So Gloria, can you just share with us a little bit, how God’s redemptive plan speaks to moms?

Gloria: I’d love to. How much time do we have? [laughter]

Laura: I know it’s a loaded question. 

Gloria:  God’s redemptive plan. There’s two ways to look at your motherhood. With a microscope, and you can examine, “How do I spend my afternoon? How can I maximize this time?” or “Let’s think about this individual child and their challenges and struggles,” or, “Look at the fridge. Goodness, something needs to go in it. What should I do?” [laughter]

You can look at it with a microscope lens and you can also look at it from afar, from up, up high, and then just use a telescope to look down and you see the big picture. You see the landscape of where you’ve been and where you’re going. The book, "Missional Motherhood," is about how taking the big, long view helps recalibrate our ideas and our thinking about motherhood, which directly affects the way you think about those little things; like the individual children in your life, or the people you’re discipling, or the ministry you have in your home, and all those little details.

Redemptive history, of course, stretches way back into eternity past, once upon a time before there was time in the mind of God. And we see that God is the author of motherhood, his idea in the first place, and he has goals and aims and plans for it. And all of it culminates in Christ’s being exalted above all things, and all things being summed up in Him, so motherhood isn’t merely a social construct in which we nurture people who are helpless. So not with a circular mind-set that says, “We need moms because, 'Who will raise the little kids?' or 'Who would clean the house?' or 'Who would do those things?'" It’s not a social idea, but an eschatological idea where all these things are summed up in Jesus. The book takes the long view which is past potty training, though that seems so far away. [laughter]

Emily:  We can make it past potty training! [laughter] There’s life beyond potty training!

Gloria:  Past potty training, or high school graduation, or past all these other landmarks into eternity. So it takes a long view from eternity past, and then to eternity, in the future. All of that plays out of course, we see it play out in redemptive history from the inception of motherhood, to the redemption of it in Jesus, and then the future fulfillment of all the things that God set in place at the coming of Christ, when He returns and sums up all things in Himself, and hence the Kingdom to His Father. All of that is discussed in the book. Because I have a word count I wasn’t able to make it a big, huge, fat book [laughs] which would have been fantastic to tease out all of that. But the first half of it is going through the Old Testament and redemptive history, and then seeing nurturing work of women throughout that. And the second half is examining the personal work of Jesus and how He impacts on motherhood – how He’s created it, He’s redeeming it, He’s our Prophet, Priest and King and all of those things.

Laura:  Something that we talk a lot about in Risen Motherhood is why things are like they are, as in a mom’s life. And also, how God has provided restoration, or has redeemed those things, and how we can see that. I know you have talked about this a little bit in the book – but can you just articulate for us a little bit how the fall generally impacts on motherhood, and how Eve’s response to the snake mimics our own response to temptation everyday as a mom?

Gloria:  We have to understand that the fall fractured everything,– our bodies, the environments, the way that we think, the systems in place around us. Everything is fractured by the fall. So chaos and disarray are nothing under the subjection of the Word as it’s designed to be, as it ought to be, and as it will be. So there’s redemption and hope because God is kind and full of mercy.

So when Eve and Adam fell in the Garden, God pronounced curses and judgments, but in the midst of that, He also gave them hope and said that He would send a deliverer who would be the seed of the woman. So they’re looking forward in anticipation to this deliverer coming through the seed of the woman. There’s redemption in there, but all of it is still fractured by our sins. The way that we think about our motherhood, the way that we execute our motherhood, the way that the people respond to our motherhood, our intentions are all stained by sin, and so we have to see that all of this must, and needs to be redeemed by the word of Christ. So He is our only hope. All of those things, it’s not as though we could just have, “Well, lets do this part of motherhood well, and then I’ll give Jesus this other piece of it and He’ll help me.” We can’t have that view at all. We’ve got to have all of it in His hands, needing Him prostrate, everyday, “I need you for all of this. We can’t hack any of it on our own.”

Emily:  I love how you were talking about in the Garden, after sin, and after the curse in the midst of that, there was hope and how, as moms, we get to hope at what’s coming as well. Over the weekend, I was reading through 1 Thessalonians, and there’s these two actions in there about the coming of the Lord and the day of the Lord, and at the end of both of them, it says, “Encourage one another with these words.” I love that idea of encouraging each other as moms, that in the midst of our sin and everything in our day that’s stained with sin, that we get to be encouraged by the fact that there is redemption coming, as Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden.

Gloria:  We’re unashamedly supposed to pursue hope in the future grace that’s coming to us. As moms, we feel guilty about not appreciating the here and now all the time, perfectly, which is a natural, normal response to sin. And all of this is not as it should be, and so we feel bad. “Oh, I should be grateful, I should be overwhelmingly grateful all the time for all these things,” and then you feel bad about hoping for the future when all things are summed up in Jesus. But we’re explicitly told to look forward to that future grace, and encourage each other with those words too. So I love that you brought that up.

Emily:  That is really interesting. Next time I am tempted to look ahead to bedtime, I am going to go, “No, there’s something even better!” [laughter] That is the future grace and go, “This is pretty great!” That’s the future grace. I love it. So just practically for you personally – I know you have all these amazing concepts and really are able to synthesize these Biblical truths in the book, but for you personally, let’s just talk about on a day when all of these things you’re handling are a lot, and no one’s really giving anything back, and it’s frustration after frustration as a mom. What are some things that you do to apply your understanding of these truths, to change your interaction with your children and your family, and your ability to serve them? What does that look like for you personally?

Gloria:  I have to talk to myself. [laughs]  There’s the idea of preaching the gospel to yourself. It’s now becoming more common catch-phrase, which is fantastic, to “preach the gospel to yourself,” remind yourself of these big picture truths, and how they anchor in your heart, in your living room, in your bathroom, in the doctor’s office, in the pick up line at school. These things land in real life, and so I have to talk to myself. There was dramatic uncertainty just a couple of weeks ago concerning administrative stuff and just in my tears, I had to tell myself, “You believe in the Man who rose from the dead. Don’t forget you believe in the Man who rose from the dead, you follow Him. He rose from the dead, He’s alive!"

And reminding myself of Easter, the tomb is empty, they couldn’t find His body because He’s alive. And tell myself, “This is the Man who you worship, could you ask Him for help? And so that re-centered my thoughts from what was me, and “What am I going to do?” to, “Let’s ask Him to do something.” 

It sounds dramatic, but it’s not really dramatic enough, considering the stone was rolled away, and they didn’t find Him. He’s alive, He presented Himself to 500 people and ascended back into Heaven, brought His flesh up there with Him, there’s a Man seated on the throne in Heaven. So it’s not dramatic enough to tell yourself these big, crazy things – “I believe in Him and that He rose from the dead; I believe in the Holy Spirit; I believe God created everything; I believe that Jesus died on the cross, took every single one of my sins with Him!” [laughs] It might look a little crazy if someone sees you speaking to yourself, but hopefully it’s modeling for others around you – the people you disciple, your kids, and maybe even your neighbors - that you’ve got to have your mind renewed with the truth because if you’re just looking to the other things that you see around you, the things that you can see, we’re just prone to forget the things we can’t see.

Laura:  I like your point; just meditating on God’s power over death and God’s power and knowledge of everything. Often, when I am dealing with a behavior situation, I rarely stop to ponder, “God knows everything about this child,” and and “What’s going on in his heart and what he needs?" And just that you mentioned, Gloria to stop and cling to those truths. There is someone who has power over this, and has access to this child and has a plan for this child and man, how much that would change our day to stop and think about that.

Gloria:  Another fantastic thing to do, is to do a little bit of a word study, in Revelation, and you look up all of the ways that Jesus introduces Himself. Who does He say He is in John’s apocalyptic vision? He says things, dramatic things, like, “I have the keys to death and Hades.” Oh well, drop mic drop. [laughter]

“I have a sword in my mouth. It’s my Word that stands, every other’s word that comes out, I cut it down. It’s my word, I am the Risen, behold I am the Risen One. I was dead, yet now I am alive.” Thinking about truth, practically, you might need to put it in different places to find it – Bibles, different places of your house, write things down, put it in your pocket, lock screen on your phone - whatever it is you need to remind yourself because the cares of this world are not going to affirm God’s truth for you, or tell you, “Hey, think about the word.” It does everything to affirm distraction from the truth, so it’s add that to the list of practical things.

Laura:  And a major place, where we can get that is in our quiet time. That’s something that is important - just getting in God’s Word and soaking in His truth and getting our mindset right before we engage with the day. As you probably remember as a young mom, or maybe still, sometimes throughout the day, you’re just hoping that you can fit it in, or you can just read in it at the counter for a couple of minutes. But what are you doing right now for quiet times? We’d love to hear what that’s looking like for you, and maybe even when you were a mom with a lot of littles, how that would slip into your day, or what you did for it.

Gloria:  I have four kids and my husband is a busy pastor. He’s also physically disabled, so he needs help with some things everyday, at different times of the day. So I’ve really struggled to find just – I don’t want to use the word “me” time  – there wasn’t any, and I would think that if I could finally wake up before a baby needed to be bathed, or before David needed to get out of the house, and then someone interrupted me and I’d say, “Satan’s trying to get me,” [laughter]

But he’s not, I'm getting ministry opportunities, so there’s nothing hostile in that. And so I came to appreciate having noisy time, too. And then having the time in the Bible and reading it out loud. And so now the kids just know if they see me slip the Bible open, then they want to come sit on the couch, they’re going to hear it and I’ll just talk it out loud. Now they’re old enough to discuss things and ask questions about it. But when they were little, they would just sit and listen like it was just any book, “Mom’s reading a book on the couch.” They’d just cuddle up and instead of it being private time, it’s kind of a family-seat idea.  Now I see them doing it to each other which is so sweet to see. I am reading aloud, and whoever is available to listen to it, they’ll read it you aloud.

I read through a whole book at a time, and then try to read it as many times as I can straight through first, and then start digging through, slowly piece by piece. So the last two years - before the summer – I’ve spent about two years in Ephesians. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it all the way through. But then I took a verse at a time and then sat down with some books and commentaries around it and wrote after all that. So that’s usually what it looks like; it’s just doing a book at a time, like that.

Laura:  That’s incredible.I have never even crossed my mind to say, “I’ll spend that much time in a book,” but I can imagine these truths and just how well you know God’s Word when you do that.

Emily:  I love how you mentioned in the middle of it – that will stick with me – “God’s given giving me opportunities for ministry right now!” I know most of you are usually like, “Aargh!” I like that. [laughs]

Laura:  I see my kids are an interruption, or Satan coming in and saying, “No, no quiet times,” so I loved it too. What a shift in perspective! I love that.

Gloria:  It helped me to think of my sisters here who don’t have the liberty to have “me” time and stuff like that. You just think about your sisters across the globe – women who live in refugee camps, women who work seven days a week, women who live in accommodations with dozens of other women, believers, sisters who are struggling to have these things, the idyllic situation where we think, “God’s going to meet me if I have a latte, and a fluffy chair [laughter] , then He will meet me”. The Word will meet you in His word wherever He is around the world, and whatever opportunities you have and whatever the means may be for that. It strongly encourages my faith, that, let’s face it, He’ll be with me. He said He’d be with me, promised, swore, “I will be with you,” especially when I think about all the women who don’t have the same opportunities I have. I am sitting in a nice fluffy chair right now. [laughter]

Emily:  That’s a really good reminder. I know that’s something Laura and I are learning a lot with young children. We often try to communicate how much discipleship is walking with God and treasuring the gospel in front of our children. Just letting them in and bringing them alongside us with what we’re already doing, and stop seeing it as this compartmentalized thing where, “Okay, I am going to do my prayer, my quiet time, and my stuff over here, and then I’ll do my stuff with my kids later.” Certainly that alone time with God is so refreshing and so necessary, but like you’re mentioning, just bringing your kids alongside you and say, “Come sit by me,” this is how we do the Christian life, this is how we live out the gospel.

Laura:  Awesome. Gloria, is there anything that you – I know we talked about this sort of, in and out and throughout the whole conversation - what would you charge moms to say, to encourage them to stay focused on that eternal picture? Moms who are ready to give up hope, or they’re ready to just throw in the towel, at the end of the day and say, “Whatever! We are going to survive until bedtime.” What’s one type of hope that you would offer them to stay focused on God’s redemptive plan?

Gloria:  Know the redemptive plan, know that big picture plan. We tend to get discouraged if we try to dive into pieces of the Old Testament, and "I don’t understand the historical context, I don’t know why these guys upset Rebecca, [laughter] I’ll just give up, or I’ll stick with something that I know." Take some time and just do it. Read through the whole Old Testament, get a big overview Bible, a Bible reading plan and just do it. It’s worth losing sleep over.

When I tell that to women, their eyes get so big, “Really?” Really it is, trust me. I have four kids, my husband is sick, and we’re very busy. It is worth losing sleep over; this is your very life. You need this more than you need sleep. You really do. Read Psalms. Find overview books; the first half of Missional Motherhood is intended to serve that purpose. My Grand Goals already has these really great overviews as well. They’re highly accessible; According to Plan is my favorite one to give away to new believers. Take time to do that, and then when you jump into an Old Testament book, you’ll know where it fits, and then you’ll appreciate it all the more because you’ll understand that big picture.

The first step, I’d say, is to get to know that big story.  When you do grab that five minutes here or there, or that one minute here or there, and you can read something in the Word, or you’re reminded by something you stored in your heart. It just means volumes more because you get it, the impact of this one phrase. I like to encourage women with the verse from 2 Corinthians 9:8, where it says, “God’s able to make all grace abound to you having sufficiency in all things, at all times, you may abound in every good work.” He’s speaking to the Corinthians about the gifts or offering that He’s collecting, giving out of their poverty, and offerings He’s collecting. But as mothers and women who are making disciples, we’re giving, giving, giving. But guess what?

God is able to make all grace abound to you. You may think you’re out-giving everybody else, but you will never out-give God as He makes all grace outbound to you. And I love the phrases Paul uses, “So all self-sufficiency in all things, at all times.” So there‘s no time around the clock, no 2 a.m. feeding, no 4 p.m. pick up time that is not covered in this verse! [laughs]  And it’s so that you can abound in every good work, and of course these good works that he’s talking about are not to earn our salvation, but they’re expressions of the gifts that we’ve been given, in Jesus’ ultimate gift of Himself on the cross.

Emily: Wow, that is such an encouraging truth. I feel so ready to meet the day. [laughter] I feel I found my next verse to memorize and to have my husband learn, and all of my mom friends to know that. That’s a wonderful reminder of truth. Gloria, that about wraps up our time, but we are so grateful that you joined us, and that’s about it.

Laura:  Thank you so much Gloria.

Gloria:  That you ladies, this was so fun.

Laura:  It was. Thank you so much.

And if you want to hear more from Gloria, definitely check out her book, "Missional Motherhood." It has this awesome gold foil cover that I am completely obsessed with. So, if nothing else, get it for the cover because it’s beautiful. But there’s there is wonderful content in there, and of course you can find more from Gloria all over the web, as Emily mentioned at the beginning of the Show.

You can find her on some major websites as well as on her blog, gloriafurman.com. There you’ll find all of her social media sites. You’ll also want to check out all of our show notes. We have some great links for some of the stuff that Gloria talked about in this show, as well as links to several of her different things and where you can buy the book. I know you can get it on Amazon.com, and I know there’s a companion study too. So if you want to study with a group of women, all the hard work’s done for you there.

In addition, if you're international, internationalbookdepository.com, also will ship Gloria’s book to you for free. So definitely check that out and visit risenmotherhood.com just to get all the links to all of this stuff and to find us on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all those good things. And as always, we really appreciate a review if you enjoyed the show today over on our iTunes. Thanks again for joining us.