Chilled Out Moms Running Hard After God

October 17, 2012 · 10 comments

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by Gloria Furman

This week I enjoyed reading these two articles on the subject of motherhood:

When his article hit 6,000 shares on Facebook, Stephen tweeted about how it must have hit a nerve. I agree–  I think our tendency toward legalism is a nerve that ought to be hit on often. And Jen’s article on running the race of enduring faith was an excellent follow-up to the conversation that Stephen started about chilling out. I recommend you read both articles in that order.

In the spirit of letter writing and in the wake of an off-start to what I’m calling “not-exactly-my-favoritest-week-of-my-motherhood ever,” I wrote this note:

Dear Father, I Need Jesus

Gracious Father, I read this morning in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians that according to the riches of your glory you can strengthen me with power through your Spirit in my inner being. I really need that power today. I got up on time this morning, congratulated myself, and concluded that because of this feat of self-discipline that I was going to have a good day.

Lord, I made it to the kitchen to make some coffee before the kids woke up but on the way I stumbled over my own pride. I know that nothing good dwells in my flesh (Rom. 7:18). It is you who opened my eyes when my alarm clock went off and it is you who sustained my life as I slept unconscious and limp in my bed. I know your goodness is not co-dependent on the time I wake up because your steadfast love is great and your faithfulness endures forever (Ps. 117:2). I need Jesus to renew a right spirit within me (Ps. 51:10) that is dependent on the power you give me in my inner being. You deserve all the glory today, Lord. I don’t need to sacrifice myself on the altar of pride today and try to mother my children in “my own strength.” My children really don’t need another one of those days, either.

Let my sacrifices instead be a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). I need you to wake me up to the fact that Christ dwells in my heart through faith! Root me and ground me in your love. I need you to give me strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge. I want to know this love, but Father, sometimes I don’t care to know this love in the context of community “with all the saints” because I’m too absorbed in my little kingdom of one. In your wisdom you designed me to need other Christian women in my life to help me to grasp how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of Jesus. Would Jesus give me love for my fellow sisters in Christ as I seek out Christ-centered fellowship with them today.

My nervous heart can hardly dare to believe that you are my portion (Lam. 3:24). Thank you for Jesus and for what he did on the cross to give me to you and give you to me. Fill me with your fullness today, O God. You can do far more than anything I can ask or even think of, so give me a big vision for my family today. Stamp eternity on my eyeballs as I go about the good work you’ve given me of raising my children.

Would your Spirit be powerfully at work in this mother with the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead. AMEN

Gloria (@gloriafurman) is mostly from Texas. In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three fun kiddos and Gloria enjoys serving the ladies in her community as a doula. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway 2013).


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Luma October 17, 2012 at 8:37 am



2 Tony October 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm

This conversation interests me, for all its wisdom, and for all the questions that it raises in my head. Three in particular. (1) What do we do with the diligent Proverbs 31 woman? Is she now an unrealistic ideal? (2) Traditionally in the reformed tradition (in the Puritans you see this especially), legalism is battled against with due diligent effort on our part. John Newton wrote, “Watch and strive against a legal spirit.” Fighting legalism by chilling out seems to run contradictory to previous generations of Christians, and I want to think more about why we take such a different approach. Resting in matters of legalism and running in matters of holiness, seems, in my mind, to break down into a false dichotomy. And (3) it raises the question over why, when a mom reaches the end of herself, chillin’ is better than pressin’ on with strength that is outside of her (1 Peter 4:11)? What if our only hope in the fight against legalism is to battle it with the strength and diligence only God can give? My mere early morning coffee thoughts (all in process)…


3 Gloria October 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Not too shabby for mere early morning coffee thoughts, Tony!

Re: the P31 woman- so many contemporary remarks about her do paint her as unrealistic; unfortunately the tone surrounding the idealism tends to be on the scornful side (ie. don’t bother making any effort to emulate her b/c she’s not even real). I think Brownback interacts with this reading and provides helpful correctives in her new Proverbs book.

Re: Reformed tradition- I like how you put that: “our only hope in the fight against legalism is to battle it with the strength and diligence that only God can give.” I need to be continually reminded that I can’t fight my legalism with legalism. I’ve wondered, too, about some of the questions that conversations like this one raise about our understanding of legalism and holiness. Is there a general confusion regarding the Reformed understanding of definitive and progressive sanctification?

I think the Altroggean “chillin’” reverberated that far because so many of us moms are wound up with comparing ourselves to others that we miss the point of 1 Peter 4:11 like you said. Just my pre- afternoon coffee thoughts!


4 Luma October 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Tony and Gloria… all very important points to bring up. Both of you have given me a lot to think about. Let me say this for now: Tony, I think this/our generation falls regularly to dichotomies and pendulum swinging. This is why gospel-centeredness is SO important, why it cannot be allowed to be thought of as a fad, and why we need a better understanding all the way around of the Scriptures. We are not practiced as a people to think gospely.


5 Luma October 18, 2012 at 9:47 am

I can’t stop thinking about this:

“Is there a general confusion regarding the Reformed understanding of definitive and progressive sanctification? “


6 Melissa McDonald October 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Beautiful! Just what I needed this morning. Thanks, Gloria.


7 Trill October 18, 2012 at 12:59 am

I really appreciate Tony’s questions. I wonder if our resting should be a matter of the heart- resting in our hearts but not in our efforts. Trusting God with our limitations. I think pressing in is a good way to fight legalism. We press in to learn about his sweet grace. Thanks for this pray! Thankful for that his power is at work in us! He is so good. -trillia


8 Courtney October 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I really appreciate this prayer & your thoughts. In fact, I just LOVE this blog! Thank you so much. I think we have friends in common (my hubby went to SBTS & we went to Clifton while in Louisville, it’s a small world for sure). Keep your posts coming!


9 Gloria October 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Thanks Courtney!

We probably do have some common friends- how wonderful!


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