For many wives and mothers, the to-do lists never end. Their days get fuller and busier, but deep in their hearts, they still somehow feel bored and ordinary. They're doing enough things to leave them exhausted each night, but are they doing big enough things for Jesus?

It happens to 21st-century working women and stay-at-home moms in the suburbs. Any woman who finds her work mundane and ordinary could be tempted toward discouragement. But Gloria Furman is here to say—gracefully and with so much heart—"Not so fast, ladies."

In her new book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home, she encourages women to see that the endless quest for bigger and better things is not necessarily what the Christian life is all about. Thankfully, she doesn't add anything else to our to-do lists, instead, she offers a new perspective on our everyday lives:

Glimpses of Grace is about the "already, but not yet" time in God's redemptive history. Jesus is alive—he is not in the grave…I used to believe that this journey of sanctification—the adventure of God working in me, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13)—would only be accomplished when I am free from the "distractions' of my life."

The reality is that while our lives are hardly distraction-free, God is always working to make us more like him and show us more of himself—even in the seemingly mundane. I spoke with her about her new book and how we can treasure Christ even when our life seems far too ordinary.

You have written this book encouraging women to treasure Christ in the midst of homemaking. Women have been working in the home for decades, why do you think now is the time for this book?

One of my prayers for this book is that it would encourage any woman as she considers the life she lives inside her home regardless of her context. Some of my neighbors [in Dubai] live with their parents until they are married, and then they live with their new husband's parents. Some women simultaneously manage homes and jobs in the workplace. Women's lives in the home are different in seasons and in different cultures.

I felt that the only way that I could write about treasuring Christ in the midst of homemaking was if I took pains to keep the focus concentrated on the person and work of Jesus Christ, and not a how-to manual with ten ways to clean your kitchen floor (though if anyone has some tips for my kitchen floor, I'm currently trying to figure out why the mopping solution is making the floor sticky). In short, I think now is a great time to consider how treasuring Christ in the context of your home is for God's glory and our joy in him.

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You have a chapter called "God's Abiding Presence in Our Pain." How do you see an understanding of pain and suffering tying into this theme of treasuring the gospel in our homes?

I know that for a lot of people when they hear the words "ordinary" life it means a life filled with pain. Pain and suffering are pervasive in our fallen world, so perhaps there is no more profound place to address the impact of such things than in our homes. I ask a lot of questions throughout my day. Some arise out of sheer curiosity: "Who has been wiping their boogers on the wall?" And some out of a need to know: "Where did I put the grocery list?" But other questions sit so deeply within our souls that we feel that we're undone when we ask them aloud. Questions like the one David asked when he cried in verse one of Psalm 13, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" Our heart cries for help and comfort, which begs the question: How do you cling to God's grace in a pain-filled mundane? In that chapter I share our testimony regarding a difficult season in the life of our family, and talk about seeing God's grace in the midst of it.

In our culture, homemaking is often viewed as a mindless job that requires little skill. What would you say to the woman who finds her hands full and her heart empty as she embarks on another day working inside her home?

I can certainly empathize with a woman who is struggling with this. It can be quite daunting to consider all the plates you have to spin during your day only to pick them all back up the next day to do it again. I've even had thoughts along the lines of "Why am I doing this? A monkey would do this better than I can" as I'm doing some household task. I may have the same level of skill as a monkey when it comes to certain chores—it's debatable.

But what is not debatable is that serving my family is akin to serving Jesus, and when I manage my home I should work as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23-24). The word of the Lord proves true (Ps. 18:30)—we take great confidence in this fact. But when we find our hands full and our hearts empty we're often wondering, "Yes, Lord, but how? How does the gospel make me into a woman who scrubs toilets or wipes runny noses heartily as you? How does my citizenship in heaven change how I manage my home?" Exploring this "How?" question regarding the impact of the gospel is the theme of Glimpses of Grace.

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Homemaking can be a lonely task, yet we so often feel a craving for friendship and life outside of the walls of our homes. How can women cultivate meaningful friendships when their lives are often so full?

I have a section in the book called "Turning Wall Builders into Bridge Builders" that I think speaks to this point:

What does it look like to practically welcome others like Jesus did? I am tempted to give you a list of practical suggestions, such as how to order your schedule or initiate discipleship relationships in which homemakers just "do life together." I love practical steps because they make nice to-do lists, and I can write them on my kitchen whiteboard, set reminders in my mobile phone, and check them off the list when I've done them. Of course, there are practical adjustments you ought to make to daily routine to allow time for friendships. For example, if you hang signs outside your gate that say, "No Friends Allowed" or "Beware: Lonely Homemaker Brooding," you might have a hard time finding people who are willing to give friendship with you a chance.
Practically speaking, there are walls that need to be torn down or at least have doors carved into them through lifestyle tweaks and adjustments. But just knocking a hole in the wall doesn't tear down the wall or prevent another one from being built in its place. Don't misunderstand: renovating the walls in our lives is not wrong; it's just insufficient because it doesn't address our heart issue at its foundation.
I like how biblical counselor Deepak Raju said, "Addressing the circumstances without addressing the heart is like offering a drink of water to a man who is on fire. It's not wrong, it's just insufficient"' If a homemaker has built walls around herself that obstruct genuine friendships, she must punch a few holes in the walls to make windows for others to see inside and for her to see out. Then she must be willing to drop the boards, nails, and hammers that she uses to build more walls. Then she must build bridges instead.
But why would a wall builder want to build bridges? To borrow a phrase from Scottish theologian and mathematician Thomas Chalmers, only the "expulsive power of a new affection" can turn a wall builder into a bridge builder. The new affection that displaces our desire to remain self-oriented is the glory of God as seen in the gospel.