One of my missionary heroes is David Livingstone, a man who spent the better part of his life persevering through extraordinary hardship for the sake of the gospel in Africa. I often recall his example of endurance and faith when I’m in “I guess it could always be worse” scenarios.
But that’s not why Livingstone encourages me so much. Ironclad faith is not forged by considering how much more pleasant my earthly circumstances are than someone else’s. “It could always be worse” cannot sustain my fragile heart. Only hope in God’s enduring faithfulness is a shatterproof assurance.
My heart is strengthened by considering that we have the same heavenly Father, are saved by the same Jesus, are indwelled by the same Holy Spirit, and rejoice in the same gospel. If God sustained this fellow saint, then he can carry me, too.
So what does this anecdote about a missionary to Africa have to do with motherhood and sacrifices? Livingstone gave a speech at Cambridge, which has shaped how I think about motherhood. He wasn’t talking about motherhood specifically; he was speaking on having an eternal perspective and on his role as a missionary.
When I read his words I can’t help but think about how the same principles are at work in my life as a mother whose hope is in the gospel. Livingstone said:
For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. . . . Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.
To be sure, mothers do make sacrifices for their children in a thousand little ways each day. But we have to define and evaluate these things with an eternal perspective. Like Livingstone we should ask: Is that service to my child a sacrifice that brings its own blest reward in their well-being, the consciousness of serving God, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny?
Conversely stated, when a mother triumphs in the gospel, her bright hope in Jesus outshines any earthly gain she could have had from holding back from her child Jesus’s sacrificial love.
Tweet this: “when a mother triumphs in the gospel, her bright hope in Jesus outshines any earthly gain she could have had” – @gloriafurman #vergewomen
So when we consider the calling, the work, and the sacrifices of motherhood in this light, with a thrill in our heart we can say that we have never made a sacrifice.
Tweet this: moms: can we gladly say ‘I have never made a sacrifice’? @verge_women http://goo.gl/a1DV3W
Motherhood is tough, and it often feels like the to-do list just gets longer and longer every day—making it hard to experience true joy in God, our children, and the gospel.
In this encouraging book for frazzled moms, Gloria Furman helps us reorient our vision of motherhood around what the Bible teaches. Showing how to pursue a vibrant relationship with God—even when discouragement sets in and the laundry still needs to be washed—this book will help you treasure Christ more deeply no matter how busy you are.
“These pages are filled with such helpful honesty and gospel centrality as we’re invited to look at the wonderful and messy world of motherhood! Reading it was like opening a window in the stuffy room of pretense, guilt, and self-focus that often press in on us as mothers. Let the windows fly open and come breathe the fresh air of grace!”
—Kristyn Getty, hymn writer and recording artist
“As mothers, our to-do list is never ending, and many well-meaning people pile on how-to lists to try to help us manage it all. Here’s good news: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full refreshes the soul with gospel truths and is not a how-to book. Gloria Furman shares the liberating gospel on every page, helping us fix our eyes on eternity rather than on our circumstances. You won’t come away with yet another thing to do; instead you’ll know the one who gave it all for you and has much to say in his Word to sustain you.”
—Trillia Newbell, author, United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity
“Moms do not need another book telling them how short they fall or what they can do to ‘be a better parent.’ Moms need a book that will lift their eyes away from themselves and onto Christ. Gloria Furman has delivered just that book. Her honesty about her daily struggles and her hope in her strong Savior are a delightful encouragement. The grand picture of God and his redeeming love that Gloria paints gives courage to face each day. We will be recommending this book to future moms, new moms, and moms that have been at it for years.”
—Jessica Thompson and Elyse Fitzpatrick, co-authors, Give Them Grace
“Oh, how I wish I had had a voice like Gloria Furman’s to whisper such sweet gospel truths into the frustrations and discontent of my younger mothering days! There’s nothing simplistic or syrupy here. This book presents rich and deep wisdom that is sure to generate joy and peace in the homes and hearts of many moms.”
—Nancy Guthrie, Bible Teacher; author, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series
“I was wonderfully blessed by this book. With personal examples and teaching immersed in Scripture, Gloria invites us to savor Christ, the deepest need and joy of every mother. I certainly will reread it and look forward to recommending it to others.”
—Trisha DeYoung, happy wife to Kevin DeYoung, author of Just Do Something and Crazy Busy!; stay-at-home adventurous mother of six