Gloria Furman speaks about helping your children to know the Lord while staying close to him herself.
Welcome to UP, the Union Podcast. My name’s Dan Hames and I’m speaking with Gloria Furman, the author of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full. Gloria, how do you deal with family devotions, training up your children, teaching them, and simultaneously keeping yourself spiritually alive and healthy. How do you do those things at the same time?
That’s a good question. I’ve been so encouraged to see the wealth of resources available to us, for those of us who want to point our kids to accessible resources, whether you have kids who can’t read, or you need something with pictures to help keep them engaged or text that isn’t too difficult for them to understand, or they’re beginning readers and all the resources available to read along with your kids, or for older kids who grapple with things that are a little more complex. There’s a certain paralysis that’s possible; you could look at this shelf and all these resources and just feel despair! To think “I’ll never do this! I’ll never steward all of this, I’ll never engage them enough. Am I asking the right questions? Are we doing the right catechism? Which version shall we use?” And people are so distraught over that. I just tell them, “If you’ve got a good thing going, just whatever works. The best catechism is whichever one that you’re using!” There’s no reason to look around you and be alarmed at how many resources there are. But thank God for whatever it is that you do have, and then pray that the Lord would bear spiritual fruit that last for eternity with that.
I know my own kids love to see what we’re reading. I know it can be annoying to have someone climb on your lap, “What is it? What are you reading? What’s that word?” Instead of seeing that as a disturbance into your quiet time, possibly see that as an invitation into, “What’s mommy reading? Mommy’s reading this chapter. Do you see a word you know? Oh you know that word. Well this is what’s going on, and this is why it’s meaningful, and here’s what it tells us about the Lord, etc.” and see those things as invitations instead of interruptions.
I really enjoy quiet, so if I want to have quiet, I need to sneak down the hallway in our flat very early, and pray that the brewing coffee doesn’t wake anyone up. I even wonder, how can I brew coffee quieter? But inevitably someone wakes up, and sneaks out, and they’re so sweet, and they just want to sit with me or even be in my presence. I love to think that my kids will grow up seeing that mommy will do whatever she can to read more of the Bible, to pray more, instead of that mommy’s so desperate to get rid of me, so that she can do what she really wants to do. Instead of having that kind of an ethos about my home, just to see that mommy’s so desperate to know more of God, and to see that awaken within them by the Lord’s grace, too.
So that’s kind of a double answer to the question of how I stay spiritually alive at the same time, to not ignore the fact that I have children, but to understand and accept who they are as children and to invite them to see what it is that I do, and that the Lord is training me up in the training up of them.
So you’re actually putting the two together; you’re not saying this is my time, and it’s fenced off and protected and you’re not a part of it, you’re actually bringing your children’s spiritual life into your own.
It actually makes life work, and then you’re not angry at them thinking that they’re some kind of interruption from Satan keeping you from the Bible, which is actually how I believed it to be when my oldest was a baby; every time she cried or needed help, and at the same time my husband was beginning to deal with a physical disability, anytime he needed help I saw all these people as interruptions to my spiritual life, instead of: the Lord is sovereign, these people are my responsibility, by his grace I can love them, and God’s feeding me in that. It’s not an obstacle to fellowship with the Lord, but an avenue.
Thank you, Gloria, so much. Tune in next time for more from UP, the Union Podcast.
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