A Bigger CallNew Every Morning | June 29, 2018
THE WORDS OF INSTITUTION — “This is my body, broken for you” — used to sound like resignation: “This is all I have, and it is shattered to make room for you.” But we are asked to remember this sacrifice at every meal, with every bite of sustaining food we eat with our loved ones. In that remembering, we approach the words from a different angle. Jesus’ body has been and will be enough, and the offering of a humble human body can change the course of history, exemplifying God’s love and grace for infitnity.
Like the call of Christ, the call of motherhood is too often interpreted only as a call to martyrdom — the call for never-ending sacrifice, for sanguine depictions of excruciating pain and suffering, for perfect and docile piety. But this interpretation is weak and all to often damaging. Christ as (only) martyr leaves his followers in a place of discomfort, focused solely on anguish, shame, and woundedness. Likewise, motherhood as martyrdom leaves us in the same place, focused solely on self-denial, physical endurance, and sanctimony. We only need lurk for a few weeks on any number of mother-focused Internet forums or support groups to see motherhood as martyrdom at play. ….
Mothers hear those who oppose them approaching, and they become fearful, no matter how sound their confidence in their decisions. . . . The emphasis on mother as martyr is not a new phenomenon. The cult of domesticity has not left us. Our great-grandmothers were chided to follow the pattern, and they passed the example down to their children and their children’s children. Like the old joke about continuing to cut the ends off a roast because “That’s how Mom always did it,” we eventually learn that Mom only did so because her pan wasn’t big enough for the whole roast. As we strive for martyrdom, we are merely echoing our foremothers who had to shrink to fit a pan that wasn’t big enough for them either. But there is a bigger pan and a bigger call.
– Hannah Shanks
This Is My Body
From pages 79-81 of This Is My Body: Embracing the Messiness of Faith and Motherhood by Hannah Shanks. Copyright © 2018 by Hannah Shanks. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
What is the nature of the bigger call in your life? Share your thoughts.
As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”
2 Corinthians 8:15, NRSV
This Week: pray a prayer of praise every day this week. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
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This week we remember: Irenaeus (June 28).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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The bigger call is to resolve issues that divide my son and I and help him on his way in life. Thankfully yesterday was a step, perhaps small to him, but significant to me, in the right direction. He found helpful information and shared it. I was able to use it to further my understanding. We have a trip together planned for today, it too should be helpful. If I am too optimistic, he is perhaps too pessimistic.
Thankful the reflection is here today. Not a Mom, but trying in some way to be
at least motherly at times since Erich’s Mom, my wife, passed away many years ago, I think I understand much of today’s reflection, but will never understand it all.
Moms most certainly do a lot for us, bring us into the world, nurture, and care for us in ways Dads definitely can not do. The mother of our Lord is very much emphasized in the Bible. After the return from Egypt, Joseph disappears, Mary is there when Jesus dies on the cross. She’s there from beginning to end.
Thankful for good traveling weather, pray for a safe trip today.
Prayers for the UR family, especiallyt hose whom we hold up to the Lord for a variety of reasons. Lord, listen to Your children praying, Lord, bring Your spirit in this place, Lord listen to Your children praying, bring us power,
bring us love, bring us grace. Thank You, Lord.
Peace, blessings, and love to you all.
Peace blessings and love to you Robert – you exemplify everything that a mother and father do for their children- primarily sacrifice and love- I hope you have a good trip with Erich and that Erich appreciates all you have done for him- I pray for him in his job struggles and pray that one day he will know the same strength comfort and peace that you draw from your faithfulness and love of the Lord.
Blessings and peace to all today.
I am thankful and I praise God for a good conversation with my youngest- for good employment for my two other children- please keep them safe Lord.
Prayers for my youngest and I as we travel to visit relatives tomorow –
I am thankful for my family and for their love.
Prayers for those who are homeless or lack access to cooling during this heat wave- I am thankful for my house and a cool place to escape to.
Prayers for all – especially Connie- have missed your always uplifting words – I hope and pray all is well with you-
God’s peace to all today.
A quite wonderful day yesterday in the northern end of New Hampshire, it has sparked a lot of interest and more likely than not more visits.
May you have a wonderful bonding time with your son, Erich, on this trip, Robert!
It was a wonderful day. Learning more about an area we traveled through, It has sparked even more interest and research, expect we will visit the area again soon.
Thank you Mary for your prayers.
So glad that you can be creative in reaching out to Erich even through your hobby!
May you continue to enjoy your relationship with Erich, encourage and inspire him, Robert!
Prayers for safe travel for Robert and Erich and aa positive outcome.
Prayers for safe travels for Lou and a relaxing visit. Lou, what is your profession if I may ask?
Prayers for all of the UR family, those that are posting and those who are absent.
Made an appointment with another lawyer for Monday. I am very upset, it was a month ago that I saw the one that won’t return my call, so I have lost a month and some money and have to start over. However, the things she told me make sense and I choose to believe them rather than the information the “other’s” lawyer gave him. Please pray that the new lawyer corroborates the other’s information.
Prayers that you have a lawyer that knows what to do and does it. Having a good lawyer is essential in this situation. God is with you, ask always for God’s wisdom.
Lots of good things happened yesterday on our trip, am hopeful that the research that has ensued, as well as upcoming visits will be constructive in making good decisions. Praying for God’s wisdom and direction.
I will ponder this devotion today. Yesterday I prayed a very pleading prayer about how hard the relationship with my daughter is. I pray today for a tougher skin, for patience and humor when she is cutting or distant toward me, for wisdom and guidance in the difficulties in our communication and relationship, for her parenting, and for my grandson and son-in-law. I pray for a closer relationship with my daughter. Help me to listen well to her and help me to deal with our difficulties in a way that is respectful of myself – as well as respectful of her, for which I constantly strive.
Robert, I pray you and Erich have a good trip, and that the divisive issues between you lessen. Lou, I pray you and your youngest daughter have a good trip and that you are settling into your new house. Julie, my prayers continue for you, for your support, for a top-notch lawyer who communicates with you in a timely manner, and for your husband, that God will transform his heart. Jill, prayers that you are having a good, restful summer break and prayers for your mother, father and sister. Marcy, prayers for your health, physical and mental, and for your support, emotional and financial. Connie, prayers for you and your husband. Mary, prayers for you and your family and prayers for a good, hardworking colleague at your school. Betsy, prayers for you and your family.
Praise God for answered prayers. When prayers are unanswered, may we trust God and persevere in faith and prayer. Blessings.
Thanks so much Andrea!
May your relationship with your daughter improve and may you always reflect God’s unconditional love wherever you go!
Thank you, Mary. The relationship with my daughter is so painful at times. I appreciate your prayers. God bless you and may God give you a skilled and dedicated teaching colleague.
Father God, we commit Andrea and her daughter’s relationship into your hands. May you bind them together with your love!
Thank you, dear Mary. I must remember yo do this. I am praying for you and your new colleague. Blessings.
Prayers for you and your daughter, just as you pray for me and my son. I am quite familiar with the situations you describe. Yesterday went very well and I
feel progress was made, have more to do, and with God’s wisdom will keep at it.
Peace, patience, and persistence and the wisdom of God to know when to apply them.
Thank you, Robert. I keep you and Erich in my prayers. Yes, peace, patience, persistence, and wisdom are needed for our difficult adult children. Thank you for your steadfast encouragement.
Hello, blessed UR family and siblings — I’ve been ill the last few weeks with the same gastro and migraines, and am experiencing vision problems from pulmonary meds and treatments. This makes reading hard and writing harder, and frequently painful, so when I’m able, I catch up here every couple of days or so. Praying starts each morning…don’t have to see to pray! It takes forever to write/type though.
Thank you, everyone, for your prayers. I feel the strength from them. Thankful to God for leading me to this special family and all who visit here.
Robert, I’m encouraged by your special day and all it brought you. I am thankful to read your knowledgeable posts. I count them among many blessings. I’m keeping you and Erich in prayer and pray for his success. Praying also for Annaliese and all of your family. I’m thankful for counseling sessions that are bearing fruit. I pray that Arnolds and Clayton continue to recover from their heart problems. I am keeping Bob Jones, Richard White, and Joan Duffy in prayer, as they deal with life threatening health issues. May God be with them and their families and friends.
Jill, I am lifting your Mom, Gloria, in prayer to the Lord, with all she is going through. I keep you, your Dad, Larry and sister, Becky, in my prayers also. Your golfing days with your Dad sound so enjoyable for you both. I’m thankful for the counseling that has helped so much.
Mary, I am praying for you as you are overwhelmed at work and praising your ability to still provide excellent teaching. I pray the school hires more staff to share the weight. Your Mom and Dad and family continue to be in my prayers.
Julie, I am lifting you and your daughter up in prayer to our Father in heaven to lessen the anxiety of these heavy days. I pray you find an excellent lawyer and feel God will lead you to just the right one. I’m praying your hands are much better now that it is Summer and for any other physical issues you may be experiencing due to the stress. Let go, let God is so hard sometimes. We get there with perseverance.
Lou, praises for your upcoming trip. I’m praying for you and your youngest during the trip and keep your other children in my prayers also. It sounds like your settled in well in your new home, PTL! Time for new and precious memories. My middle name is Lou and when I see our names close together in the prayers of others here, the two are together, just as we all are here!
Andrea, I found your interest in the YMCA very encouraging. Now, just have to get well enough to check it out…
I continue to pray for you and Lowell. And I pray for your daughter to treat you well. You are strengthened through our Triune God and it’s a blessing to see. I keep your son-in-law and sweet grandson in my prayers also. Thank you for your lovely descriptions. They, too, are a blessing to us all.
Betsy, I keep you and your family in my prayers. I am praying for Jim and Denise in the loss of their quadriplegic son, knowing that he has been fully restored. I’m not a mother, and I don’t know what it is to lose a child. I pray for all parents whose children have gone on before them.
I am thankful for the encouragement of your posts.
It’s been so long since we’ve heard from Louise. I pray she is well. I continue to keep Connie, Francesca, April, Gerri, Pam, Ami, Rusty and K, Kenneth Miller, Gail Churchill, Chloe and Paige and all the others who have visited here, in my prayers. I pray for those who have unspoken requests, the Lord knows your needs. Praises for all in health, happiness and harmony, celebrating happy birthdays, graduations and anniversaries.
Praying for all suffering from violence, unnecessary separation of families experiencing the effects of floods, wildfires and drought and persecution for their faith in other countries. May God see us through all the chaos in our own country and the world and give those in power compassion for those in need.
I pray my words have been hopeful and helpful, as I still believe—-
And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!
I praise God for you, Marcy, for setting a good example for all of us by praying for each one of us despite your health and condition!
May God continue to bless you abundantly!