Boldness in Prayer, in Life

Matthew 20: 17 – 28 Blessed is She Reflection

I’ve had this post open waiting for the right moment when things come together for a good writing session. The thing is, I’ll probably write part of this now and finish it in a day or three. When all the words come together in a cohesive thought.

As I started writing tonight this passage from I Corinthians 13 floated through my head, and relationally it makes sense.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known

Sometimes when reading Scripture the focus is on what seems like Jesus scolding people. In the reading from Matthew Jesus asks the mother of James and John if she knows what she’s asking, then asks James and John if they know what they’d be getting into sitting on his right and left hand. They say yes and it’s possible they did. Ya gotta give mom credit for asking the question, seriously. Her question is bold. It wasn’t until I read the post from Blessed is She the other day that I realized Jesus wasn’t rebuking, or correcting her, he was simply asking a question.

More often than not I hear the rebuke, the putting in my place, the dismissive. The reasons probably aren’t all that complicated, as a child, young adult questions were challenges to me, to my intelligence, to how I thought. I was the sensitive kid who learned snark well early on (I’m saying my thoughts left my mouth before I had a chance to think about them, and snark.) Yes there’s more however it’s not for here, at least not now. So when I realized that this isn’t what God, that isn’t what Jesus is doing challenging/questioning in a dismissive way. He is taking her question seriously. Jesus affirms that James and John will drink of the same Cup that he will and give their lives in service, in love for others. They will sacrifice in their body for the Kingdom, the Love of God.

Oh to have a confident faith like the mother of James and John. Faith to open the conversation with God and do the big ask. Confidence. Boldness. Faith as small as a mustard seed.

Then this Scripture from Corinthians reminded me that when we dig in, when we pray, think, study, discuss, pray, read. It’s important to work toward growing in maturity in faith. Growing in faith is no easier than growing in quilt making. It requires an openness to understanding things in a different way, listening for deeper meaning, a moving beyond our understanding as children. That, for me, means listening for the answers that Jesus gives, the questions he asks as something other than what the kid in me hears. It means moving from a rebuking, chastising questions to questions meant to help us see a deeper way of living and loving. In James and John’s instance He’s asking them to go with him to the Cross, to sacrifice their lives for the Gospel, calling us to repentance and loving people to their own deaths.

Over the last few days I’ve been writing and dealing with the self-doubt that comes with it. Oh it’s been strong with a lot of ”I can not do this!” and ”I’m not good enough” mixed in. This is in part a left over from my childhood. However I see this in a lot of women particularly in art related fields. A few quilters have reached out to me offering me, without knowing what’s going on in my head, words of encouragement. I’m appreciative of the reminders. However in reading the Gospel from Matthew and the reading from Corinthians it’s time to move into bold and confident like James and John’s mom.

Part of the writing, part of the recent conversations, part of my life is reminding quilters, particularly women, that we are worthy of being here, doing good work, doing awful work that leads to good work. We have to do some awful work to get to the good stuff. As I write I see practice piece after practice piece being stitched. I see moments of frustration as I learned to quilt. I see moment of breakthrough as I learned how to adjust tension and breathe, releasing the tension in my arms and hands, and slowing down the pace of the machine.

Becoming bolder and confident happened in the quilting long ago. You can get there too. I’d love to say I have tips to get there, I don’t. There is a specific moment when I realized that happened. Becoming bold and confident and peaceful in prayer, I’m working on that and with God’s grace that will happen.

I’m taking the example of James & John’s mom and approaching our Lord with confidence, the woman who touched the hem of His garment knowing she would experience healing, His mom Mary saying yes to God. And so now I’m off to write, to gather paperwork, and do some quilting.

God bless you,


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