Just Keep Asking

Just like the Canaanite woman did in the Gospel of Matthew.

She knew that this man passing through her region was the one to heal her daughter.  She knew he was the son of David. She knew he was God and she was not going to back down from beseeching him to heal her daughter.

Have you ever prayed to God for something really important and nothing happened?  Was it like God was not hearing you, ignoring you, perhaps had abandoned you?

I have certainly been there!  Unlike this Canaanite woman, I did give up.  I even turned my back on God; I’m very ashamed to confess.  I am blessed to have been drawn back to the all knowing and loving Creator in spite of my disobedience.

The message today struck me hard.  I know now that sometimes when God seems to be silent and not answering our prayers there is always something deeper going on.

Looking back now at situations I realize the error of what I was asking for on various occasions.  Some things were not the best course of action for me, although I was sure it would have been at the time.  Other times what I was praying for wasn’t the best option for those I was praying about.  I’ve looked real hard at my life and understand a little more than I did before mass today.

If I know I am asking for something righteous and truly in line with God’s way and the teachings we have from Jesus at our fingertips to learn, then I should never back down, never stop praying.

The Canaanite woman didn’t.  She knew who she was talking to and she didn’t care that she was way out of line for speaking to him (first of all a woman in that time was never to speak to a strange man, and especially one of authority, and it was clear that this Jew was someone!), and besides Canaanites were hated by the Jews, yet she persisted to ask help of this man.

Why would she do that?  He had ignored her, then he insulted her as a Jew might telling her he had been sent to take care of the “House of Israel”, not the likes of her.

But she persisted because she knew this was more than a Jewish man, this was God!

Of course Jesus heard her, and he wasn’t really ignoring her, even when his disciples with him tried to encourage him to move away from her.  He was testing her.

I realize better now what this means, that God will test us.  Not like your professors who want to write a hard quiz and really don’t care if you pass or not, but like a good teacher that wants to find out that you understand and “get” the material that is important for getting along in this life.

You would think the humiliation he dealt her next would have silenced her.  Remember that she and her countrymen were thought of as lower that low.  Jesus presented one more test when he told her it wasn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the little dogs.

Wow.  Talk about a slap in the face.  That was cruel.  Did she quit?  No!  She knew this was more than a man and that he was her only hope for saving her daughter.

Verse 27 – “She retorted, ‘Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters’ table.”

Jesus already knows what is in our hearts.  He didn’t have to execute this terrible quiz for her benefit.  Anyone listening to this exchange needed this example.  We, today, have it documented in God’s Holy Word.  If we choose to read it and be led to its understanding by the aid of the Holy Spirit, that exchange will also benefit us.

I wonder if she ever doubted, like I have.  During this exchange, did it ever cross her mind that in spite of this being the Lord, would he not help her so she might as well just turn and walk away?  We do not know her thoughts.  The one thing that is important is that she did not stop believing the Lord God would help her and that she would not turn away.

We just have to keep asking.

My faith has been strengthened by today’s message, and I hope you will read it for yourself and take it to heart.   Matthew 15:21-28 

This evening I made a card, but I’m not sharing it on my blog.  It is a sympathy card for a friend who’s father has passed away.  I think this should be left private between us.

I do have two cards that I’ve finished in the last couple of days just so you might be inspired by something crafty after my outpouring of my soul.

 

I had some “Saving cream” paper left over from a precious challenge that I used gold embossing powder for the flower. The leaves are stamped in the same color of ink as the paper, Fun Stampers Journey Limeade Splash, and then I put clear embossing powder over it.  The Fall card was stamped on watercolor paper and I used wc pencils on it.

I leave you with this final thought – Believe in God, never give up or turn your back -your faith is stronger than you know.

Blessings,

Crafty hugs, too!

Joyce Ann

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Sewing Days

A couple of days ago I made my dear granddaughter two wet bags, a doll dress with a matching diaper, and got it mailed off to her and Tiny Tot.  Kara had asked for another bag because having only one, that I had made her when Jovy was born, meant she couldn’t keep up with laundry since they go out almost every day now.  These bags can be used for other things after the diapers are gone, like swimsuits, caught in the rain, whatever is necessary to keep the wet off the floor of the vehicle.

Leia has wanted me to make her doll a Mulan dress.  Without a pattern for it, I will have to improvise.  But before I draft a pattern I want to see how the pattern I have fits her doll.  I do have some pretty brocade scraps I can make her something out of, when I know it will fit.

Next Sunday my church is having a drive for the local Genesis House, a place for homeless pregnant teenagers.  There was a list in the bulletin for “Baby Shower” items.  I don’t have any spare diapers lying around but material to make a quilt I sure do.  I just finished this quilt today.

BabyQuilt_2156

It measures 34 x 31.

So this is my 3rd day without paper crafting, but I’ve enjoyed sewing.  I was digging and found a nice large piece of flannel (2 yds aprox.) and will make two receiving blankets before the weekend also.

It is hard for my DD to get up early in the mornings, so we attended The Feast of the Assumption of Mary last evening, the vigil at 7 pm.  This is a very important day in the Catholic religion. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin, the mother of Jesus Christ. (taken right off the Internet).  We had a great homily that renewed my appreciation and furthered my understanding of why we believe this and why she should be respected – other than the fact she is the mother of God.  Some facts I learned is about what is not found in Holy Scripture.  There are no references to people taking any of her remains like so many other saints were.  Nothing.  And when you think about her, she was a warrior Queen!  Just think about what you know of this young, unmarried, virgin girl and what task was set before her!

Blessings to all of you who stopped by.  Have a crafty day and shine with your beautiful smile for all whom you see.

Hugs,

Joyce Ann

Child of Light

God is Light.  I am a child of God.

Did Jesus tell us that our parents do not matter?

Gospel, Matthew 10:37-42

37 ‘No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me.

38 Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.

39 Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

40 ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

41 ‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person.

42 ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.’

 

In our message today we read this passage from the Bible.  It has confused me many times before because it seemed contradictory to other passages that bid us to “Honor our father and mother”.

My parents were certainly a troublesome source for me.  Why would my dad walk away from a beautiful wife and a precious baby girl?  Mother was so devoted to him, she loved him with her whole being, and yet this was not enough.  I came to realize much later in life that it wasn’t fault of my mother’s nor mine, he simply was who he was, flawed like we all are.

When the beatings my step-father imparted on me became too much for my mother to tolerate, she gave in to her mother’s request to take me to live with them.  She refused to leave this abusive man because she feared his threats.  There were feelings, all those years ago, of being abandoned by her.  My grandparents were the absolute best and I loved them dearly.  But, there remained a longing for my mother who continued to refuse sanctuary for many years offered to her and each of their children by my grandparents.  She continued to live in fear until her premature death at age 37.

I have been preoccupied with thoughts of parents.  There was plenty of guilt for not having been able to get her away to safety so she could have lived a better life.  She loved our Lord and showed it by always doing good for others.  I spent some summer visits standing beside her in church, looking up at her smiling face as she worshiped and sang.  She was his faithful servant.  She is in the Light with God.

So, yeah, I have “mommy” issues.  The point of verse 37 is simple: do not put mother, father, son or daughter before God.  That’s all.  Put God first before everyone and everything.  The abuse she suffered was not about me.  It was not about what I did or did not do.  I’m not saying that if I had put God in my priorities ahead of her it would have all ended well for her.  It’s about me putting God first right now, this moment, and moving on.  After all it is only this moment in time that is truly here.  I must not get lost in my sadness of the past and have my purpose clouded.  I must let all things be for the glory of God.  I must do God’s love, be God’s love in the world.  I must place God first, put my priorities where my Light of God will shine through.

Each of us have this at our core – be the Light of God to everyone.

May Jesus Christ be with you today, and always.

 

In peace,

Joyce Ann

Driving Out the Demons

When I travel too far from the teachings I know to be true and sound, I fall into relying solely on my own devices for figuring out how to run my life. This morning I had one of those moments where I wanted to quit life, give up on trying to make things work right, forget about the people I love and all the trouble it was taking to just survive.

I shouted out, “I want to give up!” I got some horrified looks and I stormed off to my bedroom. I didn’t throw anything, didn’t even slam my door, just slipped away. I knew then I needed to regroup – big time.

The first thought that came to mind was to spend some quality quiet time with my Bible. The answers are there and I had let time spent in study of Scriptures slip far away from my daily existence.  I knew answers could be found if I looked inside that book. So, I propped up my big black pillow that supports my back when I sit up in bed, picked up my dusty study Bible from my bedside, and noticed my notebook there too. This notebook is a help of previous thoughts and ponderings. My eyes fell on Scripture from Mark. Here are my thoughts on Mark 9:14-29.

Jesus disciples were unable to drive out a “demon” because of lack of prayer and their lack of trust in God.

Two points: 1) How can I hope to accomplish my goals and dreams if these men – Jesus’ disciples – couldn’t do the task they attempted? They were actually with Jesus! And their faith and trust lacked?! 2) I didn’t have the so called advantage of being in Jesus’ presence but I have a two thousand year advantage of intellectual exposure to Jesus’ teaching. My life needn’t be cluttered with the day to day burden of survival as those mens lives were. At the most they had three years with him – I’ve had a half century.

Lesson: Get my prayer life back in order and stop doubting what I know to be true about the power Jesus – the Son of God – has and makes available to me today.

Key verse: Mark 9:23 – Jesus said to him, “If you can! Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

As a note to understand, in vs. 22 the father of the afflicted boy said “If you can do anything…”  Jesus came back with “if you can!” to make his point – “If” doesn’t cut it. You have to have full faith.

Get this: EVERYTHING is possible to one who HAS FAITH! No ‘ifs’ but a positive yes it is to be true and for real.

So, have faith. We all can build on our faith. I will pray to build my faith. Taking a time out – preferably often – to read sacred Scripture and pray for understanding and direction – and listening – will renew our frazzled existence.  He promises this. And I know it to be so.