An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Peaceful and Trusting or Anxious and Skeptical


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
February 2015 Copyright

If we were to look at your “trust thermometer” how would it read? Would it show that you are a peaceful trusting person or anxious skeptical person? Life is full of trials and hardships and all of us are just one phone call from being on our knees. The days we live in are full of bombings, Isis, the threat of diseases, and job layoffs.  It is imperative that we have someone to depend on and the only  one I can think of for that job is Jesus. 

I will never forget the day I got the phone call from the neurologist concerning my mother. My mom’s processing and ability to do normal tasks had rapidly faded away and there were no answers. Finally, some tests were ordered, MRI of brain and other tests, and as I stood in my parent’s kitchen, the phone rang. I answered it, “Jones Residence, this is Kathleen.” “Kathleen, we have the results of your mom’s tests,” the doctor stated. I quickly grabbed the brown paper bag that was near and a pen so I could write the results down.

“The damage to her brain is irreversible.” the doctor continued. I wrote the words down but simply could not comprehend what I was hearing. “What do you mean irreversible?” I asked in disbelief and hoping I had the wrong definition of irreversible. The doctor continued to explain that unless there was a miracle, my mom would not get better in her ability to do normal tasks as the area of her brain that processes information had been permanently damaged. Mother was only 65 at the time and had been so full of life before she got sick with the rare  disease. Suddenly, my world shook as I tried to absorb the news.

At that moment, I had to make a decision. What would I do? I had too much on my plate to panic and knew anxiety was not my friend. I remembered Proverbs 3:5 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” 

Trust is the firm belief in the ability and strength of someone or something. God is the only one I know that I can really trust. I have lots of great friends but God is the one constant friend that is always there.

Col. 1:17 says, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” (NIV) I wish I would have read this passage years ago to hang on to but what I know now is, it is true. I saw the hand of God hold things together when I did not have a clue how I would balance taking care of both of my parents, work, be a mother to my children and wife to my husband. Step by step, God walked me through that time of uncertainty and trial and held all things together for me. The phone call from the doctor was 11 years ago and I grew in trusting God.

In this season, it was imperative that when anxious thoughts came, and all the questions I did not have answers for yet, that I pushed those thoughts away and focused on God’s ability and love for me. I had to literally speak out loud, “God I trust you and I will walk in peace,” as I needed to hear those words. 

David in the Bible spoke those similar words when he was in crisis. Psalms 56:3-4 states, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise-in God I trust and am not afraid.” (NIV)

My friend, whatever you are going through, marriage difficulty, financial trouble, letting go and starting a new life, loss of a job, God is trustworthy and wants you to take his hand and walk with you. There is purpose in your trial and growing in trust reaps a wonderful crop of peace that you have a God given right to enjoy and then give to others.

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native to the Texas Hill Country, a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth and God’s love, You can reach her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com



Saturday, February 14, 2015

You Are Made to Love


You Are Made to Love
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright 2015
Kerrville Daily Times Article


“Wow, you have been busy,” the clerk at the local postoffice stated as I set all my brown envelopes on the counter. “Yes I have,” I replied. “These are valentines gifts for all my kids and grand kids,” I continued. “I guess at some time I will have to make some changes as our family keeps growing. I have gone from getting valentines for three kids to five since I remarried and now we have two grand babies,” I said as I smiled.

Letting people know that they are loved is very important to me and I not only want to be good at it but want to become excellent at loving others. Every person has a need to be loved and valued. I enjoy putting deposits in the emotional banks of people God puts in my path. When I am gone from this earth, I want it to be said of me, “she loved very well.”

God is the best at loving us as it was his idea to begin with. I John 4:7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (NIV) 

Love is the essence of who God is. He absolutely adores each of us. He tells us that over and over in his word, but more important, He has demonstrated love by sending his son so we could have everlasting life and a new life, instead of a life full of sin, guilt and regret. It is our God given privilege to go through life fully loved. Do you know for a fact that you are incredibly loved?

How good are you at showing others that you love them? When I was younger, I did not often tell anyone that I loved them. In my early 30‘s, I discovered that the reason was because I was insecure in God’s love for me. Insecure people have a hard time letting others know they love them.  I totally believed God loved other people but because of past hurts, I had walls around my heart that prevented me from receiving love, even his love. As I admitted this to myself and a few close people and prayed, God graciously removed those walls. Since that time, the more I have opened my heart to God’s love, the better I feel I am at loving others.

When we love others, we prove our love for God. Some people are easy to love and others can really challenge us. What I have come to discover is that all dealing with others give us an opportunity to practice love. I have a phrase I often repeat to myself when dealing with difficult people and it is, “Kathleen, you got to love them.” We have all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect” and I often think God allows situations in our lives to give us practice at loving like he does. One of my life sayings is, “I am what I love, not what loves me.” This keeps me grounded in difficult situations.

I John 4:11 instructs us in love by saying “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 
Let me encourage you this Valentines Day to begin the day receiving God’s love for you. Verbally tell God you love him and that you open your heart to his love. Ask him to help you love others well. The Texas Hill Country is full of people needing to be shown and hear that they are genuinely loved for who they are, not what they do. Ask God to let you be his valentine to those around you. He is looking for people to be his hands and feet Valentines Day and every day. 






Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Time for a Heart Checkup

Kerrville Daily Times Article
January 2015
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright

     As I walked into the Emergency Room to see my father, I was greeted by the physician that had been treating my dad. “Kathleen, your dad is in serious condition and his heart is failing. I am afraid he could code at any moment. Do you have his advanced directives?” the doctor stated.  “I have them at home.” I replied, still trying to wrap my mind around what I heard. “You need to go and get them as soon as possible,” the tall doctor continued.
     I knew my father had bone cancer and congestive heart failure.  He was tough as a boot and had already used up his nine lives but I guess I expected he would have ten. He exercised, watched his weight and took medication to take care of his heart and to help beat the odds of his condition. He was a fighter and he had always been a part of my life.
    It is imperative that each of us take care of our heart, otherwise, we will not live long. But what about your spiritual heart? What condition is your heart in? And how  can we take care of our spiritual heart?
     Proverbs 4:23 admonishes us to guard our heart. It says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV) Our heart is the core of who we are and we must examine it all the time to keep it in good shape and in proper condition. When our heart is settled, peace is in  our life even though circumstances might be a bit crazy. It is our heart that is the doorway to life with God.
     The first and best ways we can take care of our spiritual heart is to give our hearts to Jesus. God sent Jesus so we could have a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26 talks about this great exchange and what God’s heart is for us when we accept Christ into our lives. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (NIV) 
     It is simple to get a new spiritual heart. Romans 10:9 &10 shows us how. “That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord,: and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Have you accepted Christ into your heart? If not, what are you waiting for? Your new heart is available.
      Numerous people give their hearts to Christ but then do not take care of it. Reading the Bible, talking to God, also known as prayer, confessing sins to him and receiving His forgiveness are all things that strengthen our heart. All of these things keep our hearts in good shape. God’s word is like a road map. It keeps us going the right way, shows us how to live, speak, work, get along with others, have peace and joy.
     Prayer is nothing more than conversation with God. You do not have to kneel to pray and can visit with God anytime, any place. God loves being a part of our everyday life and created us to have relationship with Him. Telling God how we feel, what concerns us, how something hurt are all ways of pouring out our heart to God. The great news is He is always available to listen.

 Just like hardening of the arteries will keep blood from flowing properly through our bodies, our heart can get hard and calloused by difficulties in life, hurt, disappointments, and  betrayal. Forgiveness is essential to keeping our heart soft. Forgiveness is a two way street. We are instructed throughout scripture to forgive others that have hurt and disappointed us and we are also told to ask God for forgiveness of the things we have done wrong.


     Confessing and repenting of our sins, wrong attitudes, selfish actions or unkind words are essential to keeping our heart soft. All of us have done wrong. Sometimes one of the hardest things to do is forgive ourselves. Most people hate to make mistakes but don’t be afraid to admit your faults to God. He loves you unconditionally and He wants your heart tender towards Him and others.
     My sweet father’s natural heart stopped beating shortly after my conversation with the physician two years ago. He was a man that also took care of his spiritual heart and set a good example for his children and grandchildren.
     You and I have a lot of life to live. I do not want to miss one second of the things God has for me and I always want my heart to be soft and tender to Him and sensitive to those around me. Life flows from the heart in the natural and in our spiritual lives. Will you join me in giving your spiritual heart a checkup and take care of your heart? 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Time to Take Inventory




My grand babies taking inventory...
It is the beginning of 2015 and it is time to take inventory of your life and prepare for the future. As I looked at my own life, walk with God and where I want to go, I discovered something. There are things I want to take into the new year and things I need to leave behind. What about you? What do you want to take into 2015 and what are the things you need to leave in 2014?

I want to continue solidifying the things God has taught me in this past year. Everything in life is about our relationship with God and with others. God always wants to be with us in every situation. He is always with us, he promises that in scripture, the problem is we often do not realize it and rest in his love. In his love, he wants to help us, guide us and be what we need. I have seen God help me step out to do things I have never done before, provide connections I needed and be my security in the process. He has also been my stability during change and shown me things I have seen as a negative, he sees as a positive and will work it together for my good. He has helped me love people that have not been kind or easy to love. All of these are things I am taking with me into 2015 and intend to build on them.

Recently, I was going through some cabinets and drawers at home. I realized there were things cluttering my my drawers and cabinets and things I needed to simply get rid of. I think it is also important to look at our heart to see what we need to let go of or get rid of. What baggage needs to stay in 2014? I am talking about things like failures, disappointments, hurts and unforgiveness. Isaiah 43:18 says, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing.” (NIV) If we focus on the negative things and regrets in our lives, it can keep us from fully enjoying the present. Bad things happen to good people, however, each of us has a choice of how we handle them and if we dwell on them. I have wasted plenty of time in my life focusing on failures, disappointments, hurts, unforgiveness, and things that just do not benefit me.What drawer in your life do you need to clean out so you can make room for the new?

Collins and Mama Max
Isaiah 52:1 also instructs us by saying, “Clothe yourself with strength and splendor, shake off your dust, for this is what the Lord says.” (NIV) God tells us that his heart for us is to reach for the strength he provides, shine or be bright to the world around us and get rid of things we do not need. We need to listen to him and what he says instead of negative voices. What do you need to shake off? 
My son being a good daddy!

Perhaps 2014 was a difficult year for you. Maybe you lost your job, lost a loved one, experienced a tragedy, were diagnosed with cancer or another disease. Jeremiah 31:17   is a short scripture and is God’s gift to us as  we walk into 2015. “So there is hope for your future.” (NIV) No matter what you faced in 2014, there is fresh hope for us to grab in 2015. When you walk with God, there is always hope and hope serves as an anchor for our soul.

This year, I challenge you to take a look at your life, shake off and get rid of things you do not need and make room for the new things God has to give you this year. God adores you, so partner with him and remember the best is yet to come!




Thursday, January 1, 2015

Holiday 2014 Love and Laughter

Helping Mama Max with Christmas cooking

Our 2014 holiday was full of lots of love, smiles and fun! Having two 16 month olds around made for lots of action, trips to the park, special memories and sweet times. I have had to laugh as all our plans for the holidays got switched around numerous times. Everyday proved to change from what we thought but it was all ok as we went with each change. I firmly believe learning to adapt quickly to change is part of walking with God. He loves when we depend on him and surrender our plans to him. Life is too short to insist on our plans and our ways. It is much more fun to walk with Jesus and laugh when things do not go as we plan. 
Funny Collins
Stephen and I got to see all our kids, although somehow I didn't manage to get all the pictures. I was too busy cooking! We treasured the times we got to spend with each one of our kids, grand babies, and times we were able to be with friends. Relationships are something I value and treasure and I am thankful for the people God has in my life. Looking forward to 2015! 



Playing with Collins and her new pots and pans


Turett
2014 Christmas Celebration
Laura, Austin and Collins Maxwell, Price (tall redhead in the back) Truett, Mallory and Rob Williams, Kathleen and Stephen
 

Cousins