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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hanging Between Life and Death

 Hanging Between Life and Death
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright

Summer of 2005 I found myself in downtown Houston, Texas at one of the speciality hospitals located at the medical centers. My sweet mother was battling a rare disease and the doctor we were seeing in Kerrville recommended we go somewhere that had more experience with this illness.

Mother also had some dementia  and Parkinson's as a result of the assault  of the disease on her brain. Sometimes she was not able to  process things easily and she was declining quickly.  One afternoon while sitting with her in her room, we began to hear a woman next door begin to moan loudly. I quickly rose from my chair and shut the door so mother could rest. 

The distress of the patient next door continued and by 7:00 p.m. mother said, “Will you go turn that off?”  I chuckled and by now, I was weary of the noise and felt compassion for the patient and the family. I had been praying for the person in distress and the only other thing I could think of doing to help was offer to pray for the patient in person. As I walked into the hall I met a nurse coming out of the patient’s room. 

“Excuse me,” I said as I greeted the nurse. “Is there family in room 210?” I asked.

 “No, only the patient,” she replied. “No one in the family has been up here for days,” she stated. My heart sank that no one had been there to support and love this person in their time of need. 

“Would it be alright if I went into the room and prayed for them?” I asked. The nurse knew I was a believer and she was also a Christian. “Sure, if you want to.” she said. 

As I walked in, I saw a woman with her eyes closed, tossing her head and body back and forth on the bed and moaning really loud. She looked like she was being tormented and seeing something that was causing her great distress. 
“I am here to pray for you if you would like for me to.” I said. “Would that be alright?”

The woman nodded her head up and down  and I slowly stepped a little closer to her bed and touched her hand. I began to pray out loud and ask God to pour His peace over her body and be her deliverer. The woman began to calm down a little but I could tell she was not doing well and wondered if she had long to live. As I stood there and prayed I felt God say, “She does not know me.” “Oh no,” I thought.

I very simply told her that God loved her, Jesus died for her and he  wanted to be her Savior. “If you want Him to be your Savior, let me know.” I said not really knowing if she could really understand. Much to my dismay, she squeezed my hand.

“Jesus, this woman wants you to be her Lord and Savior. Come into her heart and bring her peace.” I continued. The woman took a deep breathe and quit moaning and tossing! A peaceful look appeared on her face and she began to rest peacefully.

I exited the room and went back to check on my Mom. She was already asleep so I gently kissed her forehead and went back to the hotel for the evening exhausted but feeling confident in God and the difference His presence had made in room 210.

The next day I noticed a new patient being rolled into the room 210. I could not wait until the evening shift began and hoped the nurse I knew would be on duty. I knew she could not tell me much but I wanted to see what I could find out. Where was the woman I prayed with? Finally the nurse she appeared. 

 “ I know you can not tell me much but I noticed the woman I prayed for last night is gone today,” I said. “ 

“Thank you for praying for her last night,” the nurse in green scrubs replied. ‘Your prayers worked and the halls were quite last night,” she continued. 

“Where is she?” I asked. The nurse smiled and said, “She is no longer here, and your prayer was just in time” she said as her eyes shifted upward.

As I pondered what I heard, I realized the veil between life and death was thin. I have to wonder if the woman was moaning because she saw the reality of hell and then became peaceful as she accepted Christ. 

None of us know when we will take our last breathe and life on earth will be over. Heaven and hell are real. Do you know where you will spend eternity? Jesus said in John 11: 25, “I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (NIV)

Becoming a Christian does not mean you will not face life’s problems. It means that you have a wonderful counselor and mighty God to walk with you through life’s challenges. If you are a Christian, there are people all around that long to see the hope of Jesus in your life and mine. I challenge you to open your eyes and look and listen for them. 

I use to be hesitant to share my faith but God has helped me in so many ways, loves me more that I can imagine, gives me wisdom beyond my years and been my comforter when my heart hurts. Life with God is too good to keep for myself. I have to give it away. 


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   

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Real Love, Never Give Up and Easter

Hill Country Community Journal
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
April 1,2015 copyright

  Several years ago I walked into the gym to workout  and noticed a man wearing a t-shirt that said, “Never give up.” God had spoken those words to me years ago when I was about to tell a client she had exhausted all the grace I had. “That was it; she was dismissed from participating in the program,” I thought. As I drove to her house and prayed, I felt God’s presence invade my vehicle and God firmly spoke to me and said, “Kathleen, never give up on people because I don’t.” I knew that if I did what I wanted to do, it would be contrary to what God wanted for this woman. I obeyed God and extended mercy and grace, with firm boundaries to this young woman. I treated her with love and respect. I am happy to say that years later she is highly successful and living a godly life. That experience taught me a valuable lesson that I live by today.
     The words, “never give up” on the man’s shirt  reminded me of how God never gives up on us. He never stops loving us or believing the best about us. I Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails.” (NIV) God loves us so much he gave his only son, Jesus, for us. God let go of what was dear to him so we could enjoy life abundantly no matter what. The beauty of the Easter story is that Jesus never gave up on God. Jesus’s love for his father never wavered, even as he hung dying.  I am sure he didn’t understand because how on earth could a good father allow such a thing? Loving isn’t always easy but it never fails.
     I Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter in the Bible and talks all about real genuine love for others and how we are to love. If I were a Bible translator, which I am not, I would translate it like this:

 “If I am a wonderful eloquent speaker but do not speak with kindness and a heart of love, I miss the drum beat and the all my notes are sharp and flat.
     If I am  smart, educated, and can see into the future; and if I believe in God so much I can move Mt. Everest, but do not daily love others, I might as well go back to bed and forget the day.
     If I am generous and give to the poor, if I sacrifice my body for others but don’t do it with the right motive, I have wasted my time and money.
    Real love never gets in a hurry, it waits and doesn’t push others. Selfless love is gentle and looks for what it can give; mature love makes others feel more important than oneself. it makes others feel valuable,important  and wanted and does not have a high opinion of oneself. A person walking in love, walks in humility.
     Love is not sarcastic or and does not put others down; it always looks for the best in others and sees the good in them and  getting angry is the exception, not the rule. Love does not keep remembering when others hurt them. It makes a conscious effort to put the hurt and bad memories behind them.
      Love does not go around telling of others failures, it covers their failures. Love tells the truth.
     Love does not ever quit. it believes and looks for the best in others, love always has hope for others and endures the roughest seas and the hottest deserts to make the relationship a good one.
     Love will help you win the race every time. You can loose your ability to do your talent, you can forget the things you studied for years, 
     None of us know everything and we need each other.
     When I was young, I could get by being immature, unforgiving and mad at others but it is time to grow up.
     At the end of the day, three things hang around, faith, hope and love. But you will be a winner in the eyes of God when you walk in love; love is all that matters.” 

      Real love takes sacrifice, it isn’t easy, but it is worth it. I challenge you to read I Corinthians 13 daily for a few weeks and let the words wash over you and speak to you. Ask God what he wants to speak to your heart about His love for you and how you are to love those around you.
     God and Jesus both demonstrated their love for us in the Easter story. Love, forgiveness  and overcoming are the basic message in Christ’s death and resurrection. Before his death, Jesus was asked a question in Matthew 22:36-39,”Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 All of us will die one day. What will really matter to God and others, is how we loved. Do you love God with all your heart? Do you love others well or do you need to keep practicing? Do you daily tell God you love him and tell others you love them with your actions and words? Pride is often what keeps us from telling others and God we love them.

      I challenge you to open your heart to more of God’s love for you and daily tell God you love Him. He wants to hear those words from you. Join me in daily telling those around you that you love them. They need to hear it. We all do. And never give up on loving others because God never gave up on you.


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Me? Why is This Happening to Me? Ever Asked That Question?


“Why is God mad at me?” “Why did God let this happen to me?” “Why is God punishing me like this?” These are some of the questions numerous people have ask me when they have came to me for help and in their distress. When people ask these questions, they are expressing what they feel as well trying to make sense of their life circumstances. 

When cancer strikes, a loved one is in a car accident, financial loss hits, your marriage falls apart, or your child or spouse commits suicide, people often blame God instead of the real enemy in life, satan. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 , “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)

We live in a fallen world where there is sin, disease, disaster and loss and unfortunately we will have to contend with these things as long as we are on earth.The perfect world is heaven where there is no sorrow, mourning, tears or sickness and when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will get the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven. The good news is God walks with us in any situation here on earth, holding us by the hand as stated in Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.” (NIV) I know this from my own personal experience navigating through different crisis I have faced. Unfortunately for me, I lived over half my life before I realized God really was right there for me.

For some reason, many people live life thinking that God just looks for reasons to be mad at us and is standing there ready to strike us when we sin. or do not do things right. This is simply not the truth. Scripture tells us that it takes a lot to make God angry. Love, compassion, grace and faithfulness is His character. It also tells us Christ has already paid the price for our sin, which means for us, we live in His incredible grace and mercy. I personally feel many Christians underestimate and devalue the grace God gives us. Jesus has already paid a huge price for our sin. We live in days of grace and what a gift that is for us!

In Exodus 34:6, God describes himself to Moses and says, “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (NIV)

David talks about who he has discovered  God to be in Psalm 103:8, which  states,“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”(NIV)

The misunderstanding about God and who he really is for us is found in Colossians 1:21-22, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (NIV) Often times we rationalize circumstances in our minds and come to a conclusion about God that simply is not true. 

Unfortunately, asking why keeps us stuck and in a victim mentality. Again, speak from personal experience as I asked why often until 12 years ago. The question I ask now is “God, what do you want to teach me in this situation and who do you want to be for me?” Sometimes God teaches me to simply trust Him or the lesson is one on patience, being kind or compassion for others. Every trial I have faced has been an opportunity of growth. When I ask "what", I win! I have experienced
God being my comforter when my heart has been broken, my peace when life unravels, my joy when life is difficult and my friend when I have been abandoned or excluded by people.

God is waiting to walk with you wherever you find yourself in life. As we approach Easter and remember Christ died for us, do not forget, your sins are paid for, God is not mad at you, Jesus came to give us a wonderful life here on earth and you always have Him to hold our hand.


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

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.