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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

His Amazing Love Enables Us to Love Others


One of the outstanding characteristics of God is his constant, everlasting love for us. When someone says the word God to me, two words frequently pop into my mind: His faithfulness and love. No matter what is going on in my life, His faithfulness and love are my anchor and security. How about you? What pops into your head when you hear the word God? Opening our hearts and our minds to God’s love will bring many benefits into our lives and those we are around. February, a month we focus on love, I think it would be good for us to spend some extra time loving God and practicing loving others.
I have seen in my own life that the more I open my heart to God’s love and spend time loving Him, the better I am at loving others. We are all born with a need to be loved, and we are born selfish and self-centered. Love thinks of others first. I’ve been asking God to reveal to me when I am self-centered or selfish, as I want to love others better.
Love is a connection of hearts. Real love is based on relationship.When we love God with our hearts, instead of our mind, we are able to love others with God’s love. Actually, when we love those we are around well, it shows our love for God. 1 John 4:7 state,”Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
All of us can improve in loving God and loving others. When I think of those in my life that have loved me well, they are people that love God, are sensitive, compassionate and are not self-centered. They are the people that believe the best in me and stand by me no matter what. They are people that demonstrate their love for God by how they love me and others in their lives. Humble people and those not afraid to admit when they are wrong, are usually good at loving others — people that love in their actions, not just in words. Think of the people in your life that you feel love you. What are their characteristics? Do they say they love God or demonstrate that they love God by loving others. Loving others is proof of our love for God.
Believing God loves us takes faith. Faith and love are linked together. More than 55 times in the Bible, the words faith and love are mentioned in the same Scripture. We cannot really believe in God’s faithfulness until we really believe God loves us. I can trust in God’s faithfulness to me, because I’ve learned of His love for me. I will never forget the day I admitted to some friends and my late husband, that I believed God loved other people, but wasn’t convinced that He loved me. Let me confess, I had been a believer for 20 years. That confession was the beginning of a great journey of discovering God’s incredible love for me. That love has become the bedrock of security and trust in God. It took courage to admit what I felt, as my late husband and I were leading a Bible study, but it was a gut level confession, and God heard it and honored it. Do you need to get gut level honest with God? I had been taught since I was a child that God loved me and believed it in my head, but not my heart. It wasn’t until I was honest with others and God as a 30-year-old woman, that I really began to understand God’s love for me. Let me encourage you to be honest with God. He already knows your heart anyway.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NIV). We see in this Scripture that our faith in God is directly linked to knowing His love for us. Let me encourage you, if you lack faith in God, you need to discover His love for you. Personally, I want to be known as a woman that loved God with all her heart and loves others.

I challenge you to ask God to reveal more of his love to you, then, look for it!




Saturday, August 16, 2014

One Little Girl Walking With God



The past 6 months have taken me out of town a good bit for work. I have been working on a project in Lubbock and in Abilene. When I was tasked with the project, I was only out of town once a month but as the projects have come closer to deadline, I have had to travel weekly. My Abilene project was complete last week and culminated with a Men's Breakfast for the Abilene Transition Center.

Tables at the Steak and Egg Benefit Breakfast
The beauty of spending a lot of time on the road is you get lots of time to talk to God. I knew from the beginning of both projects that I was not going to these communities just for the job. God made it very clear that there were kingdom purposes for me in my travels so each time I entered each community, I would keep my eyes open for what God's purposes were in taking me to the Big Country and the South Plains of Texas.

Going into a community where I did not know anyone was quite different than in the Texas Hill Country where I have lived almost all my life. How on earth would I raise awareness of what our transition centers contributed to their community when I didn't know anyone? One thing I have learned in my life and am totally confident in is that God
Vintage baseball decorations 





 is with me and when He calls me, He equips me. I saw that over and over as I simply showed up in each community. God gave me incredible favor with the local TV stations and radio stations as well as community service organizations like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and others. It has been amazing to see Him put me right next to key people that can help me accomplish the mission of my job.

I have numerous stories as well as numerous obstacles God has helped me overcome. I have had the privilege of ministering to numerous widows and praying with others from staff at the hotels I've prayed at to staff at the transition centers I've worked at. God has brought the volunteers I've needed, people to come along side and make my life easier and people that share the passion I have to help those in need. 

One story I will share began as I showed up for a Rotary meeting in Abilene. I just happened to be presenting that day and just happened to sit at a table with a retired judge and author. Through the conversation, I was invited to speak at the Abilene Writers Guild. Although I felt inadequate to speak at this kind of event, I said yes as God told me He was going to open doors and I was to simply say "Yes" and trust him. When I showed up at the event and shared my story of how I began writing for local newspapers, I shared the tragedy of losing my late husband. I also told of the goodness of God and how my writing was a gift I never knew I had and how it was a blessing that came from a loss. At the conclusion of the meeting, I had at least 5 and probably more widows that came up to me and said, "You were here just to speak to me." How cool is that? I was able to encourage each of them in where they were in their own journey.

Jim "The Rookie" Morris was our feature speaker for the Men's Breakfast
One of the young adults I've had the honor of working with
From the woman that is a recent widow that I met and have shared lunch a few times to the young girl struggling with her self esteem, to the older gentleman at the Marriott, each one is precious to the Lord. So special to Him, that He gave me the privilege of touching their lives. God is looking for people here on earth that will listen to the Holy Spirit and obey when He wants to use us to touch someone.

After seven months in a community where I knew few people, the Abilene Men's Field of Dreams Benefit Breakfast was this past Thursday and $39,000 was raised! Yea God! Actually, that was over $10.000 more than I raised last year in my own community! 

God loves it when we simply say "yes" to Him and show up and hang on. I've seen him do above what I can ask or think. Life to me is about spending time with Him and loving the people He puts right in front of me each day.

I challenge you to ask Him for divine appointments, listen to Him and love those He puts in your path.

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fear Is Not Your Friend


Fear Is Not Your Friend
July Newspaper Article
By Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

      Recently I have talked to a number of people struggling with different fears. I can certainly relate as for years I was a vicim of a variety of fears. Thankfully God has set me free from the bondage fear brings.
     Fear is defined as: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. The feeling of anxiety about the outcome of something or the safety and well being of someone.  
     One thing is for sure, fear is tormenting. Fear is a thief and a robber of peace, joy and tranquility. I speak from experience. 
       There are many different kinds of fear. A few that I have struggled with in the past were a fear of death, fear of germs, fear of failure, and fear of the dark. I have found that many people struggle with the same fears that held me captive for years. I was good at justifying my fear, telling my self that one could never be too cautious. 
     One day I heard the words, “Fear is doubt  and unbelief and doubt and unbelief is not trusting God - that is sin.” At that moment, I knew I could no longer justify my fears. Whenever I was afraid, I began to acknowledge them as sin. God graciously began to set me free as I was faithful to repent and resist the temptation to walk in fear. Repentance is always our friend and is found on the path to freedom. 
     IITimothy 1:7 states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We can conclude from this passage that fear is a spirit and it is not from God; therefore, it is not our friend. There are times when I have simply said the words, “Fear go, you are not my friend.” As long as we coddle our fears, they will hang around. We must deal ruthlessly with them if we want to  get free. 
     I love Isaiah 41:10 which says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Many times I have pictured myself holding God’s hand and that gives me great courage. Dismayed means feelings of anxiety and consternation, usually by something unexpected. Have you ever had something unexpected happen? I have. 
     Proverbs 3:25 tells us, “Be not afraid of sudden fear....” Satan loves to make us feel scared because then we are intimidated. Intimidation has one goal; to scare us from even engaging in the battle. Goliath used intimidation on David but David did not bow to fear. He quickly strengthened himself by remembering how God helped him slay a bear and a lion. I love David’s faith in response to intimidation. He told the bellowing giant he would strike him down, cut off his head and give his carcasses to the birds! 
Now those are some faith filled words!
     Prior to a personal relationship with God I was terrified of dying. I had trouble sleeping at night for fear I might die. Once I accepted Jesus into my heart and repented of the fear, I was no longer afraid of dying. Knowing God personally, is the beginning of overcoming fear. Tell God you want a personal relationship with him. He will be delighted!

     The US Navy has a slogan that I think is a motto against any fears. “Life liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it.” God wants us to enjoy life, our freedom and get rid of any fear that would threaten us. Fear is an enemy, not our friend. Do not let fear rob you anymore.
Freedom is waiting...what are you afraid of?


Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Do You Need an Upgrade in Life?


June 2014
Do You Need an Upgrade In Life?
Kerrville Daily Times and Community Journal


Man lifts at our rental yard in Pecos, TX
In my journey of walking with God, I have discovered He is always wanting to lead me to a better place in life with him or an upgrade in my relationship with him. He takes great delight in presenting opportunities to be conformed to his image. He is a very relational God and everything, good or bad, can lead us to a closer relationship. We always have room to grow in any area of our lives. He loves us so much he wants the best for us and loves the process in our everyday lives.

About six months ago, my printer at work began to act up. It still worked, but the scanner only worked right about half of the time. It was frustrating but I put up with it’s malfunction, simply because I didn’t want to deal with packing it up and returning it. Finally, I had enough and took the time to return the printer. Much to my surprise, the item had been upgraded since I purchased the original one. The new upgraded version of my printer was so much better than what I had before.

In the printer situation, I saw that I was comfortable with a malfunctioning printer when there was a much better version available. To get the better version, took some of my time and of course there was a little bit of adjustment time to the new one. Upgrade means, to move to a higher standard, improve something, or raise to a higher grade or rank. There was a much better version of what I had. It is like that in our relationship with God.

We are dealing with a God who is always joyful, kind, and loves to expand us. Often times, I’ve seen him put me in situations that are beyond what I can handle, but I find, it is because he sees my potential and wants our relationship to grow even deeper. Everything with God is relational. For me, when I survey a situation, I begin with thanking God for where he has me, even if I don’t like the situation. Overcoming, to get the better of a situation, begins with thanksgiving. II Corinthians 2:14 states, Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” He is committed to leading us upward in life and I think thanksgiving is the key.
Romans 8:29 tells us, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,...” Although He stays the same, God loves us being changed into the likeness of Jesus. Life presents us many opportunities to change and get an upgrade, a better version of us. Life and Jesus are not separate, and he loves to be a part of all of our life situations.
Kathleen and sister Melissa were able to spend a few days together
For years, I lived my life stressed, anxious, and fearful with situations in life.  For the most part, those days are gone.  I discovered I choose the level I live on and God has provided peace for me to walk in no matter what life throws at me. Stress is not part of his plan for me; overcoming stress and walking in peace is. With multiple medical crisis with my late husband and parents, I got the opportunity to practice peace over and over again. I received an upgrade in crisis by choosing what level I would live on, and not just knowing scriptures on peace, but practicing peace Jesus had already provided for me. Even when I’ve gone down a path I did not plan, did I have fun with God? The answer is yes when I do not take things too seriously, look for what he wants to give me in the situation, my upgrade, and enjoy the journey with him.
Enjoying our grand girl Collins
God’s goodness and kindness leads us to upgrades in our lives when we embrace each and every situation. I challenge you to ask God to show you the upgrades he has waiting for you. There is a much better version of you, and the world is waiting to see it!



Grandson Truett is all boy!
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