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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What to take into 2017 and what to leave behind

What to take into 2017 and what to leave behind
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
January 2017

Investing in family time in Colorado with kids and grandkids
It is the beginning of 2017 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 2017 and what are the things you need to leave in 2016?

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 2017 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 throw away. 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 2016? 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?
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? 
Mimi Max teaches how to lick the beaters of French Silk Pie
Perhaps 2017 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 2017. “So there is hope for your future.” (NIV) No matter what you faced in 2016, there is fresh hope for us to grab in 2017. 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!


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



Promise for 2017

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Opening the present of peace

Opening the present of peace
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2016

Christmas 2016
Tears were streaming down the face of the woman that sat across from me. She was exhausted from trying to figure out how to care for her mom that was in the hospital, her children and financial issues that plagued her. “I’m so stressed  out,” she stated. 

This was the third person this week I’ve heard use those words as they have visited with me looking for prayer, answers and encouragement. Tension, stress, busyness, financial problems are just some of the robbers of the peace and rest for our hearts not only at Christmas time but other times in our lives.

Gifts, shopping, celebration are all a part of the holiday season but often times we miss the best present that has already been given to us - the peace that Jesus brings. Many years ago, God looked down and saw the distress  of mankind and wanted to provide a better way of life for the people He dearly loved. 

As I have read the Christmas story recorded in the Bible, I have seen one common thread-Jesus was sent to bring us peace. 

Luke 2:14 records the excitement of the birth of Jesus by stating, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” The angels proclaimed that the heart of God was to bring us peace in the gift of Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6 is my favorite passage and says, “For to us a child is born, to us a so is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end.”

God knew that in this fallen world, we would encounter trials, difficult situations and distress and he gave us a precious gift to enjoy and use to make our lives better. For many years, I did not open the gift of peace in my life. What I mean is I did not use the gift God had provided for me. God began to teach me about peace years ago and since that time, I have had many opportunities to open the gift and practice my peace. 

My mom and dad
Four year ago around Christmas, my father was hospitalized. It was discovered that he had bone cancer and had a short time to live. As I walked the halls of the hospital, I pictured myself being escorted my the Prince of Peace. A settling came over my heart and my heart was at rest knowing God would help me if I let him. Changing the way I looked at my situation took away the stress I was battling. I dearly loved my dad and was trying to wrap my head around the news I had just received when I received a call from my mother’s caregiver. 

“Kathleen, you need to get over here quick,” she stated with panic in her voice. My mom had been battling a debilitating disease for years. When I arrived at my parent’s home, mom was gone. I had to go tell my father, his sweet wife of over 50 years was gone. Again, I opened the gift of peace and used it as I delivered the news.

Just two weeks after burying mom and arranging care for my father, we had a fire in our home only a few days before Christmas. I was grateful our home wasn’t destroyed but we had extensive damage and I was already worn out from the grief of losing mom and dad’s diagnoses. Again, God was faithful in providing peace, I just had to unwrap it and use it.

I remembered what Jesus said in John 14:27 and depended on it. It says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not let it be afraid.” Each of us has a choice to let our heart be troubled and most of the time, stress is an inside job; how we look at our situations.

I have some beautiful presents under my Christmas tree. Hopefully, my friends and family will open them, use them and enjoy them. Gifts can be unwrapped and enjoyed or never opened and used. We each get to choose.

This Christmas, open the gift of peace and then use it through out 2017. God sent Jesus to give us a better way to handle life, heal our broken hearts and be our provision in any situation we face. I am forever grateful for the gift of peace and pray you will open it and use it every time you need it.


May the Lord richly bless you, keep you and give you peace.




Monday, December 12, 2016

Crisis at Christmas in not new

Crisis at Christmas is Not New
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2016

   Have you ever made plans and things just didn’t turn out the way you expected? I will have to say that there have been many things that haven’t turned out the way I had expected or planned. 2000 years ago things were not going the way Mary and Joseph had planned either. They were in love and engaged. I am sure like most couples they had held hands and chatted about their dreams together.
     Suddenly an angel appeared to Mary and told her of another plan. This plan was one that actually put her in danger of much judgment and even possible death. It was not o.k. for a girl to be expecting without being married. From Joseph’s point of view, he had to really decide how much he loved and trusted Mary. Seriously, this story is a little out there; however, I believe it is true. God is not always predictable and doesn’t always do things the way we expect. I guess that is why it is called a walk of faith. God sent Jesus to be Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23
      When you think about it, what more could we really want in life other than for God to be with us in every situation in life? What an incredible gift! I found myself the other day in an unexpected situation that could have been quite intense but I had been singing earlier that morning, “Come let us adore Him.” That song kept ringing in my ears in the midst of the situation. I was at perfect peace. The focus of my day was adoring Him. I think the problem is that most of us don’t remember to use the gift that has been given in Jesus. We can be at perfect peace in any situation if we choose and hold His hand and make Him our focus. 
     Let’s go back to the Christmas story. There was crisis in Bethlehem. Mary was expecting and was not  married. There was no place for them to stay when they arrived in Bethlehem to give birth. Joseph had to trust that Mary was being honest with him and then there is an order to kill all the babies under two in the neighborhood. Can you imagine if Obama declared to kill all the baby boys under two! It would certainly be a national crisis. We really don’t have anything to complain about.  
     Maybe your crisis is different. Maybe it is a divorce you didn’t want. Perhaps it is the death of a loved one or someone you love is very sick. It could be a  financial crisis you are looking at. It might be that you have someone you love caught in an addiction and it is destroying your relationship. Crisis sometimes barges in unannounced and makes itself at home.
      Mary chose to focus on God and the precious gift she was given that I am sure she did not understand. This is a good lesson for us. Focus on God in the midst of crisis is what will keep us moving through the crisis and give us peace. The alternative is to be overwhelmed by our circumstances. She did not have to understand. She just loved God and focused on Him and loved Joseph. 

 Isaiah 9:6 and 7 tells about the gift of Jesus given in a crisis situation“Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.” Wonderful counselor means that Jesus is our go between. He goes between us and any problem we have. Mighty God means that He is bigger than any problem we face. Prince of peace says that we have a God given right to walk in peace in any situation. Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace. That means we have an escort for us in any
situation. A prince rules and escorts. For me personally, I often picture myself being escorted by Him and overwhelming peace comes over me.
     Luke 1:37 Mary replied to God in the midst of her crisis, “Be it unto me, according to your word.” She said yes to God. She trusted God. She embraced her trial and let God escort her thru the situation; then she discovered the most incredible gift. Can you follow Mary’s example? Can I? Have you accepted the gift of Jesus? It is a question we must all ask ourselves. If we do, we just might discover the most incredible gifts of life and a new joy this holiday season..

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country, 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    81,400

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fear is tormenting-do you struggle with it?


Walking through my neighborhood recently, I noticed decorations for Halloween at various home. At one home, there were all these scary looking creatures. I began to think of how God wants us to be filled with faith and confidence, not fear as we walk through this world. 
     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 and am thankful God has set me free from various fears and the bondage fear brings.
       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. 
     II Timothy 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. There is power in your words, so tell fear to go.
     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.c

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Love, Patience and gentleness brings restoration

Choosing love, patience, and gentleness,brings restoration
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright
October 2016

I sat on my back porch watching a roadrunner zip by and baby bunnies hop across the field. I pondered my problem and began talking to God about it. I am so glad he is never too busy to visit with me and is my helper in times of trouble. Psalms 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (NIV) Running to him is always the best thing to do to to find safe place to access the situation and find strength.

 I usually let things roll off my back and do not get my feelings hurt very often, but a recent event with someone in the family,  left me a little bruised and  upset.  “Lord you saw what happened,” I softly said to God. “And it hurt my feelings too God,” I continued. 

Just as I uttered the words, I remembered a statement  I heard years ago, “you don’t have a right to be hurt, you have a right to be healed.” I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I felt like I was right in this situation and felt misunderstood. I wanted to nurse my hurt a little before I really turned it over to Jesus for healing. Years ago in my life, I thought it was ok to hang on to hurt and offenses for a little while but as I’ve matured in life and my walk with the Lord, I know that is not the best thing for me or the situation.

I have been studying Galatians 5 and what God looks like in situations or otherwise known as the fruit of the Spirit. “For the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 (NIV). We put ourselves in a win-win situation when we practice these attribute and give the attributes to people. And let me just say, it takes lots of practice! 

The fruit of the Spirit is how God wants us to live. He has given them to us to govern our lives and when we live in them, we stay in step with Him. Most of all, I feel God wants us to give them away to others to touch their lives. Most situations are about us being changed to be more like Jesus and God then using us to touch others he loves.

I felt God ask me, “Kathleen, what fruit do you need to serve in this situation?” Once again, I took a deep sigh… I wasn’t sure I wanted to serve anything to anybody but I quickly let go of that thought as I thought of God’s patience with me and his kindness and love.

  “Well God, it needs love, I can be loving like you.” I muttered still struggling. “ I can serve patience because you have been patient with me and I can give self control even though I do not feel like it,” I continued to pray. “Change my heart God,” I asked.

I began to ask God to help me to love like he does, pour patience over the situation and to exercise self control instead of doing what I felt like or wanted to do. Everything in our lives is about us being conformed and changed into the image of God. He uses everything in our lives, the good things and the hard things. I also realized I could serve some gentleness in my approach to this person and that could defuse defensiveness and create a pathway for communication and restoration.

Step one in tough and difficult situations is always to get my heart right in situations. When I lay down my right to be right and ask God to help me see things from his perspective, forward steps toward restoration are always made. What about you? Do you examine your heart in situations and ask God where it needs to change?

Not long after my conversation with God, I arranged to meet this person as it is usually better to address situations  soon so walls do not build between the two of you. 

“God give me your heart and give me your grace and power to serve the fruit of your spirit well and say healing words,” I prayed. 

As we met, I gently stated my love for the person, my desire for restoration, and wanted to hear their perspective, I saw the situation begin to change. I saw where I needed to be more patient and let God work on the situation instead of me. As I served, self control, kindness and love, things changed and there was a beautiful restoration.

What fruit do you need to serve to others around you? Do you need to lay down your right to be right? Which fruit do you need to practice? God is right there to help you, to change you and your conflict or tough situation. Pick a fruit and get busy practicing and serving. You will be glad you did and so will those around you…