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

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…

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Letting go of disappointments leads to new life

Letting Go of Disappointments
by Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
October 2016

letting go leads to new life
Have you ever been disappointed in life? I believe all of us face disappointments of varying degrees quite frequently. Some are huge and life altering and others may be small. As we embrace the letting go process in a godly way we can find jewels that will make us rich in life.

There are many different kinds of disappointments we face. Perhaps someone we expected to spend the rest of our life with is gone due to death or divorce. Maybe cut backs at work cause you to loose your job. That is not only a financial disappointment but an ending of how you spent your days.

 Perhaps you’ve been praying for someone to be healed and that has not happened yet or does not happen and you are disappointed in God.

 What about a relationship coming to an end?

Have you ever depended on someone to do something or had an expectation of them and they disappointed you?

Another big disappointment is abuse, either verbal or physical.  People that were suppose to love and care for you do not for whatever reason; usually because of their own hurt and disappointments that have never been dealt with.

Sometimes we make mistakes and we disappoint ourselves by how we act or words we say. Then there are disappointments when someone says something insensitive or ugly.  Perhaps someone you love makes a wrong choice and it costs us personally.

Unfilled expectations of people can lead to disappointments. We expect someone to have God’s heart for us. We expect godly people to treat us with love and compassion. 

People are people and they will disappoint us. I know I have probably disappointed many throughout my life and I am very sorry. My heart is to always walk in a way that pleases God; nevertheless I am human and I fail at times. I admit I sometimes ask God for “five minutes in the flesh” but He never  gives me permission to respond that way!

which road will you choose-look for the rainbow
The big question we are confronted with when we face disappointments is what road will we take when we face the crossroads of disappointments? I feel there are three major roads we can take when we arrive at the crossroads of disappointments. Which path do we choose? I’ve discovered three major choices and have been down all of them.
1. Blaming Drive
2. Questioning Lane
3. Acceptance Road

On Blaming Drive, I have found the opportunity to blame others, get mad and angry, become bitter, loose hope. Often times we blame God, get mad at him and accuse him for something He never did. We simply live in a fallen world and will have disappointments in this life. The Pharisees were disappointed in God and they missed Jesus.  They expected God to send the Savior one way and God sent him in a manger.  Disappointments can cause us to miss Jesus in our circumstances.

The Questioning Road I have found keeps me stuck. This road is often characterized by paralysis of analysis. It frequently says, Why would God do this to me? Why is this happening to me?  Why have I prayed for healing and it hasn’t happened?  Where is God? 

When my mother became ill with a debilitating disease I camped here for a while. Finally I realized that Jesus asks God, “why have you forsaken me,” and God didn’t answer Him; so why would I think He owes me an explanation?

The best choice is The Acceptance Road and it says, “It is what it Is” and declares “God, you are big enough to fix it. You are big enough to heal my disappointment.” I love a quote by author Graham Cooke. He says, “God allows in His wisdom, what he could easily prevent in his power.” When I remember that quote, it quiets my soul. Romans 8:28 promises that our disappointments will work together for my good. This is the faith road. This is the road that allows us to let go of our disappointments. Often times God is at work in our lives and we simply do not see it unless we accept disappointments.

Price and Kathleen dove hunting-now that is new life!
Letting go is not a one time event and is often times a process. The greater the disappointment, the longer the process. The great news is God always supplies us with the grace we need to let go. Letting go declares our trust in God. Also, in the process, when we seek God in our pain, the process makes us rich. 

Psalms 84 is a passage that has brought me great comfort and direction in times of disappointment. It reminds me of the benefits of dealing with our disappointments. Psalms 84:5 says, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you,  whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka, (tears)
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
 till each appears before God in Zion.”

As we depend on God for the strength we need to let go of disappointing situations, He will supply. He says in II Corinthians 12:9  states, “His grace is sufficient.”  As we set our hearts on embracing the journey,surrendering and accepting we must focus on the fact that it is a season and will pass. We will pass through the valley of tears. It is not the destination. In this, we establish our faith and grow stronger;therefore, challenges can actually be a catalyst to help us grow when we see them from God’s perspective.

Another benefit of letting go is we can become a source of encouragement for others. Not only do springs bubble up but also scripture tells us we will be a constant supply for others. We must extract all we can from our challenges. 

Letting go in life is simply a part of a healthy life. What do you need to let go of today? What pricked your heart? I pray God’s rich blessings on you as you let go of disappointments and move forward into new life.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace

Do you need help? Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace is here!
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright September 2016


Ellis Elizabeth, my grand baby,  turns one
I was working out at the gym the other day and was trying hard to keep up with the rest of the class. I think I’m the oldest one in the bootcamp I have been attending but I’m happy to just be there and be moving. About half way through the class, I wondered if I could finish as the things we were doing were very hard. In an effort to shift my focus from “I can’t” to “I can” I began to focus on the exercises and I began to thank God for different things. Thanksgiving always helps me adjust my attitude and get it positive.

“Thank you God that your grace is sufficient for this class- thank you for abundant grace-thank you for amazing grace,” I continued as I took another breath and jogged a little slower.

God’s grace is something that enables us to do things that we ourselves cannot do on our own. His grace is also his presence in our lives that is always available to us to access at any given time in our lives. The problem I face and see others face, is we often try to do things in our own strength instead of depending on Him.

When Jesus came, a new season of grace was available to all. As I began to study the word grace, I discovered that it is frequently referred to with some incredible adjectives. Abundant grace, sufficient grace, riches of grace, confident grace, much grace and surpassing grace were just some of the things I found about this power packed word. 

Romans 5:17 says, “…how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (NIV) When we simply say, “God help me” in our everyday task at work or at home, His grace helps us rule over life’s circumstances. 

One of my favorite scriptures of grace is II Corinthians 2:9  and has helped me through many dark days. “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV) I’ve had days where I have thought I just can not do something or just cannot go another step. It is in those times, I’ve heard God say, “you can do this, my grace is sufficient.”

Tammy, a dear friend 
Grace is not earned, it is given as a gift. I’ve received lots of gifts in my life and with each one, I had the choice to open the present and use it or leave it unwrapped and unused. I love what II Corinthians 9:14 says about surpassing grace. “…because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” Surpassing means incomparable or outstanding. That is the kind of gift God gives to each of us every day.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “ Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This scripture tells us that grace is not earned by good works, it is something God gives to us even when we really do not deserve it. We can always approach God with confidence because his character is rooted in love and forgiveness. God loves to help us. Do you need to open the gift of grace to help you? It is ready to be opened.

II Corinthians 9:8-9 says,” And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” His power is right here for you and me in family situations, at work, in relationships, with our kids, in health battles, being kind when others are not and even at a workout at the gym.

i have had to call on God’s grace for all the above mentioned things in the recent months. God is right beside you and me waiting to give what  need to face where we are in life. Call on Him. Grace does not depend on how good you have or have not been, It is an amazing gift you open right now.

I finished the bootcamp class that day and smiled as I walked out the door. God’s grace had helped me to finish the exercise class. I am so thankful I serve a God that cares about the little things in life as well as the big things we face. I challenge you to join me in  thanking God for grace, opening the gift of grace and using it at work, the gym, at home and wherever you are. If God describes grace as abundant, surpassing, and sufficient, I think we should take note and enjoy this wonderful gift.

sunset on a weekend get-a-way
80,134


Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace

Do you need help? Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace is here!
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright September 2016


Ellis Elizabeth, my grand baby,  turns one
I was working out at the gym the other day and was trying hard to keep up with the rest of the class. I think I’m the oldest one in the bootcamp I have been attending but I’m happy to just be there and be moving. About half way through the class, I wondered if I could finish as the things we were doing were very hard. In an effort to shift my focus from “I can’t” to “I can” I began to focus on the exercises and I began to thank God for different things. Thanksgiving always helps me adjust my attitude and get it positive.

“Thank you God that your grace is sufficient for this class- thank you for abundant grace-thank you for amazing grace,” I continued as I took another breath and jogged a little slower.

God’s grace is something that enables us to do things that we ourselves cannot do on our own. His grace is also his presence in our lives that is always available to us to access at any given time in our lives. The problem I face and see others face, is we often try to do things in our own strength instead of depending on Him.

When Jesus came, a new season of grace was available to all. As I began to study the word grace, I discovered that it is frequently referred to with some incredible adjectives. Abundant grace, sufficient grace, riches of grace, confident grace, much grace and surpassing grace were just some of the things I found about this power packed word. 

Romans 5:17 says, “…how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (NIV) When we simply say, “God help me” in our everyday task at work or at home, His grace helps us rule over life’s circumstances. 

One of my favorite scriptures of grace is II Corinthians 2:9  and has helped me through many dark days. “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV) I’ve had days where I have thought I just can not do something or just cannot go another step. It is in those times, I’ve heard God say, “you can do this, my grace is sufficient.”

Tammy, a dear friend 
Grace is not earned, it is given as a gift. I’ve received lots of gifts in my life and with each one, I had the choice to open the present and use it or leave it unwrapped and unused. I love what II Corinthians 9:14 says about surpassing grace. “…because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” Surpassing means incomparable or outstanding. That is the kind of gift God gives to each of us every day.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “ Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This scripture tells us that grace is not earned by good works, it is something God gives to us even when we really do not deserve it. We can always approach God with confidence because his character is rooted in love and forgiveness. God loves to help us. Do you need to open the gift of grace to help you? It is ready to be opened.

II Corinthians 9:8-9 says,” And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” His power is right here for you and me in family situations, at work, in relationships, with our kids, in health battles, being kind when others are not and even at a workout at the gym.

i have had to call on God’s grace for all the above mentioned things in the recent months. God is right beside you and me waiting to give what  need to face where we are in life. Call on Him. Grace does not depend on how good you have or have not been, It is an amazing gift you open right now.

I finished the bootcamp class that day and smiled as I walked out the door. God’s grace had helped me to finish the exercise class. I am so thankful I serve a God that cares about the little things in life as well as the big things we face. I challenge you to join me in  thanking God for grace, opening the gift of grace and using it at work, the gym, at home and wherever you are. If God describes grace as abundant, surpassing, and sufficient, I think we should take note and enjoy this wonderful gift.

sunset on a weekend get-a-way