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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Restoring Kindness and Dignity

Family time-Austin, Laura, Collins, Mallory, Rob, Truett and Ellis-me and Stephen

Restoring Kindness and Dignity
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright July 2016


Not long ago, I observed someone being condescending to another person and then experienced it myself. True confessions, it made me mad. God always makes us feel valuable and loves to restore our dignity. I am passionate about helping people restore their dignity and value. If there is anything that can make me mad quick, it is to see someone devalue another person. It is never right. None of us have that privilege. If God almighty calls us by name and is kind to us, who are we to not do the same to others?

     Scripture tells us in Psalms 8 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, therefore, it is imperative that we treat others with respect and kindness. I think it is interesting that the people Jesus rebuked  in the New Testament were the Pharisees because the Pharisees were not interested in people’s hearts, they were just interested in the letter of the law.They were more concerned in how things looked to others instead of how people were treated.

     God always treats people with honor and value because He loves us. So how do you treat others? Do you make them feel less than you? Do you treat ALL  that you come in contact with the same?

      One of my favorite quotes is, “People may forget what you said, they may forget what you know, but they never forget how you made them feel.” This is a good quote to live by.
 I know people that are prejudice and treat those of another race different. Each and every person you and I encounter needs to be treated with respect. Respect is defined as deep admiration for someone. It does not matter if the person is young, old black, or white, each is fearfully and wonderfully made and made in the image of God.
Sunflower field in Uvalde- getting ready for dove season...

     When I was teaching school, one of the things I frequently dealt with was kids putting other kids down. Kids are notorious for making fun of others and pointing out others failures. I would frequently have a child or youth come to me complaining that someone in the class had made fun of them or tried to demean them. I would always talk to the offended and tell them that wounded people always try to wound other people. They have to step on others to make them feel better about themselves. Next  time you encounter someone that is condescending, remember that they are wounded individuals  that have to step on someone to make themselves feel better.

     `Scripture says in I Corinthians 13 that love never fails. Love is kindness in action. Love makes you kind to others. Kindness makes you likable and make others want to be around you. Do other like being around you? Do others feel better or worse after being in your presence? Do you radiate kindness? Do you point out the good in them or are you constantly highlighting their inadequacies?

      Proverbs 3:3 states, “Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you]; Bind them [securely] around your neck,Write them on the tablet of your heart.” (AMP) We are encouraged to let mercy, kindness and truth define us, just like they define the character of God.

     Everyday we encounter people that are struggling. Often times we don’t realize it because we simply are not aware. What if you are the one that has the opportunity to make someone’s day? Kindness touches people’s hearts and reveals what is in our heart. Actually, kindness is a major part of the character of God. He is always kind. Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Again, kindness is love in action. And love never fails. 
     I was in the grocery store this past week and there is a man that has worked for the company in management a number of years. I’ve noticed several times that even though he is a supervisor, you see him showing his employees his respect and kindness bagging groceries right there with them. I admire that he is revealing God’s heart to his employees and showing them they are just as valuable as he is.Ephesians 6:9 states, 
Our grand babies
“And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” In the heart of God, all of us are precious, valuable, and dearly loved; therefore, that is how we should treat one another.
My baby...Price
     It does not matter if it is your boss, your spouse, the garbage collector or the janitor at your place of business, each needs to be treated with respect and with the same dignity. I can only imagine what our community would be like if all people treated each other with honor and respect. This requires honoring others and a desire to be like Jesus and to live as He lived. He lived a life of kindness caring more about people’s hearts than anything. Will you join me in looking for others you can be kind to and be a part of the healing process in their lives? Kerrville would be a better place if we were all made an effort to hang on to kindness and give it away to those we are around. 


Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, a 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




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Friday, July 1, 2016

Forgiveness Brings Freedom

Forgiveness Brings Freedom
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright July 2016

We live in a country founded on freedom but are you really living free?

I had a conversation not long ago with an old acquaintance I ran into at the grocery store. Our brief visit left me concerned for my friend’s personal freedom.

“It is so good to see you, how have you been?” I asked cheerfully.

“Oh fine, busy with grand babies and my kids,” she replied. 

A few minutes into our dialogue, she began to talk about how mad she was about something that happened years ago between her and someone else we both knew. She was still bitter and went on for a while about incident. 

It made me sad to see her heart and mind hanging on to the offense. As I  left her and in the days since our meeting, I have prayed for her to have the grace to forgive so she can be free.

Freedom in our personal lives is critical to a positive outlook on life and our physical well being.  Life happens and we often encounter those that betray us, are unkind, self centered, take advantage of us or those we love, just to name a few. This can open the door of hurt, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Unless that door is shut, we can lose freedom in our hearts, unless we forgive. 

Forgive means to cancel or pardon a debt, to stop feeing angry or resentful of someone for an offense. Almost 30 years ago, there were several people that betrayed me. The hurt was real and the pain was deep and cut to the core of my being. I had read the Bible and knew I needed to forgive but really did not feel like it. I was mad. It did not seem to matter where I went in my hometown, I ran into my offenders. It did not matter if I went to the grocery store, church, a party or the basketball court, they were there. I remember sitting in my vehicle in tears at the gym because once again, Iran into them  and it pricked the pain that was in my heart. I sat there and asked God, “Why on earth do I keep running into them?” God’s simple answer to me was, “Kathleen, I am giving you the opportunity to forgive.” I sobbed a little more and then realized God loved me and wanted me free from the pain. I could keep pulling the victim card or I could choose to forgive.

Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV) Luke 6:37 states, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (NIV)


We forgive because we need forgiveness for our sins. I knew I was not perfect and needed forgiveness from God, however, I was struggling with my feelings. I did not feel like forgiving and kept putting it off until I felt like it. I finally realized that forgiveness is a choice and God in his mercy kept giving me the opportunity and reminder I needed to chose his way, not mine.

I was honest with God and simply prayed, “God, I don’t feel like forgiving but I choose it as an act of my will to forgive  because you said to do it.” That was the beginning of the process of forgiving.

Forgiveness is not a one time event. Often times, it is a process. The greater the hurt or betrayal, the longer the process can take because we have more pain to work through. The key is committing to the process and the good news is God will help us. 

From the day at the basketball court and my surrender to God, each time I would encounter those that caused the hurt or replay the video in my mind, I would chose to forgive again, and eject the video. It took months for me to be fully free, but I can honestly say, the forgiveness was worth it and God healed the hurt. I am free.

Forgiveness aligns us with trust in God. We do it because his word says to do it if we want forgiveness. We forgive for own sake, benefit and freedom. Who do you need to forgive so you can walk in freedom? Choose to do something good for yourself and forgive. 



Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com




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Friday, June 17, 2016

Healing for your heart this Father's Day



Healing your heart on Father’s Day
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
June2016
Copyright


My father, Landon Jones
“You’re a good good father, that’s who you are, who you are - and I’m loved by you, that’s who I am, who I am,” were the words of a popular Christian song my little two year old granddaughter, Collins, sang as we walked to the park a few days ago. I had to smile wondering what she understood about those words. Her parents have been teaching her about Jesus and God, however, I also know she is two and dearly loves her daddy, so I’m not sure she comprehended the true meaning of the song. The sweetness of her voice singing these words were music to my ears.

Collins is the daughter of my oldest son, Austin, and she definitely has her red headed 6’4” daddy wrapped around her finger.  My son adores his little girl.

Many will celebrate Father’s Day in a couple of days and honor their earthly fathers, stepfathers and grandfathers. I was taught from a young age to honor my dad, so Father’s Day, for the majority of my years, has been a day of celebration.

In my years of ministry, social work and personal life, I also know that Father’s Day can also be difficult for many. Unfortunately, there are men that have either abandon their responsibility as dads, abused their children with their words, actions, or emotionally withdrawn themselves. These interactions between father and child can produce wounding and painful memories that many carry into adulthood.

For others, losing a good father to illness, cancer, suicide or a sudden death can make Father’s Day difficult.  My father died at age 84 and I know I missed him terribly the first June he was gone from this earth. He was not perfect, made mistakes, but I always knew he loved me and he took care of me. I still miss him…

When my three children were growing up, I made sure they honored their  dad on  Father’s Day by getting  up early, fixing him breakfast and either buying or making him a special present. The first year he was not with us on Father’s Day was painful for all four of us.

God is so gracious to provide for us in every circumstance of life. He is truly a good father.  Psalms 27:19 says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.” (NIV) 

This is a powerful promise for those of us that have lost our dads by either death or life circumstances.  My dad was a good godly man and when he was gone, I thanked God for this scripture, as I knew God would be that council I needed, protector, and the father that he would never forsake me.

God, as our father, also promises to bind up the broken hearted. 

Isaiah 61:1 says “…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim freedom for the captives…” (NIV) Ask God to heal your heart and be a daddy to you. In doing so, you give a gift to yourself, as well as your father and open the door to a wonderful relationship with God as your father.

 If your father has wounded you in any way, I challenge you to take steps toward your own personal freedom this Father’s Day and choose to forgive him. If that is too painful, just ask God to help you to be willing to choose to forgive your dad for how he has hurt you or abandon you.

When my three children were growing up, I made sure they honored their  dad on  Father’s Day by getting  up early, fixing him breakfast and either buying or making him a special present. The first year he was not with us on Father’s Day was painful for all four of us.

Last dance...
Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honor your father and mother-which is the first commandment with promise-that it may go well with you and you may enjoy a long life here on earth.”  (NIV) This scripture tells us that it is a commandment to honor our father. This can be difficult for people when a dad has dishonored their children through abuse. I have had numerous people ask me about this passage and how to honor their father, when they have been hurt deeply by their dad.  I think some ways you can honor in these situations is to honor their position, honor that they gave you life, be respectful and say “yes sir, no sir.” Scripture does not say we have to like everything they do or say but it does command us to honor them.  

If you have dishonored your father, you can always ask God to forgive you and if your dad is living, ask his forgiveness also. I am so thankful that God loves to forgive us when we have done wrong.

God is the one father that is always there, always has time to listen, absolutely adores you, sees your potential, and constantly loves you no matter what you have done. Will you let him be your daddy?

This Father’s Day weekend, I ask the Lord to heal any misconceptions you have about God being a good father. I ask God to touch your heart and bring healing  where you have been  wounded by your dad.  I pray for grace to forgive your father of anything hurtful said or done to you and I ask our heavenly father to wrap his arms of love around you. I bless each father reading this article and ask God to give each of you a fresh understanding of his great love for you. May Father’s Day 2016 be a healing one for each of you.

Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country,  a 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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Do You Need an Upgrade in Life? God has wonderful things for you!

May 2016
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Do You Need an Upgrade In Life?
Copyright

In my journey of walking with God, I have discovered He is always leading me to a better place in life with him or an upgrade in my relationship with him. He takes great delight in allowing opportunities to be conformed to his image. 

He is a very relational God and every circumstance, good or bad, can lead us to a closer relationship with him. 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.

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.” (NIV) When I read that passage recently, I began to pray, “ Lord, I thank you for this situation and look to you to lead me to triumph. He is committed to leading us upward in life and I think thanksgiving is the key. 



As I walked with God, daily seeking him on what to say and do in this situation, I grew in walking in peace, waiting on him, trusting him and watching him work the situation out much better than I ever expected. 
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,” Romans 8:29. 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. He has upgrades in who you are just waiting for you! 
For years, I lived my life stressed, anxious, and fearful with situations in life and, 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.
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. Ask him to lead you to triumph because he promises he will. 
Our job is to begin with a thankful heart and follow his leading. There are unclaimed upgrades waiting for you and a much better version of you the world is waiting to see.

Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth.  Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Escort of Peace-We All Need One

Escort of Peace-We All Need One
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright May 2016

Wars, earthquakes, bombing, drama, financial distress, political climate, uncertainty in life, discord - these are just a few of the things that can steal our peace and joy in life.  I am sure you have your own list of things that keep you up at night and stress you out during   
the day.  When I was younger I often said, “When this happens things will be better or easier,” only to discover that when things got easy in one area there was often times something else to contend with.  Life is full of challenges and constant uncertainty; on this earth we will always have to contend for peace.

The definition of peace in the Old Testament is: prosper, rest, be safe in mind and body, to make restitution.  In the New Testament it means: quietness and rest.  It is good to know God’s heart for us is to live in a place of quietness and rest. 

I use to  blame God for not giving me peace or allowing the stressful things in my life until He began to teach me that I had a God given right to walk in peace all the time.  I would frequently say things like, “why is this happening to me?”  Thankfully God was very patient with me, always loving me, and I am sure he was sometimes shaking His head and smiling and wondering when I was really going to understand.  His intention for me in the difficulties of life is to access the peace and joy that is available to me as His much loved child. 

 Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on 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.” (NIV)  God was telling his people that He was sending Jesus in the days ahead and his purpose was to bring us peace.  The peace we can find in Him will never end!  Peace is part of His name and it states that He is the Prince of Peace.

  When God first began teaching lessons about walking in the peace He had provided for me, I remember it was a very trying time.  My mom was just diagnosed with a very  unusual auto immune disease and overseeing her care was challenging as a busy wife, mother of three children.  I had just begun a new job dealing with women in crisis.  One day I felt God say, “Kathleen, I am the Prince of Peace.  Let me escort you through this day.”  I accepted the offer, and that day as I was walking through the hospital and dealing with the harsh reality of the diagnoses I constantly pictured myself being escorted by the Prince of Peace.  It was amazing how it changed my perspective on things.  I was at peace because I was accessing the peace that was available to me as a believer.  Really, I was hanging on for dear life to the Prince of Peace to just get me through the day! The good news in the midsts of the stress was that I had an escort and I was not alone.

John 14:27 say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Jesus left us with peace.  It was His gift to us.  Peace is the perfect inheritance gift and it is available to each of us.  We have a choice to walk in peace that has been provided or not.  It takes discipline and self control to choose peace when life doesn’t go as planned or the unexpected happens but this is typical of life.  

Colossians 3:15 says, “ Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.(NIV) This scripture clearly states that peace is a choice.  We can let peace have the final say, be the umpire, if we choose. 

 I will never forget the day I was driving past Wal Mart, exhausted, running late, needing to be three places at once and feeling like a failure in all areas of my life.  I was overwhelmed.  I felt I heard God say, “Overwhelming feelings are not from me.”  With tears streaming down my face I quickly realized that God had a better plan for me and I told the overwhelming feelings to go.  They were not my friend.  Often times our feelings can lie to us.  One of my constant prayers is for God to reveal truth to me where I have believed a lie.  God is a God of truth and loves to show His children the truth if we just simply ask Him. He always reveals the truth.  That is one prayer I can always trust He will answer.

When we access the peace God makes available to us, it becomes a gift we can give away. One morning, I heard the words, “Walk in peace and others will follow.”  That day I wasn’t concerned about anything in particular but I wrote it down in my journal and filed the phrase in my mind.  I wasn’t at work 15 minutes and there was a crisis and I had a volunteer very stressed about a situation.  I remembered what I had heard in my quite time and reassured her God would provide.  I brought peace into the situation and she calmed down.  Within minutes, the problem was solved.

 The other day I had a woman approach me and she was so nervous ringing her hands and anxious because of a situation in her life.  I had plenty of peace that day and as I held her hand and prayed for her, her body totally relaxed.  When we walk in peace, we can help others find God in their situation.

In conclusion, peace is our God given right, our inheritance, and is a choice.  Jesus will be our Prince of Peace if we let him and when we walk in peace, access the peace available to us, we get the privilege of giving the gift to others.




Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth.  Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com