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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Determination, perseverance and forgiveness are necessary for success. Are you your own worst enemy?

Are You Your Worst Enemy? 
copyright
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
July 2017



Truett and Ellis
To be successful at anything takes determination, preserving and forgiveness. My grandfather had been married to my grandmother for more than 65 years. I asked him what their secret was to staying married so long and he replied, “Just never quit.” That was simple but good advice. Most people fail at things because they quit too soon or get discouraged. Winners do not quit and often times have to encourage themselves to press through days. The book of Psalms is full of David encouraging himself as he attempts to battle discouragement. Psalms 42:5 says, “Why so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.” David encouraged himself on days when you could tell he was tempted to quit.

Abraham Lincoln failed at a number of things before he was successful. He failed as a farmer, a shopkeeper, his first attempt at political office, a business man, his first attempt at Congress and the U.S. Senate. That could be a little discouraging, but our famous president was determined. He didn’t quit and pressed on with the things he knew he was meant to do. He also lost two children at young ages. That is a lot to overcome, but he kept pressing on.
Price is engaged! July 2017 We welcome Halie!
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. Beginning anything takes determination and practice and realizing there is a learning curve, which means we are likely to make some mistakes or even fail at our first attempt at something new. Sometimes we can get frustrated and mad at ourselves when we fail. This only leads to more turmoil within ourselves and robs us of peace. Jesus paid a great price for us to have peace but we often ignore the peace we could enjoy. We all want to do well in life, and many times I have seen in my own life I have a greater expectations of myself than I do others. 

Someone once said to me, “Kathleen, the devil doesn’t have to bother attacking you, you attack yourself.” At first, I got mad at the statement and the person who said it, but it made me think. There was an element of truth to the words, and I had to admit it. Anytime someone makes us mad, we need to ask ourselves if there is any element of truth in what they have said. It might not be “the truth,” but there might be an element of truth in their statement, otherwise we would not get mad. 

I have seen many people act as judge and jury and punish themselves for failures worse than anyone else would, especially God.
God is not a God that keeps making us pay for our mistakes. Yes, there are consequences to our sin or wrong behavior but God is quick to forgive and forget when we come to Him with repentant hearts. If God forgives us, why do so many people refuse to forgive themselves and others and keep punishing themselves? There is rest for our souls and peace when we simply accept His gift of forgiveness. If you are lacking in rest and peace, you might consider forgiving others or yourself.

The beauty of a relationship with God is that His love and mercy are new every morning.  Fresh love and brand new mercy each day. What more could we want? 

Psalms 86 says, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”(NIV)
Recent trip with great friends Tammy and Alan Brown
Mercy is defined as a compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or someone subject to one’s power. How much mercy do you show yourself? Do you keep punishing yourself for your failures? What often happens is when we do not like ourselves and do not admit it and release ourselves from mistakes made, we often do not extend mercy to others and are quick to find fault with them. To give mercy to others, first we have to receive it ourselves. 

God does not require perfection, just a heart that is moving in the right direction of being aligned with his purposes. Philippians 4:9 says, “Practice what you have learned, and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living it, and the God of peace (of undisturbed well being) will be with you.” (AMP) 

I think God loves to see his children practice doing what is right and those things that please him. God’s mercy and grace is there to help us with any project, situation or difficulty we face. You are made in God’s image and you have what it takes to succeed. Just don’t quit, keep practicing, forgive yourself of the times you have failed, forgive others and press on in the things he has called you to. Will you join me?
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Monday, July 3, 2017

A time to heal: Let forgiveness bring freedom into your life

A time to heal: Let forgiveness bring freedom into your life

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

Copyright July 2017

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Do you need an upgrade in your life?

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. 

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. 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.  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.



Friday, June 2, 2017

Fighting with fruit and serving it to others

 Fighting with fruit and serving it to others
May 2017
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
copyright

Lake El Salto 6:00 a.m.
What do you fight with when things are tough? What are the things you reach for and depend on to help you win in tense situations? And what is something you can give away every day? I have discovered that fighting with fruit puts you in a win-win situation and is a blessing to those around you. 

I firmly believe that everything about everything in life is about us being conformed into the image of Christ. When we partner with God, He uses any difficulty to change us and the world around us.

There are things God wants to work in you and things he wants to work out of you, and one of the ways I believe He does that is in our daily lives, challenging situations, work, difficult people and family. So how do you partner with God so that you always win? How do you fight with fruit? 

I am not talking about throwing apples, bananas or oranges, I am talking about the fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.” (NIV)

Sunrise Lake El Salto
When we practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we operate in a safe spot in life and we are a blessing to those around us. There is no law against practicing these fruits and they are gifts to us from God. You are always in a good place when you practice the fruit of the Spirit. 

When you have Christ in your heart, these fruits are in you. They are in you and me to use in difficult situations and to use to bless people. You have a God given right to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control each and every day - on the good days and the challenging ones.

Love, joy, peace,etc. don’t just appear, they are grown. And often times, it is in adversity, in the hard things in life, we get the opportunity to cultivate them. As I have encountered hard situations, tense moments, unkind people, I have worked on practicing the fruit of the Spirit and it works! 

I have seen it change the atmosphere from negative situation to a positive one.
I’m not talking about waking up tomorrow and saying “today I am going to be loving or patient.”
I am talking about a mindset of seeing our daily lives and challenges as opportunities to partner with God. It is not about surviving, it is about overcoming, getting the better of the situation.

Have you ever thought about your current situation being the very training ground you need in your life? An opportunity to practice or exercise your peace, joy, love, patience, etc.? I try to go to the gym a few times a week to strengthen my core, workout my upper body and increase my flexibility. When I increase the resistance, weights or intensity, my muscles get a better workout and I am in better shape. I still have a ways to go but I am using the tough workouts to practice and improve. It is the same with the fruit of the Spirit. 

My precious daughter - honored at the Juvenile Diabeates Foundation Gala in May
I went through a number of years that were full of a lot of stress, loss, difficulty and challenging people. I believe those years were on opportunity for me to practice peace and change this very fear based person into a peaceful woman. During the beginning of that time, I blamed God for the stress and for not “making me peaceful.” God was so kind and patient with me because He loves me and wanted to change me to become peaceful like him.

 I do not have to be anxious, angry, bitter, mean spirited, impatience, harsh, unkind anymore! Those don’t belong to me.  They are not who I am. Why would I  choose anger, bitterness, being harsh, when I can choose love, joy, peace, gentleness and kindness?

Jesus paid the price for worry, fear, anxiety, frustration, resentment and being judgmental about people. They belong to Him and I can choose to practice the fruit of the Spirit!

Galatians 5:24 states, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus, have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (NIV) 

My husband and I love to dance. When I follow his lead, stay in step with him, we have a much better rhythm together and a great time!  Stephen and I had to learn to dance together. We had to practice. I think the same is true when we keep in step with the Spirit of God that is in us.

The more I have practiced, worked the fruits into the fabric of my being, the more it has become part of who I am and what I get to give to others I encounter. I love giving away peace, joy, kindness, and love to those I meet each day.

A few days ago, I walked into a local business and fund the owner very flustered and stressed out. As I listened to her, I asked her if I could pray for her. She quickly said yes and as I prayed, taking her to God, the giver of real peace. I saw the stress begin to leave her as I served her some of the peace and gentleness I had. She thanked me and was a different woman when I walked out the door.

As you walk in the days ahead, I challenge you to practice using the fruit of the Spirit. Practice on the tough days, use it to win in difficult situations, and serve it to those you meet in the grocery store, your home, place of work and wherever you go. 


I promise, you will change the atmosphere! Let me know how it goes and I would love to hear your story.







Friday, May 12, 2017

Mom's job is to teach children to walk with God, for he is with them always

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
May 2017 copyright
Mom’s job is to teach children to walk with God, for he is with them always

My mother was a 5’2, blue-eyed lady that taught me many things. She taught me everything from “say please and thank you” and “don’t forget to wear your lipstick” to “ you better shape up or ship out”  and there was always, “get happy just like you got sad.” 

She loved to dress up and was frequently seen wearing high heels even though she was a stay at home mom. 

 Mary Belle loved people and would talk to anyone that would listen.  She was a genuine lady and tried her best to teach me how to be a lady…I’m still learning.

The best things my mom taught me were about walking with God. She loved the Lord and it was evident by the many times I would see her studying her Bible, listening to worship music and by the life she led. 

She was a woman that loved God with all her heart and she was a praying woman. I am forever grateful for all the prayers she prayed for me and all the wise counsel she gave me.

My mom had a passion to tell people about Jesus and was a children’s church leader at Grace Bible Chapel for years. She led countless kids to the Lord throughout her years of ministry. She taught me how to share the gospel and to reach out to share the love of Jesus with other. 

She left his earth four years ago but not before she was able to leave me a great legacy. 

Mary Belle was not a perfect mom and I did not always agree with her but she was a good mother.  

Perhaps you are reflecting on your own mother this weekend. Good memories, bad memories, funny ones - God word is very specific on how to treat our parents. 

Ephesians 6:2 says, “ Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy a long life on the earth.” (NIV). 

I found eight times in scripture where God tells us to honor our father and mother, which indicates that it is pretty important to the heart of God. 

Deuteronomy 27:16 tells us, “Cursed is the man who dishonors his father or his mother.” (NIV) We can actually bring difficulty upon ourselves when we dishonor our parents. 

So what does that mean to us today? You do not have to like everything your mom did or did not do, but you do have to honor the God given position she has in your life. If nothing else, you can be grateful your mom carried you in her womb and gave birth to you.

 Ask God to show you things you can be thankful for concerning your mom, the things she did do right. Otherwise, as the scripture says, it will not go well with you in your life. Honoring our mother is not just a suggestion but a commandment with a promise. When we honor our mom, we receive a blessing!

My late husband did a great job of training our kids to honor me as their mother. Each Mother’s Day, he would take them shopping to buy something for me, had them make me a card - because cards mean a lot to me - and would get them up early to make me breakfast in bed. 

Fathers, I challenge you to teach your children to honor their mom. It is your responsibility.

Maybe your mom had some problems and hurt you in some ways emotionally or physically- or both.

  I have counseled many people that have bitterness and resentment towards their mother. Unfortunately, those thoughts and feelings hold the person, not the mother, in bondage. 

If your mom has hurt you, let you down, not been there for you, made wrong choices, do yourself a favor and forgive her this Mother’s Day. Forgiveness truly is a gift you give to yourself as much as to her. You do not have to tell her you forgive her, rather, it can just be a conversation between you and God.

Perhaps your biological mom is not around any longer and there is another woman in your life that is like a mom. When my mom got Parkinson's Disease and dementia, there was another woman that became my “other mother” as I call her.  I am forever grateful for her guidance, love and presence in my life. 

There are many women that have never given birth that have found ways in which to serve as mothers to others.  Never underestimate the value of being a presence in someones life and do not forget to thank those that have been like a mom to you. They are God’s gift to you. 

I have many people that call me “Mom” that I did not give birth to,  but for whom I’ve tried to be there for them in their lives. I know God has put me in their lives to invest in them.

If you are a young mom, I want to encourage you to enjoy - find the joy - in every stage of mothering. I raised three children and sometimes the days seemed like they would never end. Someone always needed something from me and often times I struggled to balance work, each child’s needs, discipline, training and teaching them about how to walk with God. 

There were times I would  laugh and say to my friends, “where do I turn in my mother button?” My children are now 36, 31, and 27 and those long mothering days are over and it is such a joy to see the fruit of my labor in their lives today. 

Training your children to walk with God is  one of the most important things you can do for your child because you will not always be with them but God will.

 I challenge you to make teaching them scripture, teaching them to pray, and teaching them how to walk with God a priority. There is no grater joy than to see your grown kids walk with God and teach their own children - your grandchildren about Jesus.

Motherhood is not easy but it is worth it. One of the scriptures that kept me going and that I would pray over myself during the long days of mothering was Proverbs 31:25  It says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she can laugh at the days to come.”

 I pray this for each mother this Mother’s Day and pray this Mother’s Day will be a healing time for all. 

Happy Mother’s Day!


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country. She is passionate about helping others to discover their value and worth. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com