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

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



Saturday, May 6, 2017

You have a new life-Are you practicing it?

You have a new life-Are you practicing it?
copyright
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
April 2017

As I looked around my deck with all the different colors of new flowers and bright green leaves popping out on the trees, and thought about how much I love spring time.  I love seeing new life emerge and the change and adventure that it brings. Like anything new, we have to practice, to figure what works and what does not but the key is to not get frustrated and keep practicing the new things.

Our spiritual life is the same way. When we ask Jesus into our hearts, we get a brand new life in Christ. The problem I see with myself and with others, is we need to think differently about ourselves and practice the new life God has given. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (NIV) This passage does not mean we walk around in a holy cloud all day thinking about heaven; however, I feel it does mean we need to constantly train ourselves to think differently and act differently in life situations. If we are going to change our actions, we first need to change our thinking to practice the new life God has given us. The more our actions change and we walk in righteousness, peace, kindness and joy, then others will see the new life of Jesus that is in our hearts.

Colossians 3: 9 states, “Do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV) In this passage we are told that we have a new life and are reminded that being dishonest, the old life, is gone. We are also instructed to practice putting on the new way of living, Christ’s way, of telling the truth. Scripture tells us that Jesus was full of grace and truth. His design for our life is that we are like Him, and full of truth also. Again, practice makes perfect. 

The problem I see is we often work on cleaning up the old life instead of just practicing the new life. Instead of working on not lying, we just need to keep practicing telling the truth.   Instead of working on an anxiety problem, we need to practice walking in peace, keeping our heart settled, reminding ourselves of the truth that God is with us and will walk us through any situation. (Psalms 73:23) Instead of working on an anger issue, practice choosing to forgive those that have hurt us or made us mad and ask God to change our heart. Anger’s root is often linked to either fear or unforgiveness. The greater the hurt, the more we have to practice forgiving.

One of the ways I practice my new life in Christ, is by asking God to help me see the circumstance the way He does. Our thinking needs to change first. Our actions follow our thinking. I practice reminding myself that I am walking in newness of life. Sometimes I have to even preach to myself and say out loud, “I am walking in newness of life.” Reading the Bible, our guide for our new life in Christ, will show us all God has provided for us in our new life and will encourage us. God has dealt with your sin on the cross, and is not holding your past against you. He is standing right there, ready to hold your hand and help you discover the new life He has provided.

All of life’s circumstances are designed to work for us to change us into the image of God if we cooperate with Him. Bad things happen to good people; nevertheless, those circumstances will be opportunities to practice our new life in Christ.

Will you join me in practicing your new life? Do not get discouraged when you fall. Get up and keep practicing, today, tomorrow and the next day. If we do, you and I will become more like Him.


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

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

God's love never gives up on us

 God's love never gives up on us 
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
April 2017 copyright




A father's love for his little girl
 Several years ago I walked into the gym to workout  and noticed a man wearing a t-shirt that said, “Never give up.” God had spoken those words to me years ago when I was about to tell a client she had exhausted all the grace I had. “That was it; she was dismissed from participating in the program,” I thought. As I drove to her house and prayed, I felt God’s presence invade my vehicle and God firmly spoke to me and said, “Kathleen, never give up on people because I don’t.” I knew that if I did what I wanted to do, it would be contrary to what God wanted for this woman. I obeyed God and extended mercy and grace, with firm boundaries to this young woman. I treated her with love and respect. I am happy to say that years later she is highly successful and living a godly life. That experience taught me a valuable lesson that I live by today.
     The words, “never give up” on the man’s shirt  reminded me of how God never gives up on us. He never stops loving us or believing the best about us. I Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails.” (NIV) God loves us so much he gave his only son, Jesus, for us. God let go of what was dear to him so we could enjoy life abundantly no matter what. The beauty of the Easter story is that Jesus never gave up on God. Jesus’s love for his father never wavered, even as he hung dying.  I am sure he didn’t understand because how on earth could a good father allow such a thing? Loving isn’t always easy but it never fails.
     I Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter in the Bible and talks all about real genuine love for others and how we are to love. If I were a Bible translator, which I am not, I would translate it like this:

 “If I am a wonderful eloquent speaker but do not speak with kindness and a heart of love, I miss the drum beat and the all my notes are sharp and flat.
     If I am  smart, educated, and can see into the future; and if I believe in God so much I can move Mt. Everest, but do not daily love others, I might as well go back to bed and forget the day.
     If I am generous and give to the poor, if I sacrifice my body for others but don’t do it with the right motive, I have wasted my time and money.
    Real love never gets in a hurry, it waits and doesn’t push others. Selfless love is gentle and looks for what it can give; mature love makes others feel more important than oneself. it makes others feel valuable,important  and wanted and does not have a high opinion of oneself. A person walking in love, walks in humility.
     Love is not sarcastic or and does not put others down; it always looks for the best in others and sees the good in them and  getting angry is the exception, not the rule. Love does not keep remembering when others hurt them. It makes a conscious effort to put the hurt and bad memories behind them.
      Love does not go around telling of others failures, it covers their failures. Love tells the truth.
My sweet mother-in-law and step-daughter 
     Love does not ever quit. it believes and looks for the best in others, love always has hope for others and endures the roughest seas and the hottest deserts to make the relationship a good one.
     Love will help you win the race every time. You can loose your ability to do your talent, you can forget the things you studied for years, 
     None of us know everything and we need each other.
     When I was young, I could get by being immature, unforgiving and mad at others but it is time to grow up.
     At the end of the day, three things hang around, faith, hope and love. But you will be a winner in the eyes of God when you walk in love; love is all that matters.” 

      Real love takes sacrifice, it isn’t easy, but it is worth it. I challenge you to read I Corinthians 13 daily for a few weeks and let the words wash over you and speak to you. Ask God what he wants to speak to your heart about His love for you and how you are to love those around you.
     God and Jesus both demonstrated their love for us in the Easter story. Love, forgiveness  and overcoming are the basic message in Christ’s death and resurrection. Before his death, Jesus was asked a question in Matthew 22:36-39,”Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself.”
     All of us will die one day. What will really matter to God and others, is how we loved. Do you love God with all your heart? Do you love others well or do you need to keep practicing? Do you daily tell God you love him and tell others you love them with your actions and words? Pride is often what keeps us from telling others and God we love them.
      I challenge you to open your heart to more of God’s love for you and daily tell God you love Him. He wants to hear those words from you. Join me in daily telling those around you that you love them. They need to hear it. We all do. And never give up on loving others because God never gave up on you.


    

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Giving up judgement for Easter

Are you quick to judge or extend compassion?
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
copyright
March 2017



How do you see others?  Do you see their faults instead of the good about them? Are you quick to see someone and make a judgement about them and their situation instead asking God how he sees them? If so, you might need to take another look perhaps consider some new spiritual glasses and seeing with the eyes of God. 

 I Samuel is about a woman named Hannah, her husband Elkanah, Eli the priest, and Pininnah-Elkanah’s other wife. To set the stage if you have not heard the story, Pininnah had many sons and Hannah had none.  Yearly they made a trip to worship and make a sacrifice. I Samuel 1:5 says, “But to Hannah, Elkanah gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.” ( NIV) What stood out to me is that Hannah

was dearly loved and her husband had great compassion for her. He did not love her for what she could give to him, he simply loved her. This is a good thing for any husband to consider. I am grateful for my husband that does a good job of loving me and my children.

Notice from the above scripture that GOD closed Hannah’s womb. God in his great wisdom had not allowed Hannah to conceive. For some reason, this was God’s design for Hannah for this season of her life.  I recently felt God say to me personally when I was questioning Him about something in my life, “Kathleen, when I design something, it is beautiful because I designed it.” Case closed, He is God and I am not. My opinion needed to change, not his.

I Samuel 1:6 says, “And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year.”(NIV) Pininnah was giving Hannah more grief than she already had. Hannah was already struggling with her identity as a woman, the grief of infertility and then the other woman rubs it in her face. Perhaps you have someone in your life like that.   I know I have struggled in my own grief at times and had people unknowingly, (at least I choose to believe they were not intentional) add more pain to my plate.  Pininnah was what I call Hannah’s grace grower. Hannah had a choice in how to react to her rival. Hannah’s name actually means “gracious.” I believe Hannah did not react in her flesh but allowed her grace grower to make her more gracious. Hannah used her problem to develop her character.
We can all learn from this example.


When I am gone from this earth, I want to be known as a woman that loved others well. I have a personal value statement that is, “I am what I love, not what loves me.” It is a decision that I have made that defines me. I have grace growers, also known as irritating people, in my life and sometimes I have preach to myself and say,“ Kathleen, you gotta love um.” It is my way of reminding myself that any other behavior is not acceptable for me. I have also been known to ask God “just give me five minutes in the flesh and I could handle this.” He never gives me permission, which is a good thing as I am sure I would regret it.
Spring Break with Ellis
I Samuel 1:10 says, “In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.” (NIV) Hannah went to the temple to pour out her grief to the Lord. She made a wise choice to go to church and worship in her grief, however, her grief was misinterpreted. The religious leader didn’t see what God saw. Eli made a quick judgement, thought Hannah was not in her right mind and thought she was drunk. At a time when she needed comfort and encouragement, he totally misunderstood the anguish of her soul. In Eli’s defense, how could he understand the pain of a woman’s barrenness? There are people that come to church, searching for help to get through another day.  This is a good reminder to all of us to ask God, “How do you see this person and how can I encourage them?” Everyone needs understanding and encouragement, not judgement.

Hannah responds to Eli’s accusation with, “Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of the great anguish and grief.” Not only was she heart sick that she could not have a baby but she was also being tormented by her rival and judged at church! Eli had no idea what was really going on in her life and misunderstood her. His judgement made her feel worthless when she was already struggling with her identity as a woman. This had to feel like insult to injury as Eli was someone in the church she trusted. 

As Christians, we must be very careful to not judge others, especially when we have not been in their shoes or experienced what they are going through. In Luke 6:37, Jesus tells us, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” If you love Jesus, seek to understand and love those He puts in your path. Too often, assumptions are made,  judgement passed or correction quickly given when when what people really need is understanding and love. We are called to love.

I believe God is calling all of us to a higher standard of stepping back in our spirit and asking God how he sees someone instead of making a quick assumption with our natural eye and out of our limited experience. What Hannah really needed was encouragement, compassion and understanding. I know that sometimes in my hurried life, I have been guilty of making a judgement from a snapshot of someone and giving a quick statement when I should have asked God what I could say to encourage and comfort someone. Jesus was moved with compassion and understanding. When we see someone with the eyes of God, we see them with affection, we see the best in them, and see them through the eyes of love.

Collins-my grand girl!
Our community is a retirement community and we have many widows and widowers. It is imperative that we comfort and encourage  those that have lost someone they love as as they attempt to make a new life and redefine themselves as single individuals. I was widowed for three years and I have had people comfort me and encourage me as I picked up the pieces of my life. I am forever grateful for those friends.  Like Hannah, I have also felt at times, my grief was misunderstood by those that have not experienced the loss of a mate or the depth of my personal anguish. The misunderstanding has added more pain for me to dig through at a time when I really didn’t need anymore pain. 

The story of Hannah has a beautiful ending. The Lord remembered Hannah and she conceived and gave birth to a mighty man of God named Samuel. Hannah’s job in all this was to keep a right heart and look to God. This is good advise for all of us.

We must first see ourselves as God sees us before we can see others as God sees them. When we see as He sees we give people the power to become better people. We see the treasure in them instead of what is wrong in them. Imagine how different our community would be if we saw and treated people like God. The Hill Country would be amazing!

As Easter approaches, how about giving up judgement of others? Will you repent today of making a quick snapshot judgement of others and ask God to reveal truth to you? Will you join me in looking for those you can comfort and encourage instead of misunderstanding them and judging them? I can’t wait to see what our community will become. It will be amazing!




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

Friday, March 17, 2017

Peaceful and trusting or anxious and shaken?

Peaceful and trusting or anxious and shaken?
March 2017
copyright
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

If we were to look at your “trust thermometer” how would it read? Would it show that you are a peaceful trusting person or anxious and shaken person? Who can you trust these days? Life is full of trials and hardships and all of us are just one phone call from being on our knees. The days we live in are full of bombings, Isis, the threat of diseases, change in our government and job layoffs.  It is imperative that we have someone to depend on and the only one I can think of for that job is Jesus. 

I will never forget the day I got the phone call from the neurologist concerning my mother. My mom’s processing and ability to do normal tasks had rapidly faded away and there were no answers. Finally, some tests were ordered, MRI of brain and other tests, and as I stood in my parent’s kitchen, the phone rang. I answered it, “Jones residence, this is Kathleen.” “Kathleen, we have the results of your mom’s tests,” the doctor stated. I quickly grabbed the brown paper bag that was near and a pen so I could write the results down.

“The damage to her brain is irreversible.” the doctor continued. I wrote the words down but simply could not comprehend what I was hearing. “What do you mean irreversible?” I asked in disbelief and hoping I had the wrong definition of irreversible. The doctor continued to explain that unless there was a miracle, my mom would not get better in her ability to do normal tasks as the area of her brain that processes information had been permanently damaged. Mother was only 65 at the time and had been so full of life before she got sick with the rare  disease. Suddenly, my world shook as I tried to absorb the news.

At that moment, I had to make a decision. What would I do? I had too much on my plate to panic and knew anxiety was not my friend. I remembered Proverbs 3:5 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” As I began to trust God with what I could not understand, he was faithful to direct me and lead me in the days ahead.

Trust is the firm belief in the ability and strength of someone or something. God is the only one I know that I can really trust. I have lots of great friends but God is the one constant friend that is always there.

Col. 1:17 says, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” (NIV) I wish I would have read this passage years ago to hang on to,  but now I know it is true. I saw the hand of God hold things together when I did not have a clue how I would balance taking care of both of my parents, work, be a mother to my children and wife to my husband. Step by step, God walked me through that time of uncertainty and trial and held all things together for me. The phone call from the doctor was 13 years ago and was the soil God use to grow peace and trusting in trusting God in my life.

It was imperative that when anxious thoughts came, and all the questions I did not have answers for yet, that I pushed those thoughts away and focused on God’s ability and love for me. I had to literally speak out loud, “God I trust you and I will walk in peace,” as I needed to hear those words. 

David in the Bible spoke those similar words when he was in crisis. Psalms 56:3-4 states, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise-in God I trust and am not afraid.” (NIV) Where do you put your trust?

Psalms 62:1-2 tells us where we can find rest for our souls in times of difficulty and who we can depend on. It says, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (NIV) God always provides what we need, it is just up to us to access the provision and use it.

Truett practicing the scriptures I taught his mom  when she was little
My friend, whatever you are going through, marriage difficulty, financial trouble, letting go and starting a new life, loss of a job, God is trustworthy and wants you to take his hand and walk with you. There is purpose in your trial and growing in trust reaps a wonderful crop of peace that you have a God given right to enjoy and then give to others.





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