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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Mercy trumps judgement

Mercy trumps over judgement or Have you been judged by others?
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
February 2018

“I want to go to church but I don’t anymore because I always felt judged by people there” was a comment I recently heard from someone. It made me sad and disappointed in Christians because judgement is not our job. The statement caused  me to explore scripture and see what the Bible had to say on the topic.

Adoration and love-my grands-Ellis and Grant
Judgement was poured out on Jesus when he hung on the cross and the day of judgement will come after Christ returns,  but right now, we live in a season of grace,  where believers should be extending love and mercy. 

Hebrews 4:16 states, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 When people are struggling, mess up or are caught in sin, they do not need us pointing fingers or shaming them. What they need is us loving them right where they are and pointing them to God and his love and forgiveness.

James 2:12 gives us a strong admission and direction and says, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to  anyone who has not been merciful. mercy triumphs over judgement.” (NIV)

Love never fails and kindness and mercy will always win over judgement. 

I remember when I was the director of the Christian Women’s Job Corp of Kerr County, a little old lady, a volunteer,  came into my office to complain about one of my clients. She was upset because she heard this woman and her three children were living with a man that was not her husband. She wanted me to tell my client she could not do that and be in our program.

I had to take a deep breath before I addressed the older lady, I’ll call Mrs. Smith.  You see, I had been sharing with my client about the goodness of God and how he loves us right where we are and is full of forgiveness.

“Mrs. Smith, I am trying to lead this woman to Christ, not address all the things she might be doing incorrectly, “ I said. 
shower for my future daughter-in-law

“It is my job to lead her to Jesus and his job to convict her of anything she is doing wrong,” I stated.  

“Or another way to put it is,  it is my job to be a fisher of men and Jesus’ job to clean the fish,” I continued.

What Mrs. Smith did not know was that my client had confided in me that she did not really care for this man, however, he provided a home for her kids and she would be homeless if he was not in the picture. 

No one likes to be misunderstood or judged and the irony is, if we were really in their shoes, would we do any better? It is easy to say, “I would never do that, or my kids would never do that” but I have to wonder how many times people eat those words. I know I sure have.

Romans 14:10-13 instructs us saying, “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat…So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God, Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brothers way. (NIV)

Judgment is not part of our job description as Christians. Love and mercy are our assignment, especially when people have done wrong. Otherwise, we are actually hurting ourselves.

My big boys-Price and Austin
Romans 2:1 tells us, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgement, against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgement on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgement? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience not realizing  God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?” (NIV)

God is kind and when we walk in mercy and kindness, we earn the right to be heard and then can speak into their life. Far too many times, people are quick to judge and misrepresent the heart of God and can drive people away from the very one that can help them.

I remember a time I felt judged and there was not much I could say in order to protect a couple that had confided in me and my husband. Years ago, my late husband and I had counseled a couple in regards to their marriage. We knew their struggles. About five years after that, I was put in a position at work and had to make a tough call because of my previous knowledge. It made a coworker very angry and  she told other people and they judged me and my decision. To protect the confidentiality of the couple and their struggles, I would not defend myself or address the issue further. I will admit, the judgement really hurt and I had to simply commit it to God. 

If you are someone that has been judged by a Christian, I am so sorry and as a Christian, ask your forgiveness. I pray God heal your heart from judgement and show you His great love and kindness.

Reading all these scriptures caused me to quickly ask God to forgive me for anytime I have judged others as I want no part of it. I hope you will examine your heart to see if you have judged others and ask forgiveness and begin to walk in mercy and love.

We have a big world around us that needs Christ, his love and forgiveness. Let’s be a people that display mercy, kindness and love.

Baby Grant and Mimi Max
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. She welcomes your  contacting her at or visit her blog at


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Removing walls, binding broken hearts

Removing walls and binding up broken hearts
February 2018
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

Hunting with life long good friends

It was a sunny day and I had my “to do” list in my hand as I walked into The Dove’s Nest, a Christian book store in Kerrville, Texas.

“Hi Kathleen,” said the tall dark headed clerk that came around the corner. She was a lady that went to my church and was a friend. About that time, she wrapped her arms around me and gave me one of the biggest bear hugs I had ever had. 

I froze as she hugged me. This was a kind gesture and I knew the hug was genuine; however, for some reason, I had a hard time receiving it.
Austin and Collins

“It is good to see you Candy,” I stated as I pulled away. We continued to visit about various things, I shopped a little and then left.

As I drove away, I pondered my response to her hug.

“Why did I respond that way God?” I whispered in a simple prayer.

In the days ahead, I felt God show me that I had a hard time receiving love because of past hurts and rejection from others. I also felt He showed me that I had erected walls around my heart to protect myself. These walls kept me from getting close to others and really being vulnerable. They also kept me from receiving love from people that loved me.

A few days later, I humbled myself and went back to the Christian book store. I told my friend I had a hard time receiving her hugs, but it had nothing to do with her, it was my problem receiving love.

She smiled and, “I know and it is OK, I still love you Kathleen.”

I asked God to take down the walls and open my heart to receive His love and the love of others. I had an intelligential  understanding of God’s love, but somehow, I needed that moved about 12” into my heart. 

A series of events happened and those walls I had around me for years, came down. It was not an easy time, but I am a girl that was forever changed as I opened my heart to God’s great love for me and opened my heart to those around me

Psalms 145:8-9 says, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (NIV)

Our 4 grandkids
Each and every one of us is loved by God because He is love and God created us. Often times in our performance oriented society, it is challenging to realize we are not loved for what we do or do not do, we are simply loved.

 Do you realize that He really loves you just the way you are? He is compassionate to what is going on in your life. Ask Him to show you His love and open your eyes to his compassion for you. You are precious to Him and He cares about you and your situation. Difficult situations are often times a wonderful opportunity to draw close to God and see His love in a greater measure.

Maybe your heart has been broken. Psalms 147:3 tells us, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (NIV)

 Can you give your broken heart to God? He is the healer of broken hearts. Isaiah 61:1 also tells us that Jesus was sent to bind up the brokenhearted.

In the days and years that followed my late husband’s death, I continually gave God my broken heart and asked Him to heal me. My healing did not come overnight or as quick as I would have liked,  but God was faithful to heal me. Whatever heartache  you have, continually give it to God as He is the only one that can truly heal broken hearts. What has broken your heart and have you given it to God to heal?

It does not matter what mistake you have made in life, God still loves you. 
Collins and Grant

Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quite you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (NIV)

I love this scripture and it has given me great confidence that I am not alone, God is more powerful than my problem, and He actually takes delight in me. 

At times when I have shed tears, I have felt Him settle my heart with his love.

I was recently with my grandchildren and sat and watched them play. As I observed them, I sat there and smiled, thinking of how much I loved them. About that time, one of them tripped and fell. I hurried over and scooped her up and hugged her, comforting her with my love. 

God does the exact same thing with us. He delights in watching us walk through life, depending on him, and smiles saying, “That’s my child, I love him/her.”

And when we trip and fall, he is right there beside us to pick us up, dust us off, and wrap his arms around us, and quite us with his love.

I challenge you to ask God to show you more of his love for you and remove any walls you have erected around your heart. Give him your broken heart and let him fix it and enjoy the fact that God almighty takes great delight in YOU.

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 or visit her blog at

Monday, January 29, 2018

Growing in loving God and others

Growing  in loving God and others
January 2018
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie


Our son Barrett and his new wife Aimee
One of the outstanding characteristics of God, is his constant, everlasting love for us. When someone says the word God to me, two words frequently pop into my mind,  His faithfulness and love. No matter what is going on in my life, His faithfulness and love are  my anchor and security. How about you? What pops into your head when you hear the word God? 

Opening our hearts and our minds to God’s love will bring many benefits into our lives and those we are around. With Valentines Day around the corner, we focus on love, I think it would be good for us to spend some extra time loving God and practicing loving others.

     I have seen in my own life that the more I open my heart to God’s love for me and spend time loving Him, the better I am at loving others. We are all born with a need to be loved and we are born being selfish and self centered. Love thinks of others first. I’ve been asking God to reveal to me when I am self centered or selfish as I want to love others better.

     Love is a connection of hearts. Real love is based on relationship.When we love God with our hearts, instead of our mind, we are able to love others with God’s love. Actually, when we love those we are around well, it shows our love for God. 1 John 4:7 state,”Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (NIV)

Fun West Texas adventures with my husband 
      All of us can improve in loving God and loving others. When I think of those in my life that have loved me well, they are people that love God, are sensitive, compassionate and are not self centered. They are the people that believe the best in me and stand by me no matter what. They are people that demonstrate their love for God by how they love me and others in their lives. 

Humble people and those not afraid to admit when they are wrong, are usually good at loving others. People that love in their actions, not just in words.Think of the people in your life that you feel love you well. What are their characteristics? Do they say they love God or demonstrate that they love God by loving others. Loving others well is proof of our love for God.

     Believing God loves us takes faith. Faith and love are linked together. Fifty five times in the Bible, the words faith and love are mentioned in the same scripture. We cannot really believe in God’s faithfulness until we really believe God loves us. I can totally trust in God’s faithfulness to me because I’ve learned of His love for me. 

Grant-my newest grandson!
I will never forget the day I admitted to some friends and my late husband, that I believed God loved other people, but wasn’t convinced that He really loved me.  Let me confess, I had been a believer for 20 years.  That confession was the beginning of a great journey of discovering God’s incredible love for me. That love has become the bedrock of security and trust in God. It took a lot of courage to admit what I felt, as my late husband and I were leading a Bible study; but it was a gut level confession and God heard it and honored it. 

Do you need to get gut level honest with God? I had been taught since I was a child that God loved me, and believed it in my head, but not my heart. It was not until I was honest with others and God as a thirty year old woman, that I really began to understand God’s love for me. Let me encourage you to be honest with God. He already knows your heart anyway.
   Galatians 2:20 says,“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV) 

We see in this scripture that our faith in God is directly linked to knowing His love for us. Let me encourage you, if you lack faith in God, you need to discover His love for you. Personally, I want to be known as a woman that loved God with all her heart and loves others well. Unfortunately, I know people that say they love God but do not love the poor and needy and others well.

      I personally believe, we can all grow in loving  God, understanding His love and loving others. Ask God to teach you more of His love for you and it will help you in loving others. Scripture tells us 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (NIV)
My oldest son-LCDR Austin Maxwell
 1 John 4:16 states, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
     Love and forgiveness go hand in hand. I will admit, there have been times in my life I have had to ask God to give me His love for others because of hurt or injustice I have felt. It is easy to judge others when we have not walked in their shoes and often times, that judgment wounds those around us. In those times, we are on shaky ground.
 There are times when I have to say, “I choose as an act of my will to forgive ____.  There are times I have to preach to myself and say, “Kathleen, you got to love them.” If God loves me and forgives me, I have to love and forgive others.
 No matter what I feel, I want to love others as He does. I have no problem in asking Him for help in loving difficult people. I need His help and am not afraid to admit it. It is better than not loving them.
     1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.(NIV) 
We cannot hate others and  have unforgiveness towards them and love God. That is a tough statement but don’t shoot me...I didn’t write the book.
    Bottom line, God loves us in our worst state; therefore, we need to loves others in theirs. February  is only a few days away and is a month when we concentrate on love. Let’s look at God’s love for us and get to know Him better. Open your heart to Him, ask Him to teach you about His love and ask Him to help you love others. 
And remember, love never fails, so it is a sound investment. Will you join me in focusing on telling God daily you love him and practicing loving others?

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 and on her blog


Monday, January 15, 2018

Widows and widowers are special to the heart of God

Widows and widowers are special to the heart of God
January 2018
Recently I received a phone call from a woman whose world was suddenly turned upside down.

 “Kathleen, this is Susie,” she stated. “I need your help.” she continued.

 “Susie, is everything okay?” I asked. “No, Bill is dead. He was traveling and I received a phone call that he collapsed and he is gone,” she said in a state of shock. 

“No!” I responded with a loud voice. I did not want anyone to experience the pain I had experienced as a widow. 

Since that day when my friend called for help, I have had numerous other acquaintances  that have lost their mate.  I hate it for all of  them and my heart is tender towards them.

None of us have any guarantees in life. Bad things  happen to good people and it is in our broken places, that God’s love, grace and hope peeks in to see us through the pain of life. In the mean time, we all have our place in history.

 For some of us, it is to push through with all we have in us to live life again. For others, we have a mandate that are the basics of Christianity to help those that are in distress or hurting.

 If you have lost a mate and are a widow or widower, take heart. There are some wonderful promises in scripture. If you have not, you have a wonderful opportunity to practice the basics of Christianity, “look after the fatherless and the widow in their distress.” James 1:27 (NIV)

Widows and widowers are dear to the heart of God. It is easy to feel alone, lonely, and wonder where you fit, now that you are no longer married. All these feelings are natural as part of you, is now gone. Scripture says that when we marry, we become one; therefore, when a mate leaves this earth, part of you is missing. The unwanted  journey of discovering who you are now without your mate, your place in society as a single person, begins.

In my own three year journey as a widow, several scriptures became very special in that season. 

Psalms 68:5 proclaims God’s character and says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” (NIV) The basic nature of God is compassion for those that find themselves in ashes.  

God’s heart is tender for those that are fatherless, and for many children, they are fatherless for a variety of reasons; abandonment, prison, addiction, just to name a few. God will defend the widow and be a daddy to the fatherless and He cares for those that are lonely. 

I have personally seen how God has defended me in situations when I did not  have a husband to protect me and look out for my best interest. Knowing I had a special place in the heart of God gave great comfort.

 Another passage that is a favorite of mine is Psalms 146:9, which says, “The Lord watches over the alien, and sustains the fatherless and widow...” (NIV)

 When I first read this passage, I looked up the word sustain to find out it’s meaning. Sustain means to prolong, keep up, strengthen or support physically or mentally. There were times I did not think I could make it, having the responsibility of everything all alone after 30 years of sharing everything with a partner. It was not that I could not do tasks that my husband did, for me it was balancing everything alone from work, single parenting, finances, caring for my elderly parents, the house, the yard and the trash, etc. I just wanted the trash fairy would drop by my house and take the trash out! Sometimes, a kind neighbor will bring my trash cans back to my house and those acts of kindness showed me God’s provision and how He sustained me. 

Isaiah 1:17 is another promise and reflection of the heart of God. It states, “Seek justice, encourage the  oppressed, Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (NIV) Again we see what God has to say about what is important to Him. If it is important to God, it should be important to me.

 If you are widowed, you can hang on to how special you are to the heart of God. There were many times I have prayed and asked God to send someone to plead my case and help me. 

I had a situation when my dryer broke and was having to go through a lot of red tape to get it fixed, as it was under warranty. I asked God for help and  the assistant to the president of the company, over saw my case and came to my defense after weeks of waiting. Ask God to raise up those that will defend you.

 Being a retirement community, there are plenty that need us to fight for, defend and plead their case. How about you? Do you encourage those that are oppressed by sin, discouraged by circumstances, do what is right in business, help the child whose dad is in prison or parent has abandoned them thru divorce or death? Do you help the widow in your neighborhood or church? Have you even asked what you might do to help in some way? 

Exodus 22:22 is  another reflection of God’s heart. It proclaims, “Do not take advantage of a widow or orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused and I will kill you.” (NIV) It is a good thing we live by grace and not law anymore! This scripture shows us that God hears the cry of the orphan and the widow. His heart is  particularly soft towards them and is a just God. He does not tolerate treating them unjustly. 

James 1:27 gets right to the point about what is important in our Christian walk. It says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and  faultless is this; to look after the orphans and widows in their distress...” (NIV) It is just that simple. 

Sometimes in our busy world, we forget to to the basics of life. We can get caught up in all our ministry goals, busy lives, bible studies, committees etc. and forget what God says is pure and what is right. 

Do you need to help in your church or neighborhood? Is there a foster child, a child without a mom or dad, a widow or widower that needs you to include him or her in your lunch or holiday plans? It is something to think about. Looking after these that are right outside our back door is important.

Jesus said,  “I have come that you may have life and life to the full.”  If you are a widow or widower, you have a God given right to live life to the full again. Starting over isn’t easy but God is right there, to help and guide. 

My late husband has been gone eight years now and I remarried five years ago. I have a full and fun life but will never forget the kindness of God and people during my three hard years of being a widow. I am forever grateful for all I learned in that season of my life.
We are very blessed to have plenty of opportunities to practice the heart of God to the orphans and widows that are down the street, around the corner, in places of business and church.  Look around and let’s  get busy in the mission field God has placed before us. Will you join me?

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie will be speaking Tuesday, January 23rd from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Dietert Center on “Thriving through seasons of grief”  You can register for the class by calling 830.792.4044 or at

Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at and on her blog

Friday, December 22, 2017

Loving difficult people during the holidays

Loving difficult people during the holidays
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2017

About 27 years ago, I was a busy mother of three, running my own business, and preparing for the Christmas holidays.  There just did not seem to be enough time to get all my shopping done, prepare for holiday travel and work. To complicate things, I was not real thrilled about where we would be spending Christmas because quite frankly, there were just difficult people we were going to be around that particular holiday.

I remembered the last Christmas we went up north, my little girl was 4 years old, all decked out in her Christmas attire with her big red bow. She was absolutely adorable and had such a sweet spirit. One family member, 6’4” tall with tattoos all over his body and long uncombed hair, came up to my little girl and picked her up and in a gruff voice said, “I’m Santa Clause!”

Her froze and her eyes got as big as saucers and she looked at me with horror. I quickly walked across the room and comforted her, as my husband’s relative chucked and walked around the corner, delighted he had scared her. 

No, I was not looking forward to the travel and feeling like I had to be on guard all the time…

As I was praying for our upcoming trip, I felt God ask me a question.

“Kathleen, if I asked you to go to the mission field this Christmas would you go?”

“Yes Lord, I would,” I said excitedly.

Then I felt Him say, “Prepare your heart and pray for your trip just like you would if I were sending you on a mission trip to a foreign country.” 

“I am sending you to serve and love those you will be around,” I felt Him say.

All of a sudden, I felt humbled and challenged about my trip. My circumstances had not changed, but my perspective had.

“God, give me your heart for these people,” I prayed, just as I would if being sent abroad for a mission trip.

Matthew 1:21 states, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (NIV)

One of the main reasons Jesus was sent to this world was to love the unlovely, the difficult people, also know as, sinners or those who mess up. Really, that is you and me and all of mankind, if you think about it. 

Some people are just harder to love than others. We all have them in our lives and I believe they can help us change and become better people as we choose to love and accept the tough job, just like Jesus.

Jesus was sent to the earth with a tough job. He was sent not only to take away our sin but to love us, just as we are. When we receive the gift of Jesus, His love and forgiveness, we are to then give that love and forgiveness to those around us. 

I John 4: 11 says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (NIV)

I love this scripture because when we really grasps that God loves us dearly, we get the new job description of loving those around us and we grow in becoming like Jesus! 

II Corinthians 5:20 tells us, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God, God made him who had no sin to be sin for use, so that in him we might become the rightness of God.” (NIV)

As my attitude about the Christmas trip changed, so did my heart. God wanted to use me as his ambassador and I am happy to report, it was a good holiday. I looked for ways to serve those I was around and for opportunities to love them Seeing the trip as a mission trip, made all the difference in the world to me. The fact that God had hand picked me for this assignment gave me a new purpose that Christmas.

I knew God was with me in my assignment and I was not alone. 

Matthew 1:23 says, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” - which means, “God with us.”

Having God with us in all circumstances of life is one of the best gifts ever. I was a Christian for many years before I realized the true benefit of never being alone and drawing on the strength and friendship Jesus provides, especially in challenging times.

God never gives us an assignment without providing what we need. The key is keeping our heart right. 

This Christmas, I challenge you to see those difficult relatives, difficult people as your mission field and love them. Show them the real meaning of Christmas and do not forget, God is with you.

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie 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 and on her blog