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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hospitals, Kids, and Wise Men


December 28, 2010


 My dad went into the Tex San Heart Hospital on December  20th and I brought him home today.  They were unable to put the stint in as the blockage was rock hard and bypass was not an option for him.  This has caused his heart to have some fibrillation problems and finally they decided to put a defibrillator in.  I am very aware that the roles have been reversed as my parent have aged.  With mom needing full time care and dad in the hospital it took my brother and sister me to all juggle life to help out.  Since Joe passed away 14 months ago, one of our parents has been in the hospital 7 times…I really do feel right at home in the hospital setting but I wear out quite quickly.  I have noticed I seem to function well in the crisis but my body and heart feel the affects later…at times I feel like my heart is being jerked around…   One day while at the hospital I had a vision of this big hand and I was right in the center being held.  It was comforting and I love how the Holy Spirit ministers to me in the middle of all the uncertainty I encounter.

I have totally loved having my kids home and all the commotion that 5 extra people in the house brings!  The boys have been big hunters and have taken the challenge of bow hunting.  They got two deer and made jerky.  My kitchen frequently looked like the local meat market!   At 1:30 on Christmas I finally took off my nurse hat and ventured to buy things for our traditional Mexican Christmas dinner and our Christmas Day meal.  Mallory was a big help and I had fun cooking with her.  Even though my dad was in the hospital, I tried very hard to keep things as normal as possible complete with our traditions as this was our first Christmas at home without Joe.  We had lots of laughter and our traditional Christmas Eve reading of the birth of Jesus.  We also shared what God had done in our lives this past year.   I stand amazed again at the goodness of God to all of us.  I saw only a couple of tears and I personally only got choked up when I opened the cookbook for the eggnog Joe always made.  We’ve come a long way since last year.  Yea God!

I was thinking the other day about how when the wise men saw the baby Jesus they saw The King, not a baby.  Others did not recognize Jesus true identity.  That problem still occurs today.  Many of us do not see others true identity.  In other words, we look at each other with natural eyes, see faults and don’t see each other or their potential thru the eyes of God.  I am guilty too of seeing people with natural eyes instead of seeing their potential and seeing them the way God does.  But I do frequently ask God to show me how He sees others and to give me His view of them so I can help them discover their God given value and be part of the restoration process.  I also ask God to help me see myself the way he sees me.  He recently took me to Deuteronomy 7:6, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.  The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.  That is how He sees you and me…a treasured possession.  Imagine how cool the body of Christ would be if we began to relate to one another according each persons potential and treating one another as a treasured possession.  The world might really see who Jesus really is in us!

Ok…2010 is almost over and I will begin the New Year going down a huge slide into the Guadalupe River…pretty crazy but oh well…Thanks so much for all the prayers for all of us during the holiday season.  Your prayers really made a big difference.

Love to all,

Kathleen

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HUMMMMM

Hummmm...After several days of tests on my dad, it was determined that he had a 95% blockage in the lower left chamber of his heart and that one of the five stints that was put in 10 years ago had collapsed.  The only option for him was to put another balloon stint to open the blockage.  Another bypass wasn't an option for him because of the risks in his condition.  Today after attempting for an hour and a half they could not get the stint in because the blockage was as hard as a rock.  They will medicate him to try to correct the rhythm problems (heart beating real fast and erratic because of the blockage).  His heart is strong and he is a fighter but I am not happy that that the problem can't be fixed.

I have been thinking about peace and how the angels came declaring peace and how Isaiah 9 talks about Jesus coming and being the Prince of Peace.  The truth about life is that it is full of more pain and suffering than any of us think will come our way.  Disappointments come in life that we never would sign up for.  But peace is available when our world shakes. Peace usually doesn't just drop down on us...we have to pursue it, fight for it and take a hold of it when our emotions want to lead the way.  I have had to pursue peace and remind myself that God promises that "all things work together for good for those who seek him."  I seek God so I know this will be true.  It just doesn't feel true at this moment.  Tonight as I washed dishes for my family I longed for Joe and the support he would give on a difficult day.  The comfort of his arms around me holding me and yet I know it will never be.  When I was with my friend Lin a few weeks ago, one highlight was when I was fighting tears and he held me and said, "just cry and get it out."  It was wonderful to be held in my grief because so many times I cry by myself. 

Pursuing Peace,

Kathleen

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dusting off the nursing hat

December 20, 2010




Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (NIV) Truly His grace is sufficient for us in each situation and I constantly have to remind myself and it keeps me steady. Favor is God’s presence, grace, joy, peace that is available to us in each situation. I love how the angels declared praise to God in the highest form they could think of and declared peace to us because His favor rests on us. The problem is most of us forget what is at our finger tips and don’t access it. I am constantly trying to remind myself and re-train myself that these are always available and discipline myself to live from the inside out. Today as I prepared to leave for the hospital I actually thought..."I know this is working for my good."  That is a huge change for me.



Currently my father is in the Tex San Heart Hospital in San Antonio. We checked him in today after tests revealed there were real problems with his heart…not exactly how I planned to spend my holidays but oh well…once again my plans have been changed. Here we go surfing again! It was funny today as I was navigating again in a hospital it actually felt quite normal. That’s when you know life for you really isn’t normal anymore. It was the most normal I have felt in a long time…After 7 years of looking after my mom with her illness, Joe and dad or mom being in the hospital 7 times since Joe died I wonder if I missed my calling to be in medicine. I will not try to understand why…just grow in the process. I know that there is something to learn in this situation. I am getting plenty of opportunities to grow inside. The short version of dad’s situation is that there are two problems with the rhythm of his heart and with the lower chamber and perhaps a blockage. We will do more tests tomorrow and then go from there. He is in good spirits and felt so bad he said he was glad to be there.



Austin, Laura and Price are home for Christmas and it is good to have extra people around the house. I am very thankful for all our friends that have shown us how much we are loved. Thanks to those of you that have been praying for our family with the holidays and the latest development with my dad. My continual prayer is for more healing for all our hearts…



Dusting off my nursing hat again,



Kathleen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Favor, Chestnuts and Surfing


December 15, 2010

 
I love the Christmas season and all that it represents. As I ponder what life must have been like for Mary I stand in awe of her. Here was a young girl with her future planned and full of expectation. All of a sudden there was a big change of plans and she had to adjust to the new plan... God’s plan vs. her plan for her life. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? But I found something that I think helped Mary. As I was reading the story of Jesus birth the other day in Luke, I noticed that several times it mentioned how Mary had found favor with God. I looked the word up in the Greek and found this: favor- divine influence upon the heart, grace, joy liberty, and pleasure. God’s poured His favor upon Mary and I am sure that helped her with all the sudden changes. It is cool to me that God still pours His favor upon his people today. Psalms 5:11 says, “Let all who take refuge in you be glad;let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  For surely O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”  I am very thankful for God’s favor upon my life and that I can be righteous simply because of the gift of Jesus. It has helped me as I have journeyed through recent days. In one short sentence, sign me up for more favor! Isn’t it good to know God loves to pour His favor upon us? What a wonderful gift!

I went on a walk the other day and when I returned I knew it was time for more letting go. I had saved some of Joe’s ashes from when we sprinkled them in the Guadalupe River this summer. I didn’t know at the time what I would do with them but knew that at some time I would know. I felt it was time to deal with them…so I took them and sprinkled them on the front and back lawn at our home. He spent countless hours enjoying his yard. I also spread some in the dark brown soil of my lemon tree. My kids tease me and say I love my lemon tree more than them but it is not true…I love them more but my lemon tree is very special to me. I shed some tears but it actually was not as painful as I thought it might be. I knew Joe would be pleased and felt this was necessary to go on with my life without him.

This Christmas season I have had fun enjoying some things that are new to me like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, I went to a Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley California one evening and that is where I saw what it was like to see chestnuts roasting.! I also met the children of the man I have been dating…I felt things went real well but driving to meet them I had to admit this did not feel like my life I was living. I felt like I was living a new movie but I told myself it is good to be 50 (at least a few more days) and still discovering new things and people. I have also had another huge wave of grief hit. I think it has been a combination of having a date and being around another man and the holiday season. So many Christmas carols remind me of holidays in the past. This wave caught me totally off guard and I have to admit I have been mad at Joe for leaving me to pick up the pieces of my life, and trying to figure out how to live my life without him. At times I feel I navigate well and at others I feel totally lost. It is a good thing my date was understanding and knows it is best for me to cry and embrace the pain. I hate how grief clouds things for me and reminds me that life will never be the same for me. That makes me mad too…but it is what it is and I must go on. Although I enjoy the adventure of discovering a new life everything is so different for me and I miss my old life.  On a lighter note, I have encountered so many waves of grief in the past two years that I have decided to sign up for surfing lessons so if you hear of any let me know. I figure that it could be a fun way to ride the waves. I have to keep having fun in life!

Where ever you find yourself this holiday season, join me in trusting God, asking Him for favor and finding a cool way to ride the challenges you face and...breathe.

Looking for surfing lessons,



Kathleen

Monday, December 6, 2010

Trying More New Things

My life is anything but normal anymore but oh well…it is certainly interesting! Christian Women's Job Corps is the beneficiary of the Polar Bear Splash on New Years Day. There is a 40 ft slide that ends in the Guadalupe River! Although I do not remember sliding down a slide into freezing water  being part of my job description I will slide because it will be a different way to start the New Year, I believe in the cause and I think this should be on everyone’s bucket list…the worst that could happen is I could die and be with Joe and Jesus! You should really join me or at least sponsor me…www.cwjckerrcounty.org for information. Anyway, today I was on a local radio show promoting the event. After my radio debut I went to do the Hill Country Today Show, a local TV show and showed up early on and got an invitation to co anchor the news! I thought to myself, “You have done so many other things for the first time this year, why not add one more thing?” It was actually fun; the station had technical difficulty and they invited me to do it again…I love walking in God’s favor and all the adventures He offers me. You can watch it if you are bored by going to www.kvhc.com and click on watch KVHC live and then the e-diet ad and go about to the middle of the download and also click the picture of me for the Polar Bear Splash or click on the link above…it is pretty funny.  I am not quitting my day job to be a news anchor!   I also had the opportunity this week to go to Big Spring, TX to help start a Christian Women’s Job Corps in that community and enjoyed helping this ministry expand.

I was singing a song at church this weekend and the words really spoke to me. They were, “I don’t have time to remain in regret when I think about the way that you love me.” Wow…God has poured His love out on me this year in the toughest year of my life and I just felt the Lord say that it was time for grief to bow its knee to God’s love and for me to not look at all I have lost but at the things I have gained. That is very hard at times but I am determined to press through. I must focus on His love…it has sustained me in more ways than most people realize as it has been one of the few things that has not changed for me. I was reading this weekend and found a powerful scripture in I Samuel 2:8 and felt the Lord say it was my promise. “He lifts the needy from the ash heap; he sets them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” Sounds good to me! Sunday I had the opportunity to pray with several people and to me in praying for them I was able to get vengeance on the enemy. I prayed with someone for depression – I have overcome depression and now I get to set others free. I also prayed for someone and their loved one who is battling cancer, someone else that was in a cast…I was in one for 19 months a few years ago and it took a lot to get through that battle and prayed with someone else battling fear. God set me free from many fears 18 years ago. Each time I prayed, I had total confidence in God’s ability because I had experienced His overcoming power myself and it is payback time! Now I have not only God’s permission to set others free but also His authorization.


I am enjoying the holiday season…much more than last year. I love the lights, the quite of my home,have another date this weekend with my friend from California, am planning to have lots of fun with my kids in the days ahead and will be celebrating another birthday soon. My how things change in a year! Change is my friend-

Celebrating still trying new things,

Kathleen

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holidays and Thankful

November 28, 2010

The holiday season has begun for 2010! Thanksgiving was a time of reflection, fun, and new ways to celebrate. I woke up early on Thanksgiving morning and had some quite time sitting on my deck looking at the tree that 2 years ago our family made our Christmas card in front of. The bottom of our card that year said one word…the word that would keep me steady in the days ahead…Peace. This Thanksgiving was not one with tears but my mind would often drift to different Thanksgivings with Joe and how we celebrated in days past. We would usually work together in the kitchen cooking and share special moments…just the two of us. This year Price was the only child home as Austin and Laura were in New York celebrating Laura’s 30th birthday. Mallory and Rob were in Houston but met us at the Texas vs. TAMU game. My sister and her family were in so Price and I went to my parent’s home. Melissa and I put together a Thanksgiving meal that would have made mom proud if she was well. Our mom taught us well and I am thankful for that. Later in the afternoon Price and I left for Austin TX for the big game. Price was our host on the UT campus and took us to a tale gate party before the game. Price is a Jr. at UT and Mallory and Rob both graduated from TAMU so the game was lots of fun. I think I smiled the whole time enjoying my kids and often thought of how much Joe would have enjoyed the event. He was a huge UT fan. But at the end of the day, Texas couldn’t hold the Aggies….oh well…next year. It was a good holiday but I will admit that there were a few tears as I decorated my home for Christmas…Joe and I always worked together and it was such a fun day as we transformed our home into a winter wonderland.

As we went around the table saying what we are thankful for, I commented that this year I was so thankful for grace…I don’t mean that as a trite phrase. His grace, the power to do something we cannot do ourselves and His undeserved gifts have held me together this past year and kept me smiling. Truly, “His grace is sufficient” and I have discovered the truth of that passage in II Cor.12: 9 I don’t just believe it…I know it. Often times we have no experience to back up what we
believe…I am thankful for the opportunity to not just believe but the life experience I have to know. I know the experience with His grace will serve me well in the days ahead. I will be much more willing to step into unknown things knowing His grace will be sufficient. I am so thankful for all the special gifts God has given me this year…thankful for a surprise relationship with a very kind and understanding man in California and thankful for the gifts God has given to me and the kids to help us thru a difficult season. I know God will reward them for being kind to a widow and her children. His grace has enabled me to keep going and I am thankful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

True Confessions




November 21, 2010


I have come to value silence and just being with God. We live in such a busy society and it is easy to be constantly listening to something. My life now gives me more time to think and process…but I have a box I now file more things in than I ever had before. It is my “I don’t understand” box. I attended some meetings this week and went to hear a man that has a healing ministry. There were incredible testimonies of people healed and I actually witnessed some healings. I have no doubt that God heals. But I must confess I had a moment of frustration pondering yesterday with God. God could have healed Joe but that did not happen. I have to admit I slammed a door at my house so hard I am amazed it didn’t break. I don’t like the fact that Joe didn’t get healed and I certainly don’t understand but I have chosen to still trust God. WE have no choice in how circumstances come to us in this life…we only have a choice in how we respond. But I also think God is glorified in emotional healing just as much in physical healing. And I personally value people that have overcome in circumstances and have been broken and have allowed God to heal them.
I have thought a lot about Proverbs 3:5 a lot recently. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” When you lean on something that isn’t stable or strong, you fall. Our understanding apparently isn’t all that important to God. Trusting him is more important. So why do we often times spend so much energy in trying to understand things? I think our society values education and understanding way too much. Those things do not give value to a person…they are just man made accomplishments. God values things that our society often does not…like brokenness. Far too often religious people want things to simply look good verses valuing someone who has been broken and totally dependant on God. Brokenness is a valuable virtue. God also values being conformed to His image and our character and those usually develop the fastest in trials and tribulations if we surrender to Him. That’s how things can work together for our good. I don’t have to like all situations I encounter but what happens next in my life depends on my commitment to God and His ways in all circumstances of life. So I have decided to get a bigger, “I don’t understand” box and keep filing things away and trusting. I seem to have more fun in life that way. I wouldn’t trade for the experience of walking with God and trusting and I can’t wait to see what He is going to do with my little life.

Filing away,

Kathleen

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Value of Process





November 18th, 2010

Two years ago a good friend asked me to help her train to do a ½ marathon. She hates exercise but wanted to do it and knew I liked exercise. I had never done one but I love a challenge and it sounded like a good adventure. Much has happened since that marathon….My friend has gone thru a difficult challenge and my life has totally changed since the 2008 Rock n Roll Marathon. In 2008 Joe cheered us on and met us every few miles to encourage us. The good news is that we completed this ½ marathon 26 minutes quicker than we did 2 years ago…we have both walked thru difficulty and we have prospered! Life is very much like a marathon at times. It is so important that you pace yourself through out so you can endure in the long haul. I loved being immersed in the sea of humanity as we participated in the event this past weekend. Over 30,000 people participated in it from all over the world. I was just one small part of the event that is a benefit for cancer but every little bit counts. Marathons push people beyond what they think they can do but the big reward is not the event itself but the process to get to the event. I trained for over 100 hours to participate in the event that took me 3:34 to complete. Process is so important in the natural and spiritual.

Anyone can read and quote scripture but that doesn’t impress me. It is those people that live it and those that live it when it isn’t easy that impress me. Process in the spiritual shapes our character and it takes time to build good character. We must embrace the privilege of process. Bill Johnson says, “Process is faithful management of what we have been given.” Do you pray for an escape when things get tough or do you embrace the process? Embracing the process means extracting all you can instead of praying “just get me out of this.” I had someone come to me today with a problem. I wasn’t so interested in helping her get out of it but in helping her discover what needed to change in her…that way there was learning in the crisis regardless of the outcome. She learned to forgive someone that really hurt her, she learned to look to God to heal her heart and she learned some other valuable lessons. That is the value of process, not quick deliverance from the problem. We need to be a people that value process because that is what makes us rich. Personally I don’t want to waste one minute of the grief process. I may not like it but I am not going to waste it as I know it will change me as I embrace it. I received the best compliment the other day when someone said, “You have changed. You are different.” My next thought was, “thank God.”

I read Psalm 25:4 and 5 today and loved it. It says, “Show me your ways o Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me. For you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (NIV) God shows us His ways in process, he will guide us in truth because he is a God of truth and we are anchored because of hope.

Enjoying the process,

Kathleen

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rocking and Rolling!

Ok….I think I have lost my mind and need someone to help me find it! I have been training to do a ½ marathon since August and it is the Sunday. Now why on earth would a person in their right mind want to pay money to spend the morning in the rain and cold??? I am really hoping the weather men in San Antonio are not right in their forecast! Oh well….I will just show up and hang on…it is what I do best in life…roll with what is thrown at you and figure out a way to have fun. It is a benefit for cancer so it makes it all worth it. Two years ago was my first time to do a marathon and it was this one. Joe was there every few miles cheering me on and was so proud of me. I will miss that this race. Even if it rains it will be ok…it has been the process and the training that has been fun as I have walked with Nina and we have processed our lives, made ourselves go much further than we normally would, laughed many hours and gotten in better shape. Trials and hardships are much the same way as training for a marathon…you breathe, focus, find joy, process with God and people that love you. As you determine to push thru them you see that you are capable of more than you think and you grow in your inner man.

CWJC graduation went really well the other night. To hear the testimonies and see the transformation of the ladies was wonderful. God out did himself this semester. It has been action packed in many ways but a great blessing. It has been stellar in many ways. Nine girls got saved, we baptized seven and have seen visible change on their faces and in their lives. I love walking and working with God. There is nothing like it….seeing people has he sees them, believing in them and helping them discover their potential and value.

Rocking and Rolling this weekend!

Kathleen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Graduation is coming!


Since I wrote last I have been working on graduation for my Fall semester, baptized 7 girls last Friday, been training for a half marathon that will happen this next weekend and have been entertaining my kids. Price came in last Friday with several weeks of laundry so that kept me busy! He went hunting with Rob. Mallory and I had a good visit and then went to San Antonio to meet with some of her friends. Tomorrow will be the graduation of our 23rd class at CWJC and we will officially have 250 graduates after tomorrow night! If you want to come it will be at 7:00 at Impact Christian Fellowship at 2031 Goat Creek Rd. in Kerrville. I better rest up...hope to write more after that!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Lamb and the Shepherd



October 31st

Oh my, I have had every intention to write sooner but life has been extremely busy for me but it is everybody. I often wish I had more time to write but right now there just doesn’t seem to be enough time as I balance everything…managing a home alone, work which is very busy this fall…I attended 14 training/social events in the last 6 weeks, time to grieve and yet moving forward, All take more energy than I seem to have.

I have been busy preparing for a big Open House for the Christian Women’s Job Corps as it is our 10th birthday. It is amazing to me all that God has done in this ministry, especially when I have been thru the most difficult time of my life, but is His ministry not mine and He has watched over it. There was a fabulous article in our local newspaper about the Christian Women’s Job Corps . You can read it by going to www.dailytimes.com and the date is Oct. 28th or by clicking the link below that says share. It was the front page article. . I took over CWJC in Kerrville in 2003 and had no idea what I was getting into. I now believe God wanted to teach me many things so He gave me the job. There were 63 graduates when I started the position and now there are 250 after our 23 class graduates on November 10. It was wonderful to see so many from our community at the open house and to see many of our graduates. Now I switch hats and prepare for our graduation in 10 days…

The last month I have been watching a corner in our town and watched how it is changing. They have been taking down a structure that has stood in our community for a while…it once was the hospital where my children were born. Now the whole structure is gone and soon the corner will have a new building and purpose. This corner will never look the same even though very little has changed in Kerrville in past few months. Slowly this structure has been dismantled…this process has reminded me of my life. The past 21 months life as I knew it has changed and I have changed. It will never look like it did before. Slowly my life began to change as Joe and I fought for his life…this whole process has changed me and I will never be the same. Life for most of the people in my life has stayed the same but my world has changed. That has been difficult for me because I never wanted it to change. But I know God has a good plan and one that is even better than what I can image. Last night I spoke at an African American church in our community. They had a ladies tea and I was the guest speaker. It was a wonderful experience and I loved the diversity that was there. I was also able to sell some of my books and CD’s and am excited about getting the messages God has given me into the hands of others. I also got another invitation to a Black church in San Antonio…Joe and I use to visit Black churches in San Antonio as he loved their soul worship. I know he was enjoying last night and was proud of me for going on in life without him…It was good to step out into something I am passionate about and I pray God will put in places where I will be most affective for the kingdom.

My date went real well last weekend. We had a really good time and it was good to laugh and enjoy the differentness of a new relationship. My constant prayer as I have stepped out into dating at 50 is that the Lord would protect me and guard my heart. My date has been very patient with me and is very understanding with the grief. I have noticed that there is something about being with another man that can trigger the grief and make me miss what I had. But he is a great guy and has held my heart gently and actually encouraged me. I love that he is not threatened by what I had and understands what is best for me. Dating again has been a journey of holding God’s hand and having a constant conversation with Him as I walk a new way. Dating at 50 is quite different than it was 33 years ago! It has been an adventure to say the least and I have learned much. I remember someone asking me if I was nervous when I went on the first date with Lin last May. My reply was, “No, I guess the worst that could happen is I could die and be with Joe and Jesus!” It has taken a lot of courage to step out again…but I am confidant in God’s ability to protect me and watch over my heart because I belong to Him. My date doesn’t live around here and we spent many hours on the phone getting to know each other before we actually went out. He was even gracious when I told him I was doing a background check on him and has been a wonderful gift in my life.

I was thinking today about my life…I feel like a little lamb that is and has been trying to stay close to her Shephard allowing Him to protect, feed, care for and watch over me as I journey down an unknown path. My job is to stay close and the rest is up to Him. I know He loves me dearly and I will keep taking steps away from my old life and into my new one.

One step at a time,

Kathleen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Promises and the Desert





October 18, 2010

‘The Lord will surely comfort Zion. And will look at her with compassion upon all her ruin.
He will make her desert like Eden , her wasteland like to garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, a thanksgiving and that sound of singing.” Isaiah 51:3 (NIV)

When I read this yesterday, I felt like it was God’s promise to me now and in the future. When I look at the past 21 months and the trauma I have endured, only God could comfort me well. I think back on times that I felt Him say, “I know.” There was always an understanding in His voice. God has allowed me to walk in the desert for a season to speak tenderly to me and I know my garden will bloom in time. And there it is again…the theme thru it all…singing! I am still singing and thanksgiving has become my best friend helping me keep a somewhat sound perspective and the presence of God surrounding me. I am very grateful to those that have been sensitive to where my heart has been and extended kindness and understanding. I really find there has been a lack of sensitivity in our culture… Someone from another state contacted me recently and her friend that was in her late 40’s lost her husband suddenly and she wanted to know what things helped me as a grieving person. I plan to really write about that someday but the number one thing needed is cheering the grieving person on in life alone and affirming them. Everything has changed and will never be the same. It takes courage and strength to climb thru grief and begin again. I think of all the sporting events and all the people cheering in the stands, some of them scrutinizing each play like they could do it better. When you are in the “game” you need cheerleaders and fans and lots of hugs and love. I Corinthians 13 says, “love never fails.” A grieving person needs to hear those words because often the one that told them “I love you” the most is gone. They need love and tenderness and sensitivity. I am personally going to work on trying to not be so self centered and grow at loving others better.

The blooms in my garden this weekend were to get to spend another weekend with all my kids. My oldest son Austin was in a wedding and in the area from out of state. It was so good to connect with him and his wonderful wife. Price and Mallory were with us too. Price was my date to the wedding…We laughed, talked about Joe a bit and had fun. Somehow we are figuring out how to go on. I loved seeing how God was working in each of my kids lives and healing them. What a gift! Speaking of going on, I have a date this weekend…what a crazy life I now live…so different and full of adventure. God is always full of surprises and there is joy as I hold His head and let him escort me as my personal “Price of Peace.”

Holding His hand,

Kathleen

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Facebook (13) | Kathleen Maxwell

This is the DVD we played at Joe's Memorial Service. Hope you enjoy. Click on the facebook link.


Facebook (13) | Kathleen Maxwell: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Still Singing After A Year






October 10, 2010

Wow! We did it! Somehow someway we have made it a year without Joe…I know it is only by His grace. God has held our hearts and daily brought grace and comfort. I did not know what to expect on the first anniversary of Joe’s death. I had no preconceived ideas there seemed to be an anticipation…I had survived the hardest year in my 50 years of life.
Love never fails and it does heal…someone provided for me and Price to stay in a fabulous hotel in Houston so we could be close to Mal and Rob….what a gift! It was such a demonstration of God’s extravagant love and provision. We had this same opportunity last year with our kids and when I left the hotel and checked out, the clerk said, “Mrs. Maxwell, everything has been taken care of.” It was a profound moment and I knew God was speaking…somehow I knew I was walking into a very hard place when I left that oaisis. As I got in the car Joe said, “I can’t take anymore.” I drove him straight to MD Anderson and when he left MDA 14 days later he came home to die. As I walked into the same hotel this past Thursday, I was in such a different place in many ways. I was at total peace knowing God had once again proved himself faithful…He has taken care of everything for me this past year. Given me things I didn’t even know I needed…that is another topic for another time. Price, Mallory and Rob and I enjoyed the weekend just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. And God out did himself as someone gave Rob tickets to the Houston Rockets game and we got to sit on the court right behind the players! What a gift to all of us. We could actually touch the players if we wanted to. I love the favor of God in our darkest moments. We laughed this weekend, cried a little but I believe we all agreed it was good to get this year behind us. My kids seem to be handling the grief well and that is an answer to prayer. They have had to grow up quickly but they have embraced the challenge. Their faith has been tested and I know to many adults much older than them that haven’t really had their faith tested. They are all still pressing into and trusting God…What more could I want? We really did miss Austin and Laura this weekend but will see them next weekend for a wedding. I had a 45 minute visit with Austin and it was such a blessing talking about everything and nothing.He posted a video of Joe's life that we played at his service. You can find it at:https://public.me.com/austinmaxwell We will all go on in our lives. Even though Joe wasn’t with us, God provided and pampered us when we needed a little tender loving care. His love and the love others have shown has been so healing and helped us to press on. We have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and have learned so much. We will never be the same. I wrote Joe a letter this weekend telling him things I wanted him to know and telling him I loved how he loved me but I had to go on with my life…after 21 months of grieving I have to go on, the future stretches before me and I have live life fully and love again…This time after I checked out there was a smile on my face as I got in my convertible with my music on and curls blowing in the fall breeze…life is good and God is so good and He is making all things work together for my good. There is nothing like knowing Him and the fellowship of His suffering- hard –yes but He makes all things new and I have had the opportunity to grow this year,redeem time and have moved closer in perfecting the art of letting go and overcoming.

Words cannot express my gratitude for those who have helped so much this past year. There are many names I could list but particularly Howell and Debbie, Steve and Deanna, Katie and Franklin, Nina, Lin, Tammy...thank you for being like Jesus to us.

Still singing and standing in His goodness,

Kathleen

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Approaching the One Year Mark



Last week God gave me an interesting passage to read. I was actually looking for a scripture in II Samuel and found this passage. It is a common bible story of David and Bathsheba and the loss of their son. It says in II Samuel 12:15-17… “the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground.” (NIV) This is an interesting passage that might rock some people’s theology but I can’t help but note that this child was what we might consider in our society a victim of circumstances. He had no choice in his father’s sin and yet God took his life. At the end of the day, the child belonged to God so he could do what he wanted with him. Perhaps God knew his life would be so much better with Him than on earth. Joe's life belonged to God too... Anyway, David mourned for the child and was beside himself with grief even when the child was alive so much so that when the child died the servants were afraid to tell David. II Samuel 12:19 says, “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground, After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.” (NIV) David’s servants then asked him why he was acting this way. Verse 22 says, “He answered, While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept I thought, “Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live. But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” David then went to comfort his wife Bathsheba and they had Solomon.

David is my favorite bible character. He was a red head and a man after God’s heart and a worshipper. I am a woman after God’s heart and a worshipper...I do have 2 handsome redheaded sons! What was so interesting to me was how quickly David moved on in his life. Personally I feel loosing a husband, someone with whom I was one with is more difficult than loosing a child but nevertheless, David accepted the loss, surrendered to God’s plan and moved on knowing that that season was over, there was nothing more he could do but worship and live life. As I pondered the passage I felt like God saying I had grieved long and hard for 21 months and it was time to go on and really enjoy life. He isn’t coming back and my life as well as my kids will never be the same. (Even though we were fighting in faith for his life, Joe and I began to let go of life as we had known it when he was diagnosed...we had many times we grieved together)

As I approach October 8th , the day Joe died, I am not dreading it but actually anticipating it. Somehow, someway I have made it a year without him…I don’t know how that happened other than the many prayers that have been offered up and grace of God! It has been the toughest,most painful and yet richest year of my life. I feel like I have grown years in discovering who I am without a husband and kids in the house. I have a confidence like never before because I have seen God’s faithfulness. I have experienced accelerated growth in my identity and relationship with Him. I am a totally different woman than I was a year ago. I know everyone is happy about that!If I could go back to a year ago just to have a few more moments with Joe, I wouldn’t do it I know Joe wouldn't want to either- who would want to leave the praesence of God to see me?…I’ve come to far…like the Meredith Andrews song, “how could I go back to life as usual, how can I return to who I once was, I just want to take your story to the world because you have shown me how to love.” My heart is to keep extracting everything I can from this loss and move on even more in my life. Thanks for sharing this journey with us and all your prayers. I would love to hear if this journey has helped you in anyway... Maxwell@ktc.com

Held…

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Onward to New Life





September 26, 2010

I have just returned from a great weekend. I left on Friday for Belton to see my sister and her family. I had a fun time with my nephews and visiting with all of them. Saturday morning I kept the boys for Kyle and Melissa while they worked and enrolled the boys in Camp Maxwell to keep them entertained. They are precious!

Saturday around noon I headed to Granbury to speak at a women’s banquet held at Southside Baptist church. The drive was wonderful as everything was green and the day was cool. There is nothing like the top down, good worship music and zipping along a new road along side a rail road track…part of the drive there was rain but it did not dampen the trip. I had a wonderful time just being with God and talking to Him on the trip. This was my first time to speak the “Princess Message” to a group like I did in 2007 and 2008. I put everything on hold when Joe was ill and have just now felt like I could handle a speaking engagement. It was with mixed emotions I accepted the invitation. Joe was my biggest cheerleader and pushed me to get out there and give what God had given me. He believed in me and helped me see my potential. As hard as it was to step out without him at my side, I knew it was something he would want me to pursue.

They had the room which held 100 ladies all decorated like it was a castle complete with archways, lights, crystal on the tables etc. as the theme was Princess Warrior. Two friends from Christian Women’s Job Corps in Granbury were with me and it was fun to visit with them and see their new CWJC facility. I felt God’s presence totally surround me all day and felt His favor on me as I know He is even more passionate about women discovering their value than I am. He has just put some of His passion in my heart. At times as I was speaking, I could see God working on the hearts of the women I was speaking to and some of them wiping tears. I pray God will continue the work He began. As I took the stage, it was as if I had never taken a break and I can say I even had more confidence because I have seen God’s faithfulness so much in the past 19 months. But I missed Joe…

I have just completed my second edition of “Wake Up to Who You Are”, a book on the topic of our identity and part of my personal testimony on the topic. I recently added another chapter and updated parts of the first edition. If you are interested in a copy I sell them for $3.00 and if you contact me I can get you one. I was also able to sell some CD’s of other speaking engagements I have done on topics such as:

The Princess Message
Overcoming
Living Out of Our Value Instead of Our Needs
Focus and Praise
Walking In Peace I and II
Handling Crisis
You Are An Over Comer!
(CD’s are $3.00 also)

The trip home was gorgeous and I drove all the way home with the top down and loving every minute of the drive. I reflected on the evening before, cried some as waves of grief washed over my heart, and dreamed of my future life and what it might look like. I am leaning how to walk with God in the extremes of life…on the mountain top and in the valley…I know what it is like walking in the blessings of God and through the valley of the shadow of death. He is consistent in who He is…always loving, always there for me and teaching me more of who He is for me. He is my healer, my helper, my counselor and my husband in this season. I love Him! At times I feel like I am taking one step walking through the grief and with the other foot stepping towards my new life.

Onward to new life…

Kathleen

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Road of Life



September 19, 2010


Life in the natural is totally unpredictable, is full of delightful things as well as painful crisis. Trust me on this! The adventure of life is that each day we have the opportunity to discover what is around the corner. Some days the road is straight, predictable and simple…and we can handle it easily because we know the road. Other days we round the corner and our heart stops because we can’t see clearly, something wonderful is ahead, something totally unexpected is in the road or we have to take a detour. The challenge is always about how am I going to show up and respond when the unpredictable, painful and unforeseen happens? How do we navigate so things do not spin out of control or get on the wrong road? Anyone can totally fall apart, explode in anger or loose hope but it is in those times as believers in God we can choose a different way. I have discovered it is important to let love drive and navigate through the unexpected. It makes the twists and turns prettier…like the picture posted. What do I mean by letting love drive? It has been very important in the last 18 months of my life to rest in and step into the fact that above all God loves me dearly even though I have experienced the most painful days ever. Some days I do well at letting love navigate and other days not so good. In times past when the unpredictable happened I often tried to take control, became anxious, became self protective which always lead me down the wrong road. When things don’t look the way I think they should or I see the negative I have to ask God for His perspective of the situation-wait until my negative perspective changes and make sure I am choosing to love others and Him regardless of how they treat me or what I think should be happening in life. I frequently just sit in silence and have a simple conversation with God, “God I love you and open my heart to receive your love for me.” I always feel His presence with those words and am in stillness to receive. How often do you tell God you love Him each day? We all love to hear those words. Joe use to tell me 5 or 6 times a day that he loved me and I would tell him. Those words kept us connected as husband and wife. I miss hearing those words…but I’ve tried to tell God more daily that I love Him and open my heart to Him to give me the love I need. I challenge you to begin telling the Lord you love Him more and more each day.
Back to the road…there is the unexpected curve when someone says something hurtful or disappoints us. Our love for others is challenged in this place. I love what Graham Cooke says about that- “How do you love when love isn’t returned? The same ways you do when it is because real love loves anyway” I see so many in the body of Christ that only love when love is returned. It is shallow. Our love needs to be unconditional for others just like Jesus. God is love. It is who He is….it is who we are too…we just forget or choose to walk in performance love. My personal mission statement is: “To know the Father’s love and give it away.” God’s heart for me is to continually grow in understanding what real love really is so I will have more to give away. The more of God’s love we receive, meditate on and understand the better we are at loving others.

I am loving the days where there is a crispness in the air and those little signs that a new season is ahead. My week has been busy with extra things at work, walking a lot as I am training for a ½ marathon and trying to manage a home alone. It is much more difficult without a partner…but I am giving it my best shot. Last night was our CWJC BBQ and we had 125 people that braved the rain and came anyway. It was a fun cool evening under the pavilion at our city park. I am also preparing for a speaking engagement I have this next week for a women’s banquet in Grandbury. Please pray for me as I step back into things I am passionate about…helping women discover their value and worth. I will be speaking about the book I wrote and have now come out with a second edition. “Wake Up to Who You Are!” I sell them for $3.00 if anyone is interested as well as the CD.

On another note, I want to talk about someone that has been an incredible gift to me in the last 9 months. I am a verbal processor which means I need to talk myself into what I think and feel about situations. It is the way God made me. I met someone safe, out of state and has been someone that has constantly been there for me allowing me to process life and the grief- A fabulous listener and friend and I am very thankful for Lin and his kindness.

Walking in His love,

Kathleen

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Moving On...


September 12, 2010

I have to tell a story about my car. At Joe’s memorial service, Price told a dear friend who owned a car lot to find me a convertible…I wasn’t sure if he didn’t think I could get a date without a cool car or if he was afraid I would cry forever! Austin told me I had to have a Toyota…that is what happens when you raise smart kids…they tell you what to do. Anyway after 5 months of looking the owner of the car lot found exactly what I was looking for and more. A white Toyota convertible with GPS and heated leather seats! As I test drove the car home I prayed, “Lord, I am 50 years old and I have never bought my own car. Please help me to know if this is a good decision or not because it is your money anyway.” I test drove the car to my house. As I pulled up in the driveway I checked the mail like I do everyday. In the mailbox was a check that covered the difference in the car I traded in and this one! I could not believe it! The check was really in the mail! I had no idea I was getting this money and it was a total surprise! I am not an expert at hearing the voice of God but this was pretty clear I felt. My convertible has been a wonderful gift from the Lord and simply something that delights my heart. Yea God! He is a great husband. In the midst of the pain there have been unexpected blessings which make me smile and still believe in His goodness.

I frequently encounter situations where I simply have to step back and say, “I am just not there anymore.” Although at first it felt awkward I have moved on to other things in life and feel at times I have outgrown situations. I guess it takes me back to what I have always said…you can’t grow without change, and you can’t change without growth. I am certainly getting plenty of opportunities to grow! But that is good…I am in a growth process…painful growth but none the less, a rich time of accelerated growth. I am thankful for it and know it will give birth to new opportunities. There have been so many times I have had to simply live out of my will vs. my feelings. The will is a powerful thing. God gave us emotions but never left us victims to our emotions…He gave us a will to live out of. I have had to simply say, “I choose as an act of my will to overcome (get the better of the situation) in the grief instead of being overcome by grief.” “Lord I give you the pain and look to you to heal me.” God is doing that and I feel I am ready to move on.

Moving on….

Kathleen

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Waiting for the Waves to Subside




September 4nd 2010

Another month has begun and time marches on whether we are ready or not. Last Thursday I attended the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce Banquet that Joe and I attended last year together when I received Woman of the Year. So much was different this year and yet some things remained the same. I decided to wear the same dress I wore last year as Joe picked it out and bought it for me last year…I hadn’t worn it since last years event and it made me smile to wear it knowing he liked it. I did not like driving alone to the event and stopped and gave a friend a ride…I miss being driven places and having a steady date. A sweet friend emailed me to check on me and as I replied to her about going to the banquet I wrote that I hoped this evening would be healing INSTEAD of painful. As I typed the word instead I felt like God said I have healing for you instead of painful. As I sat thru the big event in our community and reflected on last year being there with Joe it was healing. I smiled as I remember how much he pushed thru his own pain to be there. He had said for several years that one day I would receive that honor and I always laughed at him and said I was a legend in only his mind…he was right.

August has been the toughest month I have experienced in the grief process. I have been in an intense place of embracing the pain and loss in order to go on. I feel like I have been contending against depression and having to hang on to the truth that I know instead of my feelings. Some days as I awoke and didn’t feel like I had what it took to get thru day I felt like God said to just show up and leave the rest to him. It is his ministry anyway so it is His responsibility to give me what I need to do my job. As I would push thru the pain and simply show up, somehow He provided what I needed in a very busy season at work. Amazingly things came together in spite of me and my weakness. As I have struggled with feeling like my life was over because of the pain and loss I have felt myself contending with what I know to be true because of things God has spoken to me, His character and his word. I have had the opportunity to learn to overcome one of life’s greatest heart aches. In the midst of this I have learned to depend on only God as I have felt abandoned by some that I thought would be there for me in my darkest hour. But God has provided others and He has comforted me…at the end of the day, He is the only one that can heal my pain. I have felt the undertow of this last wave pull so hard that at times I didn’t think I would make it. But in it was reminded that when having done all STAND. I remember when I was in Cabo the Pacific Ocean undertow being so strong all I could do was plant my feet and hope I didn’t get washed out to sea! At other times I have felt myself gasping for breath in tears because of the intensity of the pain. Earlier in the month I spoke on overcoming….it was if God gave me the message because he knew I would need to practice, practice and then practice some more of what I had learned in recent months. I have had to embrace the pain, not live in the feelings, and contend with the truth….I feel it has almost killed me to do these things and I know the training I am getting will serve me well one day. One day I felt so much like my life was over, I simply had to do the opposite of what I felt…a friend came by work and invited me to go to swing dance class with she and her husband and although I felt like crawling in a hole I went and danced…swing dance is fast and fun and I learned at times I have to simply do the opposite of what I feel. Although August was hard, I learned a lot and now feel I am at a better place.

Ok…now for some good news. Yesterday at Christian Women’s Job Corps the Holy Spirit showed up and had a different plan than the bible study teacher and I did. As we let Him lead and we followed, tears began to flow in the room as His presence settled and we had six women accept the Lord! That makes history at CWJC as we have never had that many at one time come to the Lord and it was almost half the class! No wonder last month was so difficult for me…break thru was near! I love working with God!

Mallory and Rob are coming this direction this Labor Day weekend and it will be good to spend time with them. I have missed my girl! Austin and Laura are enjoying the D.C. area and Austin reported today his garden is doing well! Price is adjusting to being a Jr. at UT.


Waiting, contending, and loving Him,

Kathleen

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Daring to Believe


August 26, 2010

What a busy few days it has been getting ready for my new semester at CWJC. I still wear out pretty quickly and my “emotional bank” is still pretty low. Work and this last wave of grief have really depleted me…I hate it and it cramps my style. Yesterday was our new student orientation and volunteer training and it is exciting to see the new semester come together. As I have journeyed thru the grief process, I have had to look at situations and people and ask if something is a deposit in my emotional bank account or a withdrawal. I have to limit people and situations that are withdrawals from my account and do things and be with people that are deposits.
There is a song that has particularly ministered to me lately. It is by Josh Wilson and is called “Before the Morning” You can hear it on You Tube but here are the words…
Do you wonder why you have to,
feel the things that hurt you,
if there's a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Chorus:
Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going,
you just don't know how you get there
so just say a prayer.
and hold on, cause there's good who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning
yeah, yeah,
before the morning,
yeah, yeah

Once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
memory, memory, yeah

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

com'n, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the hurt before the healing
the pain you've been feeling,
just the dark before the morning
before the morning, yeah, yeah
before the morning
I do get weary of the pain of the loss and feel trapped by it at times. It has been a long journey from watching tumors grow to learning to live alone and I wonder at times if the pain will ever end. In the past I have had people, the wedding and other things to distract me. Now I feel I am having to face the reality and the pain head on. I don’t like it but God knows that too and I surrender to where I am and where he has me. I have to look reality straight in the eyes not knowing how I will get thru this valley because I seem to have no strength but will hold the hand of God and simply take it one step at a time. I don't know much but I do know He loves me...

Daring to believe-

Kathleen

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faith That Is Tested


I had a good weekend visiting with my daughter and son-in-law in Houston. It was fun to see their home and their life together. The drive down there wasn’t as painful as it was the last time. I stopped and visited with 3 nurses that were with Joe’s oncologist. They seemed glad to see me and I was glad to see them. They were my friends during a very hard season. In some ways it seemed like home and was easy being there. As I was on the elevator a woman began to talk to me. As we exited the elevator I ask if I could pray for her. She was very thankful as she seemed in a daze from the long day and the news she had gotten.

As I begin another semester at my job, I wonder how God will fill in the void of not having Joe cheering me on in what God has called me to. Most people don’t realize how he was the “wind beneath my wings.” He was my prayer partner, confidant and was always there when I needed to verbally process. Frequently he would send me emails during the day telling me he was thinking of me, praying for me or that he loved me. I miss that. He was a huge support of the things God had called me to. Often times it is the other way around in ministry. Men are in that position and their wives support them. Joe was secure in his identity and we were a team. I have decided that I cannot look at making it thru a semester without him, I just have to wake up each morning, show up and leave the rest to God. I simply have to just look at making it one day at a time, one step at a time.

I have had several widows tell me that the second year was tougher than the first year without their husbands…that doesn’t sound fun and I hope my experience is different. The last several days I have been reading I Peter 1:6-7 which says,”In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed.” Our faith is worth something. It keeps us steady in the storms of life and keeps us from drowning. There are a lot of Christians that have not yet had their faith tested. Is it what they say it is? What have they overcome in their lives or are they only talk? As much as I haven’t enjoyed some of the painful things I have recently suffered, I know they have shaped me and changed me. I refuse to waste the pain that has come in numerous situations and am learning to surrender to where I find myself, breathe and trust what I cannot see.

The wave of grief that hit around our anniversary is tremendous. The pain that life as I knew it is over has been unbearable recently. I had a friend that has been married a number of years say today, “you and Joe were in love and had a deep relationship that few have. I haven’t had that so I cannot imagine the loss.” That is more comforting than someone saying, “I know how you feel” because few do. There are many marriages that just share children, houses and live separate lives. If you are married, begin today to invest in each other. Affirm one another, honor one another, be best friends and share life. It is too short to lead separate lives.

Trusting, breathing, and holding His hand,

Kathleen

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simply Pressing Thru...




August 12, 2010

HUMMM…pressing through the pain is harder than I like. Some days like today I feel like I am going thru the motions of life and feel like my life is over. In reality, it is. Life as I knew it is over. I am still moving thru grief and do not really feel like my new life has come. Maybe it has but I just miss my old one. I am painfully aware that my heart needs more healing as this wave has washed over me wiping me out again physically and emotionally. My personal definition of grief is wrestling with my feelings and coming out with the truth. Some days are just harder than others and I feel trapped in many ways. And some days are just about longsuffering and endurance. I know I cannot live by my feelings because they can lie to me so I seek God to reveal truth to me and comfort me in the process. Boy this is a lot of work…but somehow I will overcome. I don’t know how but His grace will lead me. I simply must live in the moment just looking at the next step to take.

I sometimes have to remind myself to be easy on myself as I really have had a lot of change in my life and adjustments. A year ago I was dealing with trips to Houston, dressing changes and watching my husband suffer, then his death, learning to adjust to living alone, planning a wedding and dealing with my parents being in the hospital 6 times in the past 10 months. Today I spent the afternoon in the ER with my dad as I got a call and the nurse said his heart rate was 32…He was dehydrated, needed a blood thinner and will see another doctor again tomorrow. I wonder if I can get frequent flyer miles for all the visits to the hospital? That would be nice!

On a lighter note, I watched Price play sand volleyball tonight. I still after all these years love watching my boys play sports. He is quite good at spiking the ball and his arms are so long!! Austin and Laura are in the process of moving to the D.C. area as I write and I am so excited that I will see the newlyweds this weekend. It will be good to be with them. I’ve missed my girl…

I love Psalms 32:8. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

Enduring-
Kathleen

Friday, August 6, 2010

First Anniversary without Joe





August 6, 2010


Whoo who…by the grace of God and prayers of many I have made it through another grief hurdle. I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to spend the first wedding anniversary without Joe. The morning began in my favorite place…my back porch with my coffee and just sitting and being with the Lord. I had found months ago an anniversary card Joe bought for me last year that he hadn’t given me. I didn’t read it and saved it for Wednesday morning. It was difficult to read because it talked about growing old together and our love continuing to grow…ouch. That brought the tears. I went for a two mile run as I had 31 years ago…glad I can still do that! Later in the morning I went and got my mom out of the care facility we had placed her in as my dad was released from the hospital. They were so happy to be back together. I worked at my job in the afternoon. The pain was great and one of the toughest days I have experienced but I felt God’s presence surrounding me as I embraced the grief and wrote in my journal. I know it will do no good to run from the pain. I reflected about my wedding day and other anniversaries we had spent. We usually didn’t give gifts to each other but chose to go away for the weekend somewhere to celebrate our love. Today was quite different than other August 4th I had spent but I tried to reflect on all I had to be thankful. Joe adored me, was a great cheerleader for me in whatever I pursued and loved to spend time with me as well as being an awesome man of God. I know that many married women haven’t had a husband like that because they have told me. I am thankful for the 30 years we shared. There were several special blessings God gave me as he knows what delights my heart. He is the greatest husband! One was Price gave me a beautiful flower arrangement an another was I got an invitation for a speaking engagement for the fall for a Baptist church in Granbury. Both made me smile. At the last minute I had some long time friends drop by to visit that evening. As we sat on my deck as we had all 6 done many times and laughed it helped ease the pain. Once in the evening I glanced at the empty chair where Joe use to sit but it was alright.
I don’t know what the future holds for me but I do know who holds my future. I will continue to focus and breathe and choose to trust Him because He has always been faithful. I am not in control of my life and there are so many things that constantly remind me of that but it is ok. I continue to seek God for healing for me and my kids and look to Him to order my steps and give me divine appointments. I am learning with my parents, Joe’s death and other situations how to live life abundantly in brokenness. Not a class I would have ever signed up for but necessary for the call of God on my life.

Held by grace,
Kathleen

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July-Wedding,California and Cabo






July 31, 2010

What an amazing July it has been- everything from wrapping up 4 months of preparing for a wedding, 3 great days of wedding festivities in Dripping Springs, a trip to California to visit a friend and see everything from gorgeous lakes to San Francisco and then a week of pure rest in Cabo San Lucus with Nina aka translator/travel companion. All have been wonderful memories I will treasure for some time. God knows the things that delight my heart and after a long hard year and a half July has been the best month I have experienced. I love to travel and have needed a break from all the wedding preparations, my responsibilities at work and with my parents.

My trip to Cabo was planned back in January before I knew of the wedding or the 5 hospital stays my parents have had. Again…God knew what I would need before I did. Nina and I loved sitting and looking for hours at the Sea of Cortez. Neither one of us read much and were content just being. My body and soul needed to just rest and I did. One of my top things is life is swimming in the Sea of Cortez…the cool turquoise waves which are pretty big and strong moving my body up and down in the deep water reminded me of my life…I often feel like I am floating in the waves of grief and have no control over when or how hard they hit. I did however feel I had a break this week from the grief. I loved long walks on the white beach and loved the cool ocean mist blowing on my face. In the evenings we would either walk barefoot down to beach to a sea side cafĂ© or ride the local bus with the natives into town to eat decadent seafood or enjoy the yachts at the marina and music. We frequently slept in and loved having Mexican coffee on our patio that overlooked the water. We made friends with people from different states and countries but most of all we laughed and laughed and then laughed some more. I won’t have to do abdominal exercises for a while as my stomach hurt from all the laughing we did at each other and at ourselves. Nina and I have been friends since high school, have gone to child birth classes together and church, raised 6 kids between the two of us in 29 years and attended more tennis tournaments with our boys than we can count.

My trip let me see how far I have come since I was in Cabo at Christmas. I am in a much better place now and feel God healing my heart. As I say goodbye to July and look ahead to August I have to smile, treasure the memories and once again breathe deep… August 4 will be the first time I will spend an anniversary without Joe. I don’t know what to expect but I will rest in God’s faithfulness and goodness and be thankful for the 30 years and two months we shared, knowing God has good things ahead for my life.

Smiling and reflecting,

Kathleen

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Truth and Love




July 22, 2010


I returned from my trip to California at 3:oo am on Wednesday morning. Our plane had to make an emergency landing due to a medical emergency. The lady was sitting next to me when she began to faint. They called for anyone with medical experience. I thought of raising my hand since I had numerous hours in hospitals and doctors offices. Instead I chose to simply pray for the woman and try to comfort her. Another divine appointment…

My trip was a lot of fun and gave me a good break getting away from work and life in Kerrville. The trip was a gift from a friend and was a wonderful blessing. I was able to hike, see San Francisco and rest some. God continues to provide the things I need.

My father had knee surgery on Monday and when I returned I immediately had to help my sister with my parents. With both of them needing an advocate we were pretty busy. We have had to move my mom to a care facility River Hill Rehab and dad is at Sid Peterson. It has been crazy for the past few days….I am still not sure why my life revolves around hospitals and doctors in this season of my life. Today I had to take my mom to the doctor and then go to the hospital to assist my dad with some things. In the nine months Joe has been gone mom and dad have had 5 hospital stays…Didn’t I live in hospitals last year?

I had a dream when I was in California. In the dream Joe was helping me get a rocking chair out of the garage. I was talking to him about getting it ready. I discussed with him having a friend help me recover it. As I pondered the dream and prayed about it I felt like the situation with Joe is/has prepared me for a new life. But I am still in the preparation time for this new life. I don’t have a rocking chair in my house but used one with all my babies. My new life is coming…I am still preparing for it. I also felt like I heard God speak “wait” while I was on my trip. So I will continue to heal, prepare and wait for the unknown…so much has happened in nine months and yet it only seems like yesterday at other times. I am still trying to figure out how to spell “single” much less live it! I have enjoyed several dates but am not ready for another relationship.

Psalms 4o:11 really spoke to me the other day. “may your love and truth always protect me.” Wow! I have never read that before. His incredible love has given me a confidence to walk in many unknown situations fully confidant in Him and unafraid. Sometimes I remind myself that the worst that could happen is I could die and be with Jesus and Joe and how bad could that be? In times when I feel weak in situations I remind myself I have watched tumors grow and suddenly the problem seems small and I know God will show me the way. He consistently reveals truth in situations that I question…the key is simply asking and waiting on Him to reveal truth and not to move unless I feel peace in a situation. Praying for truth to be revealed is a prayer that never fails. So I will continue to daily ask for a fresh revelation of His love and for Him to reveal truth to me.

Preparing and waiting for new life-

Kathleen

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wedding Day


July 15, 2010


My thought for the day is that time flies by. Right after the wedding I left for a little time away to regroup after the wedding so I was quite busy shifting gears and getting ready to leave for California.

Now about the wedding as I know many of you are anxious to hear. The big day began with a “wedding jog”. I was determined to keep up with the 25 year olds but was slower. At least I didn’t faint on the 2 ½ miles trot down the road. The neat thing was I went jogging 30 years ago on my wedding day. After that we had a wonderful bridesmaids luncheon in down town Austin given by two friends that were in my wedding. We had a lot of fun.

We all began to get ready early in the afternoon so we could be ready for pictures which began around 5:15. It was a relaxing afternoon and the bride was calm, cool and collected as the make up and hair lady fixed her all up. Neither one of us shed a tear only laughter and joy as we prepared for the big event. At seven in the evening the music began and I was escorted down the aisle by my two handsome redheaded sons and I was grinning from ear to ear. Next were my adorable nephews and Rob’s niece. And then there was a picture that will forever be tattooed in my memory…with Price on the right, Austin on the left and Mallory in the middle all of my precious children walked down the aisle with tears in each of their eyes. Tears began to roll down my cheeks and most of the people attending the outdoor event looking over a beautiful canyon. The bride was radiant and it was evident that her brothers were honored to give her away. Austin joined his sister’s hand to Rob’s as the minister asked “Who gives this woman to this man?” Austin’s reply was “Her mother and us.” Then Franklin Williamson had the couple repeat their vows…he married Joe and I. The rest of the evening was delightful filled with good food, friends and dancing.

I don’t know for sure but somehow I think Joe had the best view of the evening and was smiling down on all of us. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart to all of you that have prayed us thru the valley and mountains of this journey.

Resting and discovering –

Kathleen