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

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