Sunday, October 31, 2010
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,
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
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,
Sunday, October 3, 2010
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