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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eagle or A Buzzard?


February 22, 2011
I have recently had two people who have been mentors to Joe and me through our lives, and who recently made comments to me about eagles: the first time I filed the information—the second time I took note. The comment was made, “Kathleen, God is taking the feathers out of your nest and making it uncomfortable so you can fly.” The meaning of the comment was that everything I have held on to for normal or for security has been removed from my life. My life doesn’t look anything like it looked 16 months ago. My husband of 30 years is gone along with the dreams we had, all my children are out of the house, I am now single and  the things Joe and I did in ministry at our church together has changed, my co-worker of 6 ½ years is not a part of my everyday life, both of my parents’ health is failing, and with my resignation from my job, my daily routine looks very different as well as letting go of my financial security. Who quits a good job when they have a child in college? My answer: someone who needs to rest, who knows it is time, who knows God, and who trusts God, to sustain her. Yes, the feathers are been pulled out of my nest quickly and at times I feel like I am doing transition on steroids!
Deuteronomy 32:10-12 says, “He found him in a desert land, in the howling void of the wilderness. He kept circling around him, He scanned him He kept him as the pupil of His eye. As an eagle stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young, He spread abroad, His wings and He took them. He bore them on His pinions. So the Lord alone led him. . . .” (AMF) It is comforting to me in this season where the feathers are being pulled from my nest and my comfort zone is shaken, that the Lord is circling around me and watching over me, protecting me and guiding me. So many people have varying opinions of my life. It is really quite irritating and humorous at the same time. I have to constantly remind myself to extend grace and mercy because mercy always over people’s judgements. They just don’t know and I will confess I have been hurt by some well meaning people. It is when we are squeezed in life that we really see what we are made of/..the good, the bad and the ugly. So sometimes I get to practice extending grace and other times I get irritated and then deal with my heart...yep...I still walk in the flesh and need more of God. It is a time and season where I must listen closely and obey God, and obey Him because there are so many varying opinions of my grief journey. Unless you have experienced a significant loss, or as many as I have in a short season, you really don’t have a clue. Everyone’s journey is different but each of us have the choice to embrace the grief process or not. The other day I had someone say I had not had time to grieve Joe’s loss, and a few hours later I had a widow call me, and she made the comment that Joe and I grieved together and I had done most of my grieving before he died. God sent someone just to encourage me. I believe the widow—she walked in my shoes and a woman of God but again I must focus on my daddy, God, to teach me to fly.

I looked up information about eagles and discovered that they learn to fly by observing their parents. As I put that information into the formula of my life, I know that staying very close and listening to God is the key to flying as I leave my next/comfort zone. I also learned that eagles grow very quickly and then their mothers force them to fly. My heart has been to not waste the suffering I have been through, but to grow through it. I know it is out of God’s extravagant love He pulls the feathers out of our nest so we learn to fly. He sees our potential and wants us to learn to soar high. And the cool thing is, He provides the wind beneath our wings. Faith makes us reach higher and let go of our security--that is where trust comes in. Eagle’s nests are usually very high on cliffs or in trees. As I abide in Him, I have a higher perspective of our circumstances. I need to abide more
Isaiah 40:31 says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (KJV) The word “wait” in the Hebrew means to bind, twist, stretch and strengthen. As I bind myself to God, it renews and heals me and gives me the ability to soar. I love how the word wait is an action word and not like our version of wait. This is a waiting time, a strengthening time, as I prepare for the next chapter of my life. But it is also a time when I am establishing my own identity apart from a man, children, position, job, or anything else. Who is Kathleen Maxwell standing all alone with just God? I am passionate about helping people discover their God-given value, so I guess this is my season of earning my unofficial Masters Degree in the subject. God alone is the only thing secure for me, and I know He knows what He is doing with my life. It is a good thing someone knows! I just hope my mentors are right about the eagle thing and that I am not really a buzzard!

Today would have been Joe’s 54th birthday and Wednesday Price turns 21—life goes on, and I am going to live it abundantly because it is my God-given inheritance. I even went swing dancing last night with several couples...I WILL SING and DANCE THRU LIFE!

Kathleen—(Trying to fly like an eagle, but on some days, wondering if I am a buzzard.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Real Love

February 14, 2011

I don’t know where time goes, but it seems to be going pretty fast to me. It has almost been two weeks since I have written and since I announced my retirement from my job. I had company from out of town, and that kept me quite busy along with helping my parents. Care giving for aging parents takes a lot of time and energy. My dad’s legs are swelling due to heart failure, and he has needed his legs wrapped because of the edema. Joe had to have edema wraps, so I am the girl for the job as I am very experienced. All things do work together for good. Today I made a special Valentine’s dinner for my parents with their favorite foods, and they were so happy. I also bought them valentines to give each other since it is hard for them to get out. My little mama was so cute trying to sign a message to my dad, and seeing her smile and the gratitude was worth it all. I was glad I was able to bless them and make their day.
I have enjoyed the rest and freedom of my retirement. Last week I spent three mornings in my robe until noon! I have needed the rest and time alone with the Lord to restore my soul. Nothing heals like time with the Comforter of the universe. I loved my job and, in reality, it was a calling more than a job. But even before Joe died, we discussed that we were both feeling that my time at CWJC was coming to an end and that God had something else in mind for me. Then our lives took a different turn, and I am still trying to find up and down! I am fully convinced that there is no security in the things God does--only security in Who He is. Seriously, think about all the strange things God did in the Bible! He is the God of adventure and surprises, and I love the journey of walking hand in hand with Him. I am still up at the Job Corps some helping the new Director in the transition and transferring information to her and the Board. I appreciate Ann’s willingness to take the responsibility of my job to enable me to retire early. It was purely by faith that I was giving the Board President three months to find my replacement. I am very grateful for a Board that hears God and believes in me and what God has for my future. It hasn’t been hard to let go because I know my ministry is who I am and wherever I go, not at 1140 Broadway in Kerrville.
I have loved discovering who God is as my sustainer. I am also finding out who I am in this season--a carefree child resting in her Father’s love. I don’t know much, but I do know He loves me dearly and will love me back to life. One of my favorite scriptures on love is Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness I have drawn you.” This is a special season for me to rest in every way and to enjoy life because it has been hard and heavy for too long. His love is constantly pursuing us, and there is so much yet for me to discover. I know in the resting He will heal, revive, restore, and reveal things to me. Psalms 55:22 says, “Cast your burdens on the Lord and he will sustain you.” My job as a much loved child is to throw my concerns on to Him, and His job is to sustain me--keep me up, keep me going, maintain me, and prolong me. That sounds good while I live in uncertainty of what the future holds for me. In the uncertainty, I feel secure like never before because I have lived in uncertainty and seen His faithfulness to me. The suffering and hardships have given birth to a new confidence in His love that draws me to know Him more.
Since it is Valentines Day I must talk about love.  I see in myself a need to grow more in loving people just like Jesus loves us.  Loving those that love us is usually easy...the hard part is loving those that don't love us back or wound us or disappoint us.  Graham Cooke says,  "How do you love when love isn't returned?  The same way you do when it is...real love doesn't seek a return."  So many times I have seen in myself and the body of  Christ conditional love.  If God asks us to love others as he does, then He will supply what we need to do that...at times I have to pray for God to give me His love for people because I just don't seem to have it in me.  I know He loves that kind of prayer.  I am very thankful for the people that have demonstrated genuine love to me.  Love heals and it never fails.

Happy Valentines Day!

Kathleen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Letting Go-My New Normal and Tumbled in His Goodness

I am so excited!  I have finally discovered my new normal...my new normal is "letting go."  I've been looking for normal for a long time and now I know...maybe one day I will write a book on "letting go."  Once again I will let go of something that has been a part of my everyday life and I love.  So much has transpired since I last wrote that it will take me a while to process it all.  I feel I have been tumbled and tumbled again in God's goodness...the short version is in the article below that I sent to my volunteer staff of 270 people and others in the community.  In addition to that, I someone gave me check to help begin my own ministry...I am overwhelmed by how people believe in me!  I will rest first and listen.

 
A New Season

 
On January 1st 2011 as I sat in my living room during my quite time, I wrote the words I felt God say to me: “ It is a new and different time,…you are living in a huge transition time which is necessary for the new life I have for you to emerge. I know you feel squeezed and upside down but it is ok…you are in my hands. ” I felt the Lord was telling me this year would be new and different…little did I know His wonderful plans for my life! Walking with God is a very exciting adventure for me and I feel I have been tumbled in His goodness!

 
For a couple years I have felt my time at CWJC was coming to an end. I did not know how or when that was going to transpire, or when but I just kept seeking God. In the middle of January, I told the Chairman of the Board that Spring 2011 would be my last session at CWJC. I knew I needed some rest and time with the Lord for him to restore me and “fill me up” from Joe’s illness and death, my parent’s illnesses and the demands of ministry. I wanted to give CWJC plenty of time to transition. God’s ways are higher than ours and I am so glad! Due to the generous donation of some donors, the board gave me the opportunity to retire early so I could be freed of the daily demands of CWJC and has now hired an interim director, Ann Buck. Ann has been in ministry over 23 years and part of CWJC’s volunteer team serving as a Bible Study Teacher and on the alumnae team. I will be working closely with her, Nina and the Board during this transition time. I am confident in their ability and have no doubt they have been called “for such a time as this.”

 

 
My oldest son is an officer in the Navy and as I have pondered the recent goodness of God to me, I am reminded of the way our nation’s military does things. Every few years my son gets new duty order and a season of rest: After his rest he gets his new assignment. I feel that is what has happened in my life. It is time I leave the CWJC duty station and rest. Then I know He will show me the next assignment. I have a desire to write and speak as God has begun opening those doors in my life and feel that will be a part of my next duty station.

 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your love and support during the past seven years and seven months. God has a new season for CWJC, and it will be great to watch His plans unfold for this awesome ministry as Ann, the Board, Volunteers and Community follow His plan for CWJC Kerr County.

 

 
Yea God!

 

 
Kathleen Maxwell
 
Keep in touch-
 
www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com
 
personal email: kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com