Below is my article that appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times last week. Hope you enjoy! I also want to thank those of you that have expressed how the articles have personally helped you. That is the purpose of my writing; to help others discover more freedom as we all walk with Him. I also love what The Daily Times said about my articles online.
"Kathleen Maxwell, local author, teacher and women's minister shares lessons she has learned about God during her intimate spiritual journey."
August 2nd 2011
I think I can safely say I have lived half of my life and I have concluded from my life experiences that letting go is here to stay. There are many things in life that I have had to let go of through the years and I am sure many of you will be able to relate.
One cold winter day as we were driving to school, my oldest son told me he wanted to apply to the Naval Academy and become an engineer. Although I knew he would have excellent opportunities from attending this military academy, I also had to face the reality he would one day go to war. Austin was a Junior in high school and I vividly remember sitting in the parking lot at his high school after he got out of the car and talking to God and saying, “God I didn’t raise my son to go to war.” I felt God reply, “I know, but you constantly prayed for me to help you raise him for his destiny and what I have called him to. Now can you let go of him to do that?” I sat in my car in the freezing weather and wept. How could I argue with God and win? He was right. My husband and I frequently prayed for God to help us prepare our children for His plans and purposes.
As I struggled to let go of my first born for the plans God had for him I began to change my prayers. “God help me let go of my son.” God graciously helped this loving mother that dearly loved her son to let go. The first thing that had to change was my perspective of my children. I began to realize that they were not mine but God’s. After all, my husband Joe and I had given all three of our children to God. They belonged to Him; he just loaned them to us for 20 years to raise. As I embraced that mindset and began to see things God’s way, peace flooded my heart.
Since that time 12 years ago, I have had to let go of many things. Dreams for my life, relationships, job, life as I have known it, my other two children, my husband, plans I’ve made, just to name a few. God has helped me each time to let go of people and things i have clung to. I imagine He chuckles and says, “Kathleen, I am so glad you asked because it shows that you trust me.”
Letting go is directly related to our trust in God. It is the place where we practice what we preach. There are many examples of letting go in the Bible although those particular words are not used. For example, Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to let go of her plans for her life when the angel showed up in Luke1:29-38 and told her God’s plan for her life. She had vision to simply marry Joseph and be a good wife but when the angel appeared ,she suddenly was faced with letting go of her dreams for the unknown. Her response was, “ I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” She later had to let go of her son as he was crucified.
The great part of these stories is that letting go makes us vulnerable to the goodness of God. What Mary traded was much better than anything she could have imagined! She was chosen to be the mother of the Savior and in His death, came resurrection and our access to personal relationship with God.
Letting go has not been easy for me but I find the more I practice it, the easier it is. I have found I am confronted with my fears when I see I need to let go of something. When I look at what I fear and deal with it, it moves me to another level of freedom and that is always great! II Timothy 1:7 tells us fear is not from God, therefore, we need to eliminate it from our lives.
Letting go declares my trust in God and is an act of worship. It is saying “I submit to you and the process you want to take me through.”
Releasing our plans and the things we hold close, opens us to new possibilities and is a trading time. It allows us to grow in dependance on God and release the illusion of that I am in control of my life or those we love. I have seen too many parents hang on to their children, control them out of fear and in the end, not help them to grow up and become mature adults. We should constantly be empowering our children as they grow to become independent from us and dependent on God.
My oldest son graduated from the Naval Academy and went straight to the Persian Gulf and later to Iraq. He has been to war twice now and I now know he was made to be one of our nation’s military leaders. It is God’s call on his life and it is wonderful to see him rise to the challenge for our freedom.
What do you need to let go of in your life?. Psalms 118:7 states, “The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” God is waiting and ready to help in our time of letting go because he loves it when we trust him. (to be continued August 19th)