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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reflections, New Life

     The days just are not long enough; then there are the days that last forever! My new job has me working long hours but as I get to know the young people that have come to Youth Build, I know I am where I need to be for this season. My new life in Kerrville reminds me of when I gave birth to my kids. The days and nights were mixed up, everything was in transition and yet there was  great joy.
     My 37 new young adults refer to me as "Mama Max." I feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe and had so many children she didn't know what to do!  The great news is they are so eager to learn a new way of life and get their education. 32 of them are boys which is quite a switch from Christian Women's Job Corps but you have less drama with guys!  Pray for these young people as they are learning to overcome big obstacles. I told other day that I was a dealer...a hope dealer! They laughed. I love them and they seem to love me. I actually have several children of the ladies I worked with at CWJC. I have chuckled as I thought of the times we prayed for the women and their families. Watch what you pray may be part of the answer!
      With a new program comes a lot of adjusting. I have not only started a new job but am part of a new program The great news is that we are pioneering something new and powerful for Kerr County. We actually have young people coming from 5 towns and some walk miles just to be a part. We have become a family.
     A friend of mine approached me recently and asked for my help. Although I didn't feel like I had much to offer, he reassured me I did. His name is Brad McCullouch and he is running for District Attorney for 198th District in the next election. I have seen Brad in action and he is a man I admire. He is the real deal. He is a man of integrity and humble. The kind of guy we need in office.
    I got to know him as he served on the Board at Christian Women's Job Corps. He has been the assistant DA in Kerrville for the last few years and  also was an assistant DA in Mississippi prior to coming to Kerrville. He has a precious wife and daughter and I am honored to be a part of their team. I decided one more new thing wouldn't kill me and I know how God works...he takes us out of our comfort zone to make us more dependent on Him. I will share more about that later.
     I have had numerous opportunities to share recently how God heals the broken hearted. That always makes me smile. I love giving others hope. We must seize the moment as time is short and many need God's love and comfort. Living the gospel is what life is all about.
     I must confess that I have struggled with missing my old life. I know some of it could be I am tired. The rest I believe is because we are approaching the anniversary of Joe's death. Grief has mind of its own and I know it is important to not fight the waves but ride them out. Two years ago today we made the trip from Houston to Kerrville so he could spend his last days at home. I miss him and my old life. I miss having someone to hug me when I come home.
 Charlie and Maggie will have to do for now. Charlie is my cat. He pats my face each morning to wake me up. Maggie, my dog is always glad to see me!

God continues to encourage me with promises and words of encouragement. I recently had a woman call that I haven't heard from in a long time. She said she had a vision of me recently and felt she should share it with me. In the vision I was a beautiful rose that had been chewed on and battered. But everywhere it had been attacked, God made it stronger. Everywhere it was harmed it was an even more vibrant red. The thorns on the rose were God protecting it. She said God took a rooted plant and made it even stronger with very strong roots. This rose wouldn't bend with the wind or rain when it was shaken. It was strong but like velvet and had a very special place in God's heart. I know that word was directly from God. I have head that roses that go thru drought have an even sweeter fragrance.
"I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalms 27:13

Pressing on and pressing in-

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy weekend to all!  I just want to thank those of you that have encouraged me in my writing. It helps me to continue and I am glad God has used my difficulties to help and encourage others. Some of the stories you have shared with me have amazed me. I told someone the other day if someone would have told me two years ago I would be writing for the paper I would have told them they were crazy. I am the girl who didn't even like English class. God has used a huge disappointment in my life to show me a gift in me I didn't know I had. Yea God! I hang on  to His great love for me as he unfolds my new life. It wears me out at times but I live for Him and to help others get freedom.

Around The Corner of Letting Go
Kerrville Daily Times Article
September 16th, 2011
Kathleen Maxwell

I have never met a person that has not encountered something disappointing. Sometimes se disappoint ourselves with mistakes we make but other times we do not have any control of disappointments that come our way. There are many disappointments in life; a loved one gets sick, our child rebels and turns against what we taught them, a spouse develops mental illness, someone tells a lie about us or dishonors us. There are also disappointments that seem minor but can really affect us if we don’t deal with them. For example, did you ever have someone, maybe a parent, promise you something that you were really looking forward to and then they forgot? The good news is that we have the choice of how we handle life’s disappointments and the choice to release them.
Often times we blame others or God when disappointments challenge us or wrestle with analyzing our disappointment. Freedom comes when we accept the disappointment and release it to God. Accepting is where I find peace but often times it is a long road to get to this place.
Letting go is a process and is frequently not simply a one time event. The process can often times take much longer than many of us would like, especially since we live in a microwave society. Process is a series of steps getting us from one place to a better place. I have found in my own life that saying “yes” to the process is key to walking through the valley of letting go. It is in that place of submitting to the process we find God in our situation. Sometimes he is a little harder for me to find than other times, but I’ve discovered that in embracing the process, I find Him at work in my life. Often times for me, saying “yes” to the process is a sheer act of obedience. I don’t have to like it...just do it. It is just part of my personal training.
What I have found in my own life is that process develops me. It is God’s tool to mold me and shape me into the woman of God he sees in me. This is the place where I cry out in my own disappointments, “God, help me to see this from your perspective. Change my thinking about the situation.” 
Process also develops faith if we let it. Of course discouragement will try to get us off the right road, but let me encourage you to keep asking God for his perspective until you get to the other side of freedom from your disappointment. Keep taking the next step. Never, never quit. Far too many people quit the process and become bitter, hurt, and hopeless. Freedom is just  around the corner.
It is important in the letting go process to hang on to hope. Ephesians 3:20 states, “Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we could ask or imagine, according to his power that works in us.” God has a better plan on the other side of releasing our disappointment. He has something beautiful instead.

 For me, I have found when I verbally say, “God, I choose as an act of my will to let go and surrender to you and your plan” the acceptance is easier. There is something powerful about aligning ourself with God instead of living in our feelings.Too many times I have resisted saying “yes” to the process  and embracing the pain. Releasing sorrow involves dying to self, dying to the right to be right, dying to what I really want. Ironically  this is the place we find freedom and healing.  Paul, in Philippians 1:21 said it well. “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” This was just one of the famous warrior’s battle cries. He is not talking about physical death, but surrender to God, trusting him in all things and dying to what he wanted.
A number of years ago, my late husband and I were involved in a business transaction. We had invested a lot of our time and money in this business endeavor. When we  sold this  business we carried the note. The note was to be used for our children’s college education. After a year or so the new owners encountered difficulty and things didn’t turn out the way we had envisioned and it was very disappointing. God continually kept challenging me to keep my heart right. Daily he had me choosing to forgive, loving anyway, trusting him to provide the money we lost and letting go of this disappointment that had cost us dearly. We kept praying for God to reveal truth. When the truth was revealed it wasn’t pretty but because we had continued to keep our hearts right, God used my husband and I to minister grace and mercy to the couple in their time of need. Not only did Joe and I grow in unconditional love, but God used us to keep  a family together. God also provided amazing scholarships for two of our three children and restored what was lost!
Forgiveness is  a big part of letting of of disappointments. Choosing to  forgive those that have caused us pain or let us down is vital. It is one of the big steps in the process. Forgiving is one of the major steps in our journey of letting go. Again, you don’t have to like it- just chose to or even ask God to help you forgive those that have disappointed you. Let me encourage you to keep working the process. It is work, so be patient with yourself. My constant prayer for myself is, “God keep me moving in the process and don’t let me get stuck.” He is faithful. Choose to forgive those that have caused the disappointment and ask God to heal your heart where it has been damaged. 
My gift to you in closing, is a scripture that I love and have held on to in my own personal disappointments. Jeremiah 31:17 say, “So there is hope for your future,” declares the Lord. What disappointment do you need to let go of? Begin the process today and I will see you around the corner!

Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at and on her blog

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

     I have had a huge deposit in my bank the past two weekends. I was able to go and see Mallory and Rob for Labor Day.  We were all worn out for various reasons and totally enjoyed just being together and hanging out in Galveston. I was able to stop by and see their new home. It is very exciting to see your kids grow up and watch their lives unfold. I loved getting to visit with them and hear about their lives.
     Austin and Laura came in for a wedding this past weekend so I was able to spend some time with them. God knows what I need and being with my kids is such a blessing for me. We enjoyed time on on the deck and I actually remember how to cook! I never cook for myself but somehow when my kids come home I feel like I need to do the things I  use to do and feed them well.
     Price is busy at the University of Texas studying hard and attending UT football games. He has moved to a new apartment this year and I was able to help him get settled. It was bitter sweet for me as I realized this was my last little bit of mothering I would do for by youngest child's first day of school for the last time. It was also a feeling of great accomplishment as I have had the "first day of school" for the past 24 years with my three children.
     I absolutely love my new job! YouthBuild is a fantastic program and I am excited about the impact it will have on our community. I have my new marching orders and my new duty station and it is challenging but great rolled into one. It has been a very busy month for YouthBuild as we pioneer a new program. We  started with our clients this week and I have to laugh as they love calling me "Mama Max." I have a bunch of new young people that are hungry for a better future,  and need someone to reveal to them their value and worth. 80% are young men ages 16-24 who are working on their GED and  into college while they learn the construction trade. I surveyed the group the other night and none of them were over 6'4 so I figured I could handle them since that is the size of my sons. I work with a team of 5- a program director, case manager ,construction manager, assistant manager and GED teacher. It is an awesome team and we  have fun working together.
     I continue to oversee my parents. They are doing alright. My dad just joined Facebook at 84! He recently had a 5" skin cancer removed from his head and it gave him a face lift! Mother on the other hand struggles more with dementia...she beats the odds with her disease but it makes me sad that her quality of life continues to decline.
     I have a new adventure that I have been asked to take. It is beyond me but I know it is God. I will announce it after it hits the paper. The other day I looked at a card I have sitting by my sink. It says, "You never know what you will discover around the corner." As I read that Saturday, I had no idea what was "around the corner." I love walking with God and seeing what he has for my life and how he uses how he uniquely made me. I belong to Him. It is not my life, but His.
Jeremiah 31:17 rings in my ears..."So there is hope for your future," declares the Lord.
Discovering my new life-

Monday, September 5, 2011

Letting Go of Disappointments - Kerrville Daily Times

 September 2 in the Kerrville Daily Times

Letting Go of Disappointments
Kathleen Maxwell
September 2,2011
Have you ever been disappointed in life? I believe all of us face disappointments of varying degrees quite frequently. Some are huge and life altering and others may be small. As we embrace the letting go process in a godly way we can find jewels that will make us rich in life.
There are many different kinds of disappointments we face. Perhaps someone we expected to spend the rest of our life with is gone due to death or divorce. Maybe cut backs at work cause you to loose your job. That is not only a financial disappointment but an ending of how you spent your days.
 Perhaps you’ve been praying for someone to be healed and that hasn’t happened yet or doesn’t happen and you are disappointed in God.
 What about a relationship coming to an end?
Have you ever depended on someone to do something or had an expectation of them and they disappointed you?
Another big disappointment is abuse, either verbal or physical.  People that were suppose to love and care for you don’t, for whatever reason; usually because of their own hurt and disappointments that have never been dealt with.
Sometimes we make mistakes and we disappoint ourselves by how we act or words we say. Then there are disappointments when someone says something insensitive or ugly.  Perhaps someone you love makes a wrong choice and it costs us personally.
Unfilled expectations of people can lead to disappointments. We expect someone to have God’s heart for us. We expect godly people to treat us with love and compassion. 
People are people and they will disappoint us. I know I have probably disappointed many throughout my life and I am very sorry. My heart is to always walk in a way that pleases God; nevertheless I am human and I fail at times. I admit I sometimes ask God for “five minutes in the flesh” but He never  gives me permission to respond that way!
The big question we are confronted with when we face disappointments is what road will we take when we face the crossroads of disappointments? I feel there are three major roads we can take when we arrive at the crossroads of disappointments. Which path do we choose? I’ve discovered three major choices and have been down all of them.
1. Blaming Drive
2.The Questioning Lane
3. Acceptance Road
On Blaming Drive, I have found the opportunity to blame others, get mad and angry, become bitter, loose hope. Often times we blame God, get mad at him and accuse Him for something He never did. We simply live in a fallen world and will have disappointments in this life. The Pharisees were disappointed in God and they missed Jesus.  They expected God to send the Savior one way and God sent him in a manger.  Disappointments can cause us to miss Jesus in our circumstances.
The Questioning Road I have found keeps me stuck. This road is often characterized by paralysis of analysis. It frequently says,”Why would God do this to me?” “Why is this happening to me?  Why have I prayed for healing and it hasn’t happened?  Where is God? 
When my mother became ill with a debilitating disease I camped here for a while. Finally I realized that Jesus asks God why and God didn’t answer Him; so why would I think He owes me an explanation?
The best choice is The Acceptance Road and it says, “It Is What It Is” and declares “God, you are big enough to fix it. You are big enough to heal my disappointment.” I love a quote by author Graham Cooke. He says, “God allows in His wisdom, what he could easily prevent in his power.” When I remember that quote, it quiets my soul. Romans 8:28 promises that our disappointments will work together for my good. This is the faith road. This is the road that allows us to let go of our disappointments. Often times God is at work in our lives and we simply do not see it unless we accept disappointments.
Letting go is not a one time event and is often times a process. The greater the disappointment, the longer the process. The great news is God always supplies us with the grace we need to let go. Letting go declares our trust in God. Also, in the process, when we seek God in our pain, the process makes us rich. 
Psalms 84 is a passage that has brought me great comfort and direction in times of disappointment. It reminds me of the benefits of dealing with our disappointments. Psalms 84:5 says,Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
   whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka, (tears)
   they make it a place of springs;
   the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
 They go from strength to strength,
   till each appears before God in Zion.”
As we depend on God for the strength we need to let go of disappointing situations, He will supply. He says in II Corinthians 12:9  states, “His grace is sufficient.”  As we set our hearts on embracing the journey,surrendering and accepting we must focus on the fact that it is a season and will pass. We will pass through the valley of tears. It is not the destination. In this, we establish our faith and grow stronger;therefore, challenges can actually be a catalyst to help us grow when we see them from God’s perspective.
Another benefit of letting go is we can become a source of encouragement for others. Not only do springs bubble up but also scripture tells us we will be a constant supply for others. We must extract all we can from our challenges. 
As I have stated in previous articles, letting go in life is simply a part of a healthy life. What do you need to let go of today? What pricked your heart?
(Letting Go of Disappointments will be continued September 16th)