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

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fear Is Not Your Friend!

   

                                                                                                   Fear Is Not Your Friend
                                                                                                   by Kathleen Maxwell
                                                                                                   Kerrville Daily Times            
                                                                                                      October 14,2011

   Recently I have talked to a number of people that have struggled with different fears. I can certainly relate as for years I was a vicim of a variety of fears. Thankfully God has set me free from the bondage fear brings.
     Fear is defined as: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. The feeling of anxiety about the outcome of something or the safety and well being of someone.  
     One thing is for sure, fear is tormenting. Fear is a thief and a robber of peace, joy and tranquility. I speak from experience. 
Stepping into a new world- Helping a friend in his dream to make a difference
Local parade
       There are many different kinds of fear. A few that I have struggled with in the past were a fear of death, fear of germs, fear of failure, and fear of the dark. I have found that many people struggle with the same fears that held me captive for years. I was good at justifying them telling my self that one could never be too cautious. 
     One day I heard the words, “Fear is doubt  and unbelief and doubt and unbelief is not trusting God - that is sin.” At that moment, I knew I could no longer justify my fears. Whenever I faced them, began to acknowledge them as sin.God graciously began to set me free as I was faithful to repent and resist the temptation to walk in fear. Repentance is always our friend and is found on the path to freedom. 
     IITimothy 1:7 states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We can conclude from this passage that fear is a spirit and it is not from God; therefore, it is not our friend. There are times when I have simply said the words, “Fear go, you are not my friend.” As long as we coddle our fears, they will hang around. We must deal ruthlessly with them if we want to  get free. 
     I love Isaiah 41:10 which says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Many times I have pictured myself holding God’s hand and that gives me great courage. Dismayed means feelings of anxiety and consternation, usually by something unexpected. Have you ever had something unexpected happen? I have. 
      When the doctor told my husband he had a rare cancer, I remember my first words to my husband were, “We have just had a suddenly.” Joe knew what I meant by the statement as we had talked about others in the Bible that encountered sudden challenges. One minute things were one way, and the next minute life was threatened. I can say God faithfully strengthened me, helped me and upheld me in the fight for his life. 
     Proverbs 3:25 tells us, “Be not afraid of sudden fear....” Satan loves to make us feel scared because then we are intimidated. Intimidation has one goal; to scare us from even engaging in the battle. Goliath used intimidation on David but David did not bow to fear. He quickly strengthened himself by remembering how God helped him slay a bear and a lion. I love David’s faith filled response to intimidation. He told the bellowing giant he would strike him down, cut off his head and give his carcasses to the birds! 
Now those are some faith filled words!
     Prior to a personal relationship with God I was terrified of dying. I had trouble sleeping at night for fear I might die. Once I accepted Jesus into my heart and repented of the fear, I was no longer afraid of dying. Knowing God personally, is the beginning of overcoming fear. Tell God you want a personal relationship with him. He will be delighted!
     I will confess that as a grown woman in my 30’s I was also afraid of the dark. I remember reading about how fear was not from God looking out my back door one night. I was afraid to go get something in the yard. I certainly did not want my children to know my fear because I wanted them confidant and secure. Then it dawned on me that is what God wanted for me. I confessed my fear to God and asked him to set me free. He did and now I jog alone at night! That is true freedom!
     I love the slogan from the US Navy and think we should make it our motto against any fears. “Life liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it.” God wants us to enjoy life, our freedom and get rid of any fear that would threaten us. Fear is an enemy, not our friend.What are you afraid of?

Youth Build Boys learning how to build   Freedom is waiting...what are you afraid o

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 kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wake Up!

This weekend I went to Austin Texas and had a fabulous time tailgating at the UT game with Price. It was a new adventure as I went with several couples but lots of fun. I loved meeting Price's friends but we won't talk about how UT did in the game.
     Below is one of my recent articles published in the Kerrville Daily Times

                                                Wake Up!
                                          Kathleen Maxwell
                                        September 30th, 2011
   It was a hot Texas day in August when my late husband and I walked out of the Kerr County Court House. As we walked, we talked about the business we had just sold. All of a sudden I halted and said, “Oh my gosh, who am I?”
      He quickly replied, “What are you talking about Kathleen?” 
     “Everyone in town knows me as Kathleen Maxwell-Gymnastics, Etc. We just sold the name so who am I now?”
   “You think that’s bad, “ he said laughing. “Everybody knows me as Mr. Kathleen.” I smiled as  he  kissed me and thought how I loved that he was never threatened by my gifts or talents. But the question of who am I now, still haunted me. I was serious about the question. 
    Here I was in my early 30’s and I had to admit that I didn’t know who I really was. I had done what many people do. I got my identity in my occupation.  I also realized that I got my identity as a wife, mother and in other accomplishments. I began to ask God to show me who I am in His eyes and who he created me to be.  This was the beginning of a journey I am still on. Discovering who I really am and my truest identity.
     The first thing God showed me about my identity was when I read Psalms 8:4 &;5 “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”(NIV) I felt God say to me, “Kathleen, I’ve given you a crown but you don’t wear it.” I realized at that moment that I didn’t see myself as someone royal and as God saw me. I repented. 
     God calls me a woman of honor. He was showing me that because He is the King and I am his daughter, I have a new nature; a royal one. I began to think of how different I would act if I actually wore a crown and really made a conscious effort to remember that truth. He has crowned me with glory and honor, simply because I am His daughter. Glory means valuable. Do you see yourself as a person of honor and value or do you get your value in your accomplishment and occupation? 
     Psalms 103:4 is another passage that spoke to me. “Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” He has given us a crown of love and a crown of tender compassion. I was in a hard place when I read this scripture.  I was comforted that he cares when our hearts are broken and crowns us to restore us to a better place. Seeing myself as God saw me began to restore my dignity. The self hate I struggled with for years began to be erased from my heart. We must see ourselves as He sees us or we will never fulfill our destiny. I began to realize I was part of a bigger plan; I was a woman chosen to establish His kingdom and reveal to others who He really is.
      There were many in the Bible that struggled with the same issue. The great news is God sees our potential and His view point is always better than ours. In his kindness, he began the process of showing me how he saw me just like he did Gideon, Moses and Peter. They were men in scripture that God saw a full of potential and called them to a higher place.
   
  In Judges 6, Gideon and his people were hiding. God spoke to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
“But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
Gideon saw all his inadequacies and problems but God saw a different guy; He saw a leader.  Gideon begins to give God excuses. God ignores his whining and simply tells Gideon to go face his problem and God would be with him. He didn’t really give him a lot of information, he just said “go.” I can’t point any fingers at Gideon because I have made my own excuses to God.
    In 2007 I was invited to speak at an international women’s conference in Thailand. My first response to the woman who invited me was, “I don’t speak at things like that.”  I had all sorts of excuses.  God saw my capability with him at my side when all I could see was myself, limitations and my inability. I agreed to pray about the invitation and asked God to change my perception of myself. Again, he changed my heart and mind and I traveled around the world to speak to women from 11 nations to help them discover their value and worth.
     Many of us have read and heard that we are a new creation when we make Jesus our Lord. We have the knowledge down,can quote the scripture and understand the theory; however, many Christians just like me, need to practice it. We need to ask God to show us our persona, believe Him and practice. We need to practice today and tomorrow and the next day until we become the people God wants us to be.
   For years I only had two statements of how God saw me personally.  Now I have a whole page of  “who I am” statements that God has shown me about how he sees me. The most recent revelation was that I am woman with a calling like Joshua. I am a Joshua woman. I am called to lead others to greater place. My “I Am” statements  are a source of strength and security for me and the anchor for my life, especially in the storms. Understanding and seeing our identity proceeds us fulfilling our destiny.
     Knowing how God feels about you and how you feel about Him are the two most important things in life. It is the source of our identity,security, and purpose. Too many times, we believe the hurtful things others have said about us and make it our truth. Never let other’s negative perception of you govern you. When we believe a lie about ourselves, we empower the lier. 
   Seeing ourselves as God sees us will empower us. I will close with one of my favorite quotes by Bill Johnson, author of The Supernatural Ways of Royalty. “ Royalty is my identity, servanthood is my assignment and intimacy is my life source.” I believe it is time we wake up to who we really are. Have you asked God to show you his perception of you? Let His perception govern your life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two Year Mark

     I stand amazed at God. I have had a great week which began when I lead a young man to the Lord. I love watching God touch hearts with his healing and love and forgiveness. It was awesome! God has also opened doors to pray with many others just as I live my life each day. I am more and more aware that the harvest is here and many are waiting for the sons and daughters of God to rise up and show the world His love. Far to many times, Christians try to preach to the world and I think the world simply needs us to model the love of Jesus. Love never fails and always remember- 
PEOPLE DON'T CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE.
    The past two years of living with a broken heart has taught me much about dealing with the brokenhearted. I will never be the same (thank God!) and am thankful for this opportunity. There is no easy way to learn difficult things. It takes a lot of effort. I know I am and will be more effective in the days ahead because of the lessons I have learned.
     Yesterday was Mallory's 27th birthday. I smiled yesterday morning and thanked God I wasn't in labor! I believe I have the best daughter ever. She was a delight to raise and has brought much joy to our lives. I feel so blessed that we have a great relationship and I love it now that she is grown and we are friends. We celebrated her birthday going to dinner and having a party with her friends.
     Today marks the two year anniversary of when Joe left this earth. I really cannot believe I have lived two years without him. They have been the hardest two years of my life...I miss my best friend, lover, cheerleader, confidant, the one I am able to verbally process with, and the one who always saw my potential and believed in me. The loss of the above has been huge and I can say it has taken every bit of energy I possess to keep walking ahead to my dreams. There have been days I have sobbed laying face down on the floor, nights my body has literally ached from the pain of missing him, and yet I have discovered the love of God at a whole new level. It has been a good day.
     There has been a peace and settling in my heart and I have surprised myself in that I have celebrated Joe's life and not shed a tear today. Yea God! Being with Mallory, Rob and Price is always a deposit in my bank. I see Joe in both of them. The only thing that would have made today better would have been to have Austin and Laura with us too. Life goes on and I am thankful for all of you that have prayed for us and carried all of us with your love.
Yea God!
Kathleen