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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Overcoming Begins With A Grateful Heart



I had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with my kids. Price and I went to Houston to celebrate with Mallory and Rob. You know you have done your job well when your daughter fixes a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner! It was a family affair with Rob and I working on the turkey, Price giving us his selections and Mallory and I working to make it happen. We played Corn Hole and I discovered I am not any good at that game. After our dinner, we packed up and headed to to the big UT vs. A &M game in College Station. What a game! 
Personally, this Thanksgiving was not difficult for me. I was so happy to simply be with my kids. I could tell it was hard on them to not have their daddy. I tried to get them to help me decorate our Christmas tree but no one wanted to. This year I decorated by myself. In the past, decorating the tree was always such a joyous time full of tradition for all of us. It was three years ago that Joe was getting the Christmas decorations out of the attic and bumped his shoulder. It sent a shock thru his body and was the first indication that something wasn't right...
I know coming home is difficult for Mallory and Price as it is a painful reminder that Joe isn't here. It is hard as a mother when you have worked for years to make your home a refuge for your family and now it makes the pain surface. I simply keep asking God to heal their hearts and know He will be faithful.



Overcoming Any Problem Begins With A Grateful Heart
Kathleen Maxwell
November 25th, 2011
Kerrville Daily Times Article
     Overcoming any problem begins with a grateful heart. Those are words to a song I heard years ago. When I first heard them, I thought, “how could that be true?” I wasn’t convinced that the writer of the song knew what she was talking about so I began to check the words out against my problems. Sure enough, no matter what it was I was challenged with, I really did not begin overcoming the situation until I began to look at what I had to be thankful for in it.
      Thankfulness adjusts our attitude. Does anyone out there need an attitude adjustment?  I remember my mother telling me at times to adjust my attitude. She would do so with her hands on her hips which meant I better adjust it quickly.
      I Thessalonians 5:15 is our prescription for an attitude adjustment and just what Dr. God orders for His kids. It says, “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) God is too good to tell us to do something and not provide what we need to do it. Our job is to obey and He will supply. Our job is also to ask Him for what we need and admit we cannot do it without Him.
     Sometimes overcoming begins with simply thanking God because He is good.            Psalms 107:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good and  his love endures forever.” When we can’t think of anything to be thankful for, we can always start with thanking God for his love. No matter what we are going through, we can rest in the fact that we are loved by the creator of the universe. We may not always feel loved and actually be rejected by people, but nothing can separate us from God’s love for us. His love has comforted me on many a difficult day as I simply made the statement, “God I thank you that you are good and you love me.” Those words help me adjust my attitude and remind me of the truth. I have prayed this prayer to help renew my mind when it has battled looking at all I have lost in the death of my husband. No matter what my circumstances, He is good and He loves me.
       Let me give you a personal example of  “overcoming any  problem begins with a grateful heart.” As I have walked the past three years through the world of cancer with my late husband and then trying to establish a new life as a young widow, I have relied on thanking God for what I do have vs. what I have lost. Gratefulness is my quick access to the presence of God, especially on the difficult days. His presence is what comforts me, gives me hope, helps me and is my anchor. Some days I do better than others, but scripture says in Psalms 95:2 , “Come into his presence with thanksgiving...” (KJV) If you need more of His presence, try thanksgiving. It works for me.
       I sometimes talk to God like this; “God, I need your help. Your word says to give thanks in all things so all I can think to thank you for is what I will learn in this situation. Thank you for the experience I will gain. Thank you for helping me through this.” God is faithful but often times we must wait on Him and trust Him.
     I do not believe God just gives us patience but He will help us to be patient. As we grow in that character, we learn the benefit of trusting His timing. God doesn’t just  give us longsuffering, but He will help us endure difficult things if we look to him. I know this from personal experience as I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Anyone can quote a scripture or pass a written test, but character is developed in the soil of difficulties.
      Colossians 3:17 states how we are to conduct our lives. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Thanks is an expression of gratitude and gratefulness. Thankful is an adjective that means pleased or relieved.How thankful are you? Do you have an overall feeling of being pleased and relieved? I personally could do better at being thankful.
      I know sometimes I have to simply pray, “God change my heart.” to develop an attitude of gratitude. According to this scripture, all our words,our job and actions should be done like we were doing it just for Jesus and with a beautiful attitude of thankfulness. 
           At the end of the day, all of us have plenty to be thankful for. James 1:17 says, 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  All that we have that is good, is a gift from God. That is plenty to be thankful for.
     Thanksgiving is not just a season in November. God intends for it to be a lifestyle. He loves for His kids to be in His presence. Let’s start today. Will you join me in thanking Him more?  




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
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