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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday 2011





     "Rejoice in your past because it got you where you are today." This is a quote from Bob Jones and I love it. It has been a great way to reframe the challenging things of life. It is true. I was telling a friend yesterday that I will never be the same because of what I have walked thru. It has reshaped me and this is a good thing. 
Christmas past...Maxwell dog pile. Is that Austin on the bottom?
     This holiday will be different. Austin and Laura will not be able to come home and we will really miss them. Mal and Rob will be with his family Christmas Eve and until Christmas afternoon. Looks like it will just be Price and me to get all the stocking stuffers!  We will celebrate with my sister and brother and their  families at my parents home. Different seems to be the name of things for me but here we go! I will miss my big kids...
     This holiday season, I am so thankful for all of you that have walked with me thru life, held my hand when I needed it and prayed for me and my family. Thank you for your faithfulness and love and I pray blessings on you and yours.


Love That Overcomes Fear
Kathleen Maxwell
Kerrville Daily Times Article
November 10th, 2011

   The longer I walk with God, the more I realize I need a fresh revelation of His love for me. I think most of us could use an upgrade when it comes to comprehending God’s love for us. Scripture is clear about the connection between the love of God and fear. 
     I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love.But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who is fears is not made perfect in love.” (NIV) The more we live in an understanding of how radically loved we are, the more confident and secure we are.
      Fear torments and is like punishment. God’s heart for us as his kids is to be free to enjoy life and live secure in his love. I feel it is imperative that we treat fear as a robber or thief instead house guest. I think I was the queen of excuses guarding the fears I had in my life. Actually, I thought they were just a part of normal life until God began to gently challenge me and show me more about his love for me. Now when I realize I am afraid, timid or hesitant I ask God for a greater revelation of His love for me.
     One of the biggest fears many face, is the fear of the unknown. It often paralyzes people and keeps us stuck and from living a life of faith. In reality, life is full of the unknown. So many times we want a guarantee before we step into the unknown but the only thing we can really rely on in life is the love of God and the fact that he promises to be with us in life. This was something I learned when my mother was stricken with a debilitating rare disease. There were many days after she was ill that I was tormented by the unknown and the fear of loosing her. One of the blessings of her illness was I learned a very valuable life lesson; God is always with me. That is powerful and has given me an unshakable confidence.
       Hebrews 10:38-39 says, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (NIV) God’s heart is for his kids to live lives confidant and courageous. Actually, God rewards our confidence in him. Hebrews 10:35 says, “So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded.” What a win/win situation for us!
     Fearless people give others confidence. Have you ever noticed that after watching a great movie when an ordinary person steps beyond all odds and wins, it makes you feel like you can overcomer too?  As we conquer our fears,our own fearlessness helps others walk out of their fears. Overcoming your own fears is not just about you but also about those God wants you to impact. We must see the bigger picture in overcoming our fears.
     What about another common fear, the fear of believing again? I remember years ago I went through a time when month after month there were major obstacles in my life. There were family heart aches, our new car was stolen, a close friend suddenly died, our baby had pneumonia, my children all got pink eye and then my daughter went to a slumber party and came home with lice! In the middle of all that, my marriage was difficult. When there was finally a break in the trials, I found it difficult to believe again. In God’s kindness, he slowly used these difficulties to tear down my self erected walls of protection. He showed me he was more than able to protect me and that I could trust his love for me. 
     Are you afraid to believe again? Maybe you are a captive to doubt and unbelief.Trial after trial can lead us to loose faith if we are not careful. That is when we need others to cheer us on to help us believe again and walk in faith. Sometimes we need others to pull us out of the trap of disappointments
     Another fear I  have battled is a fear of being hurt again. When we love like Jesus does, unconditionally, we open ourselves up to being hurt by others. That flies in the face of our logic to protect ourselves. Loving unconditionally is the way Jesus loves. Unconditional love says, “there is no condition you have to fulfill for me to love you.” Loving like Jesus also opens our hearts to hurt. It is easy to  hide behind the walls we erect to protect ourselves but what also happens, is those walls imprison us. The good news is that when we take down those walls and love unconditionally, we also open ourselves up to a freedom to love and be loved. 
     The problem with too many Christians is we preach the love of God but do not really live it in giving love or opening our hearts to it.  Jesus talked about those that would be great in the kingdom of God. He challenges us in Matthew 18:2-4, “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: I tell you the truth, unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like a child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Little children are open to love. Their hearts have a purity and they fully trust. Jesus admonishes us to be childlike, openhearted. 
     The problem we all face is we encounter sinful people, dishonest or insecure leaders,  spouses  that betray us and we build walls and pitch our childlike wonder and vulnerability to the wind.  The challenge for all of us is to humble ourselves and be vulnerable to love, and be loved. How childlike and vulnerable are you? 
     
     God’s healing is here for us when we realize we have self erected walls and repent of building them and not trusting God. Why not join me today in asking God to help you tear down your walls, love unconditionally as a little child, and ask him to restore our childlike  innocence to receive His love and unconditionally love others? We could be a powerful force of love and transform our community.
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

No comments:

Post a Comment