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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In memory of Joe - A man that loved life.
Born February 22, 1957
Are You Waiting For The Clouds To Break Or The Sun To Shine
Kerrville Daily Times
February 17th, 2012
Kathleen Maxwell

 Where are you right now in your life? Are you in a difficult situation or a low spot? Are you trying to just keep your head above the water as the storm rages? Do you feel all alone and caught in the waves? You are not alone, trust me. I am 52 and don’t know much, but know there are seasons in all our lives that challenge us. It is just part of life here on earth.
     I recently came across a passage I memorized years ago when I was waiting for God to bring sunshine into my life again. The clouds seemed dark at the time and the storm seemed to rage for a while. Psalms 130 was chapter I hung on to  while I waited for the waves to subside. The good news is that  the sun did shine again in my life but it took a while for the clouds to break and dawn to come. In the time in between  was waiting...
     Psalms 130 begins with, “Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord; O Lord hear my voice. Let your ear be attentive to my cry for mercy.” (NIV) The Psalmist was in a dark place and I believe was verbally processing where he was, reminding God of his plight; like Almighty God didn’t know.  I am a verbal processor so I understand the conversation. He was reminding God that he was in a dark place and was waiting to see the kindness of God. I have had some of those same conversations with God myself; I just said it a little differently. My version went something like, “Seriously God, I don’t think I can make it much longer. I know you love me and are kind but I am tired.” I believe God loves it when we are honest with our feelings and tell him. He loves relationship with us just like I do with my three adult children. I love it when they share their hearts on a matter and tell me how they see things.
     Often times in adversity, people blame God or feel he is punishing them. Psalms130:3 is a reminder that God doesn’t hold our sins against us  when we confess them. I love The Message interruption of Psalms 130:3-4, “If you God kept records of wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshipped.” (The Message Bible) When I read this passage, I had to ask myself if I had a good habit of forgiving people. It was a good reminder to make it a habit, not an occasional event. Right there is the reason we all need to worship God more; simply because he does not hold our past against us. Whooo whoo! Do you daily thank God that He doesn’t hold your past against you? How do you treat those that have wronged you? Do you treat them with kindness or contempt? Do you hold the past against them?
     Psalms 130: 6 states, “My wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.”  I feel the Psalmist is preaching to himself here. I do that a lot. In the stormy times we have the word to hang on to and we need to remind ourselves of the truth.  Wait in this passage is translated “to bind, to twist, to expect, to collect.”  In the waiting time we have the opportunity to bind ourselves to God, to develop faith as we we put our expectation in Him and collect things necessary for the next part of the journey. Waiting is a gathering time.
     Then the writer of Psalms reminds us to put our hope in the Lord for with Him is unfailing love and FULL redemption. What a promise to hang on to! Redemption means recovery, saving, or honoring. Sometimes the salvation in the storm comes as God guides us through the rain. Other times He rescues us. One thing is for sure, He is always loving us and right there. 
     The longer I walk with God, the more I am aware of His presence with me. His presence has become my security blanket and gives me confidence to step out and walk on the water. An awareness of God’s presence didn’t just come from reading the scripture. I had done that for years. It didn’t come from listening to a good sermon. I knew the verses and had them memorized. An awareness of His presence came as I waited on God, looked to Him to guide me through the storms of heartache, betrayal, disappointments. It came as I faced life altering illnesses with loved ones and as I put my hope in Him. An awareness of His unfailing love came as I poured out my heart in anguish in the depths of despair and wondering if I could survive. Sermons, memorizing, reading often don’t change us. It is as we take the word and apply it and develop an experience with God that the word becomes life and truth to us. Experience makes us rich when we learn from it. Our experience is invaluable. It makes us who we are and gives us authority.
     Isaiah 30:18 sums things up and declares that we are blessed when we wait on God. It says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion, For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” ( NIV)
     Crying out to God, hanging on when we want to give up, reminding ourselves of truth , waiting on God’s redemption and putting our hope in Him is good for us. It strengthens us and enlarges us; therefore, our challenges become our opportunities to grow. The growth is often not easy but one day we will experience His full redemption of the situation. What do you need to do? Cry out, wait, make forgiveness a habit, preach to yourself or hope? Pick one and get started! Just do it... He is waiting on you. Are you just waiting or are you waiting on Him?
     
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
     
     

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Good Things Come To Those Who Wait On God's Plan
Kerrville Daily Times Article
February 3rd, 2012
     For the last several months, my dad has asked me to write about waiting on God. Perhaps he thinks I will learn something new if I study the subject or thinks I need to practice waiting. I haven’t asked him but I decided I would embark on the subject. In some ways I don’t feel qualified to write about the subject although in other ways I feel l have much experience.
     I remember hearing that waiting is the condition that God allows  to prepare us for what He has to give us. It is also defined as the act of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens. Waiting is confident expectation of good. 
     Here in America we live in an instant microwave society. Most people don’t like waiting and yet I find in scripture God values patience and waiting. We look for the shortest line to get into at the store and frequently get upset if we have to wait longer than expected. God on the other hand, finds value in waiting. 
     Look at Abraham and Sarah. They waited many years for a son. I have to believe that Abraham developed into a mighty man of God in the waiting. God is too good to make Abraham wait for no reason. Abraham was noted as a man of great faith in Hebrews 11. 
      One might ask the question, “why on earth would God have us wait?” I believe the answer is found in Isaiah 40:31. It says, “But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk, and will not faint.” The word wait is translated a little different than one might expect. Wait in this passage means to bind or twist; to stretch to be strong. Wow! When we wait on God, not just wait, we bind ourselves closer to him. Waiting stretches us to be stronger in our faith. Waiting produces endurance.
      There is a big difference in just  waiting and waiting on God. When our lives are committed to Him, waiting has a different meaning. The waiting has purpose and isn’t wasted time. That is good news for someone like me who hates to waste time.
     About twenty years ago, my late husband and I had been through a difficult time in our relationship. Working thru the obstacles took time, a lot of work and dedication to make our marriage work. I remember driving past a billboard during that season. The billboard said, “Good things come to those who wait.” I impatiently muttered to God, “I am tired of waiting.”  Months went by and my husband and I decided to renew our wedding vows. It was a sweet time of committing ourselves to one another again. As we traveled to another city for a honeymoon weekend we went past the billboard that I didn’t like. Instead of, “Good things come to those who wait” it said, “Wait no more.” I knew it was a new beginning for us and God was sending me a new message honoring the waiting time. 
     The time of waiting for God to heal our marriage strengthened our relationship. It was hard but it helped us work thru some things that hindered the closeness we longed for. The waiting time also made both of us cling to God or bind to him more. Delays are not denials. They are God’s way of developing determination or endurance. Psalms 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say on the Lord.” (KJV) God would never tell us to do something if it wasn’t good for us. Waiting on God is good for us! 
      Waiting on God allows us the opportunity to rest.  Rest and waiting are not inactivity. Resting and waiting allows confidence to come. Rest provides strength and enables us to endure.Endurance is key in any race. Anyone can start a race but not as many finish strong.  Psalms 37:7 says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” God tells us how to wait...patiently. He desires that we develop patience because he is extremely patient. Far too many Christians focus on the power of God verses the character of God. He desires us to be like Him but often times that character is developed in the soil of adversity. How patient are you? Are you resting or fretting? Are you impatient in your waiting?
     David talked to himself in Psalms 62:5. “My soul, wait thou only upon
God; for my expectation is from him.” (KJV) How many times do we put our expectation in others or things? I know I am guilty of putting my expectation in others verses putting my expectation in God.
     God promises rewards when we wait on him. I love Isaiah 64:4 which says, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear perceived or eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.” We have promises waiting for us when we wait on God. Good things come to those who wait! We are in a win win situation when we wait. The question we all face is “who do you wait on and how do you wait?” Will you join me in waiting on God with confident expectation? I can’t wait to hear how you will be strengthened and what He will do for you! Let me know!
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