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

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pulling Grace to Your Heart

Mama Max with grand daughter Collins

Playing with Mama Max


Working diligently in my office, I began to sing the Christmas carol that played on the radio. “

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

As I sang the words, to the last verse, “He rules the world with truth and grace,” I suddenly stopped, as the phrase came to life. I pondered the words, and began to think that if Jesus rules the world with truth and grace, what would it be like if all of us ruled our lives with truth and grace.? I knew God was speaking something to me that wanted me to discover what was in His heart. It was the beginning of a Holy Spirit adventure. God loves us so much and wants us to seek Him. This was my invitation to an adventure with Him and I knew it.

I have sung and thought often of the words to that song and asked the Lord to show me what he wanted me to discover about the gift of His grace.   John 1:17 says “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The provision for me has been made because of Jesus. His grace and truth will make a way for me in every situation. John 1: 14 states, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Collins Maxwell
One definition of grace is the divine influence on our heart and the reflection in our lives, liberty, highly favored, and joy. Jesus was full of grace and truth, and since we are made in His image, we can be full of grace and truth too. But how does that happen in our everyday lives? For me, it began by realizing this was His desire for me and asking God to fill me each day full of His truth and grace and access this wonderful gift, especially when I needed an extra dose.

Then the test came...something that hurt me some time ago, resurfaced. As the tears rolled down my cheeks from the residual pain and grief, I saw a picture of me holding grace in my hands and God saying, “pull grace to your heart to cover the the pain.  I felt the Lord say, “each time something hurts, pull my grace to your heart to heal it.” Such a hope and freedom came to me, and the hurt dissipated. His grace engulfed me and I felt love for the those that caused much pain.

 My nephews and two grand babies
Sometimes we need His grace to help us embrace a truth because sometimes the truth hurts. When we pull grace to the pain, we can then see God’s truth about the situation.  To illustrate this, let me tell of you of a recent event. A woman came to me asking for prayer because she had discovered that her husband was having an affair. She was feeling lonely, rejected, abandoned and unloved. Embracing the truth of her husbands actions and her feelings was hard. As I prayed for her, I asked God to reveal His truth to her. She was loved by God, she was accepted  and precious to Him, God would never leave her and abandon her and He would give her grace and wisdom to know what to do in the situation. 

Perhaps this holiday season, you have to be around that relative that has been unkind to you and rejected you and caused you pain. I challenge you to pick up the grace Jesus has give each of us and pull it to your heart.  I ask Him to fill you full of His grace and His truth about the situation and pour His love into your heart. How exciting to discover that we can be full of His grace and truth. May it be your best Christmas ever as you discover Jesus- full of grace and truth.

Last Christmas...missing my parents this Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Find the Adventure and Look for Someone to Hug

Collins, my granddaughter, that I get to see in a week!

Kerrville Daily Times
Community Journal
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2013



Most of us think of the holidays as a time of celebration, gatherings with friends and family, and pretty lights. For others, the holidays only remind them of what is NOT in their lives anymore. Grief often shows up unexpected during this season triggering the pain that might have remained hidden the rest of the year. 

my grandson 
The good news is God is with us in our pain. I speak from experience.... The things I have learned from walking through grief have been some of the best teachers in my life.  Learning that no matter what I face, God holds my hand and is full of compassion has given me great confidence and expanded my compassion for other people, which is priceless.

 God cares when our hearts hurt and wants to heal us. Psalms 34:17 states “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  It may not feel like God is close in our pain but the truth is, He has never been closer. As I have experienced Him guiding me, encouraging me, and His kindness, it has made the above scripture very real. God relentlessly kept showing me He was right beside me. Too many times our feelings lie to us and in tough times, we feel like life is over and God has forsaken us, but we must believe the truth of God’s word and press through the feelings.

If you are brokenhearted over losing a loved one, recently divorced, or another loss, let me encourage you to ask God to open your eyes to see his nearness and to encourage your heart. I have done that and it works! You are precious to Him and He cares that your heart hurts.

hunting in Alpine
Sunset at Thanksgiving
With the loss of both of my parents this past year, this Thanksgiving was the first holiday I faced without either one of my parents or my children. As I approached the holiday, instead of focusing on missing them, I began to wonder what adventure would God had ahead for me. God is always good and I’ve learned from losing my late husband, that when facing something new and different without a loved one, I find comfort and joy looking for the adventure and God’s goodness. Needless to say, it was different this year as I spent the holiday in Alpine Texas with my new husband on a 40,000 acre ranch mule deer hunting and helping him with his hunting business, a side business he has done for years. The beauty and majesty of the area was breath taking and I missed a 10 point buck...I’ll get him though! My dad loved west Texas and it will always remind me of him. Enjoying something he loved so much brought me a smile. I’ve found joy in the differentness and enjoyed the challenge.

How to make use of a trophy mule deer
 You may not be grieving this Christmas season, but God may want to use you to be His arms of compassion and love. Often people that are grieving just need people  to affirm their pain and loss and encourage them. Life isn’t the same without those that have been a huge part of our lives. It is challenging to go on without them. Love and compassion will always win and bring healing. Love never fails. Sometimes someone else's  arms  and kind words mean the world to a grieving person. 

The Holy Spirit is the best comforter and is what Jesus sent to us, but let me encourage you to ask God how he might want to use you to be a gift to someone hurting this season.  Being sensitive to others helps us be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and vice versa. Jesus said he would send the comforter. That is a promise so look for the great comforter. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Hang on to the promises and enjoy the new adventures that await you. And don’t forget to look for people to bless with a hug.



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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Home on the Range at Thanksgiving

Home-home on the range!

Thanksgiving 2013 in Alpine

Thanksgiving on the ranch

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Overcoming Begins With A Thankful Heart

Overcoming Begins With A Thankful Heart
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
November 2013




  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 four 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.
    For example,  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. Anyone can quote a scripture or pass a written test, but character is developed in the soil of difficulties.
   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? 
     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?  
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Power of Thankfulness



The Power of Thankfulness
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Kerrville Daily Times and Community Journal
November 2013


With Thanksgiving approaching, November is a month when many focus on giving thanks.Why should we take time to be thankful? I believe there are several reasons. The first one is that the Bible tells us to be thankful. The number one reason is because God said so. That alone is reason to be thankful all the time, however, there is another reason. It is good for us and good for those around us! There is power that comes into our lives when we are thankful. Power to adjust our attitude, power to focus on the good and the goodness of God and power to overcome difficult circumstances. 

It always made me mad as a little girl when I would ask my dad why I needed to do something and his reply was, “because I said so.” Really what he meant to say was, “ because it is good for you.” I was always one of those kids that wanted to understand things and I’m sure I annoyed my parents asking why. I’m sure God sometimes wants to sometimes tell me, “because I said so or because it is good for you Kathleen.” After all, He is all knowing and our job is to trust him.
Psalm 100:4 encourages us to be thankful as it states, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Thanks open’s our heart and gets it in the right frame of mind. Think about it. How many people have said thank you with their arms folded? Not many...When we come to God with a thankful heart it opens us up to see all He has done for us that we might have missed. Thanksgiving makes God bigger than our problems or the things we face. It magnifies Him and His goodness.
Some other scriptures that tell us to be grateful are found in Colossians 3:15 and 4:2 respectively.  “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”  “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
I’ve seen the power of a thankful heart to change me personally. In the dark days of digging through the grief, learning to live as a widow and caregiving for my ill, elderly parents, knowing their life span was short, it was easy to become weary and feel like life would always be painful. Yes, it was a difficult time, but God was also blessing me in some incredible ways. Realizing I needed to focus on the good in my life, I began to write down each evening something I was thankful for or had seen God do for me that day. In the beginning, I had to think about what to write but the more I looked for God’s goodness to me, the more I discovered. An attitude of gratitude began to change my heart and open my eyes. 
No, I did not thank God that I was living alone, was lonely and had a lot of responsibility, but I could thank him for holding my hand, leading me and comforting me as I cried. I could thank him that I still had my parents in my life and that someone called me each day. As my list of things that blessed my life each day grew, I began to see my heart change. Even though my circumstances did not change, life seemed easier.
I challenge you to develop a heart of thankfulness by either writing what you appreciate each day or verbally thanking God throughout the day. Do it because He said so and you will empower yourself. I would love to see the hills alive with a community with a thankful heart!


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native to the Texas Hill Country, a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth and God’s love, You can reach her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com
Thankful for my husband!


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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Celebrating One Year of Marriage!

Looking toward the future
 Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary
October 27, 2013


     One year ago today, I married a wonderful man, Stephan Rambie. Our first year of marriage has been quiet eventful, full of unexpected things, full of laughter, adventure and learning. As we visited today, I shared with Stephen that despite the great loss of my parents, the year has gone much better than I had expected. Stephen and I are both pretty strong people and I wondered if our first year would be a little challenging because we are both know what we want in life and are set in our ways. Much to my surprise, transitioning our lives together has been seamless. I remember someone praying that over us and God heard that prayer. I cannot even think of one disagreement we have had. I guess being older, we are a little smarter and have both learned from mistakes in our pasts. We are both easy going and both spontaneous.
     The unexpected things began 5 weeks after we were married when my mom ended up  at the emergency room, my dad was hospitalized shortly after that. We found out he had a rare bone cancer and 15 hours later, mom had passed away. It wasn't even two months later that dad passed away. Our first three months of marriage were spent in hospitals and funeral homes...
Dove Hunting In Uvlade
     Somehow I married a man with a great sense of humor and even in the midsts of everything, he kept me laughing. We have spent much of this year living in two different towns which makes it interesting as I never know where I will end up sleeping! Stephen has done most of the traveling from Uvalde to Kerrville as most of his work is there. September and October, I did the traveling as it was dove season and we have a hunting business, Events Unlimited. We really have not had the time to settle into our life with the loss of my folks, blending our families, new grand babies and life in general. We talk a lot about different ideas but right now, we are enjoying life in both towns.

Chamber Banquet

Fishing at Lake Amistad
Our family

     I've met lots of new people in Stephen's life and have learned how to fish and dove hunt. He has met   at least half of Kerrville, as he puts it, has gone to more social events in the last year than in his whole life! He has enjoyed the adventure and we have even blended the social events with unique purchases! We love to dance and frequently go dancing with friends.  We have enjoyed cooking together and entertaining in both Uvalde and Kerrville.
Truett Payne

Collins Elise

We have loved becoming grandparents and fun times with our kids. We have grown a lot this year and have covered many of life's major events from marriage, death, and birth.  We've prayed together through each event and most of all, our love has grown.
   




Sunday, October 20, 2013

Turning Darkness to the Light of His Grace


Kerrville Daily Times Article
October 2013



Four years ago this week,  life as I knew it changed dramatically when my late husband left this earth. He had been a part of my life since I was sixteen. As I flip through the pages of my life since then, I see each page stamped with God’s grace. What do I mean by that statement? God’s power to uphold, cradle a broken heart, lead me into the unknown and give me life again has sustained me. II Corinthians 12:9 was one of the scriptures that God would always remind me of in times that I thought I could not go on. “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)

My father always taught as a child to be strong. Even though I was a girl, my dad would always say, “Suck it up, be strong, you are a Jones.” So for much of my life, that is what I did. Yet, I find in scripture, God wants our dependency to be on His strength, not ours. That was a freeing revelation for me as I found it was ok to be weak and dependent on God and embrace our emotions, instead of burying them. I had permission from God to embrace my weakness. I didn’t have to be strong, I just had to trust in Him more, instead of myself.

As I look at the chapter of my life story now, things look very different. Much has changed. There are new people in my life, , a new husband and grand babies, new people I work with, and many new adventures. God’s grace, his power and love have brought me to a new place in life. The key in trials and uncertainty of life is not letting the trial overwhelm you. Many many times, I had to push the overwhelming feelings away and preach to myself to simply trust God in the pain and look to His power, not mine. The greatest thing I’ve gained, is experience with God in the valley of life. Those experiences have made me a rich woman, although the cost has been great. The beauty is, I get to give that life to other broken and afraid people. 

Isaiah 42:16 is marked and dated  about two years ago in my Bible. I held on to the promise and now I know it is true. It says, “ I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (NIV) God has navigated me when I was on an unfamiliar path learning to live alone. He has guided me and we have had some really fun adventures along the way. When grief would knock my feet out from under me and life seemed dark, God put me back on my feet and turned the light on. He has given me strength in the rough places and grace to extend to others that haven’t walked where I’ve walked and caused me more pain. God never forsake me, although at times it felt like it.

I am living proof that His grace is sufficient. Wherever you are in life, grab on to His grace. Let God lead you through the darkness at home, in your job, in your relationships, illness, in your grief, or in your finances. He loves you dearly and so do I.

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native to the Texas Hill Country, a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth and God’s love, You can reach her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com 





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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Special, Precious and Honored...What More Could You Want?

Community Journal and Kerrville Daily Times
September 2013
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie 


So many times in our busy lives we get wrapped up in the day to day rhythm of life and can forget how incredibly special we are to the Lord. Remembering that fact and reminding ourselves of the truth can strengthen us, boast our confidence and steady us in the most challenging of circumstances. Isaiah 43 states several time the phrase, “This is what the Lord says.” What God says about us trumps every other card in life that is played against us. 
A Father's love...
Precious granddaughter Collins Maxwell

So what do you do when the circumstances or cards of life are stacked against you? Each of us is responsible for our own spiritual growth and development. So what are you doing to grow? Reading the Bible is a start, but more importantly is really choosing to believe the truth written in the word of God. Isaiah 43:4 states God’s heart for the nation of Israel and for each of us. “Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you...” No matter what you’ve done wrong, no matter how bad you have messed up, God looks at you with affection.
My precious grandson and daughter
I am the proud grandmother of two new grand babies. Just like most grandparents, I adore these new additions to the family. Each of them is precious, honored and loved simply because of who they are — and God’s love for you and me is even greater than that.
All people want to feel special and important and each of us want to be honored and valued. I was listening to a woman recently who confided she did not feel valued in her current position and spoke about the devaluing she was experiencing by her supervisor, which was wearing on her. What was sad to me was this capable and talented woman felt pushed aside by the words and insecurity of someone else. She needed a good dose of “This is what the Lord says...since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you...”
We live in a world that is full of people who desperately need to know they are special, important and valued. Why not let God use you today to help fill someone else’s bucket? Speak what is in your heart and God’s heart to those you encounter. God wants each of us to know we are special, honored and loved and I want to be like Him.
 Isaiah 43:5 states, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” It is easy when we have been rejected by others to be afraid or hesitant to share what is in our heart but God tells us to step out on the water again and find our security in Him. Today, God wants you to personally know that you are precious, honored and loved and He wants you to give that gift to those you meet. I challenge you to say, “Lord, I choose to believe that I am precious, honored and loved by you,” and then show others they are, too.
Oct. 10 would have been my Mom's Birthday...I miss her.


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