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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kindness and Dignity

  Restoring Kindness and Dignity
  Kerrville Daily Times and Community Journal
  January 2013

  Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

 I was in a situation recently that made me as God what His heart would be in the situation. Without giving too many details, I observed someone being condescending to another person and then experienced it myself. True confessions, it made me mad. God always makes us feel valuable and loves to restore our dignity. I am passionate about helping people restore their dignity and value. If there is anything that can make me mad quick, it is to see someone devalue another person. It is never right. None of us have that privilege. If God almighty calls us by name and is kind to us, who are we to not do the same to others?
     Scripture tells us in Psalms 8 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, therefore, it is imperative that we treat others with respect and kindness. I think it is interesting that the people Jesus rebuked  in the New Testament were the Pharisees because the Pharisees were not interested in people’s hearts, they were just interested in the letter of the law.They were more concerned in how things looked to others instead of how people were treated.
     God always treats people with honor and value because He loves us. So how do you treat others? Do you make them feel less than you? Do you treat ALL  that you come in contact with the same?
      One of my favorite quotes is, “People may forget what you said, they may forget what you know, but they never forget how you made them feel,” This is a good quote to live by. I know those that are prejudice and treat those of another race different. Each and every person you and i encounter needs to be treated with respect. Respect is defined as “deep admiration for someone.” It does not matter if the person is young, old black, or white, each is fearfully and wonderfully made and made in the image of God.
     When I was teaching school, one of the things I frequently dealt with was kids putting other kids down. Kids are notorious for making fun of others and pointing out others failures. I would frequently have a child or youth come to me complaining that someone in the class had made fun of them or tried to demean them. I would always talk to the offended and tell them that wounded people always try to wound other people. They have to step on others to make them feel better about themselves. Next  time you encounter someone that is condescending, remember that they are wounded individuals  that have to step on someone to make themselves feel better.
     `Scripture says in I Corinthians 13 that love never fails. Love is kindness in action. Love makes you kind to others. Kindness makes you likable and make others want to be around you. Do other like being around you? Do others feel better or worse after being in your presence? Dp you radiate kindness? Do you point out the good in them or are you constantly highlighting their inadequacies?
      Proverb 3:3-4 says, “Do not let kindness and truth leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.” (NIV) Being kind to others brings benefits into our lives. People like being around others that are kind. There are benefits to following scripture. God’s ways bring blessings into our lives. 
     Everyday we encounter people that are struggling. Often times we don’t realize it because we simply are not aware. What if you are the one that has the opportunity to make someone’s day? Kindness touches people’s hearts and reveals what is in our heart. Actually, kindness is a major part of the character of God. He is always kind. Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Again, kindness is love in action. And love never fails. 
     I was in H.E.B this past week and there is a man that has worked for the company in management a number of years. I’ve noticed several times that even though he is a supervisor, you see him showing his employees his respect and kindness bagging groceries right there with them. I admire that he is revealing God’s heart to his employees and showing them they are just as valuable as he is..Ephesians 6:9 states, 
“And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” In the heart of God, all of us are precious, valuable, and dearly loved; therefore, that is how we should treat one another.
     It does not matter if it is your boss, your spouse, the garbage collector or the janitor at your place of business, each needs to be treated with respect and with the same dignity. I can only imagine what our community would be like if all people treated each other with honor and respect. This requires honoring others and a desire to be like Jesus and to live as He lived. He lived a life of kindness caring more about people’s hearts than anything. Will you join me in looking for others you can be kind to and be a part of the healing process in their lives? Kerrville would be a better place if we were all made an effort to hang on to kindness and give it away to those we are around.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Contractors, Blessings and the Oncologist

     I keep waiting for life to slow down but right now it doesn't appear that it is. Years ago when mom was so sick and I was grieving the fact that the mom that I knew was gone. I was afraid that I would keep grieving my mom as her illness lingered. As I prayed about it, I felt God say to me, " you are grieving me now because when she does go, it will be a time for you to run." I have held on to that although I wasn't sure what it meant. I am not sure I know now but I do know there has been a lot to deal with with newly married, work being intense, dad's illness, the holidays, and the house being undone because of the fire. His grace has carried me and I am so thankful
     Last week I took dad to the oncologist. The said that his disease was extensive and the cancer was in the bones and bone marrow. He is in stage three of three stages.They actually did a treatment on him that day to help his bones as the cancer has destroyed some bones in his back already. He has shrunk from being 6 ft to 5'5". I hate seeing someone I love suffer again. I must admit it was hard walking into the cancer treatment room. Seeing the poles and two women struggle during their chemo treatments made me take a deep breath. I've seen that way too many times and it just wasn't fun. The good news was I took the opportunity to pray with both women instead of just focusing on my situation.. They were touched and I felt like I encouraged them. Once again, God's grace cradled my heart.. Somehow I know He will help me as I let go of the man I've loved the longest in my life.
     The contractors finally finished the repairs on our house from the fire. Things have been crazy the last month with different crews coming in to work to get rid of the smoke damage, the repairs on the wall and painting. There are blessings in every crisis and the good news is Stephen and I have been able to clean out a lot of things and make the house ours instead of mine. Although it has been a lot of work, it has been fun and we have rearranged the furniture and took some of our furniture to Uvalde.

  It was one year ago today that we began our relationship. It began with emails, progressed to phone conversations, lunch and then dates with me and my friends. I love the kindness in his heart and his humor. Even though we have been through a great deal in a short amount of time, it seems like we have been together a long time as there is a real comfortableness in our relationship. We have a lot of fun together and enjoy dancing together, walking, praying together and our life.  


Monday, January 7, 2013

Polar Bear Challenge and Attitude Adjustment

Polar Bear Challenge on New Years Day was a big success. Over  250 spectators watched as 93 sliders plunged into the Guadalupe River to raise funds for the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center. Over $19,000 was raised! Yes...I was crazy enough to slide again.

Need An Attitude Adjustment?
January Article
Kerrville Daily Times
Community Journal

     Attitude is of upmost importance in any situation. We have all heard that from various sources, but how many of us really take a good look at our attitude and give it a check-up? With 2013 beginning, I think it is a good time for us all to give ourselves a attitude checkup.
     I visited with a woman this past week that told me she did not like being around a certain relative because after she would leave, she noticed her own attitude about life was negative. I encouraged her to set healthy boundaries and limit time with the person, as this woman was struggling to live a healthy lifestyle. Boundaries are the best when someone is struggling to develop a positive lifestyle, because a negative attitude can be contagious.
     We must be on guard with our attitude when bad or challenging things happen. God will always work things for our good when we seek Him and look to Him. That is just the way He operates, but I find in life, we must really believe that in order to have the confidence we need to get through difficult situations. Too many times, people waller in the negative things that have happened in life instead of trusting God’s ability to help us overcome. It is in our DNA to overcome because we are made in His image.
     There is a big difference in embracing our challenging circumstance, getting stuck in them and denying them. Denial will only hinder the truth and our progress to get through difficulty. Self-pity and a victim mentality will most definitely keep you walking in a way that makes you feel you are pulling a ton of bricks. Healthy people embrace the truth. As awful as it may be, embracing the truth and looking for God in the midst of it is the best. Bad things do happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Actually, anything good in our lives is simply because of God’s grace to us. Scripture tells us, “Every good and perfect things comes from the father of lights.” Think of something good in your life. It is because of God’s goodness and kindness in your life. Perhaps you should thank Him.
     Life on this earth is hard. There are constant things to overcome and deal with and as difficult as they are, there is a confidence and blessing that comes when you hang on to God and continually seek Him to help you overcome the situation. Overcome means to get the better of the situation. Did you know that in every difficulty, there are blessings? Sometimes the blessings come in the form of our own personal growth, and sometime we simply do not see the blessings for a while. The key is keeping our attitude right and to keep looking for, and trusting, God. 
     I have personally had a challenging few months but there have been many blessings. Actually, I said to my sister the other day, “ I think I will rewind December and start it over again and try for a better month.” I knew months ago that December would be hectic with the holidays and with my work. I knew the month would be like April is for a certified public accountant. As prepared as I was for the month, there was the unexpected. The unexpected always comes knocking on the door of life. 
      For me, it came in the form of my mom going to the hospital and then putting her on Hospice. The next week, my dad ended up in the hospital and while he was there, we were told he had Multiple Myeloma, a form of cancer. As shocking as the news was, there was a peace and confidence in God that came over me. Even though I lost my husband of 30 years to cancer, I saw God’s faithfulness to me and had total confidence in His ability to hold my heart, although it seemed as if there was an earthquake in my life. Having loved ones in the hospital is not only challenging for the patient but also the caregiver and those responsible for helping their loved ones through a difficulty. Balancing work, having a new marriage and caring for aging parents is not a task for the faint hearted.
      Fifteen hours, after we got the news about dad, I was at my parent’s home as mom had taken her last breath on earth and her first breath in heaven.
      That night as I sat in my home and tried to process all that had happened, I came across a scripture that held me tight. Isaiah 12:2 says, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” 
      This was the very same scripture God took me to the day we discovered my late husband had cancer. Scripture is given to enable us to overcome in situations. When we feel like all our strength is gone and we cannot go on, we grab God’s strength and a song. Often, though, we have to go to the deep places in life to find the well of salvation. I am not talking about getting saved — although people do turn to God in hard times and come to know him — I am talking about salvation in the sense that God is how we get through the situation. That is what I discovered when my late husband got cancer and died.     
     Although the earth seemed to shake with dad’s diagnoses and mother’s death, peace ruled my heart and I knew somehow, someway, God’s strength was right there and my job was to keep my focus on Him and a song in my heart. What attitude was I going to have in all this? Be overwhelmed, anxious,full of self pity or rely on God? The choice was mine and mine alone.
    Just when I was catching my breath from the situations with my parents, less than two weeks after we buried mother, there was another unexpected event. It was late one evening, about 11:20 p.m., and I was determined to finish my Christmas wrapping before going to bed. Suddenly I smelled smoke. It was discovered that there was a fire in our attic and between the wall and the fireplace. An hour and half later, four fire trucks left our home. Only one wall burned, and there was water damage in the garage. The fire could have been so much worse. Had we gone to bed earlier, our entire home could have burned and we could have lost our lives as our smoke alarms did not go off. Although it was Christmas and life seemed crazy with cleaning crews working to remove the smoke damage, I had a choice as to what my attitude would be in another unexpected situation. That is a lot to deal with in two and half weeks and I was looking for the rewind button to begin December again.
     I have discovered anxiety and whining are not options for me. I have learned it is a total waste of energy and is contrary to what is in God’s heart for us. His heart is for His kids to walk in full faith and confidence in Him. How we live our lives shows. People are reading us. 2 Corinthians 3:2-5 says, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. ... Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
      How is your attitude? Do you need an attitude adjustment? How do you handle adversity or the unexpected? Do you deny what is happening, have a victim mentality or embrace the reality and find the blessings? Kerrville will be a better place if we all adjust our attitudes. The choice is yours and yours alone.

written by Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie