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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Opening the present of peace

Opening the present of peace
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2016

Christmas 2016
Tears were streaming down the face of the woman that sat across from me. She was exhausted from trying to figure out how to care for her mom that was in the hospital, her children and financial issues that plagued her. “I’m so stressed  out,” she stated. 

This was the third person this week I’ve heard use those words as they have visited with me looking for prayer, answers and encouragement. Tension, stress, busyness, financial problems are just some of the robbers of the peace and rest for our hearts not only at Christmas time but other times in our lives.

Gifts, shopping, celebration are all a part of the holiday season but often times we miss the best present that has already been given to us - the peace that Jesus brings. Many years ago, God looked down and saw the distress  of mankind and wanted to provide a better way of life for the people He dearly loved. 

As I have read the Christmas story recorded in the Bible, I have seen one common thread-Jesus was sent to bring us peace. 

Luke 2:14 records the excitement of the birth of Jesus by stating, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” The angels proclaimed that the heart of God was to bring us peace in the gift of Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6 is my favorite passage and says, “For to us a child is born, to us a so is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end.”

God knew that in this fallen world, we would encounter trials, difficult situations and distress and he gave us a precious gift to enjoy and use to make our lives better. For many years, I did not open the gift of peace in my life. What I mean is I did not use the gift God had provided for me. God began to teach me about peace years ago and since that time, I have had many opportunities to open the gift and practice my peace. 

My mom and dad
Four year ago around Christmas, my father was hospitalized. It was discovered that he had bone cancer and had a short time to live. As I walked the halls of the hospital, I pictured myself being escorted my the Prince of Peace. A settling came over my heart and my heart was at rest knowing God would help me if I let him. Changing the way I looked at my situation took away the stress I was battling. I dearly loved my dad and was trying to wrap my head around the news I had just received when I received a call from my mother’s caregiver. 

“Kathleen, you need to get over here quick,” she stated with panic in her voice. My mom had been battling a debilitating disease for years. When I arrived at my parent’s home, mom was gone. I had to go tell my father, his sweet wife of over 50 years was gone. Again, I opened the gift of peace and used it as I delivered the news.

Just two weeks after burying mom and arranging care for my father, we had a fire in our home only a few days before Christmas. I was grateful our home wasn’t destroyed but we had extensive damage and I was already worn out from the grief of losing mom and dad’s diagnoses. Again, God was faithful in providing peace, I just had to unwrap it and use it.

I remembered what Jesus said in John 14:27 and depended on it. It says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not let it be afraid.” Each of us has a choice to let our heart be troubled and most of the time, stress is an inside job; how we look at our situations.

I have some beautiful presents under my Christmas tree. Hopefully, my friends and family will open them, use them and enjoy them. Gifts can be unwrapped and enjoyed or never opened and used. We each get to choose.

This Christmas, open the gift of peace and then use it through out 2017. God sent Jesus to give us a better way to handle life, heal our broken hearts and be our provision in any situation we face. I am forever grateful for the gift of peace and pray you will open it and use it every time you need it.

May the Lord richly bless you, keep you and give you peace.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Crisis at Christmas in not new

Crisis at Christmas is Not New
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2016

   Have you ever made plans and things just didn’t turn out the way you expected? I will have to say that there have been many things that haven’t turned out the way I had expected or planned. 2000 years ago things were not going the way Mary and Joseph had planned either. They were in love and engaged. I am sure like most couples they had held hands and chatted about their dreams together.
     Suddenly an angel appeared to Mary and told her of another plan. This plan was one that actually put her in danger of much judgment and even possible death. It was not o.k. for a girl to be expecting without being married. From Joseph’s point of view, he had to really decide how much he loved and trusted Mary. Seriously, this story is a little out there; however, I believe it is true. God is not always predictable and doesn’t always do things the way we expect. I guess that is why it is called a walk of faith. God sent Jesus to be Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23
      When you think about it, what more could we really want in life other than for God to be with us in every situation in life? What an incredible gift! I found myself the other day in an unexpected situation that could have been quite intense but I had been singing earlier that morning, “Come let us adore Him.” That song kept ringing in my ears in the midst of the situation. I was at perfect peace. The focus of my day was adoring Him. I think the problem is that most of us don’t remember to use the gift that has been given in Jesus. We can be at perfect peace in any situation if we choose and hold His hand and make Him our focus. 
     Let’s go back to the Christmas story. There was crisis in Bethlehem. Mary was expecting and was not  married. There was no place for them to stay when they arrived in Bethlehem to give birth. Joseph had to trust that Mary was being honest with him and then there is an order to kill all the babies under two in the neighborhood. Can you imagine if Obama declared to kill all the baby boys under two! It would certainly be a national crisis. We really don’t have anything to complain about.  
     Maybe your crisis is different. Maybe it is a divorce you didn’t want. Perhaps it is the death of a loved one or someone you love is very sick. It could be a  financial crisis you are looking at. It might be that you have someone you love caught in an addiction and it is destroying your relationship. Crisis sometimes barges in unannounced and makes itself at home.
      Mary chose to focus on God and the precious gift she was given that I am sure she did not understand. This is a good lesson for us. Focus on God in the midst of crisis is what will keep us moving through the crisis and give us peace. The alternative is to be overwhelmed by our circumstances. She did not have to understand. She just loved God and focused on Him and loved Joseph. 

 Isaiah 9:6 and 7 tells about the gift of Jesus given in a crisis situation“Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.” Wonderful counselor means that Jesus is our go between. He goes between us and any problem we have. Mighty God means that He is bigger than any problem we face. Prince of peace says that we have a God given right to walk in peace in any situation. Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace. That means we have an escort for us in any
situation. A prince rules and escorts. For me personally, I often picture myself being escorted by Him and overwhelming peace comes over me.
     Luke 1:37 Mary replied to God in the midst of her crisis, “Be it unto me, according to your word.” She said yes to God. She trusted God. She embraced her trial and let God escort her thru the situation; then she discovered the most incredible gift. Can you follow Mary’s example? Can I? Have you accepted the gift of Jesus? It is a question we must all ask ourselves. If we do, we just might discover the most incredible gifts of life and a new joy this holiday season..

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at and on her blog    81,400