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

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Holidays-The pain, the promise and the adventure

Holidays-The pain, the promise and the adventure
December 2017
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright

West Texas beauty
Christmas and the holidays are a time many families gather together for fun and to celebrate, however, for many, the holiday season may be difficult. 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.

The good news is God sent Jesus to be with is 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.  One of the things I have learned is no matter what has occurred, God has held my hand and was full of compassion. 

Matthew 1:23 tells us that Jesus was sent to be with us. “The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel-which means, “God with us.” (NIV)

 Psalms 73:23 also tells us, “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; You hold you by the right hand.” (NKJV) 

These scriptures gave me great confidence, as I went through my first holidays without my late husband, my mother and my father and other family members I’ve lost. Knowing God was with me and cared about my pain has also expanded my compassion for other people and these lessons are priceless.

 God cares when our heart hurts and wants to heal us. 

 Psalms 34:17 states “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  

Alpine
This is a promise we can hang on to. It may not feel like God is close in our pain but the truth is, He has never been closer.  

As I have prayed the simple prayer of, “God, I give you my pain and the hurt in my heart,” I have experienced Him guiding me, encouraging me, and His kindness, has made the above scripture very real. 

Too many times, our feelings can lie to us in tough times, and we can feel like God has forsaken us. In these times, we must believe the truth of God’s word; He is near, He cares, He wants to deliver us from our pain and He is good. We must press through the negative feelings and give him the broken pieces of our lives.

If you are brokenhearted over losing a loved one, have been recently divorced, or experienced another loss, let me encourage you to ask God to open your eyes to see His nearness and to encourage your heart. I have ask Him in my life and it works! The truth is you are precious to Him and He cares and will heal you as you look to him.

Barrett-my stepson and me
Five years ago, both my parents passed away. As the first Thanksgiving without them approached, I began to realize that this would be my first holiday in my life without my mom, dad or my adult children. At first, I was sad but then I ask God to give me His perspective of the holiday and help me to see it as He saw it.

I felt God showed me that I needed to look at things differently, to look forward to the adventure that was ahead and what good things He had in store for me. I felt God say to love those He put in my life during the holiday as I would my parents and children. All of a sudden, the approaching holiday began to look different. 

That holiday, we went to Alpine, Texas. My husband has hunting business so we spent Thanksgiving at a ranch in west Texas with several mule deer hunters and my stepson, Barrett. There were many blessings and new experiences that I enjoyed as I embraced the adventure and the new assignment I had, to love those around me.

I challenge you to ask God to help you see the approaching Christmas season with His perspective. Looking for the adventure makes you look forward to what could be ahead.

 You may not be grieving this Christmas season, but God may want to use you to be His arms of compassion and love to others. Often people that are grieving just need people someone to affirm their pain and loss and encourage them. Perhaps you will be the one God uses to bring healing to someone hurting. 

Life is very different and difficult without those that have been a huge part of our lives. It is challenging and hard to go on without them. Love and compassion will always win and bring healing. Love never fails. Sometimes, a hug and kind words mean the world to a grieving person. 

God promises to heal broken hearts. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” This is your promise to hang on to this Christmas.

Give God your broken heart, and begin to thank Him for the healing that will come this holiday season.  Look forward to who God wants to be for you, knowing that Immanuel is right there with you and focus on the new adventure that is ahead. 

I ask God to touch your heart this holiday season and make it  a special one. And remember, you are not alone.




Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. She welcomes your  contacting her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Adapting to your husband and investing in your marriage

Adapting to your husband and investing in your marriage
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
November 2017
copyright

From September 1st until the first weekend in November,  I trade my heels, dresses and pearls for snake boots, gun, jeans and camouflage. I also trade my purse for a bird bag. I  spend every weekend riding around in a pick-up truck with my husband, checking on our dove hunters and in the evenings, we are entertaining our lodge hunters. 

This has been my life in the months of September and October for the past five years and at first, it was quite a change for me. I have loved the adventure of learning new things and have had to learn to adapt to my husband, Stephen. He has had quite a few changes being married to me too…

Good marriages do not just happen. They take work. My mom told me years ago, “Kathleen, if you are not working on your marriage, you are working against it.” I try to be intentional on looking for ways I can invest in my relationship with my husband. How are you working on your marriage?

Spending quality time with your mate is very important to keep the relationship alive and growing. We live in such a hectic society, however, it is vital for a husband and wife to take time for just the two of them. Developing a good marriage also takes effort, and a willingness to put your spouses needs ahead of your own.

I was married 30 years to my late husband, Joe. Three years after he was gone, I met Stephen and realized when we were talking about marriage, I could not put the same grid on our relationship as I had in my previous marriage. I had to study Stephen, learn about him, and learn how to be his wife. One of my constant prayers is to be the wife Stephen needs. 

Ephesians 5:22 says, “You wives must learn to adapt yourselves to your husbands, as you submit yourselves to the Lord, for the husband is the “head” of the wife in the same way Christ is head of the Church and savior of the body.” (Phillips version)

I think it is important for a wife to study her husband. Learn what is important to him, what he likes and dislikes, what makes him feel loved and respected. Men are different and this scripture is telling each of us as wives, to adapt to our own husband. Even basic jobs require studying and learning, and yet somehow, many people get married without really learning what marriage is all about and the God given roles of husbands and wives. 

According to Siri, the word adapt means, “to make something suitable for a new use or purpose; modify, become adjusted to new conditions.”

My late husband was an investment banker that wore a coat and tie each day, pretty much worked 8-5, enjoyed spending weekends at home doing yard work. My husband Stephen, is a self made man, owns several businesses, most days wears jeans and boots, a cowboy hat and his work schedule varies from 6:00 a.m. some mornings and his phone rings sometimes late in the evening. Needless to say, I had some adapting to do when I remarried in 2012.

Stephen is a very hard working man and he loves to play as hard as he works. He is not the kind of guy that likes to sit around all weekend and watch TV. When we first got married, I had to adjust and adapt to him, by being ready to go and do something most weekends. We are usually hunting, fishing, visiting with our friends, kids and grandkids, attending events, church, etc. I feel it is important at this stage in life that we find things we can do together to build our relationship. 

Men need respect and a women need to feel loved and cherished. One way I try to show my husband respect, is by really looking him in the eyes when we are talking. That is important to him and I’ve had to learn that. Another way I try to show him respect is by getting off the phone quickly when he comes in from work. I want him to know he is more important than anyone else in my life. I feel it honors him and shows him respect. What are some ways you need to respect your husband?

I love how The Message version states Ephesians 5:22. It says, “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife, the way Christ does to his church. not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.” (MSG)

Submitting is not being a door mat. It is important for a wife to give her husband input on matters. I like to look at it as submitting my ideas to him because our marriage is a partnership as well as a covenant and  commitment. He is good about listening to my thoughts on matters. There are times I may not agree with Stephen and I share that to him. If I feel he is not listening to me, I have found, God can change is mind much easier than I can. Prayer is my best friend in situations where we do not agree.

One of my favorite prayers when we do not agree is, “God change my heart or his.” This puts us in a win-win situation. I have seen God change my heart at times and I have seen him change my husband’s heart too. God blesses unity and it is important in business, family life, and marriage.

Men, it is imperative that you cherish your wife and do what makes her feel loved. A woman that feels cherished and love will bend over backwards for her husband. What can you do today that will make your wife feel loved and cherished?

Praying together is also great building block in a marriage. It brings two people together for a common cause. I am not talking about long amounts of time, even a few minutes each day in prayer together is powerful. Sometimes, Stephen and I are in different towns due to work commitments, however, we usually pray together on the phone. Praying with him, lets me know what is on his heart and mind and vise versa. It is an investment in our marriage that alway reaps blessings in our lives and relationship.
  
Marriage is about two people walking to together in life and committing their lives to one another. Building your marriage is important and it takes time, communication and forgiveness. It is never too late to invest in your relationship with your spouse or begin to adapt to them. How can you invest in your marriage today? I challenge  you to begin today to look for ways you can sow into your relationship. Not only will you reap the benefits, but your children and grand children will benefit greatly too.

Strong marriages build strong families. Strong families make strong communities. I still have a lot to learn about my husband and adapting to him but I am working on it. Will you join me in investing in your relationship with your spouse? It might take a little time to see the results of your investment, however it will be worth it. Today is a great day to adapt and invest.



Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie 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

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Giving thanks when things seem to be going wrong


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
November 2017
Copyright


“How on earth do I give thanks when I feel like life is so difficult right now and painful,” I muttered to myself as I pondered everything going on in my life. 
I was a tired mother of three children, a busy business owner with 250 clients, active in the church and community and my marriage was not doing great. I was exhausted, to say the least.

A day or two after I said the above question, my baby got pneumonia. This generated extra care for my little one, frequent breathing treatments he despised and would scream through, as I tried to be a good parent. 

A few days into the pneumonia battle, my daughter spent the night at a friend’s house and came home with lice. This created even more work for me, as if taking care of a house and three children was not enough. The next day, the school called and said my oldest son had pink eye!

“Surely God understood that I had enough on my plate and did not have time to be thankful,” I said to myself as I tended to my tasks.

The truth is, God did understand and He wanted to help me overcome the adversity I was facing. Some days in our life on this earth are just awful. He does not engineer difficult circumstances just so He can produce good; however, He works within us and through us to bring us to a better place. We are in Christ no matter what is happening in our lives and we just have to tap into that place with Him.

“Help me Lord,” I prayed. I knew God was the only one I could depend on.

The next morning, I opened my Bible and began reading II Corinthians 2:14, which states, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and though us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” (NIV)

If you read the first part of the chapter, things were not easy for Paul, however, Paul had a confidence in God’s ability to overcome his challenges. I needed that and I needed it yesterday!

Several words stuck out to me as I read and reread this verse.

  • thanks
  • lead
  • always
  • triumphal procession

I discovered, I had to do my part and that was give thanks. I  began to thank God for his ability to lead me to triumph. I also began to thank him for my kids, even though they all had physical battles and  I was exhausted and miserable. I began to thank God for his love for me. My heart began to change. Thanksgiving adjusts our attitude.

Next, I began to look to God and believe that He would lead me. My job was to submit my day and my heart to Him and to follow Him. I began to thank him for my husband too, even though I was not real happy with him at the time.

“God, I thank you for my husband and kids, thank you for your love and thank you that you want to lead me and help me overcome,” I prayed. “I choose to believe you always work things together for my good and I look to your ability, not my own,” I continued. Please note I did not thank God for the difficulties but for what I could be thankful for and put my trust in Him.

In the days and months that followed that Thanksgiving, the lice and the pink eye were gone from my house, even though these childhood plagues went through all three kids. My baby got over the pneumonia, however, he had to continue the breathing treatment for a while as he was sensitive to upper respiratory infections.

I continued to give thanks for my husband and God began to work in both of our lives, and I began to look to God to change things in our marriage, instead of me trying to change him. Our marriage began to heal and it started with my heart changing first.

Not long ago, I reread II Corinthians 2:14 and could see very clearly how God led me in triumphal procession, step by step. I had to smile at God’s faithfulness. 
Pop meets Grant

Yes, there are still difficult days in my life, however, I am real quick to give thanks and look for how God is going to lead me step by step to get the better of the situation. He is always there to lead me, I just have to follow.

The great news is when we partner with God, thank Him and lean on Him in difficult days, we are developing a testimony in our lives  and a confidence in Him. Others see that in our lives and are drawn to that fragrance. In the two days I have been working on this article, I have had four people text or call for prayer or encouragement. I know it is not me, but Christ in me they are drawn to.

Right now is a good time to thank God for something in your life and partner with Him. If you are having difficulty, ask Him to help you develop thankfulness in your life. We can always thank Him for being with us and helping us. We can ask Him to open our eyes to see how we can be changed and triumph. Get excited about the triumphal procession that is ahead!


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie 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

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Divine appointments and answered prayer

Divine appointments and the power of prayer
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright October 2017

On August 3rd, 2017, we were on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, visiting my oldest son and his family. It was my grand daughter Collins’ fourth birthday and my daughter-in-law, Laura and I decided to take her to the spa at the St. Regis Hotel for a manicure and pedicure. We felt it was our  female obligation to introduce her the pampering herself, especially since my son and husband were playing golf most of the day.

While we were at the spa, we visited with the nail technician, Cindy, and I took a picture of her doing Collins’ nails. 

“When is your baby due?” Cindy asked my daughter-in-law.

“October 12th,” Laura replied.

“My sister-in-law was due October 27th but she delivered twins a few weeks ago at 27 weeks” Cindy said.

“Oh my, how are they doing?” I asked.

“Well, we lost one twin, Faith, but Hope weighed 1lb 8oz and is still fighting for her life, in Honolulu, at a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU),” Cindy continued.

My heart went out to her sister-in-law, who was living at the hospital taking care of her baby and grieving the loss of her twin. I know what it is like to live in hospitals and know what it is like to lose someone you love.

As believers, we are called to help those that are going through trials and share in their suffering.

“I will pray for Hope and your family,” I stated, and then offered up a silent prayer for this mother and her child.

“Lord, heal this mother’s heart and breathe life into Baby Hope,” I prayed as I left the spa.

Numerous times after our spa day, I prayed for this baby I did not know and her parents. I prayed that God would help her to live and grow and prayed strength and provision for her parents.

I am forever grateful for those who prayed for my late husband and me as he battled cancer. I wanted to give back to someone else in a tough situation.

On September 6th, my son Austin and his wife Laura, gave birth five weeks early, to my new grandson, Grant Robert Maxwell. Our precious new addition to the family was put in the NICU in Honolulu, HI, to receive careful monitoring since he was a premature and had some other complications.

“Mom, Laura and I need you to come out and help if you can, as soon as possible,” my son said, as we visited on the phone, shortly after Grant’s birth.

I was happy to help and had a flight booked in a couple of hours.

Several days after I arrived in Hawaii, I took Collins to a Sibling Tea, that was hosted by the March of Dimes, in the lobby of the NICU. I sat next to another grandmother and her daughter. 

As we enjoyed our tea, I overheard the young mother sitting on the other side of me tell someone she was from the island of  Kauai and had delivered twins in July. One little girl did not make it, but her daughter, Hope was doing alright, she stated.

Could this be the baby and family I had been praying for? 

“Excuse me, I overheard your conversation and do you have a relative that works at the St. Regis Hotel in Kauai?” I asked.

“Yes i do,” replied the young mother, with a puzzled look on her face.

“My name is Kathleen, does she work in the spa?” I continued.

“I am Jean and yes, my sister-in-law works in the spa as a nail technician,” my new friend stated.

“I’ve been praying for you and your baby Hope for the past month.” I said excitedly.

I quickly showed Jean a picture I had taken of her sister-in-law and my grand daughter that I had taken and Jean smiled, confirming this was her relative.

“God has his had on your little girl’s life and I cannot believe I am getting to meet you!” I exclaimed. 

“i call this a divine appointment and this is such an encouragement to me to pray.  God loves you and your baby so much and has had this lady praying for you in Texas,” I said.
My new friend, her mom and I visited for a while and I prayed with Jean, for healing and blessing over her little girl, Hope.

Jean invited me to come see her baby, meet her husband, and I cannot tell you the joy I felt seeing this tiny baby that was now doing well and growing. Baby Hope weighed over 3 lbs and before I left to come back to Texas, she weighed 4 lbs. 

“Come back and pray again. Your prayers change the atmosphere and make it peaceful,” Jean said.

Often times we pray for people and we do not get to see the answers to our prayers. God was so kind to orchestrate things and let me meet this precious family. 

I still pray for my new friend and her baby, Hope. Jean sends me pictures and updates on her daughter and I am honored to intercede on their behalf.

My grandson Grant, is now out of the NICU and doing well and  I am back in Texas. Meeting Jean and Hope and experiencing this divine appointment has encouraged me in my faith and given me a new excitement to pray for others. 

Hope is now up to 6 lbs. 14 oz. and is still in the NICU. I talked to her mom the other day and she is hoping to take her home any day now.

The Bible instructs us to pray for others and share in their suffering. Who can you pray for today? Who needs you to take a few minutes of your day and invest in the life of those around you? I want to encourage you to be sensitive to God and pray for situations you encounter. And remember, you never know when you might have a divine appointment and get to see the answers to those prayers.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fear is not your friend


Dove hunting 2017 with Rob and Mallory and my grands!
Fear is not your friend
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
copyright 2017

Walking through my neighborhood this week, I noticed decorations for Halloween at various home. At one home, there were all these scary looking creatures. I began to think of how God wants us to be filled with faith and confidence, not fear as we walk through this world. 

     Fear is defined as: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. The feeling of anxiety about the outcome of something or the safety and well being of someone.  

    One thing is for sure, fear is tormenting. Fear is a thief and a robber of peace, joy and tranquility. I speak from experience and am thankful God has set me free from           various fears and the bondage fear brings.

       There are many different kinds of fear. A few that I have struggled with in the past were a fear of death, fear of germs, fear of failure, and fear of the dark. I have found that many people struggle with the same fears that held me captive for years. I was good at justifying my fear, telling my self that one could never be too cautious. 

     One day I heard the words, “Fear is doubt  and unbelief and doubt and unbelief is not trusting God - that is sin.” At that moment, I knew I could no longer justify my fears. Whenever I was afraid, I began to acknowledge them as sin. God graciously began to set me free as I was faithful to repent and resist the temptation to walk in fear. Repentance is always our friend and is found on the path to freedom. 

     II Timothy 1:7 states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We can conclude from this passage that fear is a spirit and it is not from God; therefore, it is not our friend. There are times when I have simply said the words, “Fear go, you are not my friend.” As long as we coddle our fears, they will hang around. We must deal ruthlessly with them if we want to  get free. 
Newest addition to our family! Grant Maxwell
     I love Isaiah 41:10 which says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Many times I have pictured myself holding God’s hand and that gives me great courage. Dismayed means feelings of anxiety and consternation, usually by something unexpected. Have you ever had something unexpected happen? I have. 

     Proverbs 3:25 tells us, “Be not afraid of sudden fear....” Satan loves to make us feel scared because then we are intimidated. Intimidation has one goal; to scare us from even engaging in the battle. Goliath used intimidation on David but David did not bow to fear. He quickly strengthened himself by remembering how God helped him slay a bear and a lion. I love David’s faith in response to intimidation. He told the bellowing giant he would strike him down, cut off his head and give his carcasses to the birds! 

Now those are some faith filled words!
     Prior to a personal relationship with God I was terrified of dying. I had trouble sleeping at night for fear I might die. Once I accepted Jesus into my heart and repented of the fear, I was no longer afraid of dying. Knowing God personally, is the beginning of overcoming fear. Tell God you want a personal relationship with him. He will be delighted!

     The US Navy has a slogan that I think is a motto against any fears. “Life liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it.” God wants us to enjoy life, our freedom and get rid of any fear that would threaten us. Fear is an enemy, not our friend. Do not let fear rob you anymore. There is power in your words, so tell fear to go.
     Freedom is waiting...what are you afraid of?


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


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Living above the clouds of life

Living above the clouds of life
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright
September 2017


You and I are called and equipped to live a  supernatural lifestyle. I have discovered the supernatural life I am to lead as I have faced difficult circumstances, trials, conflict, misunderstanding, disappointments and being determined to discover what God is up to in those situations.
How about you? Have you encountered any of the above mentioned things lately? How did you handle them? Did you waste the opportunity to grow?
The meaning of the word supernatural means, “above our circumstances, above natural or to exist above and beyond nature”.
We have a God given right to rise above our circumstances and paint a picture above the clouds or storms of life.
I was recently flying to Hawaii and as we took off and headed west, the city below me began to pale. It looked totally different  from a higher perspective.
Not long into the flight, a storm arose and the captain came over the speaker, telling us were were around and above the storm. Suddenly, a beautiful sunset appeared with brilliant colors as we rose above the clouds.
Jesus rose above the storm in Matthew 14 and called Peter, an average guy, to do something that seamed impossible, to walk on water.
What are you facing right now that seems impossible? Perhaps it is staying with in a difficult marriage. Maybe it is dealing with a difficult coworker. It could be letting go of a love one or dealing with an unexpected diagnoses.
I know at times in my life, I have said to myself or someone else, “I just can’t do this.” The truth is, I can not,  but when there is a greater dependency on God, I can.
The key to a supernatural life is dependency on God.
I was talking to someone the other day, and the woman made the comment that she was so stressed out. I have had my share of stressful situations and life will be stressful, if we live in our circumstances, instead of the provisions God has for us.  
God sent Jesus so we can find joy in life no matter what is thrown at us. We cannot control  all our circumstances. Some come very unexpected.  We do not get any say  many of life’s trials. However, we do have a choice in how we will respond. We can either react or respond.
The Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:10 says, “On earth as it is in heaven.” (NIV) There is no stress in heaven, therefore, when we walk to the rhythm of thanking him, praying and then casting our cares on him, we learn to live life above the cloud of our perceived negative circumstances. We live a supernatural life.
I John 4:17 says, “ ...as he is, so are we in this world.” (NIV) Jesus is full of life and peace and we have the opportunity to practice abundant life and peace anytime we choose to.
There are plenty of people that lead stressed out lives. You and I do not have to be one of them.
I want to be someone that is known for living a life of joy and peace. Jesus paid a great price for me to do that. I owe it to him to be responsible for my own development in not letting negative circumstances steal my joy and peace.
This means I have to discipline myself to step back and live from the inside out, live from Christ in me. What about you?
Do you need to discipline yourself a little more? Do you live in your circumstances preoccupied with the problem or step back into Christ in you and walk in peace?
You and I are called to reveal to those around us who God really is. We are are not called to lead normal lives, but supernatural lives. Responding out of Christ in us is so much better than reacting to negative circumstances. God’s promises found in the Bible, and putting our confidence in the God who made heaven and earth,  will  lift us above the clouds of life.
Will you join me in painting a beautiful picture above the clouds of your life and living the supernatural life available to you?

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