Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Is it time to let go?~ December 31, 2013

Undoubtedly the Lord is trying to make a point for me and mine.  It seems like everywhere I look, I am faced with the reoccurring message of letting go.

“Is what you’re trying to hold onto holding you back from something greater?’

“You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but God has something awesome and new in store for you, yet, if you are afraid to let Him lead you out of that pond, you will never know that that He has an ocean for you to sail on…Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”

And in my own thought process, I continually find myself at war with feelings of anxiety at the thought of losing what is familiar.

Change is scary, at least for creatures of habit like myself.  At the same time, I can appreciate the fact that remaining stagnant doesn’t automatically equal safety.

Have you ever heard the expression, “familiarity breeds contempt”?  I wonder if that’s the place that I currently find myself in.  Has my inability to accept change and my outright defiance towards something new caused me to settle into an unpleasant place?  I feel like Oscar the Grouch…”this is MY house….these are MY things…this is MY LIFE!  And you can’t make me move on!”

Thankfully my deeply rooted faith wouldn’t let me keep my mad face on for too long.  I turned to one of my favorite books in Scripture for some help:

“But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

(Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT)

I don’t want to be the girl who is so busy looking backwards that I completely miss what is right in front of my face.  Some of life’s circumstances look bleak and downright awful…to the point that you can’t possibly see any good ever coming from it.  However, we are getting this story one page at a time while God is working with the whole book so doesn’t it make sense to trust His plans over our own?let go


~Monday, Schmonday~ December 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 5:30 pm

Ever have one of those days where you seriously consider throwing yourself off the back deck?  Then you remember that it’s only about 6 feet off the ground which would only result in minor injuries that wouldn’t excuse you from your responsibilities.  Only now you would be dealing with a twisted ankle, a sprained pinkie and a whopper of a headache while attempting to do your never ending list of chores.

Stupid Mondays.

Come back tomorrow…maybe with any luck, I’ll actually have something encouraging to say 😉



~Joyeux Noel!~ December 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:12 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Twas the night before Christmas & all through this house

Not a creature did stir, except for my spouse.

Who wrestled with wood and flat ironed sheets

To construct pop out tents for his little girls treats.

All thanks to me, his dear, darling wife,

Who can’t even wield a dull butter knife,

Sprung said request on this man of mine:

“What’s the big deal, you’ve got plenty of time!”

So during the night while the rest of us snored

My dear, sweet hubby worked until four!

Working his magic with no time to spare

On the gift that “store bought” can’t even compare

While he may have secretly wished to have strangled

Miracle of all miracles…here I sit unmangled

All thanks to Emma & Bella who shrieked with glee

“Thanks so much Daddy, for the gift you MADE for me!”


The finished product!


~Love before you speak~ December 23, 2013

When faced with adversity, how differently do you suppose the outcome would be if we stopped to ask ourselves, “is what I’m about to say coming from a place of love or condemnation?”

Oftentimes we don’t take the time to think before we speak.  We are so consumed by believing that we are right and they are wrong that we spat out our message with little to no regard to how it’s going to be received.  What is the point of speaking your mind if it falls on deaf ears?  What good does it do ramble on and on if the person you are trying to reach has built a wall between you and them so as to protect themselves from your unfiltered message?

Everyone has heard that the Bible stresses the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself.  How loving are you being when you’ve become so closed minded that you refuse to hear the other person’s feelings?  Just as you feel justified in your opinions, so does the one on the other side of the disagreement.  Why are you entitled to share your stance while you cut them off at the knees when they take theirs?

Love, people.  It’s an action word.  Loving others is the only thing that keeps people from diverse backgrounds living in harmony when society tells them that their differences should drive them apart.  Love puts the focus on the person and nothing more.

I remember when I was a bratty teenager my mom looked at me one day and said, “Valerie, I love you but right now I don’t like you very much.”  I learned a very valuable lesson from that statement.  Just because I love you doesn’t mean that I have to approve of or like everything you do and say.  Love, real love, should be free from contingencies.  My love for people is not based on what they do for me in order to deserve my affection.  It is based solely on my desire to extend the same grace that I receive on a daily basis, even in spite of my shortcomings that would dictate just how unlovable I am.worty

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

(1 Corinthians 13:1-7 The Message)


~Freedom of Speech, Part 2~ December 20, 2013

I have gotten quite a bit of feedback from my previous post and rather than edit it or add to the comment feed, I decided to post part 2 in order to clarify some of what I feel may have been misunderstood@

First let me say that I welcome the criticism and debate because it means that people are thinking and that’s what I want to encourage…to think of one another’s perspective.  With that being said, my main purpose in my initial post was to pose the following question:

While A & E may have acted within their legal rights…does that make it right?

I am not defending Mr. Robertson, he speaks rather crudely at times & I think there are more delicate ways of making your point.  He was not speaking on behalf of all Christians, but for himself alone.  Not all believers would have said things in the same manner he chose.  However, I am defending Americans rights to speak freely outside of the workplace without fear of losing their jobs as a result.  I would have been equally upset if someone was fired for their nationality, whom they choose to love, where they choose to worship, what the choose to watch, read or listen to.  I personally want to do my best to reflect God’s love to all people.  That includes those whose opinions vary from my own and people who make statements that I would consider uncouth.


~Freedom of Speech??~

When the news first broke of Phil Robertson’s suspension from Duck Dynasty, I wasn’t going to jump on the proverbial soap box, but a little something kept nagging me so here goes.

constitutionThere are two very important inalienable rights that have been violated:

  1. Freedom of Speech
  2. Freedom of Religion

Let’s address the first, freedom of speech.  Is there really any freedom in speech when one is fired for stating his opinion in an interview in which his opinion was asked?  I could see if the man referenced his employer as if he were a spokesman for the company, but he did not.  While this is the most recent injustice regarding someone’s right to speak freely, it certainly isn’t the first nor will it be the last.  Mr. Robertson clearly has views and morals that differ from a large number of people, my recommendation would be that those people should not watch his show or read his articles.  He is going to offend you.  I would bet that there are some articles & shows out there that he finds offensive, ones that attack his family and their position on some very sensitive subjects.  Why is that considered acceptable any more that what he said or did?  If we start allowing people to be fired for their own personal beliefs, such as where they stand on gay marriage, what’s to stop companies from firing employees for other beliefs such as: unwed mothers, choice of religion, momma’s who breastfeed their 4 year old, what type of head covering you wear, or your political stance.  It sounds ridiculous, because it is but that’s the road we are on if this type of behavior continues.

Now, freedom of religion, because let’s be honest, folks, that’s what this is really about.  The man is a Christian and is under fire for standing up for what that religion believes.  Being a Christian is a choice, just as being Buddhist, Jewish or Atheist is a choice.  When you publicly declare your religious beliefs, you are making known what you personally have faith in, what standards you live by and what things you believe are wrong.  Because we live in a country that supports our rights to worship whom we choose, we are going to butt heads time to time.  We don’t have to believe what another believes, that’s the beauty of this freedom.  Odds are we won’t likely understand why someone chooses a different faith than us, and we don’t have to but we should show one another respect.  On that note, may I point out that respect is a two way street.  How can you expect someone to respect your decisions if you continually bash theirs when they don’t line up with yours?

Before anyone asks, yes I have read the article.  While he does reference homosexual behavior, it is not the only thing the man talks about as the media would have you believing.

Here are a couple of statements that have conveniently escaped the news reels:

“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he tells me. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”

As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

Gee, I wonder why the sensationalistic journalists aren’t wildly circulating these quotes like they are the others?

I will say that he is blunt.  His speaks directly about all things, not just his faith.  He is a rough around the edges, country boy so why would anyone be shocked when he talks like one?

Again, I certainly believe this is about more than just this one interview.  Once you open the doors to punish someone based on their personal opinions, can you even imagine the consequences that would bear?  Let us all remember the country that we live in.  Our constitution affords us all certain rights and those rights are in serious jeopardy, folks.

1st Amendment: Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

For those of you who would like to read the GQ article in it’s entirety, you can do so at

However, if foul language offends you,(from the author not Robertson), I would give this one a pass.

**After receiving much feedback, I posted a follow-up @***


~God indeed has a plan~ December 19, 2013

Yesterday morning, I was on stress-overload.  I had been up since 4:30 and my mind was all over the place.  I have a pretty good feeling that most of my erratic thoughts were due in part to my lack of sleep.  However, we have some very real worries and the more tired I am, the more difficulty I have keeping things in perspective.

Right about the time that I could feel the tears welling up, I heard Emma start singing a song from their Christmas play from the weekend.

“God has a plan, God has a plan.  Don’t be afraid, God has a plan.”

Next thing you know, little Bella joined in.

“God has a plan, God has a plan.  And we can trust it because it’s his.”

And wouldn’t you know that Autumn overheard them and started singing along, too.

“Even though, many times, we can’t understand.  Don’t be afraid….God has a plan.”

Overwhelmed.  How about that for God’s timing?  My Lord loves me enough to send me an encouraging word through the most beautiful little girls in the world.  Out of the mouths of my sweet babes came the message that I so desperately needed to hear.

I am truly blessed to have daughters whose hearts are chasing after the Lord.  How fortunate am I to get to watch them develop and grow in their faith?

Autumn & Emma singing their duet @ church

Autumn & Emma singing their duet @ church


~Sleep is my enemy~ December 17, 2013

“So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
    How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
    sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
    poverty your permanent houseguest!”

(Proverbs 9-11 The Message)

This time of year is the absolute worst for people like me.  You know the type, the ones who thrive off sunshine and warm temps.  I am seriously dragging right about now.  This morning, I laid in the bed tuning out the sound of my alarm as the sound of the wind whipping outside my window drove me further under my nice, warm blankie.  While the minutes ticked by, I did a mental rundown of all the things that needed my attention.  My desire for more rest had me trying to adjust my schedule to accommodate my laziness.  Trouble is, my agenda for today is already jam-packed with not a lot of wiggle room.  So I rolled myself out of bed, rather reluctantly, and headed for the coffee pot.

What if I had went the other route…choosing to lay in bed rather than complete my normal morning routine?  Ultimately, thinking about the trickle down effect is what got me out of bed in the first place.  You see, if I choose to neglect my responsibilities, it doesn’t impact only me, it alters the life of those around me as well.  I am the “alarm clock” for my children, so as momma goes, so goes the house.  It kind of sets the tone for a bad day when it begins with your mother running behind you like a drill sergeant barking orders to “hurry or you’re going to make us late!”  Who is making us late, mommy dearest??

Most of my life experience revolves around being a mommy, but the same application can work for non-parents too.  What happens when you drag your heels and are late for work?  Who has to rush around picking up the slack, doing the work of two while you enjoy a little more slumber?

I know we all occasionally oversleep, unintentionally, that isn’t what I am referencing.  I’m talking about those who choose to succumb to idleness knowing the negative impact it’s going to have on their lives and those around them.  No one ever gained success in life by sleeping in on a regular basis….just sayin’.

In my desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, I chose today to not eat of the bread of idleness but to rise and tend to the affairs of my family in hopes that my children would rise up and bless me and that my husband would praise me also. 

Having the same routine every single day can be tiresome & boring, but just think of what would happen if we all decided to not do our part tomorrow.  So shake it off, weary one, I am right there in the trenches with you!

7 am...that's funny, couldn't find an alarm with my actual time!

7 am…that’s funny, couldn’t find an alarm with my actual time!


~Your Encourager Needs Encouragement Too~ December 13, 2013

We all have at least one person that we can always count on to say just the right thing when we are down and out.  Chances are, it’s the first person you think of when you need prayer or counsel.  You consider them to be rock solid and faithful.  You can count on them to be there when you need them most and trust that they will keep your conversations confidential.  And most importantly, when they say they are going to pray for you, they do.

Obviously your person has it all together and never has struggles of their own, that’s why you are drawn to them for guidance, right?

Of course the answer is no.

The problem is that we often tend to see them that way.  We become so accustomed to seeking their help that we inadvertently overlook them when they are in the pit.  It’s not that we don’t want to be there for them in the same capacity that they have been for us, we just feel inadequate to minister to them.  After all, what could we possibly say to encourage the one who we look to for spiritual wisdom?

Who is your person?

  • Your pastor or their spouse
  • Mom or Dad
  • Your spouse
  • Your BFF:  Best Friend Forever not Big Fat Friend (sorry, couldn’t resist one of my fav movie references)

If it’s your pastor or his/her spouse, just think for a moment how many others likely have the same “it” person.  Can you even imagine how many counseling sessions they do or the number of prayer requests they must receive in a day?  And this is how it should be, they are spiritual leaders.  But even so, they need prayer too, probably even more so than some of those they are praying for!  Because of the tireless work they do for the Lord, it places a “most wanted” sign on their back for the devil.  They are vulnerable and subject to attack, same as you and me.

Mom & Dad…well they worry about you anyway, it’s part of the job description.  I am a grown woman and still want to run to my Momma when my world gets turned upside down.  They are our safety net.  Sometimes they have troubles and try to hide them from us because they don’t want to burden their children.

Husbands & wives automatically bear one another’s burdens, or at least they should.  I have been know to unload on my man the minute he hits the door in the evenings.  Maybe he’s had a rough day too but he keeps his worries and struggles to himself because he doesn’t want to put more on my already full plate.

Best friends are very often on the receiving end of our loaded gun.  They know us well, sometimes better than we know ourselves, and we know we can spew it all out and they’ll totally understand.  May I be blunt?  Don’t be the friend who monopolizes all of the talk time in the relationship.  Yes, your friend is an awesome listener, full of sound advice and love for you but don’t let their silent nod fool you into believing they have nothing to discuss themselves.

So how can you encourage the one who has lifted you up time after time?  Give them a call with no agenda of your own, just to say “hey, how’s it going with you today?” then listen for indicators that their typical response of “I’m ok” is a farce.  How about a card?  Never underestimate the power of the written word.  Technology has made hand-written notes a thing of the dark ages, but there’s something special about a tangible piece of paper that you can keep with you always.  If you have a little spare time on your hands, see if they are free for coffee and give them the floor this time.  Be creative.  The key is to make them your priority because, yes, your encourager needs encouragement too.


“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another”

(Romans 12:10 NKJV)


~If~ December 12, 2013

Have you ever thought about the word “if’?  It’s a tiny little word that isn’t normally thought provoking.  However, we have been told numerous times by our Pastor that every word in Scripture matters.  Therefor, where Bible study is concerned, even the word “if” bears importance.

When you read a statement that includes the word, it implies that one statement is contingent upon another.  For example, you will be a successful athlete if you put in the time that it takes to develop your skills and proper technique.

In other words, by using “if” you are establishing one or more conditions to achieve a desired result.

I was doing a little research this morning about a specific prayer need and suddenly became acutely aware that “if” is mentioned numerous times in the Word.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

(Galatians 6:9)
How many times have you seen believers experience burnout?  You see them serving tirelessly in various ministries.  Everything they do is for the Lord & His people and suddenly they throw in the towel, dive headfirst into sin and embrace the world’s mentality of me, me, me.  In doing so they forfeit their blessing.  They grew tired of doing what was good.  The living for Jesus thing no longer seemed worth it because they had yet to reap their harvest.  This verse reminds us that in order to live a blessed life, we must endure hardships, failures, exhaustion and the like.  And beyond that, we must see ourselves as being blessed even when our circumstances would dictate otherwise.
“He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard”
(Colossians 1:22-23)
So you want to stand before the Lord on judgment day and hear him say, “well done, my good and faithful servant”….isn’t that what every believer longs for?  The question is, are you wavering in your faith?  Do you flit from one set of beliefs to another?  Do you find yourself believing this part of the Bible but saying this part over here is open to interpretation because it messes with the lifestyle you’d like to live?  An antonym for steadfast is disloyal.  Ouch.  If you are doing anything other than holding steadfast to the gospel, you are being disloyal to God.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:9)
This, I love.  God is ready, willing and overjoyed to remove our sins as far from us as East is from the West.  The only thing we are required to do to receive this free gift is admit we have sinned and fallen short of His glory.  I like to think of it in regards to any relationship.  No healthy partnership is one sided.  Each party does their share to make it work.  Life with God is no different.  He does His part but expects us to do the work too.  Lucky for us, He does the hard part.  All we have to do is fully submit our lives to Him, trusting that His infinite knowledge of our innermost workings makes him qualified to be ruler of our hearts and minds.

You know where there is one place that “if” is not used in the Bible…the part that says He loves us.  Even if we are not living for Him, He loves us.  Even when we fail Him, he loves us still.  Even when we run hard and fast away from him, his love never quits, never runs out and never gives up on us.