Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Another “F” Word~ March 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:12 am
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silenceThis past week has been a bit wild for me so there has been little to no time to write…boo.  I was just going to let it go until Monday, then my little Belly-boo decided to provide me with material for a weekend post.

My Mom was in yesterday and we were out running errands together, just the three of us.  Miss B. was quite full of herself, barking her orders from the backseat as we made our various stops.

“I want my sucker now!”

“Let’s go to the store first!”

And here comes the big one:

“Where’s my freakin’ egg?”

I BEG YOUR PARDON!!!!  “Bella Grace, don’t you say that!  Who told you that word?!”

Cute as can be, she pointed at herself.

Obviously, I know she had to have heard it somewhere and as Mom and I were hashing out it, we had the painful realization that it has crossed the lips of nearly everyone in our home.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Typically, the context in which it’s been used has been more of a light-hearted tone, “Are you freakin’ kidding me, that’s hilarious!!”  You get the jist.

But the sound of that word coming from my sweet girl’s mouth sounded so foul that I knew we had to start being more mindful of how we speak.  Is it a swear word?  I guess not but it sounded so similar to the other, detestable “f” word that it made me cringe.  It made me think, what does the word actually mean anyway?  The Bible warns us not to speak idle words because one day we will give an account for every single one.*  Truthfully, I had been using this word occasionally and overlooking my preteens using it without having a clear understanding of what we were actually saying.  Well surprise, surprise, it is defined as “a euphemism for…..” you guessed it, THE “f” word.”

I feel about as big as an ant.  Epic fail, no momma of the year award waiting for me, even my babe is basically swearing.

Very quickly this morning, I looked for a Scripture for myself and to share with the fam so that we won’t be so careless with our choice of words.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Even the descriptive words we use to express emotion, should be carefully weighed to be certain that we aren’t dishonoring the Lord in our speech while setting a not-so-shining example for the little eyes and ears that are upon us in the process.  Nothing about the word in question brings encouragement to those who hear it, so I’d say it’s time we retire it’s usage.

*Matthew 12:36

 

~Someone Else!~ March 26, 2014

“Honey, I have to do it!  If I don’t, who will?”

“Someone else!”

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

How many of my lady friends can relate to the above conversation?  Another project comes up and you feel obligated to say yes because you just know that if you don’t do it, it won’t get done.  Many, many times I have agreed to take on something that I really didn’t want to because I succumbed to the pressure of “everyone else has said no, we need you.”

Several years ago while I was pregnant with my Emma, I was being pulled in about 15 different directions.  I was volunteering for my kids school 4 days a week, teaching preschoolers Sunday school, singin’ in the choir & the praise team, serving on the PTA….you get the idea.  I remember vividly one Sunday morning, the praise team had just finished practicing and an elder started to approach me as I came down the stairs.  I had a sense of dread because the look on his face said, “I’m about to ask you to do one more thing….”  Keep in mind, folks, I wasn’t just pregnant, I was ginormously pregnant!  He proceeded to make his request for my assistance in another area of ministry.  As soon as I opened my mouth to give a reluctant ok, my man stood up from behind the drums, pointed one of his drumsticks at us both and said, “NO!  She says no!”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!  Truthfully though, I was relieved.  I was about to add one more thing to my already overloaded calendar and it was something that I had zero interest in.  Initially I felt guilt-ridden because I was panicked that since I said no too, that this task was going to fall through the cracks.  Everything in me wanted to call him up and say, “I changed my mind, I’ll do it.”  But I resisted, (with the help of my voice of reason, aka, Jamie).

Here’s the deal, friends, you don’t have to do it all.  I know, I know…there are only a handful of people who do everything all the time because no one else will step up.  It’s ok, I promise you.  If it needs to get done, someone else will see to it.  It is entirely acceptable to choose where you will serve according to the gifts and talents that you have been blessed with by God.  Don’t believe me, take a look at the Truth, and let it set you free!

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.  If your gift is serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.  If it is giving, give generously.  If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

(Romans 12:6-8 NLT)

Kindly take note to the fact that nowhere in the above Scripture does it say that He has given all of these things to any one person.  This is why we are the body, working together not independently, to meet the needs of His people.  This obviously applies to the church and it’s various ministries, but can also be used to gauge how you book the rest of your calendar as well.  calling

 

~Shout Out!!~ March 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 2:34 pm
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Today has without a doubt been one of the best Mondays EVER!  I had a whole blog idea worked out in my head yesterday but my computer was down so I wasn’t able to write.

Then today started to unfold and rather than share the post I originally had intended, I’m going to tell you about how awesome my God is to me!

First off, we had a PHENOMENAL worship service yesterday morning.  I wish I could put into words the overwhelming sense of victory I felt as we sang with every bit of conviction, love and gratitude we could muster: “The mountains shake before You.  The demons run and flee, at the mention of your name, King of Majesty!  There is no power in Hell, or any who can stand, before the power and the presence of the Great I Am!!”   Let me tell you folks, if you have never been in service where the Holy Spirit was moving, you are missing out.  It was incredible to feel His presence, even though we don’t live and operate by those feelings, it sure is nice when they happen.

So I was pretty much on a spiritual high already this morning with a heart so full of thankfulness that I truly thought it was going to burst.  Then I get some fantastic news in regards to my new business as a jewelry lady.  Next up came the notification that I have been blogging for one whole year-yeah me!  I never thought I would be able to keep up this writing thing, but I have enjoyed it immensely.  This blog has given me such a sense of accomplishment that I am so very thankful for my husband’s urging to pursue it.  Then I checked my mail, boy oh boy, I checked my mail.

I had not one, but two, unexpected envelopes in my box.  The first was from my “jewelry great-grandma” who sent me the most beautiful blue & white pearl bracelet…WHAT?!?!  How awesome is that?!  Behind envelope number two was a financial blessing from a family member who has showered our family with blessings more times than I could ever adequately thank her for.

Needless to say, this girl has been doing the happy Jesus dance all day long!  I’m walking around with perma-grin in complete awe at the hand of God in my life.

Let this be an encouragement to you all who may be struggling right now…DO. NOT. QUIT!!!  I promise I will elaborate later, but you won’t believe what a drastic turn around my life has taken just in the last couple of weeks.  We have gone from struggling in numerous areas of our lives to being more than conquerors in those same areas.  I’m going to give you one little piece of advice that I know has created the turning point for me, stop trying to do things your way.  Just stop it.  Let go and truly let God have the reigns.  Thank Him for His provision even before the resources arrive.  Wait expectantly to see His hand move on your behalf.  Ok, so that was more like 4 things…sorry I am so excited I just can’t shut up!

Big shout out for my Lord & Savior…Go team Jesus!!!god provides

 

~Prayer From Paul~ March 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:31 am
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Some days, I question why God has placed any trust in my ability to be a mommy.  I have a very active toddler, a 6 year old diva, two pre-teens trying to find their way and one teenager who knows it all…sounds like the making of a good joke, doesn’t it?!  The problem with this vast range of ages is that every day presents a new parenting challenge.  Somehow, I am supposed to be able to transition from overseeing timeouts, to monitoring social media, to talking about sex, to navigating peer pressure and back to time out corner to release my prisoner.

I’m not gonna lie, it gets incredibly overwhelming.  How in the world is it possible for my husband and I to do this kid-rearing thing without ruining them or going bonkers in the process?!

One word, prayer.

It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in the moment and let my mean momma come out when my kids disappoint me.  I want to throw out not-so-helpful words rather than taking the time to allow God to give me the words that I should speak.

I want to be effective with the things I do and say to my kids.  The truth is, most kids only pay attention for a brief time, so if you are rambling on, they tuned you out after about the first 5 minutes.  In order to make that tiny little window of opportunity count, we should be giving careful attention to how we choose to deliver a valuable life lesson.  To ensure that we are giving our absolute best attempt at this parenting thing, we need to be in prayer for ourselves and for our children.

While I pray that God would help me to control my fleshly side that sometimes wants to trade in my precious babes for billy goats, years ago I determined that this would be my prayer for my kids:

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation-the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ-for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” (Philippians 1:9-11 NLT)

My desire is that we all would continue to move forward in our faith.  It is definitely a process of growing and maturing together, learning from one another how to be Jesus guys & gals and conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel while living in a world that is going to hell in a hand basket.  To achieve this goal, we must remain in the Word and continually seek guidance as opposed to going at it in our own stubborn way.  andystanley

 

~Condemnation vs. Conviction~ March 17, 2014

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 KJV)

I would venture to say that nearly every Christian has allowed themselves to feel condemned at some point in their spiritual walk.  I know that when I have failed miserably, I have a tendency to be insanely hard on myself.  In my mind, I would rationalize that the only way for me to be truly forgiven of my sin was to punish myself relentlessly, then God would see that I was truly sorry for my transgression and accept my request for forgiveness.

It wasn’t until quite recently that I realized just how wrong I was in my twisted thought process.  I am currently reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst and it has been wrecking my world, but in a good way!  In her chapter that covers the obstacles that keep us from saying yes to God, she talks about the ever-so-subtle battle between the voices in her head that bring conviction and condemnation.  Her logic is simple: the voice of condemnation comes from Satan because the Bible tells us flat out that Jesus doesn’t condemn but convict.

Condemnation leaves us feeling hopeless and worthless.  Conviction invites us to make positive changes in our lives. -Lysa TerKeurst

The definition of condemnation is a punishment or sentencing and that is precisely what you are doing when you condemn yourself or others.  The trouble with that is the Word makes it clear that we are not the judge or the jury, but “God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)  We have no authority to dole out punishment, not even to ourselves.

Conviction, however, is the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is that nudge you feel in your heart when you think of sinning or comes once you’ve already slipped.  Conviction is what reveals the sin in our life and causes us to repent and seek forgiveness.  Without it, how would know what is separating us from God and therefor preventing us from receiving all that He has for us?  Conviction is a gentle correction, comparable to that which a loving parent gives their child when they misstep.  It is meant to better us, shape us and mold us into the absolute best version of ourselves we can possibly be.

It is time that we lift the sentencing we’ve placed on our lives over past mistakes that we’ve repented of.  Let us embrace the love and forgiveness that conviction brings so that we can move beyond our failures and live as the conquerors that Jesus says we are.live victorious

 

~My translation of Proverbs 31~ March 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 2:08 pm
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Who can find a competent wife who still has some moral standards intact?  She is a priceless treasure, more valuable than the finest of things.  Her husband can rest assured that he is in good hands for she values honesty and integrity over all else.  Her purpose in the marriage is to bring her husband honor and to add to his life, not diminish it by belittling his authority as the head of the home or putting unrealistic demands on him as a provider.

She is a tireless worker, finding creative ways to meet the needs of her family.  She is a bargain hunter who swaps out hand-me-downs with her friends, clips coupons with a vengeance and knows when every store holds their weekly specials.  Sleeping in is a luxury she rarely allows herself.  Before the kiddos begin to stir, she has lunches packed, school papers signed and a road map for how her day will play out with her to-do list, no servant girls to dole out the chores to in this house.

She looks for ways to add income to her family’s resources, whether it’s at a 9-5 job, as an at-home business owner or by selling items the family no longer needs.  She is resourceful, determined, energetic and optimistic.  It is her goal to see that her dealings are successful without sacrificing time with her family which often means burning the midnight oil to get it all done.

Her hands are never idle as she is constantly preparing meals, typing emails, checking homework, writing proposals, doing laundry, cleaning house and the like.  She is never too busy to help those less fortunate.  She keeps her eyes and ears open to the needs of her community and volunteers her time for fundraisers and committees with goals of bettering the lives of her neighbors.

While she may not be a seamstress like her Ma-Maw was, she doesn’t fear the changing seasons because she knows how to transform a wardrobe from spring to winter on a shoestring budget.  She is a thrifty, money wise kind of girl.

Her husband is well known and liked within  the community.  He serves in the church, has a reputation of a hard worker and is known for his wise counsel.

This precious lady is as strong and unwavering as an oak tree but equally soft and tender at heart.  She walks with her head held high, fully confident in her abilities as a daughter of The King.  She is fearless when she looks to the future, even when her circumstances look bleak, for she knows who holds her in the palm of His hand and she smiles at the security that knowledge brings.  She doesn’t speak out of turn or toss her words around carelessly.  She gives careful thought to the counsel she gives, making certain to always point people to the Truth as opposed to a worldly opinion.  Even in correction, she is kind and loving, making sure that the theme of her speech is the message of Jesus.

Nothing escapes her attention within her home.  She does in fact have eyes in the back of her head, laser point vision and hearing so sensitive that her children wonder if she is superhuman.  The term laziness is a foreign concept to her.  Her backside rarely makes contact with the sofa as she can always think of one more thing that needs to be done.

Her little people think she is without question, the best mom on the planet.  They make her homemade gifts, handwritten cards and give hugs and kisses that melt her momma’s heart.  Her husband sings her praises to anyone who will listen and puts her at the top of his list, second only to the Lord.  “Baby, you are the best there is, we are incredibly lucky to call you ours!”

A beautiful face and a smokin’ hot body may be a nice commodity to some, but one day, gravity is going to kick in and all of that is going to disappear.  But the woman who loves the Lord and serves Him with all that she has will always be found beautiful in the sight of those she loves.  She will be known not for her appearance, but for her servant’s heart that is totally sold out for Jesus….in that she will find her fame and anxiously wait for her reward that is waiting for her when her time on this earth is through.strong woman

This concludes our 31 day reading challenge of the book of Proverbs.  I pray you found it to be a blessing.

 

~Enough~ March 12, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:49 pm
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“O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.  First, help me never to tell a lie.  Second, give me neither poverty or riches!  Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.  For if I grow rich, I many deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?  And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”  (Proverbs 30:7-9 NLT)

In a world where it seems that everybody is constantly seeking more; more money, more recognition, more time; and at times will stop at nothing to “have it all,” maybe we could learn a little something from Agur here in Proverbs.

These two favors that he asks of the Lord really sum up a simple life of obedience. His desire to always be honest and to be known for such, is honorable. How often do we catch ourselves telling little lies and later thinking, “I shouldn’t have done that.” It could be someone asks you to be involved in something that is really of no interest to you but instead of just telling them that, you come up with some elaborate excuse for why you can’t…lie. Maybe your kid wants you to chaperone a field trip but you really can’t stand this other parent that you know will go so you tell little Susie that Mommy already has plans that day….lie. Or is it a request from your spouse to spend a romantic evening alone when you’d rather sit glued to your computer playing one of your fave games, “Sorry honey, I’m not feeling so hot.”…lie.

You get my drift. It is just as easy to lie as it is to tell the truth but the truth doesn’t make you feel like a heaping pile of junk when you reflect on it later.

His second request is spot on. This man has discovered a truth that escapes so many of us-a life of simple abundance is enough. I’m not saying that riches destroy everyone, some people have learned how to use their success for the good of many rather than being so consumed with their wealth that they lose touch with humanity.  There are those who have become so confident in their own abilities because of their prosperity that they feel no need for God and therefor deny his existence, after all, they are self-made, no God’s work here.  Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, where the lack is so severe that the one struggling starts to believe there can’t be a God, because if He did exist, how could he allow this to happen?

One of my favorite verses of Scripture in regards to giving is Peter 3:6 “Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee.” The richest people in the world are those who have learned that money has little to do with true success or happiness.  Wealth comes from knowledge of the Lord and trust in His provision for you and yours.  Maybe you don’t live with excess and you go week-by-week like we do, that’s fine with me because I know that God knows just what I need and He will never leave the righteous out begging for bread.phil 419