Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Itty-Bitty Blood-Sucker~ October 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:10 am
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Monday night, during my husband’s birthday celebration dinner, my daughter, Emma, lifted up her shirt and said, “Daddy, I’ve got this little bug on me and I can’t get it off.”

The entire table froze as we all came to the same realization at once, sweet Emma-bug had a tick.

Daddy sprung into action to remove the tiny blood-sucker. I sat glued to my chair with my mind racing over all the diseases and complications that were sure to fall upon my baby girl. Once I got over my irrational thought process, I cleaned the bite with alcohol as hubs assured me the bug from Hell was not engorged and he was able to get it out rather easily.

How is it possible that something so small can cause so much damage if left untreated?

Kind of reminds me of “little sins” left unchecked.

It amazes how often we convince ourselves that if it’s not one of the BIG sins, like murder, than it’s not really that big of a deal. Say for example you flirt with the barista at the coffee shop you frequent, harmless enough. But don’t most affairs start with seemingly insignificant encounters that build and grow into relationships that cause the parties to fall into one of the BIG sins, adultery? Most people who cheat didn’t intend to do so, it “just happened” because they left the door open by allowing that tiny sin, (the tick), to go unchecked to the point that it became poisonous to the body.

We all need to guard our hearts and minds from even the smallest of transgressions. It would be foolish for us to think that our lives can’t be ruined by such small wrongdoings. The next time you start to brush off that little slip without repentance, remember the blood-sucking tick and the damage it has the potential to cause if left in the body.safe road to hell

” If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1:8-10 NLT)

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~Judge Not…~ October 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:12 am
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Have you ever met someone who felt they’d “earned” the right to judge another?

Perhaps they were done a serious injustice by this person whom they are quick to criticize that leads them to believe it’s perfectly acceptable to cast judgment for all of eternity. Perhaps you tend to agree with them. After all, the act that brought the onslaught of criticism was pretty detestable so the very least the victim deserves is a lifetime of scoffing and gossiping as some sort of payment for what this person put them through. Sounds reasonable, especially if you have found yourself fighting the same emotions. They hurt you so aren’t you entitled to scrutinize every little thing they’ve ever done wrong in their past? And that’s not near enough punishment for their crime so every future blunder should be fair game too, right?

Wrong.

“Well,” you may be saying, “what terrible people you have been talking about!” But wait a minute! You are just as bad. When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are talking about yourselves, for you do these very same things. And we know that God, in justice, will punish anyone who does such things as these. Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and overlook you when you do them, too? Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. (Romans 2:1-4 TLB)

You and I are neither judge nor jury. Given the fact that every one us has fallen short, caused others pain & outright sinned, we have no authority to cast that stone at another human being. How can we effectively deliver a sentence when we ourselves have been in the “guilty as charged” seat?

It pains me to see so many people walking around dying inside, suffering from emotional distress, because they can’t let go of bitterness and rage that scarred their hearts. I am in no way saying that feelings of resentment, anger & the like are unjustified. In most cases, deep wounds are in place because of an abuse of trust. What I am proposing is that those hurts are not your ticket to forever shame the offender. Feelings are not sinful, it’s how we react as a result of those feelings that leads us astray

I get it. It feels good, in a twisted sort of way, to despise the one who caused you immense pain, or worse than that, hurt your family. I’ve been on the giving end of a hate-filled glare….but I’ve also been on the receiving end and THAT is why I try to check myself before delivering a hardening stare in anyone’s direction.

There is much freedom to be found when we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us and it opens the door for us to receive the same grace and forgiveness for our own trespasses.

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~Momma’s Gonna Need a Minute~ October 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:49 am
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“Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to be left the heck alone?! Like no talky, no touchy, no looky, ‘get the heck out of my personal space’ kind of days?! That’s how I feel today!”

This would be the text message I sent my husband yesterday.  I wasn’t mad at anyone. No one had really done anything to upset me or make me feel ill, but I’m pretty sure it was within the spectrum of possibilities for me to physically assault someone. Grumpy doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. throat punchI’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have days where I feel downright hateful to the point that I’m concerned for the safety of those who get too close. Days like that I think I need to be forced to wear a warning sign around my neck, “Danger!!  Contents may explode upon contact!!”

Anyone else ever suffer through days like that?

Take heart, I may have pinpointed the cause. Every day, all day, I have someone “all up on me,” as I like to put it. The littles tug at my clothes, using me as a human paper towel and the occasional snot rag. My boys find humor in poking and throwing stuff or hiding around corners to scare the beegeezus out of me. My man just needs a little affection at the end of the day but sometimes, THIS is not huggable!

Physical touch is a beautiful thing but if you never have a moment to yourself, you may start to feel a bit like a foreigner in your own land, so to speak. This tends to happen most often when our calendars are so full that there is no way to pencil in some “me, minus all of you” time. I’m here to help you out, friends. The next time someone asks you to do something you have zero desire to do, don’t ignore that tightening in your chest that accompanies the realization that you’re never going to have a moments rest. Smile & say “No, but thanks for thinking of me.”

Now, take a seat in your favorite chair and forget about the to-do list that is invisible to the rest of your fam. Enjoy the entire cup of coffee before it has the chance to get cold because whatever the world needs from you, can wait a dang minute.

If you feel guilty, let’s all just take a minute to remember that even Jesus had to get away from the crowds and sit in silence in order to be refreshed to fulfill his life’s purpose.

 

~Control Freak~ October 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:45 am
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Hello, my name is Valerie and I have a problem.

Apparently I have a slight case of OCD when it comes to the cleanliness & organization of my home. While this wouldn’t be a big deal if I lived alone, it does pose a problem between myself and the other 6 people with whom I cohabitat. It’s not that they’re pigs, (not all of them anyways), but they don’t place as high a value on an orderly home as I do. They just don’t see the fun in housekeeping so it’s not a priority to them. I know, I don’t understand it either.

Just last week I went on a cleaning frenzy that included scrubbing the floors on my hands & knees and bleaching the ceilings…don’t ask. I was feeling pretty accomplished until my brood came rolling in with muddy cleats, soaking wet running shoes and an assortment of stuff to clutter my recently decluttered space. This would be when my alter ego unleashed its fury.

Here’s the thing, my kids and spouse do help out around the house, but they don’t do it my way, aka the right way! Autumn puts away the dishes but she puts my coffee cups right side up! Have you ever heard of such nonsense?! The boys ‘clean’ their room but not to my standards. My two littles like to help wash dishes which leads to a small flood across the counter that spills over onto the floor. My hubs will jump in and help with the laundry but will probably think twice about doing so in the future after that time I bit his head off for putting a hang-to-dry sweater in the dryer. (Ok, so I didn’t really bite his head off but if looks could kill, I’d be a widow.)

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Sadly, this is not the only area where I struggle with being a control freak. I love volunteering and giving of my time & talents but sometimes, I get a little twitchy when I think a task should be done more efficiently. I don’t know what my problem is but I fully intend to ask Jesus why He made me this way 😉 During a recent episode, I paused to think about the amount of undue stress I was causing myself by getting my britches in a twist when things weren’t run the way I would have done it. Since when did I become manager of the universe?!

At this point in my life, it would appear I have two options: I can continue with my controlling ways and drive my people batty to the point that they literally expect me to do it all OR I can do as the picture suggests and “tuck in my crazy” and simply be thankful for what they do instead of cringing at how they do it.

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered. “You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed.”

(Luke 10:41-42)

 

~Huff & Puff, Satan~ October 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:21 am
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After a week on hiatus, I’ve decided to buckle down and get back at it! This blog was started in response to the pull I felt on my heart to speak God’s truth to the weak and weary and man have I been both of those lately!  So today, I dropped all the babes at school, grabbed the laptop & a cup of coffee and retreated to my bed to hack out some profound wisdom with my doggie at my feet.

It didn’t take long before I started to feel the anxiety well up in my chest. I’ve neglected this blog for several day so I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to write and if this computer zooms one more time without me touching anything, I’m gonna scream….again.  Then I catch a glimpse of the book we are reading as a praise team and remember that the rest of the team is on chapter 6 and I’m struggling to finish chapter 3.  My inbox is flooded with requests for volunteers that I have yet to respond to, so maybe I should give that my attention instead of focusing on my ministry.  And I was gone all weekend fundraising so our house is a hot mess and the laundry is up to the ceiling so it’s pretty selfish of me to sit and sip coffee and try to talk to y’all when my family needs my services.

Well, hey Satan you didn’t waste anytime showing your hideous face on this lovely Monday morning.

Why is it that at the precise moment you decide to do something for Jesus, Satan jumps in and messes with your mind?!  Does he not have anything better to do?  Apparently the answer to that question is a resounding NO!  Surely I am not the only one fighting some Hell today.  So what say you, friend? Are we going to let the enemy attack our hearts and minds at every turn or are we going to lean hard into God and renew the fire and passion we once had to serve Him with gladness?

“Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you. Give me a spirit that obeys you. That will keep me going.” (Psalm 51:12)devil

 

~Lost in Translation?~ October 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:50 am
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So I just recently discovered that my smarter-than-me phone has this wonderful feature known as talk to text. Color me excited!! I am hands down, the WORST texter in the world. I know this because my teenage sons tell me daily.

Yesterday was my first time using the fun little microphone at the bottom of the keyboard. I said my message, hit send and quickly realized my phone ain’t so smart after all. Apparently, it doesn’t speak Southern. My son’s name, Isaiah, came out “I’d say I.” Instead of night, it typed out “not.” Spouse found it humorous and suggested I say the word “ice,” one of the fam’s favorite words to make fun of me over, and see what genius phone spit out. Sadly, I can’t repeat what my phone sad, very foul mouth. I considered washing it with soap then thought better of it.

This minor inconvenience got me thinking about how often this happens in our face-to-face conversations. How many times do we shoot off what’s on our minds before taking the time to process how someone might interpret what we say? In my vast experience of ticking people off, I have discovered that nine times out of ten, the disagreement was caused by misunderstanding. The phrase, “that’s not what I meant,” has passed my lips more than a time or two. Although I may not have intended to upset the other person, I certainly didn’t pause to run my words through the Jesus filter. It’s a real thing, people, you have one too, and unlike my NOT-so-smart phone, this one can understand all accents.

Can you even imagine how many hurt feelings we could avoid if we took the time to consider how the other party’s personality might cause them to perceive what we’re about to say?! Mind blowing, right?! Eh, not really, more like a common courtesy that’s not so common anymore. The Book of Proverbs has numerous verses that speak to this issue, but I’ll just share a couple of my favorites.

“There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.” (29:20)

“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (18:2)

Let’s make a pact today to not be like a fool and actually take the time to choose our words carefully. It is far more rewarding to see someone smile as a result of your words than to watch tears slip silently down their cheeks.IMG_2659