Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Physical Health Strengthens Our Spiritual Health~ February 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:22 am
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“Physical health is a spiritual discipline.” ~Rick Warren

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1Cor 9:27 ESV)   

Our small group is currently doing the “Transformed” study by Rick Warren. It is a seven part series with focuses on spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial and vocational health. It’s good stuff, people. Last night we began our study on physical health.

I have always done a fairly decent job in taking care of my body. I am by no means perfect. For example, my friend, Lisa, and I ran 12 very long miles Sunday. Did I replenish with the appropriate balance of carbs & protein? No, I rewarded myself with this….funyunsAs I said, not perfect. But I felt like I’d earned it. I knew a bag of overly processed, onion “flavored”, sodium filled rings was a poor choice but I felt justified. So last night we fire up the DVD and one of the first Scriptures shared was 1st Corinthians 6:12:

“Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial.”

Dang it!

God has given us the right to choose what we put into our bodies. We are provided with a plethora of options, both healthy and not so much. Where we often make the mistake is thinking as our culture dictates: it’s my body, I’ll do what I want. Besides, my choices don’t affect anyone but me.

Wrong again.

Food is fuel. Think of it like this, if you went out and bought a beautiful, high-performance sports car, would you put low-grade gasoline in the tank? The truth of the matter is, your body performs at a higher level when you fill it with the proper nutrients.

Then there is the fitness side of our physical health. Something Pastor Rick said in his message really resonated with me, “How you treat your body is a reflection of the body of Christ. It is not about vanity.” (Loose paraphrase)

There was a time when I worked out excessively. It was my number one priority. The more I saw results in the mirror and on the scale, the more time I devoted to my physique. And it had nothing to do with honoring God with my body. I wanted to look good, plain and simple. It became addictive to the point that it was detrimental to the rest of my life. Exercise was my idol.

While it is good to maintain a fitness routine, just like anything else if done in excess, it can bring you to ruin. Our physical health is all about balance.

  • Making wise choices with what we eat.
  • Taking care to not consume things which are harmful to our bodies.
  • Incorporating physical activity to keep our bodies fit and able.

If you or I are not healthy, then we are not going to be of much use to anyone. It’s difficult to give of your time and talents if you are rundown, stressed out or sickly. You must take care of yourself in order to take care of others.

God is not seeking perfection. Don’t make the mistake of idolizing someone who you perceive as having the perfect body and healthy lifestyle. Focus on being the best version of yourself, not somebody else.

The first Scripture our Autumn learned when she was itty-bitty was Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Yes, we are. Each one of us, completely unique individuals created to do something magnificent. Don’t let your health be a stumbling block along the path that God has set you on. daniel plan

 

~Let’s Laugh It Out~ February 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:13 am
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A little disclaimer before you read: This post is meant specifically for people in my little hometown. However, you may find that it also applies to where you live as well.

...and every other day too!

…and every other day too!

You might be surprised to learn that a parent pick-up line at an elementary school could have a town divided. It’s sad how something as simple as picking up your child can bring on the road rage but you better believe it does.

There are a few types of moms, (and some dads), that you can expect to encounter in the pick-up line. Each one has been met with attacks because their quirks are bugging the bejeezus out of the locals.

The mom who arrives an hour (or more) before pick-up time to wait for little Johnny. Before you judge this momma, let me tell you a little story. The year that 2 of my kiddos started Kindergarten, I was pregnant with another. My son LOST HIS MIND on the first day and for a highly emotional preggo momma, this caused my anxiety levels to sky rocket. So that afternoon, and the ones that followed for the first few weeks, I would get to the school as early as I could manage to make sure that my son was one of the first picked up. Why? Because in my warped, guilt ridden mind, he would somehow know that I loved him more if he got to skip out the door 30 seconds before his classmates. Fast forward to after the birth of one Miss Emma. The child who single handedly tried to destroy my ability to cope by refusing to sleep, like ever, unless you rode around for a bit to “rock” her. So I would leave my home with enough time to cruise her into sleepy time land, then park my mom wagon by the school and read about Jesus…because sleep deprived mommas need Jesus way more than you well rested mommas out there. I’ve heard similar stories from countless moms. Sure they could go inside and volunteer with “all that free time”, but what if that is literally the only me time they have? Yes, they could cut the apron strings and make little Johnny learn to deal with his anxieties if he’s not picked up in the first round of released kiddos. But if they’re not breaking any laws, let them be. We know not what makes these mommas tick, (unless we’ve been one), so rather than put them down, try to understand that they have their reasons, whether we get it or not.

Next, the crazed momma flying in on two wheels because she’s about to be so late that the cones are taken up and the nice lady with the walkie talkie is moving rapidly for the door. Again, been there…oh wait, currently doing that. Now that I have kids in 2 schools, there is no casual driving into the lot to get my elementary girl. First I must wait for my middle school brood to mosey on down to the car. Seriously, they are slower than molasses. By the time I maneuver through the mess of parked cars, slow moving cars & darting pre-teens who clearly never listened when Mom & Dad said to look both ways before crossing, I am down to mere minutes to make the cut off to get Em. So across town I dash with the handful of other parents facing the same struggle to beat the clock. Yes, our driving may be slightly erratic, we may have a crazed look in our eyes but do you know what a pain it is to park & go get your child from the office because you got there at 3:31?! ONE MINUTE LATE, PEOPLE!!! Cut this mom some slack. Chances are she’s got more kids than she has nerves left and she’s doing the best she can to get them all picked up and carpooled to whatever afterschool activity that comes next. She doesn’t mean to cut you off, perhaps with the noise from the back seat or worse, the smells…dear Lord the smells…she has lost her focus if only for a moment and didn’t realize that you got to that four way stop first. She’s not rude, she is tired! She’s overworked, underpaid and needs another cup of coffee.

Then there are the straight up law breakers. They double park, block driveways, pull up on sidewalks & run stop signs. These mommas are a bit harder to defend because they are acting illegally. They kinda scare me a bit because I am pretty sure they will mow you down if you even so much as think about cutting line. But what’s made these mommas act so irrationally? How many times have they been cut off or nearly sideswiped all in the name of holding their place in line? Maybe they have a brief window of time to pick-up and transport their child elsewhere before returning to a job where boss man makes their life incredibly difficult if they are so much as a nanosecond late. I don’t know, and neither do you, so maybe we can extend a little grace even when they wave at us with one fifth of their hand as they nearly run us off the road. Yes, they are behaving badly and need a serious timeout but one day, you or I might be that momma who has just had enough and we’ll be grateful for that innocent bystander who smiled and waved us ahead after we practically ran them down in our blind rage.

So I realize that I have made light of what can be a dangerous situation. Let’s face it, people have been known to snap in high stress situations behind the wheel. I only wanted to poke a little fun, lighten up a tense situation and maybe make you laugh a little. We’re all in this life thing together. We are going to mess up, daily, and likely offend people as we go. My suggestion is we pray each day that God would help us see others as He does…including the guy blocking your drive, the lady who nearly t-boned you and the lady who’s been parked along the street for two hours already. Frustrating-yes, a nuisance-possibly, a matter of life-and-death-unlikely. For my fellow carpool driving mommas & daddys out there, we really need to be more respectful of the non-parent drivers in our vicinity. They have the same right as us to be on the roads that just so happen to go by our babies schools without the fear of being plowed down by a parade of mini-vans and SUVs.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt 5:7 ESV)

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” (Prov 14:29 NIV)

 

~What is Your Heart Full Of?~ February 10, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:47 am
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Have you ever wondered why it is so easy to talk about anything and everything except the Gospel?

I seriously loooove to talk. When I was a kid, that was the number one complaint my teachers had from Kindergarten all the way through high school. What can I say, I was blessed with the gift of gab! As an adult, I sometimes catch myself dominating conversations. I blame my lack of intelligent discussions through the day when talks consist of what Peppa will do next or fighting over why naps are a vital part of a toddlers day. But even so, talk I must. If I don’t have an audience, I talk to myself. I realize that makes me sound slap nuts and I’m cool with that.

So how is it feasible that someone who is never at a loss for words struggles to talk about God?

I can literally talk all day about parenting, health & fitness, music, books…you name it. Then someone asks me about my Jesus and even if only for a moment, I freeze! I’ve given it some thought & believe I’ve pinpointed a couple of reasons why this is the case.

1. Knowledge/Life Experience. I like to think that I am fairly knowledgeable on certain topics. I have 5 kids which equates lots of hands on parenting experience. I’ve been a runner for some time now and I coach so again, pretty confident in this area. I’ve dealt with a whole mess of heartache in my 33 years and I’ve made it through to the other side which helps me talk others through similar situations.

2. Time Invested. I didn’t become the mom, wife, coach, friend that I am today overnight. There have been many sleepless nights finding out what works to soothe a teething infant. Countless articles have been read and methods tested to find the best way to avoid shin splints and how to surge up a hill when your competitors are losing steam. We’ve had our share of counseling in our years of parenting & marriage that has given us the tools not only to strengthen our family, but help others strengthen theirs as well.

These things together give me confidence to talk openly to anyone at any time. Perhaps if we wish to talk with ease and boldness when it comes the Lord, we should apply this same formula.

“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45 NIV)

Get into His Word. Get to know who God is and what He has to say about all of life’s idiosyncrasies. Look back on your life at the times He has moved on your behalf and use that to show others if He did it then, He can do it now.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20 NLT)prov 4

In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we need to be so familiar with the Word of God that telling others about it is a natural as breathing. We do that by sharing often. The more time you spend talking to God and about Him, the easier it will become. It won’t feel like you are “preaching” at people when you talk about Him as the loving father He is as opposed to an ethereal being no one can relate to.

 

~A Safe Life Doesn’t Require Courage~ February 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:37 am
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“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.” (Matt Damon in We Bought A Zoo)

Here’ the thing about courage, you only need it if what you’re about to do scares the ever-loving daylights out of you.

There are countless things we do throughout the course of a day that require little to no thought on our parts, they come naturally to us. We don’t have to weigh the pros and cons or determine the risk of that which is within our comfort zones. But you ask someone to do what is out of the ordinary for them, that goes beyond what they think they have the ability to do….that’s when the panic sets in.

That is when courage takes the stage.

It takes courage to make us step out into the unknown, especially knowing that there is a chance it will bomb.

I keep seeing a quote that says, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I’d like to twist that a bit, “What would you attempt to do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”

Failure is not a bad thing. It is not our enemy. Oftentimes our greatest successes come after a string of hideous failed attempts. I’ll tell you what failure is…an excellent motivator. Because each time you pick yourself up and try just one more time, you prove to yourself that you have what it takes to push through in the face of a challenge.

I have seen the aforementioned movie a few times and not once had this line stuck out to me. However, this weekend it was simply playing in the background while I sat sending emails and it was like a jolt of lightening when it came through the speakers. On exceptionally difficult runs, a friend of mine has encouraged me before with the phrase, “I can do anything for 30 seconds,” and it has powered me through MANY times. I think that’s why this particular line caught my attention.

20 seconds, enough time to tell your fears to shut it and say “Yes, here I am. Send me.” Or, enough time to decide there’s no room for courage in your safe life and reply, “No, I can’t possibly do that.”

mark twain courage

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.” (1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT)