Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~When Life Is Just Too Short~ May 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 12:07 pm
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Days ago I opened the ol’ WordPress app on my phone and typed this title. That was it, no meat, just a headline that popped into my head for no apparent reason. I didn’t know what the post would be about until I read about a horrific accident in another state.

A caravan of family members were traveling home from a wedding when a semi caused a multi car accident. The first vehicle carried a pregnant mother and her toddler son. In separate vehicles were the husband & father to the pair and a set of grandparents. Immediately the news made us aware that the young boy was tragically killed. His grieving mother had to have an emergency c-section one month shy of her due date. I, along with every other person with a shred of faith I am certain, prayed for this family and that their sweet newborn would survive. He did not.

As I read the news yesterday, I simply cried. There is no way to fathom what this family is facing. As I wept for people I have never met, this title came back to me. While this is not the first time a terrible tragedy has occurred, it is one of those instances when life was definitely just too short.

It’s an expression I’ve heard my entire life but what does it mean? Life is too short for what exactly? And why does it take a death to remind of us just how fleeting it is?

Too short to live with regrets.

Too short to hold unforgiveness in your heart.

Too short not to dream.

Too short…

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NIV)

The hard truth of the matter is, we haven’t the faintest idea when our time will be up. We are not guaranteed a certain number of years with our loved ones. We are literally not promised tomorrow. So now what? What do we do with this knowledge that we’ve really always known but oftentimes choose to ignore?

Live every single day as though it is your last. Cliche, maybe, but a simple truth just the same.

Don’t hold in the sentiments, say them frequently and mean them!

Dream BIG!! Stop limiting yourself and God. Trust that He will give you the desires of your heart and allow Him access to plant them there!IMG_7245

Prayers of peace and comfort for all of those dealing with loss today, tomorrow, and everyday to come. May we not be so consumed by the what-ifs of tomorrow that we let today slip through our grasp.

 

~Cherish Your Reward~ May 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 1:54 pm
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I was recently out in public with a couple of littles in tow when I saw something that truly broke my heart.

A dad was walking with his little girl who couldn’t have been more than 3 years old. She wasn’t making a scene, but softly whimpering that she wanted her mommy. Dad proceeded to berate her all the way to their car, saying things that couldn’t possibly make sense to this young mind. “Well I don’t care who you want, you’re stuck with me.” “How about we sit at home and do nothing since your life is so miserable with daddy.” There was more, but that’s enough. As we got into our cars, I could see from a distance that he had now resorted to yelling into the backseat. Even from a distance, I could see his face twisted in anger. I would have cowered from him so I can imagine how that little girl felt.

As much as I wanted to, I didn’t speak up for one basic reason: I had children with me and he seemed agitated enough that I feared what he might say in their presence. I was so upset that I texted my husband about what I had just witnessed and the horrible guilt I felt for not taking the opportunity to say something.  As is oftentimes the case, he offered some words of wisdom “Its hard to make the right call in those situations. You saying something could have caused his anger to escalate and made things worse for her once they got home. Sometimes praying for God to intervene is the best course!”

So very true.

It seems here lately the news is flooded with stories of child abuse, neglect, or worse. Now, I’m not accusing this particular dad of these things but my heart hurt for that little girl who seemingly did nothing wrong other than ask for her mommy. Sometimes I think we all need these reminders:

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.” (Psalm 127:3 NIV)IMG_6893

“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my Heavenly Father.” (Matt 18:10 NLT)

 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4 ESV)

Mommies and daddies are going to get frustrated and we are all going to say things we do not mean. Sometimes the little ones we’ve been blessed with are going to wear on our frayed nerves. But just as with anything else, the more you do something the easier it becomes. So let’s make it a habit of thinking before we speak or react, especially when it comes to the tiny humans in our lives. And let’s pray for those who seem to be at their wit’s end.

 

 

~From Selfish To Thankful~ May 10, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 3:56 pm
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I am going to preface this post with one simple statement: I am selfish.

Today is Mother’s Day and I have spent a good portion of time crying. Last night my mom’s father in law suddenly passed away. So instead of coming to join my family today, she and her husband are headed up north. This is the first time in my 33 years of life that I have not been with my mommy on Mother’s Day and it breaks my heart. Of course I knew last night she was precisely where she should be, by her husband’s side in this horrible time for him and his family but I knew I would be missing her tremendously today. Told you I am selfish.

Then I was awakened bright & early by a text sent from my oldest daughter who’d stayed the night with a friend:

Happy Mother’s Day mama!!! I love you so much, and I’m so lucky to have u as a mom. Thanks for always being there for me when I need someone to talk to or need someone to vent to. Or when I go on my rages about school…u sit there and listen, and help me through them. You’re an amazing person! I am so happy that I get to call you my mom! You are my role-model in life…I want to be like you! A great friend to everyone, a great person, and a great mom! I love you more than anything! 😘 Happy Mothers Day 😍

Here come the tears again.

Then I come upstairs to find the most beautiful poem, written & framed by my husband that somehow captured one of the saddest times of my life and one of the happiest at the same time:

Not so long ago, in a day full of despair
I looked all around, wondering why you weren’t there
So much pain and oh such grief
Why dear God has this happened to me?
The pain is still real and the memory remains
Still questioning why my fate was not changed
But now looking down at this sweet little face

I fully comprehend Your amazing grace.
The loss that I felt may never fully pass
But now there’s another tiny hand that I grasp.
So today I thank you for this bundle of love
Sent from a loving, holy Father above.
I see that you love me and your promise is true,
By this beautiful gift, sent straight from you.

Next to that lay three cards, a few highlights for you:

“She makes the best macrollny”~Emma

“I’m glad I ended up with you caring instead of someone not.”~Isaiah

“One of my favorite things you do is go to all my sports events.”~Peyton

(Both boys refer to me as “Team Mom”)

More tears.

Then the text messages started to roll in, not only from friends and family, but from some of my kid’s friends too! A message of gratitude was left on my facebook page from the parents of the sweet baby girl I get to love 5 days a week. My momma heart nearly exploded!

Finally we get to church and I promise you I made my best effort to keep it together, yeah right!

Our precious friends had the dedication service for their beautiful baby boy and allowed us the honor of standing with them in the altar. Lanny, my “sister-wife,” who has felt the same devastating blow of losing a child, stood next to her husband who held their sleeping son and I wept. I cried for her loss and mine but at the same time, tears of joy for the gift that lay snoozing on his daddy’s chest.

As I said, the tears have flowed freely today, some of sadness but even more from a place of gratitude and overwhelming joy. Am I missing my mom today? Absolutely! But I am thankful I still have my mom with me while some of you weep today because your mother is in Heaven. I am thankful for the house FULL of people that love me just as I am and that the little things I do for them mean more to them than I could have ever imagined.

mothers day 2015

From one momma to another, I pray each one of you can see the hand of God in your life on this day set apart to honor us. While you, like me, may have a reason to be sad today, I hope that the good far outweighs the bad. It has to, you are a mommy, is there any greater gift in all the world for which we could give thanks?!

 

 

~3:2~ May 8, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:58 am

This morning I come to you requesting prayer. I’m talking about the earnest prayers of the righteous that availeth much.

There is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Wailing can be heard from miles away as inconsolable parents cry out, “WHY?!”

What can be the cause of grief of such epic proportions?

As of today, the odds are no longer in our favor. As of today, there are THREE teenagers in this house, bringing the ratio to 3:2. Because today, our oldest daughter celebrates her 13th birthday.

Today I will hang balloons and streamers in preparation for the chaos that comes when you invite 3 MORE teenage girls into your home all while wondering if I’ve lost what shred of sanity I had left. I’ll reminisce about the little girl who used to live here that has now been replaced with a slightly imbalanced version of her former self. Gone are the days of finding melted candy under her pillow. No more requests for barbies and baby dolls. Now her number one request is an instagram account.

While of course I am being dramatic, (slightly), I truly am a little teary eyed today. Here’s why:

This....

This little girl…..


...has become this young woman!

…has become this young woman!

Happy milestone birthday to this beautiful gift.

“I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

 

~Satan Has Commented on Your Post~ May 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:47 am
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This morning I picked up my cell phone and saw that I had a notification from WordPress:

“Satan has commented on your post.”

Say what?

I rubbed my eyes thinking surely I, in my groggy morning haze, had misread the name. With both eyes now open, I looked again. Yep, still there.

Touché, Satan, you have my attention.

Upon opening my email, I see that the post that warranted feedback from “satan” was Do I Have To Be A Doormat?

Here is what the ol’ adversary had to say about it: “Yes! It’s about time I got to use you Christians as a doormat, instead of you trampling me under your feet!”

Oohhhh, good one Satan, you’re quite witty with your comebacks! 

Seriously, I’m still laughing about it! While I’m sure this comment was meant to offend and ruffle my feathers, it has done just the opposite. Whoever is using this screen name simply validated one thing, I, along with fellow Christians, have succeeded in putting the devil exactly where he belongs, under our feet.

So I’d like to say thanks, clever shadow writer, for the compliment and just the words I needed to encourage me to continue fighting the good fight through my words & actions.

Friends, do your part today to remind Satan of his place in your life, let him have it!

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Romans 16:20 NIV)