Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Stop The Labeling~ June 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:13 am
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Labels, you see them every which way you turn.labels

  • Heterosexual
  • Homosexual
  • Black
  • White
  • Democrat
  • Republican
  • Christian
  • Conservative
  • Liberal

Labels that place us into a specified group that cause others to dislike us…and vice versa…based solely on the fact that our group ain’t their group. Why is it that we’ve made it impossible to belong to a society where there is no need for such labeling which leads to dissension?

What purpose do labels serve other than to bring division and sow discord amongst brothers and sisters? Yes, that’s what we are, brothers & sisters in Christ. We are all descendants of the Lord and He loves us equally. I do not believe it was ever the Lord’s intentions to see us tearing each other to shreds over our differences.

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26-28 NLT)

We are ONE nation under God. Why are we allowing all of these unnecessary classifications to divide us? Even if we fit into the same “grouping”, we are NOT always going to agree on every aspect of life! It’s ridiculous to assume that we can walk this life without disagreements but why are we so quick to blame our arguments on a label? “It’s because I’m ___________.” Discrimination is, unfortunately, still prevalent in this nation so sometimes it may very well be true that a disagreement stems solely from that. However, it could be that someone just disagrees with your opinion, plain and simple.

To be clear, I have friends that fall under every category I named above. But when I look at their faces, I see who they are and what I love about them, not some scrolling list of adjectives.

A little advice from my husband: “Love each other and pray for understanding. Don’t assume to know someone based solely on what you see. Embrace the differences. Something that totally changed my life not too long ago was my prayer to see people as God does. Try it…it will reconfigure your thought process.”

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~God Never Wastes A Hurt~ June 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:37 am
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“God uses adversity in this life to strengthen your faith.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (1Peter 1:6 NIV)

God never wastes a hurt.” ~from sermon “The best of times in the worst of times” Pastor Chad Dunford

It was that last line that comforted me, like a warm hug offered at just the right moment. Read it again and let it resonate, God never wastes a hurt.

I often encourage my kids to refrain from using words like “always” and “never” because of what they imply. To say someone never does such-in-such means, “at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever.” Quite definitive language, wouldn’t you say? Now insert that definition into the aforementioned promise:

God, at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever, wastes a hurt.

Wow.

God does not cause us pain and suffering, it is the result of living in a fallen world. And yet His Word assures us that we will never walk through any tribulation on our own.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 ESV)

Even when we sit alone, certain that no one cares about the tears that stain the carpet….

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

Just when we allow ourselves to believe that it will always be this way…..

 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 ESV)

God can take your mourning and turn it into dancing. He can take that hurt that is pressing in on every side and use it to mold and strengthen you and glorify His name. When you think all hope is lost, take comfort in knowing:IMG_8085

God, at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever, wastes a hurt.

 

~Leave A Message After The Beep?~ June 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:45 am
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Do you ever have one of those “aha” moments, when something suddenly clicks and you get it? I have them all the time. Sometimes it’s a nice and pleasant feeling where life just makes sense and other times it feels like I’ve been run down by an 18 wheeler! Sunday during the message, I had that squashed by a truck feeling.

The sermon was about how God answers prayers and at some point, I wrote down “If you want someone to answer you, don’t you have to call them first?” I can’t recall what Pastor said to trigger that thought but I’m guessing The Holy Spirit was trying to tell me something.

If you want or need something from the people in your circle, you have to go to them with your request. As much as we’d like to believe at times, no one can read our minds. In order for us to receive an answer, we have to first ask a question. Doesn’t that sound so simple?

While we know God to be omniscient, He does ask that we bring our petitions to Him in prayer.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. (Phil 4:6 AMP)

I have found myself to be guilty of waiting for God to answer when I haven’t bothered to ask the first thing of Him. I allow my mind to settle into “God knows my wants and needs” and get lax in my prayer life. God wants a relationship with me. He wants to talk to me. He is never off duty. If I call Him, there is no answering machine informing me that my call will have to wait. He sits at the ready to hear my pleas and takes pleasure in listening to the desires of my heart.

Those five little words are all the reason you need to pour your heart out to the Lord. He’s listening, are you speaking?

 

~Muscle Memory~ June 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:02 am
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“Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” (Prov19:11 The Message)

I am not always a smart people. Sometimes it would be easier for me to give a cat bath than it would be for me to tame my tongue. Like every other person on the face of the planet, I have my hot button issues. I can turn the other cheek all day long, that is until someone strikes my no zone.

I’ll give an example. As I am certain most moms will find relatable, I can show you five sides of crazy if you mess with my kids. If one of their peers causes an offense, I can calmly and rationally help them deal. However, if an adult hurts one of my babes, anger management is the last thing on my mind. I’ve come to realize in those moments that applying my voice of reason, aka hubs, is best for all involved. He sees things from a different perspective and gives me a safe place to talk it out so that I don’t let it build and fester into something nasty.

It is worth mentioning as a sidebar that anger is not a sin, it’s an emotion. It’s what you DO with that anger that can result in sin.

So, with that in mind,  what do we do when those feelings of rage come surging up from the recesses of our normally mild-mannered minds? How do we let God speak to us when truthfully we’d rather tune Him out for just a minute while we unleash the fury and repent later?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV)

We have to saturate ourselves with God’s Word on the good days so that when the hard days come, we will be prepared. We won’t have to flip through the Scriptures, frantically looking for a Word to bring us off the ledge in the heat of the moment. It will already be there, pushing its way through the hurt and the anger to bring peace to our troubled hearts.

It’s what our worship pastor refers to as muscle memory. If you do anything repetitiously, eventually it becomes second nature. You won’t have to think about it, it will simply be what happens instinctively. Be proactive, don’t wait for trouble to come. You know where you struggle. I have found an excellent resource in Open Bible. Here you will find “What does the Bible say about….” and you fill in the blank. Typically you will get multiple references from God’s Word, not man’s, to help you refocus.stress

Fill your heart and mind with truth, it will crowd out the chatter and replace it with a peace beyond understanding.

 

~When Hurt Makes You Want To Quit~ June 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:01 am
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I am a very sensitive gal, sometimes…oftentimes…to a fault. I let my feelings get hurt and take offense when others could and do let it roll off their backs. I make no apologies for that. My sensitivity is also what helps me to connect with others.

Today, I was unfriended. I made a mistake. A misunderstanding took place in a group setting. I called it out. It was then clarified, on both parts. I thought all was right with the world. That is until a separate message came through where no one else could see it. I was accused of a handful of things that don’t bear repeating.

Ouch.

I went from furious, to hurt, to eventually over it. Here’s why.

I am 100% comfortable with the prioritization of my life.

I am confident in who God says I am.

At the ripe old age of 33, I have come to the realization that you can’t please everyone so you best just focus on pleasing God.

Hurting people hurt people. 99.9% of the time, it is unintentional. It could be someone is having a horrible day. Perhaps they are physically ill, dealing with relational issues, fighting a spiritual battle I know nothing about it…the why isn’t important, it’s just a fact that if you’re dealing with any other struggle, it will affect how you respond to any give situation. I am not excluded from this little phenom.

Lastly, because of you, my friends. I posted on social media about my hurt and that we all should be more careful in our word choices, myself included. And without fail, you lovelies did what you do best, offered love & acceptance for who I am, flaws and all.  IMG_7346

I will not deny my place in this particular hurt. I read a message and took it one way while the author claims to have intended something else entirely. This is why writing can be dangerous. If you’re not looking me in the eyes, I can very easily misinterpret what you mean. This doesn’t excuse the words that were said to me, but it does force me to take a careful look at how I post on this blog.

My only goal is to reach people through total transparency, which includes admitting when I’ve made mistakes and seeking forgiveness.

Here’s the best news, God’s Grace & mercies are new each and every morning. Breathe it in. Yesterday is over, today I get to try again to give my best for God. And I will.

The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matt 12:37 NLT)