Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Don’t freak the freak out!~ September 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:13 am
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Some days I have these moments of clarity where all is right with the world, everything makes perfect sense and the word zen could be used to describe my state of being. So far, today has NOT been that day!

We have some changes happening in Chez Rutledge and up until this morning, I was pretty relaxed about it all. For whatever reason, I decided at approximately 8:15am on a Wednesday was a great time to freak the freak out!

How are we going to make this work?

When will everything fall into place?

Why are we not getting clear & precise direction?

What the heck made me think I could be all calm and cool about anything?

My “nature” is to worry and fret and plan ahead and know what’s happening “play-by-play” style. We are currently in a “roll with it” stage and my brain went all spastic and nearly short circuited. Then in true Jesus fashion, I had a gentle one word reminder…rest. My first thought was, “Seriously, Lord?” Then I reread my devotion about stillness and quickly pulled references on “rest”.

“And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14 ESV)

No matter where we go, what we are doing or whom we are with, the Lord himself goes with us which should give us rest in the form of peace.

“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat;for God gives rest to his loved ones.” (Psalm 127:2 NLT)

Being a child of God gives us an assurance that we will have what we need, when we need it without fail. In these words, we find rest in His provision.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt 11:28-30 Message)

If you’ve ever found yourself seeking counsel from a Christian during times of hardship, I am sure you’ve heard the phrase, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Sometimes when the struggle is real and deep or even painful, those words feel empty and crass. However, there is profound truth in the verse above. God gives us rest in His promises. We will never be defeated so long as we walk according to His plan for our lives.

So don’t freak the freak out over whatever is happening in your life right now. What seems overwhelming to us is simply all in a day’s work to the one who never slumbers. Y’all, He’s got this so just rest already!season

 

~How Do They Live With Themselves?~ September 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 2:27 pm
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people-sin-differently-do-not-judgeIf we are completely honest with ourselves, we all have at least one person that we have at some point felt this way about. When we see them, we snarl our nose in disgust or shake our heads full of judgmental thoughts or roll our disapproving eyes. I mean really, how can they live with themselves knowing the horrible mistakes they’ve made?

I’ll tell you what we don’t know about “them”. We will never know the battle that’s raged within them over every bad decision they’ve  ever made. We will never know the nights they have lain awake and wept over the lives they’ve  damaged and hearts left broken in their wake. When we look at them, all we see are their sins. Our unforgiving eyes bury them in even more shame and regret than they already carry.

At one point, they saw themselves just as we do. Their reflection brought on anguish that cannot be explained as their transgressions swept over them and gripped them at the core. Then one day, they accepted the grace and forgiveness they had always heard of but never fully grasped was available to someone like them.

So now when you see them and they no longer drop their eyes in shame when they meet yours, perhaps you’ll think of your own demons that you’ve battled that gives you such boldness to walk around making others feel unworthy. That’s right, I went there. Not one of us has lived a sinless, spotless life & I’m sure we all have something from our past we’d rather not relive.

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (Matt 7:1-5 Message)

Your choosing to not shame someone over their past doesn’t excuse whatever they did to make you feel that way towards them. It takes a deep level of maturity to no longer seek vengeance. I have found when those feelings rise up in me, if I’ll take pause to think of all from which I have been forgiven, it knocks me down a peg or two and allows me to see them in a different light.

 

~Time To Build An Ark~ September 9, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:57 am
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This morning I am faced with a tough parenting decision that I really don’t want to deal with, mainly because I know it is going to make me public enemy #1 with the teenagers of the house. I feel like my hand has been forced and it’s either drop the hammer or watch them continue to make poor choices that are changing who they are, even if only bit by bit.

I am here to tell you that being a parent is NOT all fun and tea times. I’ve felt ill over it all morning, trying to brace for the backlash that is surely to come. What, pray tell, could have this mom of five feeling anxious? I’m about to set firmer electronic restrictions. If you have pre-teens or teenagers in your pack then you know what I’m up against.

I’ve spent most of the morning trying to come up with realistic limitations for the household, not just for the children, mom & dad can benefit from a reduction of screen time as well! I decided to take a break from the stress and open up my First Five app for today’s reading. (If you’re not familiar with it, search the app store, you want this one.) And wouldn’t you know there was a little nugget in there that fit this situation just so: “A storm doesn’t mean God forgot us. God remembered Noah and gave him instructions to build the ark. It was Noah’s obedience that kept his family safe when the flood rose.”~Wendy Pope

Here’s the thing when it comes to raising little people who will some day be an active member of society, sometimes you have to make the tough calls for their safety. They likely will not understand where we are coming from or even care to hear us out, but, like Noah, it is OUR job to ensure that we take the proper precautions to guard their hearts and minds against things which can lead to ruin. I loathe being the heavy! I want to be the cool mom that all the kids like and want to hang around. However, that is not my number one priority as a parent.

It’s time for parents to BUILD THE ARK! We have to protect our families, it is our duty. I am not suggesting that we shelter our children to where they are not prepared for the real world. What I am proposing is that we take into careful consideration what we allow them to be a part of, who we permit them to interact with and for the love of all that’s holy….MONITOR THEIR ONLINE PRESENCE!!! I can either be the bad guy or let them be exposed to the real bad guys out there.

We are fighting an uphill battle, friends, let’s help each other along with words of encouragement. I know I’m not the only momma struggling today. prov 22

 

~Convicted By A Wave~ September 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:25 am
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Every morning and every afternoon I drive the exact same route to my children’s schools, as do most other parents in town. So I typically find myself crossing paths with the same people once, sometimes twice, a day. I wave, albeit with a coffee cup in hand, at every car I pass. Well, except for one. There is one vehicle that I pass both morning and afternoon. I don’t know the driver, I just know we must have children in the same school. I used to wave, everyday, but not once was it ever reciprocated. So, with a bit of self-righteous indignation, I stopped.

This morning as I passed them once again and kept one hand firmly on the wheel and the other on my ceramic mug, I felt a twinge of guilt. Since when do I base my behavior on that of others? So what if this person never raises their hand in greeting? Do I need to be acknowledged for every little act of kindness I offer, even something as simple as a wave? Y’all, this seriously rocked my world and this was all before breakfast!

Just last night I shouted words of encouragement to one of my runners at an XC meet “They don’t set your pace, YOU do!!” Should that not be the same approach we take in our dealings with others in our day-to-day? Should we not do OUR best to be the light regardless to whether or not we see the fruits of our labors? How we treat others is not a reflection of them, it’s a reflection of us. I don’t want to start allowing bitterness to take root in my heart just because someone doesn’t respond to me the way I think they should. do to others

Be you, always. Wave to your heart’s content. Offer a “cheers” to that momma holding on to her coffee for dear life. Smile at the cashier who seemingly hates life. It’s making a difference, if not in their life, in yours.