Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Just a Mom~ December 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:59 am
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Many times over the years I’ve had people ask me what I do for a living. More often than not, my response has been, “I’m just a mom.” It never really occurred to me that I almost sounded apologetic about my decision to be a stay at home mom until my daughter completed an assignment that included the age old question, what do you want to be when you grow up? She simply wrote, a mom.

Not “just” a mom, but a mom. I was suddenly very aware that my choice of words implied that being a mom was somehow subpar to every other occupation.

One of the many definitions of the word just states “no more than.” So all these years, I’ve essentially been saying, “I’m no more than a mom,” as if I’m: 1-embarrassed by that or 2-have no identity outside of that. Neither of which are true.

I love being a stay at home mom. Even this morning my own mother and I were discussing having no regrets over the amount of time we’ve spent with our children. My mom stayed home with us, too, and reassures me often that I’ll be thankful I did when my children are grown. When I talk with working mothers, I don’t feel ashamed that I don’t help “bring home the bacon,” so why would I imply with my words that I am?

There have been seasons when I felt like ALL I was revolved around being a mom, especially in the wee baby stages when I was the food source and therefor at the beck and call of my little tapeworms. However, I know that I have more to offer this world outside of my mothering abilities.

As I’ve thought about what message I’ve unintentionally conveyed, I’m reminded of the importance of filtering our words. Countless times I’ve heard our Pastor say that every word matters when he’s hashing out a verse of Scripture, the same is true of the words we speak. It’s amazing to me how one four letter word can change the tone of your message:

I am a mom.

I am just a mom.

Do you see it?!

I am flattered that my daughter wants to be a mom when she grows up. That one statement revealed to me that my girl looks at what I do as something to strive towards, not some overlooked, unappreciated title. And while I am a mom, I am so much more and so are all of my other mom friends, those who work outside the home & those who don’t. Ladies, (and fellas too), you are not just any one thing. You are a beautifully complex individual, completely unique and vitally important…yeah, you rock!

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“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

(Psalm 139: 14 NLT)

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~Learning to Relax~ December 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:19 am
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We’ve been in our new home for just over a week now. For many reasons, we decided that I would homeschool all five of our children for at least the remainder of this school year. One of the main perks the kids and I were looking forward to was a more relaxed schedule. No more screaming momma trying to rush the kids out the door by a specified time. Gone would be the days of frustration at trying to “get it all done.” And yet, I seem to be having difficulty adjusting to this lifestyle!

Apparently I’ve spent so many years rushing everywhere that I have forgotten how to chill the heck out.

The kids have done great with their school work, finishing in a fraction of the time had they still been in public school….which sent me into a panic, emailing other homeschool moms to calm my fears. Am I not assigning them enough work? Are my kids going to fall behind? Thankfully those mommas put my mind at ease before I doubled up the kids’ workload.

When the typical after school hour rolls around, we have nowhere we have to be. No practices, no bonus kids to pick up, absolutely no rushing out the door…ever. You’d think that would be pretty easy to get used to, and yet here I sit, telling you that it’s not!

Y’all are going to think I’ve snapped, but I actually Googled “what does the Bible say about relaxing?”

“Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.” (Ecc 11:10 ESV)

First of all, I’m pretty sure I’ve not read this particular verse before or if I have, it wasn’t very memorable to me. Secondly, I had to Google the definition of vexation: the state of being annoyed, frustrated, or worried OR something that causes annoyance, frustration, or worry. I’ve included another translation of this verse that drove the point home for me:

 Rid yourself of all worry and pain, because the wonderful moments of youth quickly disappear. (CEV)

I’ve been afforded an opportunity to slow it down for a while, to spend more quality time with my children without the anxiety that accompanies an overbooked schedule. They are growing insanely fast and Lord knows I am not getting any younger and I’ve been squandering this incredible luxury of essentially having them all to myself, even if only for a few months.

It’s time I make a genuine effort at learning to just relax and embrace this season with my beautiful family. If you have something causing vexation in your life, maybe today is a good time to say “no more.”

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Just in case you need a little help relaxing…the ocean always does it for me 😉

 

~Bah Humbug!~ December 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:21 am
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“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it.” (1 Peter 4:8 The Message)

Earlier this week, Mom & I took the kids out to run a few errands. Because of the randomness that was our shopping list, we decided to hit the nearest big box store as opposed to making several stops. In case any of you have lost count, I have five kids at home, so as you can imagine that brings a whole other level of good times to venturing into public.

What I can say about this particular experience is that it wasn’t my kids that tainted my mood, it was the grownups we encountered. Aisle after aisle we were met with people glaring at my not loud, but not quiet, brood. Then there were those with buggies planted firmly in the center of the row, refusing to budge when my son politely said “excuse me.” There was one highlight, locking eyes with the momma who’s four littles were engaged in a wrapping paper sword fight 😂 We made our way to checkout where I met my match, the sour faced cashier. I’m a stubborn woman, y’all, so I made it my life’s mission to get this woman to smile or at least speak! I tried everything, and she never even looked up…ouch! I will admit, it frustrated me. What on earth could make someone be so rude?!

This morning I was thinking about this little shopping trip and I believe I’ve pinpointed why it irritated me so much. We are in the midst of the Christmas season and yet a vast majority of people seem far from jolly. This is not a recent development, I’m sure you’ve seen it year after year as well. If you’ve ever been out on “Black Friday” then you’ve seen the worst of the worst…one time & never again! Perhaps what bothered me even more was how I allowed others’ attitudes to effect my own. So I’m determined to make it my goal this holiday season to be the light even when surrounded by sour faced, non-budging, disapproving faces.

Just keep smiling, friends, and chat up that cashier. Offer well wishes and be sincere! (I believe I just channeled my inner Dr. Suess for those lines.) You may not get the reaction you’d prefer but we don’t do life like we do to get a response, we do it to show the love of Christ. And the truth of the matter is, we have no clue what the strangers we meet are going through to make them interact with others the way they do. I don’t ever want to become so insensitive & hard-hearted that I can’t see past someone’s stern expression to offer a warm smile in return. If you are one of the ones struggling to find a reason to smile, think of just one thing you have to be thankful for and let that become your focus today.

Be kind always.

I am thankful for a toasty fireplace to write beside while getting lost in twinkling lights <3

I am thankful for a toasty fireplace to write beside while getting lost in twinkling lights ❤