Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Thanksgiving~ November 28, 2013

Gratitude

This past month, several friends have been taking part in the month of gratitude by posting each day what they are most thankful for on social media.  I have participated and listed things ranging from the people that I am most grateful for all the way to something as simple as a hot cup of coffee.

Today, I want to give thanks for what I often take for granted, my Lord.

He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides.  When I look back over my life, there are many times when I should have hit bottom.  There have been countless times where finances weren’t just low, they were nonexistent, and God would send us a blessing by way of a brother or sister in Christ, a break from one of our debtors or an unexpected job opportunity.  As I sit here today, we may not have all we want, but God has provided us with all we need and for that I give him thanks.

He is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals.  Immediately my thoughts take me back to this time last year when Peyton was in excruciating, unexplainable pain.  I have never cried out to God like I did during those weeks, and He came through.  Just last night, both my little girls were restless because of irritating coughs that kept them from laying down peacefully.  I started to jump up and grab the cough medicine and changed my mind.  Instead I prayed and asked God to touch my girls, to take away the cough and bring them comfort that only the Great Physician can bring…and off to sleep they went without another sound.  His healing may not come in the ways we would like or in the timing we would prefer, but it is available to those who call on his name.

He is Abba, Father.  As a parent, I know the lengths that I would go to for my children.  As a Christian, I know that it still pales in comparison to what God has done and will do for me.   He is not some distant, uncaring God.  He is near to us and loves us with an unfailing love that is difficult to comprehend.  In a world where love is often hinged on meeting expectations of another, God’s love is unconditional.  When I am at my most unlovable, He still opens his arms wide and invites me to run into them.

So today, I give thanks to the one who is at times overlooked for all his goodness.  I will praise the name of the Lord, for He alone is worthy of my praise.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.

(Psalm 100:4 NLT)

 

~Daddy Issues~ May 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:58 am
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abba_fatherI can remember being a little girl standing by the door of our 1970s trailer complete with multi-colored shag carpeting, my Minnie Mouse suitcase by my side, waiting for my father to come pick me up for our weekend visit.  More times than not, mom would hang up the phone, force a smile and inform me that something had come up and he would not be coming for me, again.  My earliest memories of my father were of disappointment and rejection.  As I got older and the broken promises came, I started to make light of his excuses.  I remember an extended period when any time he missed an event he’d say he was busy building fence so I would joke that by now he must be fencing in most of the surrounding counties!  While I joked and acted indifferent, inside I was beating myself up.  Granted I had a very loving step-dad, (the man I still call dad to this day), who was at my side during every step of my childhood, there was a part of me that always felt damaged because I was unwanted by my own father.

This feeling of being unlovable became a major stumbling block in my late teens & early twenties when I started dating.  I truly believed that no man could ever really love me when my own father obviously did not.  That led to destructive behavior and desperation to please the current beau.  I became whoever I thought the boyfriend wanted me to be.  I made my decisions based on what I thought would win me their approval and make them love me.  I was so desperate for a man’s love that I was blinded to the poor choices that were devastating my life.  I wasn’t true to myself and I definitely wasn’t living for God….because I didn’t know Him.

When I was 23, I started dating a pastor’s kid.  So naturally, I started going to church because I knew that was what he would want me to do.  The first time I heard an old time southern preacher refer to God as Abba Father, I was like, “seriously, no thanks.”  I had a pretty lousy image etched in my brain of what a father looked like so I was not feeling it, if you get what I’m saying.  That relationship turned into a friendship but I kept going to church.  I liked the people, they were sweet and accepting and I just felt good when I was there.

Even after I asked for God’s forgiveness and accepted Him as my personal savior, I would cringe when I heard someone refer to Him as “daddy” or “papa.”  I had so much unforgiveness in my heart for my earthly father that I could not accept the love of my heavenly father. I loved the Lord and I knew that He loved me but I could not get past my worldly views of a father to fully grasp the depth & width of His love for me.  Then one day, it clicked.  I was at a women’s conference and the speaker talked about being bound by the unforgivenss in our lives and how it was hindering our walk with God.  I made a decision to forgive my biological father for his absence in my life.  I chose to no longer let his mistakes dictate my relationship with my Creator.  I took the insecurities of my past, laid them at the cross and I LEFT THEM THERE!

How many of you out there struggle with the same thing?  Maybe your father was an absentee dad too, or worse than that, maybe he was around but was abusive to you in some way.  Let me tell you from my own personal experience, even those of you who were lucky enough to have the most fabulous daddy in all the world, our Father in heaven loves you infinitely more than any man on earth ever could.  Once you realize that simple truth and embrace it with all of your heart, you will experience the same freedom that I am happy to say I walk in each and every day.  Don’t let you perception of God be based on a human.  People will let you down, but God’s love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on you or me.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:38-39)