Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Empathy instead of pride~ August 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 12:01 pm
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About a month ago, something happened that made me withdraw from posting for a bit. I was so furious that I knew if I tried to write about it, all that would come across was my complete outrage. I try to encourage with the things that I post and when the wound was fresh, I didn’t have it in me to be Miss Susie Sunshine. So I guess I should begin with “the incident.”

My girls went out for ice cream with Nana & Papa Losh. Hubs and I were out with the boys so we were unaware of what had happened until it was all said and done. All was going well with the excursion until my youngest went to throw away her trash. As they went to leave, an older gentleman stopped my mother.

“Hey, that little girl right there…”

“Yes?”

“She flipped-off my wife!”

At this point, my little Bella dissolved into tears and buried her face into my mother’s legs.

“She’s only 5! She doesn’t even know what that means!!”

“Oh, she knew what she was doing”

“Are you serious, you are making a child cry!”

So this dude was relentless. A grown man made a child cry and he was quite indignant about it. He was proud of himself even. Somehow, my mom managed to keep her composure and get the girls out before she decked the guy in their presence. Papa Losh fired off a “shut your mouth” as the bully continued his rant as they were attempting to leave. Other patrons of the restaurant sat stunned at this guy’s over the top reaction to an obvious misunderstanding. What this man didn’t know was that my girl points with her middle finger. As a matter of fact, all of my kids did when they were younger.

I’m sure every parent out there can imagine my reaction to this story as it unfolded. Every part of me wanted to race to the ice cream shop in hopes that the man was still there so I could tell him what a stand up guy he was. Quite honestly, the only reason hubs & I didn’t bolt was because too much time had passed. So instead, we all fumed about what kind of human being could be smug about making a little girl cry. We all loved on Bella and explained to her that sometimes, people are just mean.

After this, every interaction I saw online seemed to be people attacking each other. Fights were  breaking out over politics and social movements, insults were thrown around as if they were no big deal, and people’s feelings were being hurt, intentionally. Over and over again and I couldn’t deal. I couldn’t encourage because I was so completely discouraged myself.

I know without a doubt that I have hurt people. I’ve made people cry, most often the ones I love the most. In spite of this truth, I can say with complete certainty that I have never once felt good about being responsible for someone’s pain. I could not wrap my mind around the level of meanness I was seeing, first with the ice cream debacle and then online. All I could picture when watching these fights fester was my little girl’s face all scrunched up and tear streaked and the face of a stranger, grinning smugly at his accomplishment. So I withdrew. I limited my contact with the outside world and skimmed over every post that appeared inflammatory. No part of me could comprehend what would inspire satisfaction, knowing that you were the cause of another’s pain.

During this time, what I’ve come to realize is, we can’t possibly understand why people hurt each other. We are meant to be empathetic, compassionate and do our best at making the world we live in a better place. My mom could have blessed that man out. I could have weighed in on the online attacks, berating the parties for their behavior. But what good would have come from that? In either circumstance, all we would have done was add to the hurt and anger and chaos.

My blood still boils when I think of my baby hurting at the expense of another’s poor choices. I still can’t say what I would have done had it been me that he addressed. My heart still aches when I see friends become enemies over opposing views. All I can say at this point is that I think it’s sad to look around and see people feeling prideful about their ability to inflict pain. It does happen, often, but even in our anger, even when it’s justified, if we dissolve someone to tears, can we at least try to be empathetic? Just try,that’s all any of us can ever do. angelou

 

 

~Practice What You Preach~ May 23, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:07 pm
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Being an adult often puts us in awkward positions where we have to choose between how we want to act and how we should.

Recently I was upset over something I read. In the spirit of complete transparency, I was also angry. My gut reaction was to fire off an emotional response which is exactly what I was doing when I looked over to see my 14 year old daughter. And I thought of all the times she has come to me furious or crushed over something a friend said or did to her. All the advice I had given about handling  yourself gracefully and with as much dignity as possible came to mind.

  • Don’t engage in exchanging insults.
  • If you can’t seek reconciliation, don’t seek vengeance in it’s place.
  • Say how you feel without making accusations.
  • Think about what you want to say, choose your words carefully and remember once they’re out there, you can never get them back.

So I stopped my rant, deleted every word, and shut it down.

Anger is not a sin, but you can sin in your anger.

I have failed at this very thing numerous times, when I reacted without hesitation. I still carry regrets from those moments. I’m glad my girl was sitting close by, keeping me from making yet another mistake. Thankfully, her presence was enough to remind me that I’m supposed to be setting an example here. If I had responded with a hot temper, after all the things I’ve tried to instill in her about dealing with these situations, I would be the worst kind of hypocrite. Practicing what you preach, it’s heavy, but necessary if you wish to be taken seriously. I would never encourage anyone else to be hateful, regardless of whether they felt it was warranted or not, so I had to take my own advice.

You are not responsible for how others perceive you or how they react to what you say. You are, however, accountable for every word you speak.

 

 

~THINK First~ March 15, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:11 am
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Hey you, with your finger hovering over “post,” can what you’re about to share be perceived as malicious, either by means of direct attack or passive-aggressively? Think about that, would you please, before you blurt out something you can never take back.

Social media has made it far to easy to be a cowardly bully. Everyday I see at least one post that is obviously meant to make someone or some group feel bad about themselves. Granted, I have several friends who are already combatting this trend by posting encouraging words every time they are online, but the problem is still prevalent.

What does one have to gain from being mean-spirited and hate-filled? What good can possibly come from slandering someone publicly with no consideration for who else could be affected by your rant? Does it invoke a feeling of power to seek one’s own revenge? Does it make you feel better about yourself to know that someone feels miserable about themselves at your hands?

I would venture to say that for the most part, when given these points some consideration, you would think twice before you rapid-fire posted in the midst of your anger or frustration.

One of my favorite Christian authors talks about the beauty of the “pause” and how taking the time to ask yourself 3 questions can drastically change the outcome of any situation:

  1. Are my words kind?
  2. Are my words true?
  3. Are my words necessary? (From LysaTerkeurst.com)

Imagine yourself today with a literal pause button. Before you speak, with your mouth OR your hands, give yourself a moment to think so that you can respond with grace rather than vengeance.

Friends, I know it’s hard. I’ve been there, too, hurt & betrayed and desperate for someone to come alongside me and validate my anger. While it may make us feel better in the short-term, it will likely make us feel that much worse once the dust settles and we realize that how we reacted was no better than the original offense. Let’s just agree to make the effort, one day at a time, to choose our words carefully. And when we mess up, know that there is forgiveness and grace to try again tomorrow.


“There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.” (Proverbs 29:20 NLT)

 

~The Heart Speaks~ July 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:21 am
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Have you ever said something and immediately thought to yourself, “where did THAT come from?!” I know I have, on more occasions than I care to admit.

Good people have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and that’s why they say things that are evil. What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts.” (Luke 6:45 ERV)

(We could probably go ahead and add….what people say with their fingers as well. Because let’s face it, we do a whole lot more talking through the written word than face-to-face.)

This Scripture hurts my heart because I know I have allowed things into my life that have caused me to act uncharacteristically.

The first thing that comes to mind is frustration. Being a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes find myself completely overwhelmed by the demands of the little people in my life. Instead of pausing and seeking direction from The Word, I allow myself to be consumed by my emotions. What flows from my heart in those moments are snippy, sarcastic words that do nothing to remedy the situation but rather cause the frustration to seep into the hearts of the ones I am dumping on.

What about hurt? This one tends to have the reverse affect on me. When I feel hurt by someone, I shut down, building a wall to protect myself from further damage. That is no more healthy than if I lashed out. Instead of talking it out and making room for healing to begin, my lack of communication keeps the hurt bottled up, allowing it to fester until it does come out in my speech. A hurting heart will change your perspective and therefor the things you say in response to any number of scenarios. It’s in those moments, when the wounds run deep, that we have to remember “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) Ask Him to heal your hurts so that the healing can begin before it takes root in your spirit.

For me, anger is probably the most dangerous of emotions that can fill my heart and come screaming out of my mouth. It’s not that I anger easily, but when I do, it’s usually a major offense that I feel cannot be ignored. Anger causes me to react with little to no thought about how my words are going to impact the person on the receiving end. Anger makes me not care about others. It makes me speak harshly, without grace, without love, without compassion. Anger makes me mean. So how are we to keep anger from getting a foothold in our lives? How do we LET IT GO when we really want to hold onto that wrong and feel justified in our madness? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7) Pray for God’s peace to take the place of that anger that is sure to bring ruin.

There are many other things we can allow into our hearts, either good or bad, that will eventually come out of our mouths. Let’s strive to replace bitterness with forgiveness, hate with love, judgment with empathy and more of the like so that the words we speak will be helpful for building others up according to their needs, that they may benefit those who listen. (from Eph 4:29)heart

 

~Let’s Laugh It Out~ February 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:13 am
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A little disclaimer before you read: This post is meant specifically for people in my little hometown. However, you may find that it also applies to where you live as well.

...and every other day too!

…and every other day too!

You might be surprised to learn that a parent pick-up line at an elementary school could have a town divided. It’s sad how something as simple as picking up your child can bring on the road rage but you better believe it does.

There are a few types of moms, (and some dads), that you can expect to encounter in the pick-up line. Each one has been met with attacks because their quirks are bugging the bejeezus out of the locals.

The mom who arrives an hour (or more) before pick-up time to wait for little Johnny. Before you judge this momma, let me tell you a little story. The year that 2 of my kiddos started Kindergarten, I was pregnant with another. My son LOST HIS MIND on the first day and for a highly emotional preggo momma, this caused my anxiety levels to sky rocket. So that afternoon, and the ones that followed for the first few weeks, I would get to the school as early as I could manage to make sure that my son was one of the first picked up. Why? Because in my warped, guilt ridden mind, he would somehow know that I loved him more if he got to skip out the door 30 seconds before his classmates. Fast forward to after the birth of one Miss Emma. The child who single handedly tried to destroy my ability to cope by refusing to sleep, like ever, unless you rode around for a bit to “rock” her. So I would leave my home with enough time to cruise her into sleepy time land, then park my mom wagon by the school and read about Jesus…because sleep deprived mommas need Jesus way more than you well rested mommas out there. I’ve heard similar stories from countless moms. Sure they could go inside and volunteer with “all that free time”, but what if that is literally the only me time they have? Yes, they could cut the apron strings and make little Johnny learn to deal with his anxieties if he’s not picked up in the first round of released kiddos. But if they’re not breaking any laws, let them be. We know not what makes these mommas tick, (unless we’ve been one), so rather than put them down, try to understand that they have their reasons, whether we get it or not.

Next, the crazed momma flying in on two wheels because she’s about to be so late that the cones are taken up and the nice lady with the walkie talkie is moving rapidly for the door. Again, been there…oh wait, currently doing that. Now that I have kids in 2 schools, there is no casual driving into the lot to get my elementary girl. First I must wait for my middle school brood to mosey on down to the car. Seriously, they are slower than molasses. By the time I maneuver through the mess of parked cars, slow moving cars & darting pre-teens who clearly never listened when Mom & Dad said to look both ways before crossing, I am down to mere minutes to make the cut off to get Em. So across town I dash with the handful of other parents facing the same struggle to beat the clock. Yes, our driving may be slightly erratic, we may have a crazed look in our eyes but do you know what a pain it is to park & go get your child from the office because you got there at 3:31?! ONE MINUTE LATE, PEOPLE!!! Cut this mom some slack. Chances are she’s got more kids than she has nerves left and she’s doing the best she can to get them all picked up and carpooled to whatever afterschool activity that comes next. She doesn’t mean to cut you off, perhaps with the noise from the back seat or worse, the smells…dear Lord the smells…she has lost her focus if only for a moment and didn’t realize that you got to that four way stop first. She’s not rude, she is tired! She’s overworked, underpaid and needs another cup of coffee.

Then there are the straight up law breakers. They double park, block driveways, pull up on sidewalks & run stop signs. These mommas are a bit harder to defend because they are acting illegally. They kinda scare me a bit because I am pretty sure they will mow you down if you even so much as think about cutting line. But what’s made these mommas act so irrationally? How many times have they been cut off or nearly sideswiped all in the name of holding their place in line? Maybe they have a brief window of time to pick-up and transport their child elsewhere before returning to a job where boss man makes their life incredibly difficult if they are so much as a nanosecond late. I don’t know, and neither do you, so maybe we can extend a little grace even when they wave at us with one fifth of their hand as they nearly run us off the road. Yes, they are behaving badly and need a serious timeout but one day, you or I might be that momma who has just had enough and we’ll be grateful for that innocent bystander who smiled and waved us ahead after we practically ran them down in our blind rage.

So I realize that I have made light of what can be a dangerous situation. Let’s face it, people have been known to snap in high stress situations behind the wheel. I only wanted to poke a little fun, lighten up a tense situation and maybe make you laugh a little. We’re all in this life thing together. We are going to mess up, daily, and likely offend people as we go. My suggestion is we pray each day that God would help us see others as He does…including the guy blocking your drive, the lady who nearly t-boned you and the lady who’s been parked along the street for two hours already. Frustrating-yes, a nuisance-possibly, a matter of life-and-death-unlikely. For my fellow carpool driving mommas & daddys out there, we really need to be more respectful of the non-parent drivers in our vicinity. They have the same right as us to be on the roads that just so happen to go by our babies schools without the fear of being plowed down by a parade of mini-vans and SUVs.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt 5:7 ESV)

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” (Prov 14:29 NIV)

 

~Momma’s Gonna Need a Minute~ October 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:49 am
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“Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to be left the heck alone?! Like no talky, no touchy, no looky, ‘get the heck out of my personal space’ kind of days?! That’s how I feel today!”

This would be the text message I sent my husband yesterday.  I wasn’t mad at anyone. No one had really done anything to upset me or make me feel ill, but I’m pretty sure it was within the spectrum of possibilities for me to physically assault someone. Grumpy doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. throat punchI’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have days where I feel downright hateful to the point that I’m concerned for the safety of those who get too close. Days like that I think I need to be forced to wear a warning sign around my neck, “Danger!!  Contents may explode upon contact!!”

Anyone else ever suffer through days like that?

Take heart, I may have pinpointed the cause. Every day, all day, I have someone “all up on me,” as I like to put it. The littles tug at my clothes, using me as a human paper towel and the occasional snot rag. My boys find humor in poking and throwing stuff or hiding around corners to scare the beegeezus out of me. My man just needs a little affection at the end of the day but sometimes, THIS is not huggable!

Physical touch is a beautiful thing but if you never have a moment to yourself, you may start to feel a bit like a foreigner in your own land, so to speak. This tends to happen most often when our calendars are so full that there is no way to pencil in some “me, minus all of you” time. I’m here to help you out, friends. The next time someone asks you to do something you have zero desire to do, don’t ignore that tightening in your chest that accompanies the realization that you’re never going to have a moments rest. Smile & say “No, but thanks for thinking of me.”

Now, take a seat in your favorite chair and forget about the to-do list that is invisible to the rest of your fam. Enjoy the entire cup of coffee before it has the chance to get cold because whatever the world needs from you, can wait a dang minute.

If you feel guilty, let’s all just take a minute to remember that even Jesus had to get away from the crowds and sit in silence in order to be refreshed to fulfill his life’s purpose.

 

~Guys…Know Your Role~ September 10, 2014

Yesterday I made a comment on my Facebook page in regards to how I feel about “men” who hit women in response to all the media coverage of a certain NFL player who not only hit his then pregnant fiance, but hit her hard enough to knock her unconscious.

My post: Any “man” that hits a woman should be left alone in a room with that woman’s Daddy. That’s my 2 cents.

I had a few friends comment, most in agreement with me, but one in particular got my attention and that’s what I’d like to elaborate on today 

Comment: Agreed! What’s with all the abuse lately? Has it always been this bad and we’re just seeing more of it in the media? Or are more men losing respect and any sense of protective responsibility? Ridiculous.

Umm, wow. 

I haven’t been able to shake these words since I read them. 

Is violence against women only a recent development? No. However, I do think it used to be more taboo for anyone to speak up or out against it. When I was young, I recall seeing my biological father hit his girlfriend in front of me & her daughter. The memory is fuzzy but what remains crystal clear is that no phone calls were made & she didn’t leave. Why? I don’t know, even to this day, I do not know.

Mostly what we see now is when someone in the public eye is involved in a domestic dispute. We haven’t a clue how many terrifying situations are playing out behind closed doors where there are no surveillance cameras to capture the evidence.

What really struck me about my friend,  Jay’s, comment was the last question he posed, “are men losing respect and any sense of protective responsibility?”  It pains me to even think it, but I’m afraid the answer is yes. 

Growing up I knew my daddy, (not my biological father, but the man who raised me), would have “handled” any guy who hurt me, physically or otherwise. My mother taught me to have enough self respect to never allow myself to be treated as anything less than a treasure. My girlfriends and I had each other’s backs, we didn’t laugh about it with the guys making the hateful comments.

Nowadays, you can turn to just about any secular radio station and within minutes hear a song that uses derogatory names to describe “their women” or explicit lyrics that paint a VERY distorted idea of what love is. Young men are quick to name call their girlfriends when she upsets them. Even simple gestures like holding the door for ladies seems to be a reason for fellas to mock their peers as if it makes them less of a man to behave like a gentleman.

I believe it’s time for the old-fashioned guys to take a stand. Don’t be afraid to set a shining example of how a real man is supposed to treat all women. Teach your sons what the Bible says about honoring your mother & respecting your wife. When you see a woman being mistreated, don’t shrink into the shadows as if you didn’t see it….speak out and defend her! Guys, you were created to be a protector and a provider, step into your role! Don’t allow yourself to become desensitized to what should enrage you. 

As a fairly strong woman, I am fully aware that in most cases, I, like so many of my friends, can defend myself. But, I am equally proud to say that if any man ever challenged me, they’d have to go through my hubs, my dad and my boys before ever getting to me. As it should be.

“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)

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~Take Care of You~ August 20, 2014

Today I have just a bit of hump day encouragement for my ladies. How many of you have uttered one of the following statements, or one like it, in the last week:

  • I’m exhausted!
  • I am so stressed right now.
  • There’s not enough hours in the day to get it all done.
  • I really could use a break from it all!

I’m calling you out, girls! It’s ok though, because I tend to fall into this same pattern. If you are spending every waking moment tending to everyone else’s needs that you continuously neglect your own, you are like a ticking time bomb walking around fixin’ to explode in the face of some unsuspecting victim. You know it, I know it and so does every person in your circle. 

So riddle me this, how much good are you really doing for others if you’re uptight, on edge, sleepwalking or like myself, doing everything with a mild case of the shakes as a result of the copious amounts of coffee it took to inspire your body to function?

Sweet sisters, I saw this quote and thought of you.

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Get moving, trust me, there’s something euphoric about sweating out your frustrations. I mean, it’s either that are constantly fight the urge to punch someone in the face.

Put good things into your body. God is only going to give you the one you’re in right now, don’t fill it full of trash that makes you sluggish and irritable. Plus, you can totally justify that piece of cheesecake if you ate a salad for dinner.

Do what makes you feel pretty….because you are! If you feel best in full face, hair and nails, then do it up big! Personally, I feel most like myself in running shorts, a pony tail & a dash of mascara and you better believe I rock it 6 days a week. I do put on real pants for Jesus.

And lastly, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t let anyone, man or woman, steal your sunshine! This world is full of mean, hateful people who are more than happy to drag you down with them. It gets lonely down in their pit, they’re looking for company, don’t give it to them. Keep smiling, that really makes them twitch.

Today, in the midst of the insane amount of stuff you’re doing for others, do yourself (and them) a favor and carve out some you time. And do NOT feel guilty about it! 

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”  (3 John 1:2)

 

~If Only We Came With a Pause Button~ February 23, 2014

“Wise people think before they act; fools don’t-and even brag about their foolishness.”  (Proverbs 13:16 NLT)

In the heat of an “intense moment of fellowship,” also known as a fight, it is often hard to hold thy tongue.  Most of us are hardwired to go blow for blow when someone makes us mad, whether it be with words or literal blows!  The concept of turning the other cheek becomes a near impossibility when our blood pressure reaches it’s boiling point.

While most of us later regret when we act out of anger, there are some who are quite proud of themselves for their less than savory responses in combative situations.  Why?  What in the world makes someone boast about their ability to belittle or physically hurt another human being whom God loves?!

Proverbs 13 clears that right up for us…a fool, synonymous to: idiot, moron and a 3 letter word that also means donkey.  (No offense, just a fact, look it up.)  Only someone who is completely lacking in respect for others and themselves finds it amusing to advertise that which they should be ashamed of.

When we find ourselves in the midst of a disagreement, it would be wise of us to learn how to operate our internal pause button.  Unfortunately, it is not accessible to anyone else so no one can punch it for us.  It may be that you need to walk away from the situation for a bit.  Maybe you are far more self-controlled than I and you simply need to take a deep breath to regain composure and speak with wisdom and understanding.  Others can count to 10 and feel a sense of calm while others still may need to count to say 1000 before the rage meter drops a notch or two.

The whole point is to find what works for you to keep from flipping your lid and blowing your witness when you are upset.  Nothing about a hot-tempered fool screams “I Love Jesus!!!”  Let the words from James be written on your hearts so that when controversy comes, and you better believe it will, you will be able to quickly call it to remembrance and shut. your. mouth.

“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” (James 1:19-21 NLT)

cruel

*If you are new to this site, you have stumbled upon a 31 day reading challenge on the Book of Proverbs.  Want to start from the beginning?  Search “31 Day Challenge” in the tool bar on the left!  Also found in the February archives.

 

~Hypocrite~ January 14, 2014

yellingEver found yourself living in a contradiction?

Let me paint you a not so pretty picture.

Two of my older kids have been at each others throats for the last few days.  They pick non-stop, mess with the other’s belongings, “accidentally” bump into one another, etc, etc.  Last night, I’d had enough.  They were supposed to be washing the dishes but all they were getting accomplished was a whole lot of smart alack comments back and forth.  The more aggravated they got, the louder they got.

After I had reached my limit- “STOP YELLING!!!”….I yelled.  (You can’t see me but I promise I’m hanging my head in shame.)

Well hello there pot, how bout we leave kettle alone and deal with ourselves!

I was so frustrated with them and myself that I just went to bed.  Laying there I couldn’t help but realize that I was a part of the problem in my attempt at being the solution.  Granted, there are times as a parent you have “elevate” your voice to get your child’s attention.  However, in this case, my raised voice only added to the chaos and I am fairly certain I did not get my point across so I basically yelled & made myself feel bad for nothing.  I knew there was a Scripture for my predicament but I couldn’t recall it to my memory.  So this morning, I searched “what does the Bible say about leading by example.”  What I found made me want to cry:

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.  Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”

(1 Peter 5:2 & 3 NLT)

This verse is under the heading of “advice for elders” but can easily be applied to parenting.  Most people, including the little ones in my care, will typically be more responsive to my instruction if I do as I say.

Maybe, just maybe, they will be less likely to rip each other’s heads off if I control my tongue even in the midst of my anger towards them.  If they see me taking pause to check my emotions and speak calmly and rationally, perhaps they will start to do the same.  I believe they will learn better from that example than they will from me simply telling them that’s what they are supposed to do regardless of how I behave.

I don’t want to be a hypocritical momma.  When my kids are grown raising their own brood, I want them to think “I hope I can be for my kids what my mother was for me” and not “I hope I am nothing like my mother.”  Ouch.  Even typing that stings.

So today, how about a little prayer for all my parent friends out there:

Dear Lord, help us to be more like you and less like ourselves.  Help us to put aside our shortcomings in order to be the very best moms and dads we can be.  Let us look for ways that we can improve our parenting techniques and in so doing improve the quality of life of those in our circle.  Most importantly, remind us that we can call on you for help when we feel overwhelmed and under- equipped.  In Jesus name, amen.