Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~How, Not How Much~ September 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:00 am
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It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve sat down to write when in reality it’s only been about a week.  This time of year always proves to be the most difficult to manage my time wisely.  The only reason I’m able to fire off a quick post today is my sweet baby, Bella, was up through the night with a pretty substantial fever so we’re laying low this morning while the rest of the fam is off to church.

Today I simply want to encourage the families out there like ours that are struggling to manage overloaded schedules and still have time for each other.  This past Thursday, I saw my husband for a whopping total of 5 minutes!  At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if he remembers what I look like.  The sad truth is that it’s not abnormal for us to barely see one another during the week.  He leaves for work before I get up and my evenings are full with activities for the kids.  So how do we make sure our marriage doesn’t suffer during this busy season?

My Aunt Lisa commented on a photo I shared on social media that I think applies here: “Quality not quantity.”

Our commitments are oftentimes going to pull us in different directions, our children included.  I believe the trick to keeping that separation from causing trouble in paradise is to make the absolute best of the time we do share.  If all you have is 5 minutes, tune out everyone and everything else and let your loved one know they have all of you, even if it is for a short time.  I’ll give you one more prime example.  My oldest, Isaiah, plays football which consumes a large majority of his time and all of his focus.  So I make it a priority to be at his games, to know & understand what’s happening on the field, so that we can have a quality conversation on the ride home.  It matters to him so it matters to me, and he knows it.  

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and underloved by the lack of time with those you hold near and dear, remember, how you spend your time together is far more important than the amount of time spent.quality

 

~Schedule Timeout~ June 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:52 am
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4bb96d984e48796a3b689df7f22a66f6Some of my faithful readers may have noticed that my posts over the last couple of weeks have been a bit sporadic.  Thanks to the several end of school year activities, I had little time to think much less put those thoughts out there to share with you! The kids are finally out of school and I woke feeling almost giddy this morning thinking of our laidback summer…that is until I walked past our calendar! I remember when summer break was just that, a break!

Now that I have active teenagers under my roof things have taken a turn. For starters, the kids break has been shortened so the amount of time we have already feels rushed. My oldest, the linebacker, has weight & agility training 3 days a week with only 1 dead week all summer. Boy 2 is playing soccer with an out of town league, and has cross-country training to prepare for the fall season. Thankfully the girls and I don’t have any commitments during the week, only the normal church activities with a couple of special services here and there. But when I looked at all the scribble across our family calendar for the next 2 months, I will admit, I had my mad face on.

All during the school year, we rush from one thing to the next. The phrase, “Hurry up, we’re going to be late!” became redundant. My naivety had me dreaming of a calm, rush-free summer and when the realization came that our time was still not our own, I was pouty.

Then it dawned on me that the only person overbooking my schedule was me! I really dislike it when I discover that blame rests solely on me, kind of makes it hard to whine & complain when the fault is your own. When did I become this nutso, schedule driven, order barkin’ momma?!

We’ve become so accustomed to the busyness of our lives that we rarely enjoy any of it! It has just occurred to me that I have been living like a “Martha” when my heart desires to be a “Mary.” Martha, always running ragged to make sure everything is “just so.” Cooking, cleaning, errand-running, carpooling Martha. No time to relish the beauty of the moment because there is always something else that must be done, right now, Martha. Meanwhile Mary sits at the feet of Jesus simply listening to the sound of his voice & enjoying the rest that comes from being in his presence. Mary always takes times to capture the sweetness of life’s little pleasures. Chores can wait, life is but a vapor, not gonna miss a thing, Mary.

Yes, that is my desire for this summer. We will honor our commitments but on a lower key, stress-less schedule. We have been given only one life. Why rush through it and miss out on all the precious opportunities to create a memory that lasts a lifetime? Will you join me in making a vow to simply relax & enjoy these next few weeks, even in spite of whatever activities you have on tap? Let the beauty of a moment resonate in your spirit each and every day and let’s see if our outlook on life looks a little less bleak.

 

~No, No, NO!!!~ October 22, 2013

Freeway Sign - Decision - Yes or NoIf any of you have ever been in the company of a 2-year-old for longer than five minutes, then you know that they bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘no’.

My youngest has developed a fondness for screaming it emphatically in my face every time I open my mouth.

“Bella, time to clean up.”  “NO!”

“You have to potty before we can leave.”  “NO!”

“We need to go pick up the big kids.”  “NO!”

It doesn’t matter what I say, she always says no.  Ok, maybe not everything.  If I ask her if she’d like a snack, that gets me a yes. But do you want to know what really bites?

She only does this to me.

If her daddy tells her to do something, she not only does it, she says “yes sir.”  What?!  She gets perfect reports at preschool and her Sunday school teacher calls her an angel.  My babysitter never has any trouble out of her.  I’m actually starting to form a complex over this.

Why is it that she is so agreeable when everyone else asks her to do something and so defiant when the request comes from me?

I was thinking about this yesterday while she was in the midst of one of her tirades and that’s when it came to me; don’t we do the same thing to God?

Your friends ask you out for coffee and you clear your schedule.  A committee from your child’s school calls and they are desperate for your skills so naturally you say yes.  It’s time for yet another fundraiser and you don’t hesitate to harass random people in an effort to raise the most money.

Now, what about God?

“Valerie, I want you to spend a little more time with me.”  “Sorry God, I’m just too busy.  Ask me again next week.”

“I want you to help build a new ministry for me.”  “That’s really not within my skillset, God, ask someone else please.”

“Go and make disciples of all the nations, teach them my commands and fear not, because I’m going to go with you.”  “I’m really not comfortable talking to strangers, especially about you, Jesus.  What if they get mad?  Better save discipleship for the pastors.”

Stings, doesn’t it?

Why are we so quick to accommodate everyone BUT God?  Even when someone asks us to do something we really don’t want to do, we do it anyway because we worry what they’ll think about us if we say no.  Don’t try to act like you don’t, everyone does it at least once in a while.  So why aren’t we worried what God thinks when we continually say no to Him?

When Bella has repeatedly told me no and her daddy comes home and she becomes a yes girl, it hurts my feelings.  It makes me think she loves him more.  It makes me wonder how much I matter to her when she refuses to listen to me but is so willing to please everyone else.

Is that how it makes God feel when He sees us saying yes to everyone around us and screaming no at Him?  We clear our day for our friends but won’t carve out an hour for God.  We’ll spend hours working on bulletin boards, holiday parties and teacher appreciation week but run from leading a devotion at small group or putting together a women’s (or men’s) bible study.  You go out and pound the pavement, selling donuts, wrapping paper, jewelry, etc., pleading your cause to get people to open their wallets.  Yet you won’t utter a word to the stranger who is clearly in need of encouragement to get them to open their hearts.

Maybe it’s time we say no to everyone else a little more to free us up to give God a yes for a change.

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses.”

(Haggai 1:5-9 NLT)