Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~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 ❤

 

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~Holiday Blues~ November 19, 2013

Ever have one of those days where all you want to do is cry?  You may be crying for a very specific reason or, like I sometimes do, for reasons that you can’t quite explain.

Welcome to my Tuesday, and if I’m to be completely honest, it’s how I spent Sunday and Monday too.  I haven’t been able to get a grip, and do you want to know why?

Guilt.

How the world makes me feel.

How the world makes me feel.

What has me feeling guilty?  My kids Christmas list.  More specifically, my boys list.  Like most boys their age, every request they have made is a pricey one.  They are no longer content with legos, nerf guns & balls of various sizes.  Now the list consists of a laptop, cell phones & a huge trampoline for the yard.  It’s not that our kids are ungrateful for what we give them, it’s more about their hobbies and interests changing drastically that causes the rise in price of gifts.  Naturally we can’t buy all of these things so they will have to settle for the items at the bottom of their list.  And they will be content with that.  Christmas morning they will give us a sweet, understanding smile and express gratitude for what they have…and that makes me cry even more!

Here is the problem, I have let my guilt of not being able to give extravagant gifts steal my joy.  This time of year is my absolute favorite.  I look forward to Thanksgiving more than any other holiday.  But this year I’ve lost sight of what the holiday is about because I’ve been so consumed by the very opposite.  I have gotten sucked into the trap of materialism and the commercialization of the holidays.  So I decided to sit and list all the reasons I have to be thankful…and it’s too long to share.  Next up, I decided to list all that we can and do give our kids and weighed it against what we cannot provide.  And you know which list was longer?  Of course you do.

Does all of this stop the flow of tears?  Not yet, but it will.  I can’t help but desire to give my family more.  I do suffer with guilt because I don’t add to our family income.  I can hear the words of my sweet friends who reassure me that I am giving my family something of greater value by just being a wife & mommy, but still I struggle.

I share these very personal feelings with you all because I know I am not the only one who battles these emotions, especially this time of year.

Are you the parent who wants to spoil their kids just this once?

Or maybe it’s your spouse that you long to lavish with the beautiful jewelry she deserves for all the love she pours out year round.

Perhaps your parents are the ones you wish to repay for all the years that they have given selflessly to you and you’d love to surprise them for a change.

It could be that all of the above apply to you and then some.

May I ask that we pray for one another today?  Can we take a moment to call on the Lord on behalf of others who are in the same position?

Lord, I ask that you be with me and those like me today who are struggling with feelings of inadequacy due to what we are unable to give.  Shift our focus to all that we have to be thankful for.  Show us ways in which we can express to our loved ones just how much they mean to us without feeling guilt over lack of material things.  Remind us, Lord, what these upcoming holidays are about: gratitude, family and most importantly, You.  Let us not be so consumed with what the world pushes us towards that we miss what you are calling us to.  And when the overwhelming emotions come, comfort us as only you can by speaking straight to our hearts.