Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Joyeux Noel!~ December 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:12 pm
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Twas the night before Christmas & all through this house

Not a creature did stir, except for my spouse.

Who wrestled with wood and flat ironed sheets

To construct pop out tents for his little girls treats.

All thanks to me, his dear, darling wife,

Who can’t even wield a dull butter knife,

Sprung said request on this man of mine:

“What’s the big deal, you’ve got plenty of time!”

So during the night while the rest of us snored

My dear, sweet hubby worked until four!

Working his magic with no time to spare

On the gift that “store bought” can’t even compare

While he may have secretly wished to have strangled

Miracle of all miracles…here I sit unmangled

All thanks to Emma & Bella who shrieked with glee

“Thanks so much Daddy, for the gift you MADE for me!”

DSC01782

The finished product!

 

~God indeed has a plan~ December 19, 2013

Yesterday morning, I was on stress-overload.  I had been up since 4:30 and my mind was all over the place.  I have a pretty good feeling that most of my erratic thoughts were due in part to my lack of sleep.  However, we have some very real worries and the more tired I am, the more difficulty I have keeping things in perspective.

Right about the time that I could feel the tears welling up, I heard Emma start singing a song from their Christmas play from the weekend.

“God has a plan, God has a plan.  Don’t be afraid, God has a plan.”

Next thing you know, little Bella joined in.

“God has a plan, God has a plan.  And we can trust it because it’s his.”

And wouldn’t you know that Autumn overheard them and started singing along, too.

“Even though, many times, we can’t understand.  Don’t be afraid….God has a plan.”

Overwhelmed.  How about that for God’s timing?  My Lord loves me enough to send me an encouraging word through the most beautiful little girls in the world.  Out of the mouths of my sweet babes came the message that I so desperately needed to hear.

I am truly blessed to have daughters whose hearts are chasing after the Lord.  How fortunate am I to get to watch them develop and grow in their faith?

Autumn & Emma singing their duet @ church

Autumn & Emma singing their duet @ church

 

~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. 

 

~Worth the Cost?~ November 12, 2013

This past weekend, my husband and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary…yay us!!  We were able to mark the occasion with a weekend away, just the two of us, which is something that has happened only a handful of times in our marriage.  Leading up to the trip, we went back and forth for weeks about whether or not we should actually go.  After all, we really couldn’t afford it and with Christmas so close it felt irresponsible to spend what we had saved on just us.

When it came down to the day to leave, we still had made no reservations and no real decisions on where to go but decided it was necessary and off we went.  You see, we have been so incredibly busy these last few months that we have barely crossed paths.  All of my time has been dedicated to the kids activities.  All of his time has been spent working to provide everything that the kids and I have needed to be so involved.  So the decision we made was to get away, reconnect and simply spend uninterrupted time with one another.

And you know what happened?

We did exactly that and realized just how much we had missed each other!  Yes, it cost us money to take this trip but what we gained was worth the cost.  We came back refreshed and thankful for our 7 years together with hopes of many more to come.

Just as our decision to spend this time away cost us something, nearly every decision you make in your life costs you something as well.  Let’s just say we had went the other way and chose to stay here and keep going at the breakneck pace we had been at for the last few months, allowing the space between us to widen further, that could have led to marital problems therefor costing us far more than what we shelled out for this weekend trip.

Sometimes the choices we make cost us way more than our finances.

If we choose to be dishonest in a situation, it costs us our credibility.

If we choose to act recklessly and live a “carefree” life, it costs us our integrity.

If we choose to place anything- person, place, things or activities-before God, it costs us our spiritual connection with Him.

I had to make a choice last Friday that I was going to focus solely on my man rather than all of the other stuff that keeps me so busy.  Maybe you are in a similar situation where you are faced with a decision and you are weighing the cost.  It may be something as harmless as making time for a loved or maybe it’s on the other end of the scale and you’re contemplating a very poor decision.  Know that whichever way you choose, there will be consequences…good or bad.

What if instead of dishonesty we chose the truth?  It may cost you your job, but you will gain righteousness.

“Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.”  Proverbs 12:19

How about choosing to live according to the Word as opposed to the world?  You may lose some friends, but you will gain a family that supports you and lifts you up rather than pull you down.

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.  And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”  Romans 15:4

“Don’t copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

What if we made a conscious decision to make God 1st in our lives?  It will cost us the control that we desire, but we will gain a freedom that allows us to live in peace knowing that our lives in the hands of our maker who is far more capable than us.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’   These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  Matthew 6:31-33

Sunset-equally breathtaking

Sunset-equally breathtaking

Another 'win' with the decision made-a spectacular view. God's marvelous creation

Another ‘win’ with the decision made-a spectacular view. God’s marvelous creation