Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Just a Mom~ December 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:59 am
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Many times over the years I’ve had people ask me what I do for a living. More often than not, my response has been, “I’m just a mom.” It never really occurred to me that I almost sounded apologetic about my decision to be a stay at home mom until my daughter completed an assignment that included the age old question, what do you want to be when you grow up? She simply wrote, a mom.

Not “just” a mom, but a mom. I was suddenly very aware that my choice of words implied that being a mom was somehow subpar to every other occupation.

One of the many definitions of the word just states “no more than.” So all these years, I’ve essentially been saying, “I’m no more than a mom,” as if I’m: 1-embarrassed by that or 2-have no identity outside of that. Neither of which are true.

I love being a stay at home mom. Even this morning my own mother and I were discussing having no regrets over the amount of time we’ve spent with our children. My mom stayed home with us, too, and reassures me often that I’ll be thankful I did when my children are grown. When I talk with working mothers, I don’t feel ashamed that I don’t help “bring home the bacon,” so why would I imply with my words that I am?

There have been seasons when I felt like ALL I was revolved around being a mom, especially in the wee baby stages when I was the food source and therefor at the beck and call of my little tapeworms. However, I know that I have more to offer this world outside of my mothering abilities.

As I’ve thought about what message I’ve unintentionally conveyed, I’m reminded of the importance of filtering our words. Countless times I’ve heard our Pastor say that every word matters when he’s hashing out a verse of Scripture, the same is true of the words we speak. It’s amazing to me how one four letter word can change the tone of your message:

I am a mom.

I am just a mom.

Do you see it?!

I am flattered that my daughter wants to be a mom when she grows up. That one statement revealed to me that my girl looks at what I do as something to strive towards, not some overlooked, unappreciated title. And while I am a mom, I am so much more and so are all of my other mom friends, those who work outside the home & those who don’t. Ladies, (and fellas too), you are not just any one thing. You are a beautifully complex individual, completely unique and vitally important…yeah, you rock!

unapologetic

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

(Psalm 139: 14 NLT)

 

~Let Me Take An Unfiltered Selfie~ July 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:17 am
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Do you know that there is an app that “touches up” your photos? I logged onto Facebook the other day and I had a recommendation to use said app.

Now I’m not sure what the ole’ Facebook is trying to imply, but color me offended!

The advertisement showed a beautiful young lady’s before and after the app worked it’s magic. I was not pleased with the results. The original showed each tiny freckle, her laugh lines and sections of stray hair that fell around her face. The retouched, so-called better, picture showed a spray tanned, perfectly manicured face and each strand of hair was placed just so. No more freckles, no soft lines to reveal her personality and no playful wisps of hair floating in her eyes.

Now you tell me how that kind of phony picture is more beautiful than reality?!

Yet another problem of the world we are living in. I’d like to go back in time and slap the fool who started the whole airbrushing craze. Now thanks to this app, you too can look just like the girl on the cover of a magazine. The completely unrealistic, professionally retouched, elongated here, slimmed down there version of what a woman should look like.

No. Thank. You.

I prefer to get my standard for beauty from the Bible:

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.” (SOS 4:7)

Those creases around your eyes…evidence that you laugh often, not a flaw.

The stretch marks that reach around your hips & creep down your thighs…reminders of the miracle of life that came from your body, not a flaw.

The wild hair that gets frizzy & unmanageable when it rains…a unique feature you inherited from your grandma, not a flaw.

The abundance of freckles, too numerous to count…yeah, I love freckles, not a flaw.

Every part of you is a lovely reminder of what an awesome, creative God we serve. All so uniquely different & yet the same- beautiful, treasured, valued, irreplacable- just as we are.

Here’s one final thought for you, my paraphrase of 1 Peter 3:3-4:

Rather than worry yourself over the latest hairdo, makeup trends & fashion faux pas. Instead of looking in the mirror in disgust at the cellulite dimples, spidery veins & bags under your eyes. Just maybe, it’d be better to concern yourself with what is on the inside making its way out. Your words, your thoughts, your service to others, the love of God pouring out of a willing vessel…these are the things that make you radiant, not the newest shade of lipstick or the hair product that cements every hair in place.

(This is not an actual translation but can be filed under Valerism should you need a reference.)2f07e870b6a1e1d9fb2ff4e39cf46f86

 

~Are You a True Friend?~ February 27, 2014

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” (Proverbs 17:9 NLT)friends pick up

There is something incredibly sad about seeing a friendship dissolve over unforgiveness of past hurts.  The one who was at once your closest confidant becomes a complete stranger when you start keeping a record of wrongs.  Another translation reads the above verse this way: Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it.  

Who wants to be constantly reminded of every mistake they’ve ever made?  Most people do a good enough job beating themselves up over their transgressions that the last thing they need is for their friends to start throwing punches too.  A friend loves at all times, not just in the “on the mountaintop” seasons.

If a friend abuses the trust in your relationship, admits fault & seeks your forgiveness, can you find it within yourself to extend grace & mercy?  The definition of friend is “a person whom one has a bond of mutual affection.”  When you truly feel affection for another, you sympathize with their hurts and can see beyond their err in judgment to forgive them and love them through it.

Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others.  It is a sign of maturity when we can overcome that which the world would tell us is punishable by isolation.  But when we are hurt, we often make the mistake of seeking counsel from the not-so-wise who only agitate the situation by trying to instigate a fight rather than point towards the Word which teaches reconciliation and peace when at all possible.    

Let us seek to show compassion where it would be easy and even justifiable to dole out judgment.  If it seems impossible, sit and meditate for a bit on all that God has pardoned in you and you might just find that forgiving others isn’t so hard after all.

“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” (Proverbs 17:17 Message)

those who love

*I hope you all are enjoying our 31 Day Reading Challenge of the Book of Proverbs as much as I am!

 

~Small Town Rumor Mill~ February 21, 2014

“By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.” (NKJV 11)

If any of you have ever lived in a small town, you know precisely how true this verse of Scripture can be.  Everybody either knows everybody or knows someone else who does.  This can be a blessing or a curse depending on the character of the people in said town.  The small town feel brings a sense of comfort in raising your children in a safe environment.  When tragedy hits close to home, there is nothing like the love of a tight knit community to rally around those in need.

Unfortunately, the door swings the other way too.  If you make a mistake in my hometown, you better believe everyone will know it before the sun goes down.  Not only that, but some will form their own opinion of how circumstances played out and repeat their distorted version of the truth to anyone who will listen.  Proverbs 11 has a description for that kind of person: He who belittles and despises his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding keeps silent. (AMP 12)

It is always wise to mind one’s business when the rumors take to spreading like wildfire in a dry forest.  This is an area that I often struggle with for myself and my preteen daughter because for whatever reason, it seems as though the females are far more prone to be loose-lipped than our fellas.

Recently, both I and my girl have had our confidence betrayed.  I would describe us both as open books.  We are not fearful of sharing personal details of our lives when we feel like it may benefit another, even if we don’t know them that well!  However, this does at times backfire.  In both instances, feelings and struggles were shared in hopes that the one we were reaching out to would see things in a different light.  While the way it happened for me was different than it was for my girl, the things we said in private were repeated.

And it hurt.  Tears were shed, questions of “why” bounced around and thoughts of wanting to become more closed off were considered.  But that’s not who we are.  We could easily allow the gossip to make us bitter and harden our hearts toward others, but we choose to turn the other cheek.  Part of the calling on both our lives is to encourage hurting people.  Hurting people sometimes hurt you.  It may be unintentional on their part.  They’re hurt, they are acting out of their own pain and that may come out as an attack on you.

The important thing to remember about gossip is that it not only brings pain to the ones you are talking about, it’ll ruin you too.  You can’t spread malice about another human being and expect to come out unscathed on the other side.  It may also change your perspective if you consider that the ones who gossip with you are likely gossiping about you to someone else.

“A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.” (NLT 13)

Words may be a bit harsh, but this could not be more true.

Words may be a bit harsh, but this could not be more true.

 *All of the verses above are from different translations of Proverbs 11.  The 31 day study continues 🙂