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

 

 

~Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings~ July 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:28 am
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feelingsThere is a reason why the Bible says we are not to live by feelings alone. Feelings are deceiving! Just because something feels good to the flesh, doesn’t automatically make it good for the soul. It has been my experience, that most of the time, what feels good to us is the opposite of what is best for us.
Feelings are self-motivated. It’s all about me, who cares what everyone else thinks or how it’s going to affect my future? I want to do what makes me happy and gives me that sensation that I crave.
Too often people base their decisions on emotions rather than what they know to be true. This can be incredibly reckless. A prime example would be when people divorce because “they’ve lost that loving feeling” so to speak. When you took your vows, did you say for better or worse? A big part of the “worse” is when your feelings falter so you think that means you no longer love that person you vowed to hold through thick and thin. Feelings are fickle. One day I may feel head-over-heels in love with my man. The next day he forgets to do some random thing I’ve asked of him and suddenly that swooning feeling is evaporating. Do I truly love him less because of his actions, nope. Love is more than how you feel, it’s a commitment that should not hinge on what the other person does for you.
Now think of the same scenario as it pertains to your faith and relationship with God. One day you can sense God’s Spirit so strongly that you’re certain if you closed your eyes, when you opened them you’d see the Lord before you. He is answering your prayers, (the way you want them to play out), all is going great with everyone you love….you feel fully devoted to Him. Here comes the wrench. You are worshiping your heart out but you don’t get that goose bump feeling like you did last week so God’s presence must not be there. Your little one falls ill, a loved one dies, your finances crash…you don’t feel so close to God anymore because clearly He has removed His hand from your life. Oh that people would wake up and realize this is a trick of the enemy! Our feelings will mess with us at every turn. So it is vitally important that we base our lives around foundational truths rather than our roller-coaster feelings.

“Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.”

(Proverbs 28:26 NLT)

 Our emotions are not good indicators because they are ever changing. But God is always the same. His Word does not waver nor does His love for us.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

(Romans 10:17 NIV)

Faith comes by hearing, not experiencing a feeling….’nuff said.