Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Lessons From The Checkout~ May 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 2:58 pm
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I woke up yesterday morning feeling weepy. I had been working on a personal piece before bed the night before that had me bawling so I guess you could say I was emotionally hungover.

I chatted with my brother, my hubs & my bestie. Fortified by their words, it seemed plausible that I could venture outside the house.

Bad. Idea.

I went to the big box store, the one that makes me question humanity. I had a sentimental purchase to make, but again, I thought I was good so no biggie. I managed to only sniffle a bit while shopping. And then I entered the checkout line.

When I say the cashier was salty, I’m being generous. Normally I can deal with a total stranger being indifferent, but considering the previous 24 hours, I was praying she’d hurry the heck up before I burst into tears standing right in front of her. I made it, barely. I went snottin’ & snivelin’ through the parking lot and wouldn’t you know it was a rainy day so I didn’t even have my sunglasses to hide behind. To make matters worse, I had my two little girls with me. Ugh.

Who out there besides me cries even harder when someone asks, “what’s wrong?” Add in the fact that it was my babes looking up at me with their big doe eyes and let’s just say the dam exploded.

Once I got my wits about myself, a few things occurred to me.

  • I cry a ridiculous amount, to the point of dehydration.
  • I should never set foot out the door without tissues.
  • Rainy days & Mondays always bring me down.

Ok, seriously. What was really nagging at me was my interaction with the cashier. She was oblivious to the hot mess before her. Just as I had no way of knowing what she’d been through to make her react to me the way she did. Y’all know how I like to tell you to be nice always? This is why.

I really needed someone to be sappy, sugary, overbearingly sweet to me. But maybe she did too, and neither one of us could deliver. Both of us were looking to the wrong source for comfort.

“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Had I taken the time to be comforted before I left the house, I might have been able to try a little harder to make that cashier smile. But I didn’t and an opportunity was wasted. IMG_4096

We are all going to have bad days, when the last thing we should do is head out into the world without our “Does not play well with others” sign. It’s imperative that we take time to nurture ourselves if we intend to be of any use to anyone else. When your heart hurts, pray for peace, seek out the people who love you most and let their words & God’s comfort wash over you. And be healed. It’s really hard to shine your light through a cloud of hurt, bitterness, anger or the like.

 

 

~When Did RAPE Become Funny…And Other Middle School Shockers~ December 10, 2014

For the last week or so, our oldest daughter hasn’t really been herself. She’s been moody and quiet and has pretty much stayed holed up in her room. We’ve continually asked her what was up and were met with the typical teenager response,  “Nothing.” We figured it was the hormones raging again and tried to give her some space. That is until yesterday.

A little backstory about our girl for those who don’t have the pleasure of knowing her personally. She is madly in love with Jesus. She talks about her faith anywhere, anytime to anyone who will listen. We often joke and call her our little missionary who’s trying to save the world one middle-schooler at a time! It breaks her heart into pieces when her peers are struggling which has led to many talks about the struggles kids are facing and why sometimes there’s nothing we can do but pray for them.

Now, for the current horror that’s got this momma fit to be tied.

Autumn was terribly upset when she got in the car yesterday but refused to talk about it in front of her little sisters stating she couldn’t repeat a word that was said. I didn’t think too much of it knowing full well that kids curse in school. However, color me shocked when the story unraveled. Apparently the word “rape” is being used as an alternative to many other, far less offensive words. Some examples “OHHH, he raped you!” Someone bumps into you in the hall or gym class, so you scream “RAPE!” at the top of your lungs. They even have a storage room they refer to as “the rape closet.” Yesterday, a GIRL friend of Autumn’s used it this way, “Like how she raped you in your sleep.” (the ‘she’ mentioned being my girl)

Autumn was mortified and told her “friend” that what she said was inappropriate. This young lady told my daughter she needed to learn how to take a joke! Are you kidding me?! What in the world is funny about a word that implies sexual violence?! Before the arguments come, I am well aware that is has another meaning, that point is moot in my opinion so I won’t even argue it with you. These kids are so desensitized that they will throw around words that have horrific meanings like they are saying the word “hello.” When Autumn wouldn’t back down, this young lady proceeded to find backup to verbally attack my girl, accusing of her being a bully instead of a Christian. Perhaps what made this hurt the most…this little girl is a church-goer.

This conversation opened up to other topics as well. Kids with social media names like “MyHeartBelongsToJesus” are defending their beliefs with a string of curse words….uhm, no. Babies are having babies. Young ladies are cutting their beautiful bodies and talking about it over lunch. Serious issues….casual conversations. Wow.

I am bringing this up, not to be a gossip, but to open the eyes of parents who may not have a clue that their kids are using these phrases so flippantly. But maybe they don’t realize the horror of rape. Maybe they haven’t considered that a classmate within earshot has actually experienced the word and their casual use of the expression makes them feel that much more ashamed and isolated.

My advice, be proactive.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6 ESV)

After talking with Autumn, I went into the boys room to discus it with them. Peyton said, “Why are yelling at us?” Oops, I was pretty upset when I approached them. “I just want you boys to know how I feel about this that way you won’t inadvertently repeat a phrase your friends use that is highly offensive and claim you didn’t know.” taste words

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt 12:36 ESV) 

Friends, we are living in a world that we must deal with these issues on a daily basis. It is our job to teach our kids the power of the words they speak. If we allow ourselves or our kids to become lax in our speech, we may find ourselves on a very slippery slope. It is true that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” and “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” (Prov 18:21 & Matt 15:18 ESV) So let us take care to guard our hearts, minds and mouths from what is detrimental to the soul.

 

~13~ September 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:23 am
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Photo cred-cuz Kristy

Photo cred-cuz Kristy

Effective today, at 12:43 pm to be exact, I will have been a mommy for 13 years. There is no greater accomplishment that I could ever achieve that would bring the sense of pride I feel as a parent. God has so generously blessed me with a large family that I don’t deserve and it all started with the cutie in the picture above.

From day one, this kid has had my heart. We are so much alike in numerous ways and yet so completely opposite in others. He is analytical, I’m emotional. He’s hardcore competitive, I’m driven more by having a good time. He is strong willed & self confident, when I tend to be concerned about others opinions & still struggle with insecurities.

In spite of all our differences, he gets me & I get him.

This picture was taken at a recent cross-country meet and I feel it sums up our relationship quite nicely. I have always & will always be my boys number one fan, his momma-coach. I will be there to push, encourage & support him in all that he does. He will never have to question the passion I have to see him succeed. He will never doubt the love that I have for him, my first born. The one who gifted me with the title “Mommy.”

“And his mother stored all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51

Thirteen years have gone by way too fast. I watched him walk into the school this morning, a teenager, knowing full well that as rapidly as these years have passed, the next five will go even quicker. My momma’s heart can’t take it. I want my boy to be my baby forever.

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.-Robert Munsch

Happy birthday to one of my greatest blessings, Peyton Andrew. You are a joy and a treasure. Words don’t always convey the depth of emotion behind them, but know this, there has never been a momma more proud of a son than I am of you.

 

~Gracious Receiving~ May 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:27 am
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As a mom of many, I have often times received what the world might consider lackluster gifts.  My children have given me pictures with one or two scribbles across the page, ABC gum (already been chewed for those who may not know) & “flowers” that the untrained eye might refer to as weeds.

Just the other day, Bella handed me the ugliest leaf in the entire yard.  The way she beamed at me when she said “for you Mommy” you would have thought it was the most lavish bouquet of flowers ever known to man.  On a bad day, I might have brushed her off and continued scrolling through Facebook to see what the outside world was up to.  But this day I was feeling blissfully content in my one on one time with my youngest so I poured on the kisses and thank yous for this strange but sweet gift.

I could tell by the triumphant look on her face that she was quite pleased with herself & her obvious knack for gift giving.

Then I saw this cute little picture today and it served as a gut check.

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How many times have I set aside that 15th half colored, torn in two picture of Strawberry Shortcake because it started to feel redundant making a big production over each and every one?  There have been many seemingly random gifts from little ones to me but what this simple quote reminded me is that even though it may seem like junk to us, to the precious gift giver, it may be the most extravagant treasure they’ve ever laid eyes on.

When anyone gives you a gift, whether it be tangible or maybe a simple spoken word, let your gratitude for their thoughtfulness shine.  As this sweet photo declares, when someone thinks enough of you to give it means at that moment, you are the most important person on the planet to them.  How about we make them feel the same in return?

“Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.” (1 Timothy 4:4 NLT)

 

~Do I Have To Be A Doormat?~ September 20, 2013

I have been on the receiving end of a lot of rude behavior in my life.  Now that I love Jesus, I wonder how I am to handle these rude encounters.  I know we are to turn the other cheek and all, but when somebody does something directly offensive to you…repeatedly…to the point that there is absolutely no respect for you, your family or your property, then what?

Does being a follower of Jesus mean I am to be a doormat, allowing anyone & everyone to treat me as they choose and simply smile and walk away?

There is a specific incident that I am referring to from my own perspective.  While I usually attempt to be very direct with my posts, I am intentionally being vague as to avoid “pointing fingers.”  However, I will add just one more tidbit of information.  The offenders who have me seriously upset are church people, (let me clarify that they are not from my church people).  The reason that this is incredibly relevant is that as I watch this continued offense unfold before my very eyes, I wonder if this is the way they treat all people?  Are they at the local grocery store showing a general lack of respect for others, acting as though they deserve preference?

**I had typed to this point as of yesterday…while the offense was taking place.  Then I took a break because I was very aggravated and needed to change courses in my mind before I unloaded.  That’s when I found my way to Lysa TerKeurst‘s page.  The Lord really has a way of guiding us when we pause.  The title of her post I came across, “And I had the perfect comeback.”  In it she describes an incident on a flight where a couple is incredibly rude to her and her friends.  Below is the exert that spoke to me in my circumstances:

Have you ever wanted to put your Christianity on a shelf and be as mean to someone as they are being to you? You know, just let loose and seriously break bad on somebody.

Maybe not, because you are nice. And most of the time, I am too. But in this moment I didn’t want to apply a single bit of my own “Unglued” advice. I won’t tell you what I wanted to say but I can assure you it didn’t involve being kind or gentle.

But this is the exact point where I had to make a choice.

A choice of who I wanted to partner with in this situation…God or Satan.

If I chose to go the route of anger, harsh comebacks, and retaliation, I would have basically stepped into Satan’s camp and caused conflict escalation. If, however, I chose to go the route of gentleness and grace, I would be partnering with God and would continue to make progress with my raw emotions. Like Philippians 3:16 reminds me, “Only let us live up to what we’ve already attained.”

And there that is!  I was amazed at God’s perfect timing once again.  I do not believe that God wants us to take abuse from anyone, so please understand that this is not what I am referring to.  I am referencing those agitating offenses that we are guaranteed to face from family, friends and complete strangers.  Yes, at the time it may seem like a major ordeal that requires us to puff out our chests and give them a serious tongue lashing.  But when you pause and look at the big picture, is it worth blowing your witness to “go off” like a crazed person?!  As Lysa put it,  “Why would I want to trade the peace of partnering with God for a few cheap moments of putting someone else in their place?”

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Thank you, Lysa, for your sound, biblical advice once again.  And a special shout out to Jesus for keeping your hand over my mouth and leading me to your truth once again.