Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Your Love Never Quits~ January 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:54 am
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This blog has a stat tracker that keeps me in the know on site traffic. While not elaborate, the details include: number of visitors, the posts that were read on any given day and the most informative, search terms that led readers to my site. There are two search terms that I see frequently. The first, “Valerie Rutledge blog,” (thank you, by the way, to whomever follows my writings specifically). The second, and the one I want to address today, “you never loved me.”

It shocks me how often this phrase appears. Each time it grips my heart, seizing it up for just a moment. While I hope that finding their way to my blog ministers to them and brings healing, it pains me to know how many people are suffering in this capacity. I imagine downcast faces, sitting in front of a dimly lit screen, seeking answers for why they’ve found themselves in a loveless relationship or perhaps one which has recently ended.

My heart aches for you, that you’ve found yourself in this place of searching, trying to understand what went wrong. What did you miss or could you have done differently? The pain that comes from love that’s been lost is real and deep and incomparable to any other.

While I sincerely wish I could bring healing to your broken heart or answer the burning question of “why,” I cannot. What I can do is point you to a love that never fails. I can introduce you to the One that will never lead your thoughts down the path of “you never loved me.” His name is Jesus and a relationship with Him is a sure thing. He will never leave you nor forsake you. When you stumble or when you screw up monumentally, His love for you is steadfast.

I am not so gullible to believe that this will erase whatever pain you feel in this moment, when your heartbreak is fresh and the grief comes in waves. But I pray it soothes your soul, like the warmth of the sun as it kisses your skin or the familiarity of a trusted friend’s embrace. Let the Lord’s love mend your broken places today and know, sweet friend, that I am in your corner. IMG_1918

 

~Seeing Grey~ July 28, 2014

6e3ef532ac671146c0756602673a4d20First the books were released and our news feeds blew up with conversation of “mommy porn.” Now that the movie is set to debut on Valentine’s, (classy move Hollywood), once again my screen is flooded with Grey.

I’m not typically one to shy away from controversial topics when it pertains to what I will and won’t write about. I’ll be honest, I have considered this off limits since the day I realized that I know a great number of women who read the books and are now anxiously awaiting the day it hits the big screen. I didn’t want to offend anyone with my opinion. But, being silent isn’t really my style & it would make me look like a hypocrite to remain close trapped on this when I have been so outspoken on other matters.

Before diving in to this post, let me preface with this, I am not condemning those of you who have chosen to consider this entertainment. It will become clear that I do not agree with you, but I don’t think less of you. Oftentimes a differing opinion is offensive & sparks heated arguments. That’s not my goal here. My only reason for breaking the silence from my side of the debate is to shed a little light as to why I think this type of material needs to be avoided.

Now, I have not read any of the books so I am aware that my opinion is based on limited information. What I have done is read book reviews, followed conversations of those who have read & most recently watched the 2 minute trailer that was aired on daytime television. I have more than enough material to state my case.

Countless women are touting this as nothing more than fantasy, a somewhat twisted romance novel, meant to bring excitement into the boring lives of stay at home moms everywhere. Surely the women making these lax comments have never been at the mercy of a man who made them feel the very real emotions that come along with this type of “relationship.”

I’m guessing those who find this type of fantasy exciting have never had a man use the weight of his body to prove his strength over you, rendering you completely helpless to fend off whatever came next. I’d say it’s safe to assume that you’ve never been in a position where your naivety and eagerness to please in order to feel loved & accepted was used as a tool of manipulation in order to fulfill someone’s selfish desires. I bet you haven’t a clue what it does to one’s self-esteem to submit to some level of degrading behavior because you’ve been made to believe that is what love is about.

Perhaps it simply hasn’t occurred to you who sing the praises of this book and others like it that you may be unknowingly condoning the horror that someone you know and care about has either walked through or worse yet is currently enduring? Kind of takes the lighthearted aspect out of, “it’s just a book.”

Friends, this is no more “just a book” than Playboy is just a magazine. It is one more way that we are becoming desensitized to what we should find offensive. There is nothing morally right about a woman’s vulnerability being exploited in order to satisfy the self-serving desires of a domineering man. It’s abusive & embarrassing to have someone claiming to love you persuade you to express that love in ways that leave you feeling ashamed and used. Why on earth would any woman, Christian or not, build up this type of behavior?

My initial thoughts were about are my girls. I would be mortified to think that my beautiful, intelligent, strong willed little ladies would grow up to believe that this sort of behavior is not only acceptable but applauded. I cringe at the possibility that one day a man would enter their lives that would play on their weaknesses and manipulate them into sacrificing their integrity in order to gain their affection.

Then there are my boys. Most days it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle as we desperately try to instill values that are rapidly being labeled as old fashioned. We encourage simple things like opening doors & surrendering your seat for ladies while their peers label women with titles I won’t dare repeat. My desire for them is to admire a woman who respects herself and has enough regard for her body & sexuality to protect it, not willingly lay down her beliefs to satisfy them.

How can we effectively teach these principles if we are a walking double standard?

That, in a nutshell, is why I personally will not read or watch anything that turns violence & degradation into a desirable quality for a mate. I prefer to keep my idea of love and intimacy in tact, where two people commit to honor the other above themselves. I refuse to allow my children to see me choose entertainment where women are objectified and dominance is regarded. I can’t get on board with the group proclaiming harmless fun for a girls night out. I won’t give the impression of indifference by keeping quiet.

I don’t expect this article to change anyone’s mind. I do hope that it makes you pause before taking such a laid back approach to what you allow yourself to be exposed to.

For those of you who are interested, these are just a few of the Scriptures I found helpful in regards to this matter & others like it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Psalms 119:37

“And so I insist-and God backs me up on this-that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion .” Ephesians 4:19 

 

~Words That Edify~ May 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:35 am
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88cbe9916022264801da89be5f01eb20Recently I was in a very public place where I overheard a not-so-nice conversation.  It wasn’t as if I was eavesdropping, they were purposefully speaking loud enough for all within earshot to hear.  These two ladies were talking to a complete stranger about their dislike of a teacher.  It just so happened that the teacher in question is someone who I know personally and happen to think quite highly of.

As I sat debating on what to do, the woman listening to the rant commented, “I had actually hoped my child would get them this year and was disappointed when they did not.” Conversation over.

I honestly was stunned that these ladies would be so bold as to talk negatively about someone to a total stranger.  What if this woman they were venting to had been the daughter or best friend of the person they were talking about?! Awkward!!  Besides that, I feel pretty confident in saying that this mother had not expressed her concerns with the actual teacher that she was so comfortable gossiping about. Unfortunately, this is not the first time where I’ve been in a similar situation and I would venture to say that most of you have also found yourselves in the same predicament.  When you are involved in a conversation and talks turn to gossip, things go from friendly & chatty to painfully uncomfortable in the blink of an eye.  Mostly because I am attempting to avoid confrontation, I typically walk away saying nothing when these sticky situations arise.  However, there have been times where I felt inclined to defend the person who wasn’t present to do so themselves.

The words of Ephesians provide us with this simple advice:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  (4:29)

Tell me, what does it benefit a person to speak badly of them in their absence?  What good thing can come to those who are doing the talking?  What if, when faced with an offense, we took our grievances directly to the other party rather than to anyone and everyone who will listen?  Having a mature conversation with your offender opens the door of communication and will oftentimes lead to resolution or at the very least an understanding of the other party’s position.  The alternative of bashing them to another, or worse yet, via social media, will only cause discord.  Furthermore, the one delivering the blows comes out looking far worse than the one they are attempting to paint in an unfavorable light.

When in doubt, it may help to ask yourself, “how would I feel if someone said this exact thing of me?”  If the thought of it makes you squirm, then you should hold your tongue.

 

~Another “F” Word~ March 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:12 am
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silenceThis past week has been a bit wild for me so there has been little to no time to write…boo.  I was just going to let it go until Monday, then my little Belly-boo decided to provide me with material for a weekend post.

My Mom was in yesterday and we were out running errands together, just the three of us.  Miss B. was quite full of herself, barking her orders from the backseat as we made our various stops.

“I want my sucker now!”

“Let’s go to the store first!”

And here comes the big one:

“Where’s my freakin’ egg?”

I BEG YOUR PARDON!!!!  “Bella Grace, don’t you say that!  Who told you that word?!”

Cute as can be, she pointed at herself.

Obviously, I know she had to have heard it somewhere and as Mom and I were hashing out it, we had the painful realization that it has crossed the lips of nearly everyone in our home.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Typically, the context in which it’s been used has been more of a light-hearted tone, “Are you freakin’ kidding me, that’s hilarious!!”  You get the jist.

But the sound of that word coming from my sweet girl’s mouth sounded so foul that I knew we had to start being more mindful of how we speak.  Is it a swear word?  I guess not but it sounded so similar to the other, detestable “f” word that it made me cringe.  It made me think, what does the word actually mean anyway?  The Bible warns us not to speak idle words because one day we will give an account for every single one.*  Truthfully, I had been using this word occasionally and overlooking my preteens using it without having a clear understanding of what we were actually saying.  Well surprise, surprise, it is defined as “a euphemism for…..” you guessed it, THE “f” word.”

I feel about as big as an ant.  Epic fail, no momma of the year award waiting for me, even my babe is basically swearing.

Very quickly this morning, I looked for a Scripture for myself and to share with the fam so that we won’t be so careless with our choice of words.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Even the descriptive words we use to express emotion, should be carefully weighed to be certain that we aren’t dishonoring the Lord in our speech while setting a not-so-shining example for the little eyes and ears that are upon us in the process.  Nothing about the word in question brings encouragement to those who hear it, so I’d say it’s time we retire it’s usage.

*Matthew 12:36