Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Huff & Puff, Satan~ October 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:21 am
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After a week on hiatus, I’ve decided to buckle down and get back at it! This blog was started in response to the pull I felt on my heart to speak God’s truth to the weak and weary and man have I been both of those lately!  So today, I dropped all the babes at school, grabbed the laptop & a cup of coffee and retreated to my bed to hack out some profound wisdom with my doggie at my feet.

It didn’t take long before I started to feel the anxiety well up in my chest. I’ve neglected this blog for several day so I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to write and if this computer zooms one more time without me touching anything, I’m gonna scream….again.  Then I catch a glimpse of the book we are reading as a praise team and remember that the rest of the team is on chapter 6 and I’m struggling to finish chapter 3.  My inbox is flooded with requests for volunteers that I have yet to respond to, so maybe I should give that my attention instead of focusing on my ministry.  And I was gone all weekend fundraising so our house is a hot mess and the laundry is up to the ceiling so it’s pretty selfish of me to sit and sip coffee and try to talk to y’all when my family needs my services.

Well, hey Satan you didn’t waste anytime showing your hideous face on this lovely Monday morning.

Why is it that at the precise moment you decide to do something for Jesus, Satan jumps in and messes with your mind?!  Does he not have anything better to do?  Apparently the answer to that question is a resounding NO!  Surely I am not the only one fighting some Hell today.  So what say you, friend? Are we going to let the enemy attack our hearts and minds at every turn or are we going to lean hard into God and renew the fire and passion we once had to serve Him with gladness?

“Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you. Give me a spirit that obeys you. That will keep me going.” (Psalm 51:12)devil

 

~My Life as a Ring Master~ April 24, 2014

I have oftentimes described my life as a circus.  Having 5 kids, this is a pretty spot on description as I tend to have to be in 3 places at the same time on any given day.

These last couple of weeks have exhausted me to the point of having little to no time to write and it is seriously weighing on me!  I get a little moody & snippy when I’m run down and even more so when I feel like I have to let something I love go to the wayside to make room for yet one more thing for someone else.  Man, I sound like a selfish whiny-pants, right?!

The reality is, my right now is only a season and that simple phrase has become my mantra, “this is only a season, this is only a season, THIS IS ONLY A SEASON!!!”

Sleep deprivation, overcrowded calendars and lack of me time can bring even the “super-i make everything from scratch-have boundless amounts of energy-mom” down.  I’m sure you can imagine what it does to this “super simple-poptart slingin-my butt is draggin without my coffee-mom”!!  So this morning, before I even sat up in bed, I prayed this little prayer, “Lord, help me today to focus on you and not my hectic schedule.  Remind me that this life is a gift, even in the busyness, and I should act accordingly and not like a bratty two-year old.  And one more thing Lord, give me the strength to perform each and every task I have committed myself to with excellence as unto you for it IS you who deserves all the credit.  Amen”

To my fellow overworked, underpaid, totally exhausted, baggy eyed mommas, I salute you.  We can do this for we can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength.  (It doesn’t hurt to toss in a pot of coffee and some nutter butters to nudge things along, just sayin’)  May today be abundantly blessed, productive and our eyes be open to the beauty of the chaos.  Now, go do this thing!being a mom

 

 

~Chin Down, Eyes Forward, Arms Moving~ April 15, 2014

Last night I attended a track meet in which two of my children were participants.  Track meets can be fun to watch.  If you have 5 hours to spare, I highly recommend you attend one.  This particular meet was kinda rough as the skies had opened up just at the start and completely saturated the track, sand pits, runways….and bleachers.  Boo.

The kids were troopers though and went to work.  The majority of the runners participate in multiple events.  My two are distance runners meaning their events included the 1600,800 and 4 x 400 relay.  A total of 1.75 competitive miles.  As you might imagine, while the night drags on…and on….and on, they get a little run down.

Exhaustion sets in and it’s as if the weight of their heads is too much for their necks to hold up.  They give in to the pull and let their heads drop back, mouths wide open, sucking in air.

The sound of competitors feet, hard and fast behind them, tempts them to look over their shoulders to see just how much they are closing the gap.

Event after event, their bodies start to wear down and their once perfect form starts to deteriorate.  Their arms swing wildly as they approach the finish line one more time.

Myself and the fellow momma bears, (and 1 nana), scream frantically from the stands “Come on!!  You can do it! One more lap!!  You’re almost there!!”

But one coach on the infield caught my attention.  He was standing about 50 meters from the finish line and every time one of his kids would come by, this is what he would say, “Chin down, eyes forward and keep those arms moving front to back.”

Words of wisdom.  And I’m not talking about strictly for running.

Life gets tough and the burden of it all weighs you down.  You drop your head in defeat.  You start looking backwards, thinking the past was so much better than the present.  You decide you just don’t care anymore about doing things the “right way” and you start flailing.

Chin down, eyes forward, arms moving.

When you’re tired of trying and feel like giving up, that’s when you need to buckle down.

When the enemy is nipping at your heels, attacking you in every aspect of your life, keep your focus.

When it seems you’ve given your very best and it’s all for nothing, don’t lose your form.  Keep doing what you know to be right and true all the way through to the finish.

Chin down, eyes forward, arms moving.

That is how we will win the most important race we’ll ever run.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.” (Hebrews 12:1-4 NLT)

champion

One more time:  CHIN DOWN, EYES FORWARD, ARMS MOVING.

 

~Stay. Focused.~ January 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:11 am
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stay focusedHave you ever been so overwhelmed by the number of decisions in your life that you do one of two things:

  1. Freak out and do nothing.
  2. Start out in one direction only to get frustrated and head the opposite way.

I’ll give you a perfect, day-to-day life example.  Cleaning house.  Exciting.

I will typically start out cleaning our living room because it sees the most “action”.  I gather up a handful of toys and tote them down the stairs and start to put them away when I notice dirty clothes at the foot of Emma’s bed.  I grab the heap and head to the laundry room where I see the basket is about to overflow so I start a load of wash.  As I walk out the door, the vacuum cleaner catches my eye and I remember the mess of crumbs in the boys room so I drag it up the stairs and get to work.  What is Autumn’s i-pod doing in her brother’s room?  Distracted, I stop midstream and return it to it’s rightful place.  Guess who didn’t make their bed this morning?  I set the i-pod aside and start straightening blankets when I see the multiple dirty glasses on her shelf.  Bed half made, I head to the kitchen.  I can’t stand the sight of dishes setting in the sink so rather than go back to the previous task, I start washing.

Before I know it, I have spent half the day flitting from one room to another, accomplishing basically nothing.  Lack of focus, no direction, nothing to show for my time.  Not very productive, is it?

Now think of this same concept as it applies to life in general.  You start out with a goal, full of gusto and ready to accomplish greatness.  Then as you begin your journey, something grabs your attention and distracts you from the task at hand.  Do you panic and quit because surely if this was your purpose you wouldn’t be so easily swayed, right?  Maybe you, like me, start with one thing and realize that another requires your attention and move on to number 2 before completing number 1.

Might I suggest that this is not how the Lord wants us to live?  Confusion & frustration will almost always cause us to quit, and the Lord didn’t make us quitters.

Scripture tells us-

To stay focused:

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. -Proverbs 4:25

Not to give-up:

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us….Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.- Hebrews 12:1 & 3

And finish strong:

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.- 2 Timothy 4:5

Set your mind on what God wants for your life and make that your first priority in everything you do.  Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by the numerous things around you that are fighting for your attention.  Let the Lord direct your steps and trust in His will, then you will find success in your life as opposed to wasting precious time spinning your wheels and going nowhere.