Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~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)

 

~Holiday Blues~ November 19, 2013

Ever have one of those days where all you want to do is cry?  You may be crying for a very specific reason or, like I sometimes do, for reasons that you can’t quite explain.

Welcome to my Tuesday, and if I’m to be completely honest, it’s how I spent Sunday and Monday too.  I haven’t been able to get a grip, and do you want to know why?

Guilt.

How the world makes me feel.

How the world makes me feel.

What has me feeling guilty?  My kids Christmas list.  More specifically, my boys list.  Like most boys their age, every request they have made is a pricey one.  They are no longer content with legos, nerf guns & balls of various sizes.  Now the list consists of a laptop, cell phones & a huge trampoline for the yard.  It’s not that our kids are ungrateful for what we give them, it’s more about their hobbies and interests changing drastically that causes the rise in price of gifts.  Naturally we can’t buy all of these things so they will have to settle for the items at the bottom of their list.  And they will be content with that.  Christmas morning they will give us a sweet, understanding smile and express gratitude for what they have…and that makes me cry even more!

Here is the problem, I have let my guilt of not being able to give extravagant gifts steal my joy.  This time of year is my absolute favorite.  I look forward to Thanksgiving more than any other holiday.  But this year I’ve lost sight of what the holiday is about because I’ve been so consumed by the very opposite.  I have gotten sucked into the trap of materialism and the commercialization of the holidays.  So I decided to sit and list all the reasons I have to be thankful…and it’s too long to share.  Next up, I decided to list all that we can and do give our kids and weighed it against what we cannot provide.  And you know which list was longer?  Of course you do.

Does all of this stop the flow of tears?  Not yet, but it will.  I can’t help but desire to give my family more.  I do suffer with guilt because I don’t add to our family income.  I can hear the words of my sweet friends who reassure me that I am giving my family something of greater value by just being a wife & mommy, but still I struggle.

I share these very personal feelings with you all because I know I am not the only one who battles these emotions, especially this time of year.

Are you the parent who wants to spoil their kids just this once?

Or maybe it’s your spouse that you long to lavish with the beautiful jewelry she deserves for all the love she pours out year round.

Perhaps your parents are the ones you wish to repay for all the years that they have given selflessly to you and you’d love to surprise them for a change.

It could be that all of the above apply to you and then some.

May I ask that we pray for one another today?  Can we take a moment to call on the Lord on behalf of others who are in the same position?

Lord, I ask that you be with me and those like me today who are struggling with feelings of inadequacy due to what we are unable to give.  Shift our focus to all that we have to be thankful for.  Show us ways in which we can express to our loved ones just how much they mean to us without feeling guilt over lack of material things.  Remind us, Lord, what these upcoming holidays are about: gratitude, family and most importantly, You.  Let us not be so consumed with what the world pushes us towards that we miss what you are calling us to.  And when the overwhelming emotions come, comfort us as only you can by speaking straight to our hearts.