Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~I DO Care~ December 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:20 am
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I have felt very convicted over a 3 word phrase that I probably use every single day. The words aren’t ugly or said hatefully, but I believe the conviction came because they imply an emotion that could be perceived as hurtful.

Wanna know what it is?

“I don’t care.”

Whenever the kids ask me for something, like a snack or to watch a certain show, rather than give a simple yes, I typically say “I don’t care.” I’m not really sure how this came to be and it never stuck out to me until recently. But I don’t like it. Why would I tell my children I don’t care about anything?! Because truthfully, I DO care…about every little thing that concerns my people.

Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase. The results really hit home.

“Saying “don’t mind” sounds very polite and gentle. It’s like the person is saying “It’s ok with me.”; however, “don’t care” sounds stronger and it’s like the person is saying, “It doesn’t matter to me”.”-http://english.stackexchange.com

Synonym for I don’t care-uninvolved

That’s not at all what I mean when I say it! Jesus, help me!

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Prov 16:24 ESV)

While I never intended to be harsh, my careless use of a simple phrase indicates otherwise. Nothing about “I don’t care” is seasoned with grace. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how hateful it does sound.

Ephesians 4:29 has been on my heart fairly often lately and I have to wonder if that’s why the sudden feelings of guilt over my choice of words.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV)

My kids, I’m sure like many of yours, never stop with the questions..

Can I have this?

Can we go there?

Will you get me..?

While the constant requests can be taxing on ones nerves, we should still take care to respond with love and kindness rather than harshness and irritation. I for one don’t want my kids to stop coming to me because they feel they are an aggravation to me.

This has become a habit to me, one that will take some time to break. But I am determined to do better in this area because even the simplest of words have the power to build up or tear down.

words

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life” (Prov 15:4 ESV)

I want to be that tree.

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~Love Yourself~ July 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:06 am
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For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you may have noticed my posts have been a bit sporadic over the last couple of weeks. This may come as a surprise to you, but every once in a while, I get discouraged. Shocker, right?!

Ok, so I’m messing with you, of course I get discouraged, we all do! Last week was particular frustrating for me. Nothing life shattering happened, I was just irritated. So much so that during Wednesday night Bible study, I essentially tuned Pastor out and sat in the back journaling my frustrations, (sorry Pastor, it wasn’t you, it was me).

I wrote about my lack of motivation to write. Ironic? Yes. I have a desire to one day publish and yet feel completely inadequate to reach that goal. My writing is too plain & there are far too many authors better equipped than I so who would want to pay to read my material?

My voice lesson didn’t go so hot either and that had my questioning if I should be involved in music ministry. Singing just doesn’t come naturally to me, I have to work at it, so maybe that means I should quit. In all honesty, my team doesn’t need me, right?

Times like this are incredibly difficult for me to overcome. I become my own worst critic & believe me, I am relentless with the harsh things I speak to myself. But then God gave me a little aha moment in the midst of my ramblings.

Recently I have caught my oldest daughter being rather hateful to her younger sisters more often than just typical spats that siblings are bound to have. When I called her out on it, I asked “Would you treat anyone outside of this house like that?!” Of course she responded with a resounding “No.” I followed up with, “Then why are you so quick to cut down the very people you should treat the best?!”

God has this way of taking the words I speak as a parent and making me turn them around on myself. I’m not always crazy about His methods, but He knows how to get my attention!

I would never look at another woman and call her a terrible mother.

I would never lock eyes with a friend struggling in their ministry and tell them their struggles were evidence that clearly they had missed their calling & it’s time to call it quits.

I would never belittle how someone chose to express their creativity.

And yet, these are all things I have screamed at myself. I am careful to choose kind and gentle words with others but berate myself every chance I get. Perhaps I should take my own advice given to my daughter, “If you wouldn’t talk to a complete stranger with such harshness than don’t speak it over someone you love.”

Yes, we should love ourselves. Even in our shortcomings, our struggles and our epic failures, we should show ourselves the same love and grace we extend to others. If like me, you tend to be gentler with others than yourself, try putting a different spin on a well known Scripture, love yourself as you love your neighbor.affe8253f3defec8b2654eefb29c8e31

 

~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.

 

~Words~ February 16, 2014

When was the last time you caught yourself  using one of the phrases your parents used to say?  You know the ones I’m talking about, the very things you swore you would NEVER say when you became a parent!

‘If you don’t stop making that face it’s going to freeze that way!”

“If so-n-so jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?”

“Because I said so, that’s why!!”

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

“When I was your age…..”

I believe that Proverbs 6 gives us some Biblical insight to explain this phenom:

“My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.  When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.  For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life” (vs. 20-23)

The words that we speak in any relationship stick, but especially those that we speak to and about our children.  I can remember many encouraging words that my parents spoke into my life….I can also remember the not so good words.  I’ll never forget a time when someone had said something that absolutely devastated me and when I sought counsel the response I got shocked me, “They’re just words.  Let it go.”

No.  They are not just words.  Matthew 12:36 says “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  Perhaps if we took that into account before we opened our mouths, we’d be a bit more careful in our choice of words.  The tongue is tiny but holds the power of life and death.  There is no such thing as “just words.”

I’d like to give us a little visual to aid us in our language towards our loved ones, more specifically, the little ones left in our charge.  Imagine that every person on earth has an empty cup in their hearts.  We should be pouring crystal clear water into every empty cup we encounter.  Our children’s cups should be filled to overflowing so that when the world attempts to dump it’s contaminated sewer water into them, there will be no room in their cup.

The crystal clear water is encouragement, biblically sound teaching and words of praise.

The sewage water represents the culture that we live in that offers up words that go against every teaching of the Word of God.

One springs up life while the other pollutes.  Which one do you hope that your children will say of you?words