Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~My Heart Knows, It’s My Mind That Needs Convincing~ January 27, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:08 am
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I am currently training for my first, (and quite possibly last), half marathon. Myself and two lifelong friends from high school have made a vow to endure this together. The difference is…both of them have ran at least one before so they have the advantage of knowing they can do this. Lucky for me, one of the two is a local girl so we are logging our miles together which makes it a pretty awesome experience. The third musketeer lives at the location of our upcoming race so we are keeping up with her training via text.

Yesterday we were chatting about the long runs we have pending and the fact that I have never ran more than 7.5….ever. Her encouragement, “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Mind over matter.” Sounds simple enough but it was what I needed to hear. I train consistently and make proper fuel a priority so my body is able but my mind tells me otherwise.

In the same way that I am making preparations for this race, I prepare myself for the work I do in ministry. I pray, I read God’s Word, I seek counsel. My heart is full of God’s love and I feel ready. Then my mind chimes in and has me second guessing.

My mind will tell me that I’m not smart enough because I don’t have a college degree.

My mind will tell me I’m too young for people to have any faith in my abilities to lead.

My mind will tell me that my past isn’t really forgiven, by God or anyone else for that matter, and with that looming all around me, I can’t be an effective witness.

But my heart. My heart believes that God can use anyone who is willing. I can feel His strength when I step out in faith. I lean on the words of Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts,” believing that my shortcomings are no matter to God.

While my heart is confident, my mind can always use some tweaking. Like most of you, my thoughts can get a little crazy and I find myself wasting precious time essentially arguing with myself. It’s time that I take captive those detrimental thoughts and replace them with encouraging Scripture.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1Peter 2:9 ESV)  

Yeah, that one ought to do it 🙂jeremiah 29

 

~Peacemaker or Fight Picker~ January 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:11 am
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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matt 5:9 NIV)

Peacemakers, huh?  What does it mean, exactly, to be a peacemaker?

-One who brings peace, especially amongst adversaries.-Thanks Google.

The exact opposite of “fight pickers.”

Here’s what I am reading between the lines. A peacemaker is someone who looks for a way to bring resolution to a conflict as opposed to stirring the pot and causing further strife.

Have you ever witnessed an argument before and wondered, “What are they trying to achieve here?” You watch, (in person or online since that’s a more common method of communicating these days), and it seems as though the only thing one or both parties hopes to achieve is to prove how right they are and how grotesquely wrong their adversary is. My inner people pleaser keeps me from chiming in 99% of the time but what I’m screaming on the inside is “What good is going to come from this?!”

I am by no means perfect in this area myself. I don’t always fight fair and my words don’t always travel through the God filter before they tumble out of mouth. I am, after all, a work in progress.

How different do you suppose our world would be if we would aim to find peace in the midst of disagreements as opposed to seeking our own agenda at every turn? I am not suggesting that we all cower from arguments, fighting is part of human nature. But how open are you to hearing the other person’s perspective when they are on the attack, slinging accusations and pointing fingers? Got you there, right? We are far more likely to listen when the approach is one of gentleness and the desired result is fixing a problem instead of inflating it to disastrous proportions.

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 2;23-25 ESV)

Reminding yourself to be quick to listen and slow to speak is the last thing on your mind when someone has upset you, I know. That is why it’s important to commit these things to memory every day, when you’re not all fired up, then it will come more naturally the next time an argument presents itself.prov 1012

Love.  A four letter word that actually has a positive meaning. Let it flood every area of your life and see the life changing effect it has on you and all those you come in contact with.

 

~Daddy Issues~ May 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:58 am
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abba_fatherI can remember being a little girl standing by the door of our 1970s trailer complete with multi-colored shag carpeting, my Minnie Mouse suitcase by my side, waiting for my father to come pick me up for our weekend visit.  More times than not, mom would hang up the phone, force a smile and inform me that something had come up and he would not be coming for me, again.  My earliest memories of my father were of disappointment and rejection.  As I got older and the broken promises came, I started to make light of his excuses.  I remember an extended period when any time he missed an event he’d say he was busy building fence so I would joke that by now he must be fencing in most of the surrounding counties!  While I joked and acted indifferent, inside I was beating myself up.  Granted I had a very loving step-dad, (the man I still call dad to this day), who was at my side during every step of my childhood, there was a part of me that always felt damaged because I was unwanted by my own father.

This feeling of being unlovable became a major stumbling block in my late teens & early twenties when I started dating.  I truly believed that no man could ever really love me when my own father obviously did not.  That led to destructive behavior and desperation to please the current beau.  I became whoever I thought the boyfriend wanted me to be.  I made my decisions based on what I thought would win me their approval and make them love me.  I was so desperate for a man’s love that I was blinded to the poor choices that were devastating my life.  I wasn’t true to myself and I definitely wasn’t living for God….because I didn’t know Him.

When I was 23, I started dating a pastor’s kid.  So naturally, I started going to church because I knew that was what he would want me to do.  The first time I heard an old time southern preacher refer to God as Abba Father, I was like, “seriously, no thanks.”  I had a pretty lousy image etched in my brain of what a father looked like so I was not feeling it, if you get what I’m saying.  That relationship turned into a friendship but I kept going to church.  I liked the people, they were sweet and accepting and I just felt good when I was there.

Even after I asked for God’s forgiveness and accepted Him as my personal savior, I would cringe when I heard someone refer to Him as “daddy” or “papa.”  I had so much unforgiveness in my heart for my earthly father that I could not accept the love of my heavenly father. I loved the Lord and I knew that He loved me but I could not get past my worldly views of a father to fully grasp the depth & width of His love for me.  Then one day, it clicked.  I was at a women’s conference and the speaker talked about being bound by the unforgivenss in our lives and how it was hindering our walk with God.  I made a decision to forgive my biological father for his absence in my life.  I chose to no longer let his mistakes dictate my relationship with my Creator.  I took the insecurities of my past, laid them at the cross and I LEFT THEM THERE!

How many of you out there struggle with the same thing?  Maybe your father was an absentee dad too, or worse than that, maybe he was around but was abusive to you in some way.  Let me tell you from my own personal experience, even those of you who were lucky enough to have the most fabulous daddy in all the world, our Father in heaven loves you infinitely more than any man on earth ever could.  Once you realize that simple truth and embrace it with all of your heart, you will experience the same freedom that I am happy to say I walk in each and every day.  Don’t let you perception of God be based on a human.  People will let you down, but God’s love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on you or me.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:38-39)