Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~From Selfish To Thankful~ May 10, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 3:56 pm
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I am going to preface this post with one simple statement: I am selfish.

Today is Mother’s Day and I have spent a good portion of time crying. Last night my mom’s father in law suddenly passed away. So instead of coming to join my family today, she and her husband are headed up north. This is the first time in my 33 years of life that I have not been with my mommy on Mother’s Day and it breaks my heart. Of course I knew last night she was precisely where she should be, by her husband’s side in this horrible time for him and his family but I knew I would be missing her tremendously today. Told you I am selfish.

Then I was awakened bright & early by a text sent from my oldest daughter who’d stayed the night with a friend:

Happy Mother’s Day mama!!! I love you so much, and I’m so lucky to have u as a mom. Thanks for always being there for me when I need someone to talk to or need someone to vent to. Or when I go on my rages about school…u sit there and listen, and help me through them. You’re an amazing person! I am so happy that I get to call you my mom! You are my role-model in life…I want to be like you! A great friend to everyone, a great person, and a great mom! I love you more than anything! 😘 Happy Mothers Day 😍

Here come the tears again.

Then I come upstairs to find the most beautiful poem, written & framed by my husband that somehow captured one of the saddest times of my life and one of the happiest at the same time:

Not so long ago, in a day full of despair
I looked all around, wondering why you weren’t there
So much pain and oh such grief
Why dear God has this happened to me?
The pain is still real and the memory remains
Still questioning why my fate was not changed
But now looking down at this sweet little face

I fully comprehend Your amazing grace.
The loss that I felt may never fully pass
But now there’s another tiny hand that I grasp.
So today I thank you for this bundle of love
Sent from a loving, holy Father above.
I see that you love me and your promise is true,
By this beautiful gift, sent straight from you.

Next to that lay three cards, a few highlights for you:

“She makes the best macrollny”~Emma

“I’m glad I ended up with you caring instead of someone not.”~Isaiah

“One of my favorite things you do is go to all my sports events.”~Peyton

(Both boys refer to me as “Team Mom”)

More tears.

Then the text messages started to roll in, not only from friends and family, but from some of my kid’s friends too! A message of gratitude was left on my facebook page from the parents of the sweet baby girl I get to love 5 days a week. My momma heart nearly exploded!

Finally we get to church and I promise you I made my best effort to keep it together, yeah right!

Our precious friends had the dedication service for their beautiful baby boy and allowed us the honor of standing with them in the altar. Lanny, my “sister-wife,” who has felt the same devastating blow of losing a child, stood next to her husband who held their sleeping son and I wept. I cried for her loss and mine but at the same time, tears of joy for the gift that lay snoozing on his daddy’s chest.

As I said, the tears have flowed freely today, some of sadness but even more from a place of gratitude and overwhelming joy. Am I missing my mom today? Absolutely! But I am thankful I still have my mom with me while some of you weep today because your mother is in Heaven. I am thankful for the house FULL of people that love me just as I am and that the little things I do for them mean more to them than I could have ever imagined.

mothers day 2015

From one momma to another, I pray each one of you can see the hand of God in your life on this day set apart to honor us. While you, like me, may have a reason to be sad today, I hope that the good far outweighs the bad. It has to, you are a mommy, is there any greater gift in all the world for which we could give thanks?!



~Double Standard~ July 9, 2013

men women scalesIf you grew up with a sibling of the opposite sex, then you are familiar with the term double standard.  My brother is 7 years younger than me, so I was out of the teen years before he even got started.  I remember on several occasions saying things to my mom like, “you would never have let me do that!”  She would say, “it’s different with boys.  It’s not fair, but it is true.”  Not cool, Mom, not cool.  Evan got to go places I was never allowed to go, stay out later and have a little less supervision when we traveled.  As I got older, my momma explained to me that she never had to worry that someone would snatch Evan…and if they did, they’d bring him back, (sorry Ev, but she was right).  There was no danger of him turning up pregnant.  There was no worry in the clothes he wore drawing the wrong kind of attention.  Now that I have kids of my own, I understand what she meant.  What I don’t understand is what we are teaching our children when we as adults have a different set of rules depending on gender.

Why is it that certain behaviors and actions are considered okay for women but detestable when the same things are done by men OR vice versa?  I have listed just a few instances where gender may play a part in determining right from wrong.

A group of friends hits the strip club or hires a “private dancer” for a special occasion.  Ladies participate and it’s all in good fun.  Guys do it, and they are pigs for viewing naked women as entertainment.  The same can be said for “non-live” versions of the same entertainment, (including reading materials & movie choices).

Mom and Dad are divorced: Mom has custody & Dad’s not paying child support and the courts throw the book at him regardless of why he’s holding out.  Switch the scenario and Momma is the one neglecting to support her kids and all her lame excuses are accepted without batting an eye.

How about the young people in your life using “potty language?”  You overhear a group of boys talking trash and it’s just boys being boys.  Now let’s say it is pretty little girls saying the exact same things, they’re said to have poor upbringing.

Double Standards.  The urban dictionary defines it as “When a situation is desirable for one group but deplorable for another.”  I would like to present the challenge that wrong is just wrong.  It doesn’t differentiate between genders.  If it’s unacceptable behavior for one, then it’s equally unacceptable for the other.  What worries me is that our generation seems to be blurring the lines.  We use the fact that so-and-so is doing it so it must be okay for us to do it too.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. …”

(2Timothy 3:1-17)

Don’t allow the fact that we are living in a different day & age affect your moral standards.  Don’t attempt to justify certain behaviors because “everyone else is doing it”…what would your momma say?!  Don’t sit back and accept things simply because society tells you it’s okay.  Stand up for good and live righteously with the help of the Holy Spirit.  And when it comes to making choices, especially ones prone to the old double standard, ask yourself two questions:

  1.  How would I feel if my husband/wife or son/daughter did this? I say this because chances are, if you’re doing it, they will too because you won’t have a leg to stand on to tell them not to.
  2.  Would I do or say this if Jesus were standing right in front of me?  I’m going to let you in on a little secret….He is standing right there watching you and He hears every word you say & every thought you think.

~Life Is Messy~ March 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:35 am
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My youngest child wanted to play downstairs but this busy momma had work to do upstairs.  So I sent her down to play unsupervised like I would one of the big kids.  My thought process was, “how much damage can one kid do?”  Being the mother of five, I really should have known better than to entertain this thought.  After about 15 minutes, I realized it was quiet…too quiet.  The kind of quiet that can only mean one thing, disaster has struck.  I tiptoed down the steps to find my not-yet-2-year-old in the middle of a mess of tornado-like proportion that would have garnered at least an F-3 on the Fujita Scale.  Every piece of neatly folded clothing belonging to her and her sister had been ripped from their homes and scattered around the room.  All three beds had been stripped of their coverings and were being used to form a replica of tent-city.  Pictures were on the floor, dollies were hanging from the doors, diapers lay in every corner of the room, (unused, praise Jesus).

Now, to some of you this may seem like no big deal.  However, for those of you who share the neat-freak gene, you will sympathize with me.  Under normal circumstances I would have just cleaned it up.  On this particular day, I literally had just finished doing the laundry which is no small feat with a family of 7.  I was heading out the door for preschool pick-up and my neat-and-tidy side refuses to let me leave my home in such disarray, even if only for a few minutes.  So, did this mommy go into the chorus of the “clean-up” song with a smile on her face-uh…no.  This crazy woman went tearing through the room like a raving lunatic; throwing things back into the proper places all while my sweet baby girl stood paralyzed from either shock or fear.  That’s when I felt it.  That little nudge in my spirit telling me to take a chill pill.  I was making a huge deal about nothing.  My Bella didn’t know she had done something wrong, because she hadn’t.  She was playing, quite nicely I might add, all by herself.  (Enter maniac-mommy stage left)

I wasn’t exactly setting a good example for the little eyes that are always upon us.  If I blow up every time things get a little messy, I’m paving the way for my kids to follow in my obsessive compulsive foot-steps.  I was teaching my daughter that when messes happen, the way to handle them is to come unglued.  Bad parenting red flags shot up everywhere!  Wise words from Proverbs 22 rang through my head,

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

(vs. 6)

So I stopped what I was doing, scooped up my girl and told her what a beautiful job she had done redecorating.  After pick-up and lunch, the girls and I went into a slightly off-key version of the clean up song and restored order to the room just in time for naps.