Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~When Did RAPE Become Funny…And Other Middle School Shockers~ December 10, 2014

For the last week or so, our oldest daughter hasn’t really been herself. She’s been moody and quiet and has pretty much stayed holed up in her room. We’ve continually asked her what was up and were met with the typical teenager response,  “Nothing.” We figured it was the hormones raging again and tried to give her some space. That is until yesterday.

A little backstory about our girl for those who don’t have the pleasure of knowing her personally. She is madly in love with Jesus. She talks about her faith anywhere, anytime to anyone who will listen. We often joke and call her our little missionary who’s trying to save the world one middle-schooler at a time! It breaks her heart into pieces when her peers are struggling which has led to many talks about the struggles kids are facing and why sometimes there’s nothing we can do but pray for them.

Now, for the current horror that’s got this momma fit to be tied.

Autumn was terribly upset when she got in the car yesterday but refused to talk about it in front of her little sisters stating she couldn’t repeat a word that was said. I didn’t think too much of it knowing full well that kids curse in school. However, color me shocked when the story unraveled. Apparently the word “rape” is being used as an alternative to many other, far less offensive words. Some examples “OHHH, he raped you!” Someone bumps into you in the hall or gym class, so you scream “RAPE!” at the top of your lungs. They even have a storage room they refer to as “the rape closet.” Yesterday, a GIRL friend of Autumn’s used it this way, “Like how she raped you in your sleep.” (the ‘she’ mentioned being my girl)

Autumn was mortified and told her “friend” that what she said was inappropriate. This young lady told my daughter she needed to learn how to take a joke! Are you kidding me?! What in the world is funny about a word that implies sexual violence?! Before the arguments come, I am well aware that is has another meaning, that point is moot in my opinion so I won’t even argue it with you. These kids are so desensitized that they will throw around words that have horrific meanings like they are saying the word “hello.” When Autumn wouldn’t back down, this young lady proceeded to find backup to verbally attack my girl, accusing of her being a bully instead of a Christian. Perhaps what made this hurt the most…this little girl is a church-goer.

This conversation opened up to other topics as well. Kids with social media names like “MyHeartBelongsToJesus” are defending their beliefs with a string of curse words….uhm, no. Babies are having babies. Young ladies are cutting their beautiful bodies and talking about it over lunch. Serious issues….casual conversations. Wow.

I am bringing this up, not to be a gossip, but to open the eyes of parents who may not have a clue that their kids are using these phrases so flippantly. But maybe they don’t realize the horror of rape. Maybe they haven’t considered that a classmate within earshot has actually experienced the word and their casual use of the expression makes them feel that much more ashamed and isolated.

My advice, be proactive.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6 ESV)

After talking with Autumn, I went into the boys room to discus it with them. Peyton said, “Why are yelling at us?” Oops, I was pretty upset when I approached them. “I just want you boys to know how I feel about this that way you won’t inadvertently repeat a phrase your friends use that is highly offensive and claim you didn’t know.” taste words

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt 12:36 ESV) 

Friends, we are living in a world that we must deal with these issues on a daily basis. It is our job to teach our kids the power of the words they speak. If we allow ourselves or our kids to become lax in our speech, we may find ourselves on a very slippery slope. It is true that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” and “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” (Prov 18:21 & Matt 15:18 ESV) So let us take care to guard our hearts, minds and mouths from what is detrimental to the soul.

 

~Parents Need to PARENT~ March 10, 2014

I have determined that middle school is where sweet little kids turn into 3-headed dragons.  The chatter that has been circulating among parents and what little I can drag out of my own children would even make unsavory characters blush.  These kids are 11-14 years old and getting away with things that I didn’t even think about until college!

  •  Foul language is considered part of normal conversation.
  • “Twerking,” is the new craze at the dances…thank you, Miley Cyrus for your contribution to society.
  • CHILDREN are making out during school and some have already engaged in sexual activities.

Are you kidding me?!

So what’s a freaked out momma supposed to do when her kids have no other option than public school?!  How can I ensure that my kids can be stuck in the middle of these atrocious environments and come out unscathed & still living for Jesus?

Proverbs 28 is riddled with verses that we parents can pour into and pray over our children.

When your child is surrounded by a group doing all kinds of wrong and is unsure what to do:

“The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.” (vs 1)

During school, when they see everybody getting by with doing whatever they want as opposed to what they should be doing:

“Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.” (vs 14)

“The blameless will be rescued from harm, but the crooked will be suddenly destroyed.” (vs 18)

If you have little disciples like we do, anxious to share the Word of God but fearful of rejection, who may be tempted to join the masses:

“Those who lead good people along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the honest will inherit good things.” (vs 10)

What happens when their closest friends turn from their church-upbringin’ roots and decide to embrace the false teaching that is attacking them from every direction:

“Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.” (vs 7)

“It makes good sense to obey the Law of God, but you disgrace your parents if you make friends with worthless nobodies.” (same verse, CEV translation)

I am so utterly disappointed in the job that parents are doing these days.  They are succumbing to the pressures of this world by allowing their children to set the standards and the rules instead of demanding a certain level of respect and personal integrity.  These children that are acting out in public are belittling themselves.  God created us all to be spectacular and by behaving with so little self-respect and absolutely no dignity they are falling well below their potential for greatness.

I’m sorry about the soap box, I am just horrified at the downward spiral that are young people are falling into.  We can only expect so much from their educators and Sunday school teachers, at some point, Mom & Dad need to step it up a notch.  For those of you who may be living inside a bubble, oblivious to the hell your kids are raising when they walk out your door, I pray that the Lord would thump you on the head and open your eyes!  I can only pray that we are doing a decent enough job with ours because I know they are just as susceptible to temptation as the next kid and boy have my kids messed up at times.  So I am seeking the Lord on my behalf too.  I want my kids to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.  Mom & Dad, Nana & Grandad…it is time to hit your knees to protect your babies.steering

That is all.

 

~Wise Child, You Bless My Soul~ March 5, 2014

“My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice!  Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.”
(Proverbs 23:15-16 NLT)

As a momma, I can truthfully say that nothing brings me greater joy than realizing my kids “get it.”

We have 3 pre-teen/teen children, 2 boys 1 girl.  Our girl is our little evangelist.  She will tell anyone and everyone about Jesus and try to lead them through the sinners prayer before they even realize what’s going on!  Her and several of her Jesus-girl friends have started a Bible club at school where they talk and share prayer requests….IN SCHOOL!!  Go girls!  They are shining their lights so bright and out in the open that there is no doubt in my mind that they are absorbing every bit of what we and the church leaders are pouring into them.

Now my boys are a different story.  Most of the time they seem so checked out and goofy that I’m pretty sure they haven’t heard a word of the sermons preached, lessons taught or correction given at home.  Then the little jokers surprise me.

Just the other day, one of my boys randomly walked in the kitchen and announced, “It just gets on my nerves.”

“Ok, son, what exactly are we talking about here?”

“Well, when kids at school talk about how much the looooove Jesus then turn around and cuss or act rude to someone.”

I kept my cool but inside I was doing my go Jesus dance!  Not only did he disprove of the immature behavior of some of his peers but he immediately recognized that their actions didn’t line up with what they claimed their beliefs were.  And it made him ill.

An overwhelming sense of pride washed over me as I watched the aggravation cover his face as he talked about how annoying it is to listen to people say one thing and then live in complete opposition of what they just said.  My boy is listening and receiving what we’re preaching.

This isn’t the only time they’ve melted this momma’s heart.  Boy #2 is my macho, tough guy, joke playing little sneak.  He thrives on trying to make people laugh regardless of how foolish he looks in the process, he is his father’s son.  So I tend to think there isn’t a serious bone in his body.  Until the day he came to me about a little girl in school who is struggling and had opened up to him and another friend about her self-deprecating thoughts.  You could see the tenderness in his expression and the compassion in his voice.  He was truly concerned about this girls well-being.  I just wanted to burst into tears and hug his neck but again, not cool, so I listened intently while my heart was bursting with the realization that we must be doing something right.

Being a parent in the days that we are living in is painfully hard even on its best day.  Our kids are faced with issues and temptations that we can’t even fathom.  It is scary.  Most parents think they are failing miserably at the job of raising confident, godly children, but when they give us those little “aha” moments, what joy it brings to our souls.  Keep at it, weary mom & dad, I promise you they are hanging onto your every word & looking to you for an example.  That’s a heavy load, and one that I pray you and I will take seriously.  If you want your children to live a life that honors the Lord, check yourself and make sure that there aren’t some changes you might need to make.what you teach

 

~Suffering In Silence~ July 2, 2013

I feel I should give a disclaimer before you read this poem.  The subject is sensitive and I actually debated on whether or not I should even share it.  However, it addresses an issue that has unfortunately become quite common among young people, especially young ladies.  In the hopes that this would touch someone’s life and give them the courage to end destructive behavior, I decided to put this out there.

(I have not given this a title as of yet.)

The girl in the mirror tells me I’m fat;

That I’m ugly, worthless, and unlovable at that

My hair is too curly, my face acne speckled

My upturned nose has hideous freckles

No wonder the other girls mock me each day

When they see me coming, they look the other way

They’re tall & skinny and cheer for our school

Hangin’ with this chubby girl would be the opposite of cool

Friday night football and where am I

Alone in my bedroom, trying my best not to cry

I scratch and I cut to take away the pain

But the outcome it brings is simply more shame

The girl in the mirror glares back at me

And once again tells me what she sees

A useless human-being through a blank stare

If I left this earth, nobody would care

Just as I write my final good-bye

Suddenly Jesus appears by my side

His expression twists with anguish

He takes my face in His hands

He speaks straight into my soul

As only He can

“I am the Lord Almighty, I do not make mistakes

I gave you this life; it is not yours to take

Look back at that mirror, I’ll tell you what I see

A precious, priceless soul; the Father’s gift to me

You are altogether beautiful; there is no one like you

The hairs atop that curly head? I numbered all those too

So bring your burdens and your cares

Lay them at my feet and leave them there

And when you think your existence is meaningless

Remember my child, in my eyes you’re a princess”

~Valerie Rutledge

broken-mirror

 

~The Exasperated Sigh & An Eye Roll~ May 7, 2013

I currently have three pre-teens coexisting under one roof.  I know, I accept your condolences.  While most of the time they are pretty awesome kids, some days they can be a tad bit testy.  Yesterday morning, for example, I asked one of said three to take the dog out.  For the sake of sparing them humiliation, I will leave their name out…this time.  The poor dog was pacing anxiously at the front door and I had been hounding my kiddo for 5 minutes to take her out.  On the final request, I got the exasperated sigh accompanied by the eye roll that every child this age has perfected.  A little side note that you need to know about me, nothing irritates me more than having someone huff at me.  It invokes an instant reaction of wrath that no amount of back-pedaling can escape.  I believe my words were, “Huff at me one more time and find out what happens!”

Now isn’t that a nice way for us to start out our morning?!  Who is this hateful woman speaking on my behalf and where did that sweet-spirited, gentle momma go?

What is that one thing that gets under your skin more than anything else in this world?  What kind of crazed lunatic does it turn you into?

No matter what your pet peeve may be, you can confess it to God as a weakness and ask Him to help you overcome it.  If it is something that really grates on your nerves, as the huff & eye roll does mine, than don’t expect an instant cure of your short-coming.  As was evident from my reaction to the resistant dog-walker yesterday, I obviously am a work in progress.

A scripture that I try to recall to memory when one of my little angels has the audacity to cut their eyes at me is Proverbs 15:1:

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

(NLT)

You better believe that’s the truth!  When I snap at my child because they have irritated me, do you think they quickly correct their behavior and apologize for their rudeness?  Uh, no.  My short fuse only agitates them further, escalating the situation making both of us so on edge that we’re armed and ready for battle.  All I have done by acting in anger was set a poor example for my kids of how to handle emotions.

My child was wrong to show me disrespect through their actions, but I was equally wrong in my response.  What I should have done was explain, calmly, why I found their attitude unacceptable and given them a chance to apologize.  What could have been a teaching moment for my child, ended up being a rebuke aimed squarely in my direction.

This is not the kind of momma I desire to be.  I want my kids to see me respond with grace and humility, not unforgiveness & anger.

After all, it is the wise woman who builds her home while the foolish woman destroys it with her own two hands. twohouses (paraphrase of Proverbs 14:1)