Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Don’t freak the freak out!~ September 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:13 am
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Some days I have these moments of clarity where all is right with the world, everything makes perfect sense and the word zen could be used to describe my state of being. So far, today has NOT been that day!

We have some changes happening in Chez Rutledge and up until this morning, I was pretty relaxed about it all. For whatever reason, I decided at approximately 8:15am on a Wednesday was a great time to freak the freak out!

How are we going to make this work?

When will everything fall into place?

Why are we not getting clear & precise direction?

What the heck made me think I could be all calm and cool about anything?

My “nature” is to worry and fret and plan ahead and know what’s happening “play-by-play” style. We are currently in a “roll with it” stage and my brain went all spastic and nearly short circuited. Then in true Jesus fashion, I had a gentle one word reminder…rest. My first thought was, “Seriously, Lord?” Then I reread my devotion about stillness and quickly pulled references on “rest”.

“And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14 ESV)

No matter where we go, what we are doing or whom we are with, the Lord himself goes with us which should give us rest in the form of peace.

“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat;for God gives rest to his loved ones.” (Psalm 127:2 NLT)

Being a child of God gives us an assurance that we will have what we need, when we need it without fail. In these words, we find rest in His provision.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt 11:28-30 Message)

If you’ve ever found yourself seeking counsel from a Christian during times of hardship, I am sure you’ve heard the phrase, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Sometimes when the struggle is real and deep or even painful, those words feel empty and crass. However, there is profound truth in the verse above. God gives us rest in His promises. We will never be defeated so long as we walk according to His plan for our lives.

So don’t freak the freak out over whatever is happening in your life right now. What seems overwhelming to us is simply all in a day’s work to the one who never slumbers. Y’all, He’s got this so just rest already!season

 

~But Did You Ask?~ November 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:40 am
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My little Bella has been going through a phase lately, (Lord, please let it just be a phase), where she cries over every little thing.

Her jacket sleeve is inside out. Cry.

She can’t open her yogurt. Meltdown.

The baby doll won’t stay in the stroller. Fit.

Bubble Guppies goes to commercial break. The neighbors assume I beat my kid based on the level of screaming coming from this house.

When she is in the midst of one of these crying spells, it’s really hard to get through to her. She completely tunes me out and can only manage to focus on whatever it is that is earth shattering to her in that moment.

Yesterday, right as I was pulling out of the parking lot, she dropped her treat she had just been given at preschool. She was starting to wind it up, because let’s face it, the big meltdowns take some deep breaths to get the vocal chords all warmed up. Somehow I managed to lock eyes with her in the rearview mirror and very calmly said, “Isabella, did you drop your treat?” “YES…(complete with quivering lip and watery eyes.)” “Can I help you find it when we get home?” “OK.”

And that was it. At the moment when the intensity of her problem was at it’s peak, I got her to focus on me and the solution I could offer her rather than the problem itself.

So many times throughout our day together, I pose the question, “Did you ask for help?” The answer is always no at which point I encourage her to seek help when she can’t do something on her own as opposed to throwing herself in the floor over a stubborn foil lid or uncooperative baby doll.

What about you? What impossible situation are you facing today that has you pitching a fit as you desperately try to “do it yourself”?

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
(Psalm 121:1-2 ESV)

God has promised in His Word that He answers those who call on Him for help. He knows our needs and just like me with my Bella, He sees our struggle, but He’s waiting for us to invite Him into the situation.

” And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 NIV)

ASK God for His help. Before you struggle to figure it out on your own, before the meltdown, before you throw in the towel, simply ask Him. Get your eyes off the problem and set them on the solution, Jesus!

Just in case you doubt that God is willing or able to intervene in your situation, how about a few more promises from Psalm 1:21:

He will not let your foot slip (v.3) – He is your firm foundation!

The Lord watches over you (v.5) – You have constant supervision, you’re never alone!

The Lord will keep you from all harm (v.7) – What more do you need to be reassured of God’s love for you?!morning prayer

 

~Shout Out!!~ March 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 2:34 pm
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Today has without a doubt been one of the best Mondays EVER!  I had a whole blog idea worked out in my head yesterday but my computer was down so I wasn’t able to write.

Then today started to unfold and rather than share the post I originally had intended, I’m going to tell you about how awesome my God is to me!

First off, we had a PHENOMENAL worship service yesterday morning.  I wish I could put into words the overwhelming sense of victory I felt as we sang with every bit of conviction, love and gratitude we could muster: “The mountains shake before You.  The demons run and flee, at the mention of your name, King of Majesty!  There is no power in Hell, or any who can stand, before the power and the presence of the Great I Am!!”   Let me tell you folks, if you have never been in service where the Holy Spirit was moving, you are missing out.  It was incredible to feel His presence, even though we don’t live and operate by those feelings, it sure is nice when they happen.

So I was pretty much on a spiritual high already this morning with a heart so full of thankfulness that I truly thought it was going to burst.  Then I get some fantastic news in regards to my new business as a jewelry lady.  Next up came the notification that I have been blogging for one whole year-yeah me!  I never thought I would be able to keep up this writing thing, but I have enjoyed it immensely.  This blog has given me such a sense of accomplishment that I am so very thankful for my husband’s urging to pursue it.  Then I checked my mail, boy oh boy, I checked my mail.

I had not one, but two, unexpected envelopes in my box.  The first was from my “jewelry great-grandma” who sent me the most beautiful blue & white pearl bracelet…WHAT?!?!  How awesome is that?!  Behind envelope number two was a financial blessing from a family member who has showered our family with blessings more times than I could ever adequately thank her for.

Needless to say, this girl has been doing the happy Jesus dance all day long!  I’m walking around with perma-grin in complete awe at the hand of God in my life.

Let this be an encouragement to you all who may be struggling right now…DO. NOT. QUIT!!!  I promise I will elaborate later, but you won’t believe what a drastic turn around my life has taken just in the last couple of weeks.  We have gone from struggling in numerous areas of our lives to being more than conquerors in those same areas.  I’m going to give you one little piece of advice that I know has created the turning point for me, stop trying to do things your way.  Just stop it.  Let go and truly let God have the reigns.  Thank Him for His provision even before the resources arrive.  Wait expectantly to see His hand move on your behalf.  Ok, so that was more like 4 things…sorry I am so excited I just can’t shut up!

Big shout out for my Lord & Savior…Go team Jesus!!!god provides

 

~Thanksgiving~ November 28, 2013

Gratitude

This past month, several friends have been taking part in the month of gratitude by posting each day what they are most thankful for on social media.  I have participated and listed things ranging from the people that I am most grateful for all the way to something as simple as a hot cup of coffee.

Today, I want to give thanks for what I often take for granted, my Lord.

He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides.  When I look back over my life, there are many times when I should have hit bottom.  There have been countless times where finances weren’t just low, they were nonexistent, and God would send us a blessing by way of a brother or sister in Christ, a break from one of our debtors or an unexpected job opportunity.  As I sit here today, we may not have all we want, but God has provided us with all we need and for that I give him thanks.

He is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals.  Immediately my thoughts take me back to this time last year when Peyton was in excruciating, unexplainable pain.  I have never cried out to God like I did during those weeks, and He came through.  Just last night, both my little girls were restless because of irritating coughs that kept them from laying down peacefully.  I started to jump up and grab the cough medicine and changed my mind.  Instead I prayed and asked God to touch my girls, to take away the cough and bring them comfort that only the Great Physician can bring…and off to sleep they went without another sound.  His healing may not come in the ways we would like or in the timing we would prefer, but it is available to those who call on his name.

He is Abba, Father.  As a parent, I know the lengths that I would go to for my children.  As a Christian, I know that it still pales in comparison to what God has done and will do for me.   He is not some distant, uncaring God.  He is near to us and loves us with an unfailing love that is difficult to comprehend.  In a world where love is often hinged on meeting expectations of another, God’s love is unconditional.  When I am at my most unlovable, He still opens his arms wide and invites me to run into them.

So today, I give thanks to the one who is at times overlooked for all his goodness.  I will praise the name of the Lord, for He alone is worthy of my praise.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.

(Psalm 100:4 NLT)

 

~This Day~ November 26, 2013

rockingchairHere lately I have found myself in a place that I really don’t care to be, trapped in my own mind, consumed by what our future holds.  I’ve been running possible scenarios through my head.  “What if this or that happens?  Then what do we do?”

When I looked at my calendar, I would skim over the list for the day and then spend a great deal of time stressing over what was coming up for the remainder of the week.

Even house work had become counterproductive.  I would flit from room to room accomplishing nothing.

Scatterbrain-initis….it’s a disease, I am sure of it.  But I am lucky enough to be blessed with friends that remind me of what the cure is.

Sunday, a sweet sister asked to pray for me.  While she prayed, she asked the Lord to give me what I needed for each day, and that’s when it clicked.  I had been wasting precious time every day focusing on the next day, week and sometimes even the entire month in advance.

In the Lord’s prayer, we are told to pray “Give us this day our daily bread,” I believe that applies to more than just food.  Every morning I should be asking God to meet my family’s physical needs, yes, but I need him to meet my emotional and spiritual needs as well.  My prayer time needs to include asking him to equip me with the grace it takes to handle all of the life happening around me.  Wisdom would be nice when faced with challenging momma moments, so I should probably be seeking that too.  Then I need to say amen and trust that the Lord will sustain me and my family for that day without fear of what the next day will be like.

I came across a quote that really got my attention:

“What will defeat you if you let it, is not all the things you worry about, but all the worrying itself.” -Brian Vaszily

I don’t want to live defeated.  God has said that I am more than a conqueror through him who loves me and worry is robbing me of that gift.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

(Matthew 6:34 The Message)

 

~Broken-Down~ May 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:53 am
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Thankfully we, nor the truck, have reached this point of dispepair!

Thankfully we, nor the truck, have reached this point of dispepair!

“Even hauling the trash is an uphill battle.”  My husband shook his head in frustration.

Once again, my mans only means of transportation is on the fritz and has been for several weeks now.  We have put more time and money into his truck than I’d care to admit over the last few months and it’s dead, again.  As aggravating as it is for me, it is astronomically more so for him.  We are incredibly blessed to have friends who allow us the use of their vehicles for things such as hauling the trash, but as is the case with most men, my man feels trapped without his wheels.  I would gladly surrender my ride to him but as you know, 5 kids, lots of too and fro, this momma can’t go without a vehicle.

In this particular moment of “argghh” we stood in the kitchen questioning if we had missed God somewhere.  Why else would we continually face the same struggle over and over and over again?  I looked my man straight in the eyes and said to him, “I don’t know.”  Surprisingly this was not the profound wisdom he was seeking.  But it was the truth.

I don’t know why we seem to constantly run uphill against the wind.  It seems that eventually we would hit a downhill that would allow us time to catch our breath.  And I believe that one day we will, in God’s timing, not ours.

As difficult as our struggles sometimes get, we have never hit a wall of hopelessness.

“I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.”

(Psalm 37:25 NIV)

While we may not live in the lap of luxury, we have an abundance for which to be thankful.  God has not left us to our own devices.  Because of our financial struggles, we have seen His hand move in our lives countless times through the love and generosity of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  But if we’re not careful, we’ll become like my husband’s truck: broken-down.  We’ll start to think that obviously we are not worthy of God’s blessings, that we’re not good enough to receive His love or that He is punishing us for something.  Instead of focusing on Him (ahem) we focus on the problem…bad idea.

Just think, if we never had a great need, would we fully appreciate God’s provision?

On the days when the frustration seems overbearing, it helps to remember that this is only a season.  When you look at your life and the needs don’t match up with the funds, don’t fret, it will only make the matter at hand worse.  Trust that God knows what He’s doing even if you feel like He’s left you in the dark.

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

(Isaiah 55:9 NLT)