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.

 

~Lost in Translation?~ October 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:50 am
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So I just recently discovered that my smarter-than-me phone has this wonderful feature known as talk to text. Color me excited!! I am hands down, the WORST texter in the world. I know this because my teenage sons tell me daily.

Yesterday was my first time using the fun little microphone at the bottom of the keyboard. I said my message, hit send and quickly realized my phone ain’t so smart after all. Apparently, it doesn’t speak Southern. My son’s name, Isaiah, came out “I’d say I.” Instead of night, it typed out “not.” Spouse found it humorous and suggested I say the word “ice,” one of the fam’s favorite words to make fun of me over, and see what genius phone spit out. Sadly, I can’t repeat what my phone sad, very foul mouth. I considered washing it with soap then thought better of it.

This minor inconvenience got me thinking about how often this happens in our face-to-face conversations. How many times do we shoot off what’s on our minds before taking the time to process how someone might interpret what we say? In my vast experience of ticking people off, I have discovered that nine times out of ten, the disagreement was caused by misunderstanding. The phrase, “that’s not what I meant,” has passed my lips more than a time or two. Although I may not have intended to upset the other person, I certainly didn’t pause to run my words through the Jesus filter. It’s a real thing, people, you have one too, and unlike my NOT-so-smart phone, this one can understand all accents.

Can you even imagine how many hurt feelings we could avoid if we took the time to consider how the other party’s personality might cause them to perceive what we’re about to say?! Mind blowing, right?! Eh, not really, more like a common courtesy that’s not so common anymore. The Book of Proverbs has numerous verses that speak to this issue, but I’ll just share a couple of my favorites.

“There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.” (29:20)

“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (18:2)

Let’s make a pact today to not be like a fool and actually take the time to choose our words carefully. It is far more rewarding to see someone smile as a result of your words than to watch tears slip silently down their cheeks.IMG_2659

 

~Seeing Grey~ July 28, 2014

6e3ef532ac671146c0756602673a4d20First the books were released and our news feeds blew up with conversation of “mommy porn.” Now that the movie is set to debut on Valentine’s, (classy move Hollywood), once again my screen is flooded with Grey.

I’m not typically one to shy away from controversial topics when it pertains to what I will and won’t write about. I’ll be honest, I have considered this off limits since the day I realized that I know a great number of women who read the books and are now anxiously awaiting the day it hits the big screen. I didn’t want to offend anyone with my opinion. But, being silent isn’t really my style & it would make me look like a hypocrite to remain close trapped on this when I have been so outspoken on other matters.

Before diving in to this post, let me preface with this, I am not condemning those of you who have chosen to consider this entertainment. It will become clear that I do not agree with you, but I don’t think less of you. Oftentimes a differing opinion is offensive & sparks heated arguments. That’s not my goal here. My only reason for breaking the silence from my side of the debate is to shed a little light as to why I think this type of material needs to be avoided.

Now, I have not read any of the books so I am aware that my opinion is based on limited information. What I have done is read book reviews, followed conversations of those who have read & most recently watched the 2 minute trailer that was aired on daytime television. I have more than enough material to state my case.

Countless women are touting this as nothing more than fantasy, a somewhat twisted romance novel, meant to bring excitement into the boring lives of stay at home moms everywhere. Surely the women making these lax comments have never been at the mercy of a man who made them feel the very real emotions that come along with this type of “relationship.”

I’m guessing those who find this type of fantasy exciting have never had a man use the weight of his body to prove his strength over you, rendering you completely helpless to fend off whatever came next. I’d say it’s safe to assume that you’ve never been in a position where your naivety and eagerness to please in order to feel loved & accepted was used as a tool of manipulation in order to fulfill someone’s selfish desires. I bet you haven’t a clue what it does to one’s self-esteem to submit to some level of degrading behavior because you’ve been made to believe that is what love is about.

Perhaps it simply hasn’t occurred to you who sing the praises of this book and others like it that you may be unknowingly condoning the horror that someone you know and care about has either walked through or worse yet is currently enduring? Kind of takes the lighthearted aspect out of, “it’s just a book.”

Friends, this is no more “just a book” than Playboy is just a magazine. It is one more way that we are becoming desensitized to what we should find offensive. There is nothing morally right about a woman’s vulnerability being exploited in order to satisfy the self-serving desires of a domineering man. It’s abusive & embarrassing to have someone claiming to love you persuade you to express that love in ways that leave you feeling ashamed and used. Why on earth would any woman, Christian or not, build up this type of behavior?

My initial thoughts were about are my girls. I would be mortified to think that my beautiful, intelligent, strong willed little ladies would grow up to believe that this sort of behavior is not only acceptable but applauded. I cringe at the possibility that one day a man would enter their lives that would play on their weaknesses and manipulate them into sacrificing their integrity in order to gain their affection.

Then there are my boys. Most days it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle as we desperately try to instill values that are rapidly being labeled as old fashioned. We encourage simple things like opening doors & surrendering your seat for ladies while their peers label women with titles I won’t dare repeat. My desire for them is to admire a woman who respects herself and has enough regard for her body & sexuality to protect it, not willingly lay down her beliefs to satisfy them.

How can we effectively teach these principles if we are a walking double standard?

That, in a nutshell, is why I personally will not read or watch anything that turns violence & degradation into a desirable quality for a mate. I prefer to keep my idea of love and intimacy in tact, where two people commit to honor the other above themselves. I refuse to allow my children to see me choose entertainment where women are objectified and dominance is regarded. I can’t get on board with the group proclaiming harmless fun for a girls night out. I won’t give the impression of indifference by keeping quiet.

I don’t expect this article to change anyone’s mind. I do hope that it makes you pause before taking such a laid back approach to what you allow yourself to be exposed to.

For those of you who are interested, these are just a few of the Scriptures I found helpful in regards to this matter & others like it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Psalms 119:37

“And so I insist-and God backs me up on this-that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion .” Ephesians 4:19 

 

~Idol-less Easter~ April 17, 2014

For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you already know this story, but my opinions were too much to share in a comment section so here it is.

Yesterday afternoon when I picked the kids up from school, my middle school girl, Autumn, gets in the car and immediately shared the highlight of her day.  Apparently they had a substitute in one of their classes who thought it would be fun to hear what the kids had planned for celebrating Easter.  She went around the room, allowing each child a turn to speak.  When she reached my girl, Autumn said “I’m going to celebrate the love of Jesus!”

Here comes the good part…

Substitute replied, “That’s a matter of opinion,” then turned and walked away.

I started to respond, then I remembered it’s not nice to call names so I said a quick prayer, out loud, instead, “Dear Lord, please help all the misguided people in the world who haven’t a clue that Easter has nothing to do with plastic eggs and bunny rabbits.”

Aside from the fact that this “teacher” showed a complete lack of respect for my daughters beliefs, the public display of intolerance in front of a young, impressionable audience is a perfect example as to why we have a problem with freedom of religion in this country.  More than that, what exactly does the person think Easter is about?!

This morning, I was reading the responses on social media and it got me thinking about how often this sort of thing happens….

Thanksgiving has become all about the ginormous meal instead of taking pause to give thanks for all the blessings in your life for which you should be grateful.

Many people spend the Christmas season focusing on a fat, hairy man in a red suit & shiny packages, totally forgetting about the babe in swaddling clothes who was born to be the Savior of the world.

And now Easter has little to nothing to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus because a vast majority have busied themselves with fake grass, candy filled eggs & fluff-stuffed bunnies & chicks to have any time left to celebrate the true reason that the holiday exists in the first place!

Misguided people everywhere have fallen guilty to worshiping idols: the meal, the robust, red-faced man & Peter Cottontail are at the center of their family celebrations while Jesus stands at the door, awaiting His invitation to the party.  This family will be placing Him at the head of our table.  Yes, we will give our children treats and have a meal with our family.  We do allow our kids to participate in the madness that is an egg hunt but ask any one of them what Easter is about, and they’re going to tell you “Jesus.”

Don’t allow the commercialism of holidays to distract you from what is important, the meaning behind it all, is Jesus.

“He was publicly identified as God’s Son with power through his resurrection from the dead, which was based on the Spirit of holiness. This Son is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received God’s grace and our appointment to be apostles. This was to bring all Gentiles to faithful obedience for his name’s sake.”  (Romans 1:4-5)

I came across this Scripture and felt it summed up precisely what my Autumn did.  My girl loves her Jesus and she wants everyone she meets to know it and, in turn, to know HIM.  If she doesn’t get anything else right in her life, I will forever be proud of the conviction & steadfastness she displays while sharing her faith.  If my middle-schooler, at the risk of ridicule, can boldly declare her plans to celebrate the love of Jesus this Easter season, then what say you?

THIS....

THIS….

NOT THIS!

NOT THIS!

 

~Spare the Rod~ March 1, 2014

We have all had those moments as parents when we’d like to crawl in a hole because of embarrassment from our children’s behavior.  My personal best came in the middle of a very crowded superstore.

It’s been a couple of years ago now, but boy do I remember it clearly.  My sweet little Emma was going through a fit-throwing stage like I have never witnessed before.  Truthfully, I thought that type of behavior was a myth or at least something that only happened to other people.  My children would never pitch a fit in public, I trained them better than that.

Wrong.  Seriously, I was wrong.  I suppose I underestimated the power of the flashy toys & sugary treats strategically placed at toddlers eye level at the front of every store in America.

My mother and I were attempting to get my 5 children to the checkout line when Emma spotted something she desperately wanted.  I said No.  Cue the meltdown of epic proportions.  She flung herself down in the floor and screamed like I had just beaten her within an inch of her life.  People started to stare as I tried to talk rationally to my little “princess.”  That’s when it happened, I smacked her little behind, right there in front of everybody.  For those of you who have done the same in public, you can imagine the looks of disgust that were thrown my way.  The fact that she has a face like a doll and had crocodile tears rolling down her cheeks was not helping my case.

Thankfully my momma handled the rest of my children while I dragged Emma out to the car and attempted to strap her in to the car seat.  It was not going so well for me as she was still writhing and screaming at glass breaking decibels.  Finally I managed to strap her in and stood leaning against my mom-mobile as I waited for the rest of my brood.  The screaming continued from inside the vehicle as concerned passers-by looked on with mixed emotions.  Most of them wore looks of judgment as if I had somehow failed as a parent because my 3 year old was uncontrollable.  For all I know, they were the same ones who had witnessed the “whooping” inside the store moments before.  But I was cool with it because I know what the Bible says about discipline.

“Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them.” (Proverbs 19:18 Message)

You see, I could have easily given into my crazed child in the store when she demanded the toy “or else” and completely avoided the embarrassing fit.  However, my logic is that it would be more humiliating to see that child grow into a disrespectful adult with an undeserved sense of entitlement because I didn’t parent them while I had the chance.  I want to give good gifts to my babies, too, but I have learned that those things need to be earned to teach them ethics and build their character in the formative years.

I know it’s hard to punish your children, especially when it has to be done in front of others.  It is natural that we are concerned how outsiders will view our choice of correction, but they are not going to be held accountable for the upbringing of our kids, we are.  Proverbs 13 reads : “Those who don’t correct their children hate them.  But those who love them are careful to train them.”  While it is difficult to explain to our children that we are disciplining them out of love when we are in the midst of doling out punishment, point out to them that God also disciplines the one He loves and we are following his leading.

One day, when they turn out to be well-rounded, respected adults, they will likely thank us for not catering to their demands but instilling in them biblical values and moral standards that they would have otherwise missed out on had we chosen to “spare the rod and spoil the child.”parenting

 

~Freedom of Speech, Part 2~ December 20, 2013

I have gotten quite a bit of feedback from my previous post and rather than edit it or add to the comment feed, I decided to post part 2 in order to clarify some of what I feel may have been misunderstood@ https://peacefulpromises.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/freedom-of-speech/.

First let me say that I welcome the criticism and debate because it means that people are thinking and that’s what I want to encourage…to think of one another’s perspective.  With that being said, my main purpose in my initial post was to pose the following question:

While A & E may have acted within their legal rights…does that make it right?

I am not defending Mr. Robertson, he speaks rather crudely at times & I think there are more delicate ways of making your point.  He was not speaking on behalf of all Christians, but for himself alone.  Not all believers would have said things in the same manner he chose.  However, I am defending Americans rights to speak freely outside of the workplace without fear of losing their jobs as a result.  I would have been equally upset if someone was fired for their nationality, whom they choose to love, where they choose to worship, what the choose to watch, read or listen to.  I personally want to do my best to reflect God’s love to all people.  That includes those whose opinions vary from my own and people who make statements that I would consider uncouth.