Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Cherish Your Reward~ May 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 1:54 pm
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I was recently out in public with a couple of littles in tow when I saw something that truly broke my heart.

A dad was walking with his little girl who couldn’t have been more than 3 years old. She wasn’t making a scene, but softly whimpering that she wanted her mommy. Dad proceeded to berate her all the way to their car, saying things that couldn’t possibly make sense to this young mind. “Well I don’t care who you want, you’re stuck with me.” “How about we sit at home and do nothing since your life is so miserable with daddy.” There was more, but that’s enough. As we got into our cars, I could see from a distance that he had now resorted to yelling into the backseat. Even from a distance, I could see his face twisted in anger. I would have cowered from him so I can imagine how that little girl felt.

As much as I wanted to, I didn’t speak up for one basic reason: I had children with me and he seemed agitated enough that I feared what he might say in their presence. I was so upset that I texted my husband about what I had just witnessed and the horrible guilt I felt for not taking the opportunity to say something.  As is oftentimes the case, he offered some words of wisdom “Its hard to make the right call in those situations. You saying something could have caused his anger to escalate and made things worse for her once they got home. Sometimes praying for God to intervene is the best course!”

So very true.

It seems here lately the news is flooded with stories of child abuse, neglect, or worse. Now, I’m not accusing this particular dad of these things but my heart hurt for that little girl who seemingly did nothing wrong other than ask for her mommy. Sometimes I think we all need these reminders:

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.” (Psalm 127:3 NIV)IMG_6893

“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my Heavenly Father.” (Matt 18:10 NLT)

 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4 ESV)

Mommies and daddies are going to get frustrated and we are all going to say things we do not mean. Sometimes the little ones we’ve been blessed with are going to wear on our frayed nerves. But just as with anything else, the more you do something the easier it becomes. So let’s make it a habit of thinking before we speak or react, especially when it comes to the tiny humans in our lives. And let’s pray for those who seem to be at their wit’s end.

 

 

~If Only We Came With a Pause Button~ February 23, 2014

“Wise people think before they act; fools don’t-and even brag about their foolishness.”  (Proverbs 13:16 NLT)

In the heat of an “intense moment of fellowship,” also known as a fight, it is often hard to hold thy tongue.  Most of us are hardwired to go blow for blow when someone makes us mad, whether it be with words or literal blows!  The concept of turning the other cheek becomes a near impossibility when our blood pressure reaches it’s boiling point.

While most of us later regret when we act out of anger, there are some who are quite proud of themselves for their less than savory responses in combative situations.  Why?  What in the world makes someone boast about their ability to belittle or physically hurt another human being whom God loves?!

Proverbs 13 clears that right up for us…a fool, synonymous to: idiot, moron and a 3 letter word that also means donkey.  (No offense, just a fact, look it up.)  Only someone who is completely lacking in respect for others and themselves finds it amusing to advertise that which they should be ashamed of.

When we find ourselves in the midst of a disagreement, it would be wise of us to learn how to operate our internal pause button.  Unfortunately, it is not accessible to anyone else so no one can punch it for us.  It may be that you need to walk away from the situation for a bit.  Maybe you are far more self-controlled than I and you simply need to take a deep breath to regain composure and speak with wisdom and understanding.  Others can count to 10 and feel a sense of calm while others still may need to count to say 1000 before the rage meter drops a notch or two.

The whole point is to find what works for you to keep from flipping your lid and blowing your witness when you are upset.  Nothing about a hot-tempered fool screams “I Love Jesus!!!”  Let the words from James be written on your hearts so that when controversy comes, and you better believe it will, you will be able to quickly call it to remembrance and shut. your. mouth.

“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” (James 1:19-21 NLT)

cruel

*If you are new to this site, you have stumbled upon a 31 day reading challenge on the Book of Proverbs.  Want to start from the beginning?  Search “31 Day Challenge” in the tool bar on the left!  Also found in the February archives.

 

~Temptation at Your Door~ February 15, 2014

“For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.  But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  For she cares nothing about the path to life.  She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.”  (Proverbs 5:3-6 NLT)

opportunity knocks

While it would appear that Proverbs 5 deals solely with promiscuous women & adultery, I believe the ‘immoral woman’ in these verses can stand for other forms of temptation as well.

We all have our own demons to battle, that one thing that tempts us to abandon the path to righteousness and hop in the boat to Hell.  Maybe it is sexual sin that is your stumbling block and you can be quite literal with these words:

 “Do you know the saying, “Drink from your own rain barrel, draw water from your own spring-fed well”?  It’s true. Otherwise, you may one day come home and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.”  (Proverbs 5:16-17 The Message)

If your impulses have nothing to do with the opposite sex, you may skim right over chapter 5 thinking it has no bearing on your life.

But what if you look at what the word immoral means?  Other words that are interchangeable with immoral could be: unethical, evil, vile, corrupt and dishonest.  Any act that could be described using those words may be your ‘immoral woman.’

  • Dishonest gain at work.
  • Taking that which doesn’t belong to you.
  • Getting sloppy drunk at the bar.
  • Plotting revenge towards those who “deserve it.”

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  I may not know your area of contention, that which causes your spirit to be at war with your flesh, but you do.  So what are you going to do about it?

Do you want to be like the “evil man held captive by his own sins who will die from his lack of self-control” or are you going to nail that sin to the cross and rely fully on Jesus to help you overcome it daily?

The choice is yours.  Temptation is an ugly mistress who’s only desire is to see you lay in ruin….are you going to invite her in to your home or barricade the door?  If she’s already taken up residence, it’s never too late to sign the eviction notice and REPENT!

 

~Hypocrite~ January 14, 2014

yellingEver found yourself living in a contradiction?

Let me paint you a not so pretty picture.

Two of my older kids have been at each others throats for the last few days.  They pick non-stop, mess with the other’s belongings, “accidentally” bump into one another, etc, etc.  Last night, I’d had enough.  They were supposed to be washing the dishes but all they were getting accomplished was a whole lot of smart alack comments back and forth.  The more aggravated they got, the louder they got.

After I had reached my limit- “STOP YELLING!!!”….I yelled.  (You can’t see me but I promise I’m hanging my head in shame.)

Well hello there pot, how bout we leave kettle alone and deal with ourselves!

I was so frustrated with them and myself that I just went to bed.  Laying there I couldn’t help but realize that I was a part of the problem in my attempt at being the solution.  Granted, there are times as a parent you have “elevate” your voice to get your child’s attention.  However, in this case, my raised voice only added to the chaos and I am fairly certain I did not get my point across so I basically yelled & made myself feel bad for nothing.  I knew there was a Scripture for my predicament but I couldn’t recall it to my memory.  So this morning, I searched “what does the Bible say about leading by example.”  What I found made me want to cry:

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.  Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”

(1 Peter 5:2 & 3 NLT)

This verse is under the heading of “advice for elders” but can easily be applied to parenting.  Most people, including the little ones in my care, will typically be more responsive to my instruction if I do as I say.

Maybe, just maybe, they will be less likely to rip each other’s heads off if I control my tongue even in the midst of my anger towards them.  If they see me taking pause to check my emotions and speak calmly and rationally, perhaps they will start to do the same.  I believe they will learn better from that example than they will from me simply telling them that’s what they are supposed to do regardless of how I behave.

I don’t want to be a hypocritical momma.  When my kids are grown raising their own brood, I want them to think “I hope I can be for my kids what my mother was for me” and not “I hope I am nothing like my mother.”  Ouch.  Even typing that stings.

So today, how about a little prayer for all my parent friends out there:

Dear Lord, help us to be more like you and less like ourselves.  Help us to put aside our shortcomings in order to be the very best moms and dads we can be.  Let us look for ways that we can improve our parenting techniques and in so doing improve the quality of life of those in our circle.  Most importantly, remind us that we can call on you for help when we feel overwhelmed and under- equipped.  In Jesus name, amen.