Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Watch Your Mouth!~ January 9, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:43 am
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I was at the gym earlier this week and I overheard a conversation that had me hanging my head.

I’ll paint you a picture.

Two young boys were working out beside of me and talking loud enough that eavesdropping wasn’t necessary. I noticed them because I recognized one as being a talented athlete from a local high school. I was thinking, “how nice to see some kids are motivated to continue to push themselves during their offseason.” Then they opened their mouths. I was so disappointed to hear such ugly words coming out of their handsome faces.

These guys are obviously gifted in their sport of choice. They were good looking kids, (side note: if you are under the age of 25, you are a kid to me so this is not a reference to a small child.) Knowing what I do of the one, I am certain that younger athletes look up to him. That’s why I was hanging my head.

My kids are younger athletes who spend considerable amounts of practice & conditioning time with guys just like these two. I can safely say that this is not the kind of example I had hoped my kids would see from upper classmen.

Granted, there are some older kids that have been phenomenal at setting a shining example for the younger generation and for them I am so very thankful. I can only pray that my kids will be pulled to them and not the aforementioned group.

What I don’t understand is why they felt the need to talk that way in the first place. It was an everyday conversation they were having, about nothing of real significance, and yet they couldn’t communicate without dropping the “f-bomb every other word. It used to be that swear words were reserved for when you were highly emotional, aggravated or so angered over something that “normal” words couldn’t effectively convey your feelings.

I can’t really say why this bothered me as much as it did other than seeing just one more way that kids are growing more and more desensitized to things that used to be frowned upon in our society.

For those who may think I am overreacting, “their just kids being kids,” allow me to point out one very important Scripture.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart. Those are the things that make someone ‘unclean.’ Evil thoughts come out of a person’s heart. So do murder, adultery, and other sexual sins. And so do stealing, false witness, and telling lies about others. Those are the things that make you ‘unclean.’” (Matt 15:18-20 NIRV)

There is way too much careless speech being tossed around. People of all ages no longer take the time to process their thoughts before opening their mouths. There is a reason why the Bible warns us of the power of the tongue. Words can be an encouragement to the hearer or they can bring devastation. We need to get back to the practice of giving careful thought to the words we allow to pass our lips. May I exhort you to lead by example today? Speak life, refrain from useless words that add nothing to the conversation and prove that you can adequately express your emotions without cursing like sailor…as my maw-maw used to say!

 

~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.

 

~Another “F” Word~ March 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:12 am
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silenceThis past week has been a bit wild for me so there has been little to no time to write…boo.  I was just going to let it go until Monday, then my little Belly-boo decided to provide me with material for a weekend post.

My Mom was in yesterday and we were out running errands together, just the three of us.  Miss B. was quite full of herself, barking her orders from the backseat as we made our various stops.

“I want my sucker now!”

“Let’s go to the store first!”

And here comes the big one:

“Where’s my freakin’ egg?”

I BEG YOUR PARDON!!!!  “Bella Grace, don’t you say that!  Who told you that word?!”

Cute as can be, she pointed at herself.

Obviously, I know she had to have heard it somewhere and as Mom and I were hashing out it, we had the painful realization that it has crossed the lips of nearly everyone in our home.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Typically, the context in which it’s been used has been more of a light-hearted tone, “Are you freakin’ kidding me, that’s hilarious!!”  You get the jist.

But the sound of that word coming from my sweet girl’s mouth sounded so foul that I knew we had to start being more mindful of how we speak.  Is it a swear word?  I guess not but it sounded so similar to the other, detestable “f” word that it made me cringe.  It made me think, what does the word actually mean anyway?  The Bible warns us not to speak idle words because one day we will give an account for every single one.*  Truthfully, I had been using this word occasionally and overlooking my preteens using it without having a clear understanding of what we were actually saying.  Well surprise, surprise, it is defined as “a euphemism for…..” you guessed it, THE “f” word.”

I feel about as big as an ant.  Epic fail, no momma of the year award waiting for me, even my babe is basically swearing.

Very quickly this morning, I looked for a Scripture for myself and to share with the fam so that we won’t be so careless with our choice of words.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Even the descriptive words we use to express emotion, should be carefully weighed to be certain that we aren’t dishonoring the Lord in our speech while setting a not-so-shining example for the little eyes and ears that are upon us in the process.  Nothing about the word in question brings encouragement to those who hear it, so I’d say it’s time we retire it’s usage.

*Matthew 12:36

 

~Stop Talking, Start Thinking~ March 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:35 pm
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“Observe the people who always talk before they think—even simpletons are better off than they are.” (Proverbs 29:20 Message)

The majority of my generation was taught to think before you speak, not the other way around.  However, it seems these days that people are getting more and more aggressive with their speech without taking into account what the repercussions may be.    

I’m going to share an illustration that I have seen done before to teach the power of words and the reality that they can’t be taken back once spoken.

The teacher stood at the front of the class as they all looked curiously at the items on their desk: a tube of toothpaste, a paper plate & a q-tip.  She was giving a lesson on thinking carefully before you allow yourself to speak, especially when you’re hurt.  She looked at her students and instructed them to take their brand new tube of toothpaste and squeeze every bit of it out onto their plate.  The idea of making a sloppy mess appealed to the children so they grinned and squealed as they made squiggly lines across their plates.  Once she was certain that each child had done exactly as she said, she moved on to part two of this little demonstration.  “Class, I want you to take your q-tip and try to put all of that toothpaste back into the tube.”  The gleeful expressions quickly turned inquisitive as they tried their best to scoop all that minty fresh mess back into a tiny opening to no avail.  After watching them struggle for a few minutes, this brilliant woman drove home her point.  “That toothpaste is like our words, it is easy to let them fall right out but impossible to put them back in.”toothpaste

A valuable lesson we all need to make an effort to remind ourselves of daily.  Words come so easily but they can pack a punch and once you let them pass your lips, there ain’t a thing in the world you can do to take them back.  So allow yourself time to think before you let your mouth get away from you.  You will be glad you did….and so will the rest of the world.