Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Muscle Memory~ June 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:02 am
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“Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” (Prov19:11 The Message)

I am not always a smart people. Sometimes it would be easier for me to give a cat bath than it would be for me to tame my tongue. Like every other person on the face of the planet, I have my hot button issues. I can turn the other cheek all day long, that is until someone strikes my no zone.

I’ll give an example. As I am certain most moms will find relatable, I can show you five sides of crazy if you mess with my kids. If one of their peers causes an offense, I can calmly and rationally help them deal. However, if an adult hurts one of my babes, anger management is the last thing on my mind. I’ve come to realize in those moments that applying my voice of reason, aka hubs, is best for all involved. He sees things from a different perspective and gives me a safe place to talk it out so that I don’t let it build and fester into something nasty.

It is worth mentioning as a sidebar that anger is not a sin, it’s an emotion. It’s what you DO with that anger that can result in sin.

So, with that in mind,  what do we do when those feelings of rage come surging up from the recesses of our normally mild-mannered minds? How do we let God speak to us when truthfully we’d rather tune Him out for just a minute while we unleash the fury and repent later?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV)

We have to saturate ourselves with God’s Word on the good days so that when the hard days come, we will be prepared. We won’t have to flip through the Scriptures, frantically looking for a Word to bring us off the ledge in the heat of the moment. It will already be there, pushing its way through the hurt and the anger to bring peace to our troubled hearts.

It’s what our worship pastor refers to as muscle memory. If you do anything repetitiously, eventually it becomes second nature. You won’t have to think about it, it will simply be what happens instinctively. Be proactive, don’t wait for trouble to come. You know where you struggle. I have found an excellent resource in Open Bible. Here you will find “What does the Bible say about….” and you fill in the blank. Typically you will get multiple references from God’s Word, not man’s, to help you refocus.stress

Fill your heart and mind with truth, it will crowd out the chatter and replace it with a peace beyond understanding.

 

~Momma’s Gonna Need a Minute~ October 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:49 am
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“Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to be left the heck alone?! Like no talky, no touchy, no looky, ‘get the heck out of my personal space’ kind of days?! That’s how I feel today!”

This would be the text message I sent my husband yesterday.  I wasn’t mad at anyone. No one had really done anything to upset me or make me feel ill, but I’m pretty sure it was within the spectrum of possibilities for me to physically assault someone. Grumpy doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. throat punchI’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have days where I feel downright hateful to the point that I’m concerned for the safety of those who get too close. Days like that I think I need to be forced to wear a warning sign around my neck, “Danger!!  Contents may explode upon contact!!”

Anyone else ever suffer through days like that?

Take heart, I may have pinpointed the cause. Every day, all day, I have someone “all up on me,” as I like to put it. The littles tug at my clothes, using me as a human paper towel and the occasional snot rag. My boys find humor in poking and throwing stuff or hiding around corners to scare the beegeezus out of me. My man just needs a little affection at the end of the day but sometimes, THIS is not huggable!

Physical touch is a beautiful thing but if you never have a moment to yourself, you may start to feel a bit like a foreigner in your own land, so to speak. This tends to happen most often when our calendars are so full that there is no way to pencil in some “me, minus all of you” time. I’m here to help you out, friends. The next time someone asks you to do something you have zero desire to do, don’t ignore that tightening in your chest that accompanies the realization that you’re never going to have a moments rest. Smile & say “No, but thanks for thinking of me.”

Now, take a seat in your favorite chair and forget about the to-do list that is invisible to the rest of your fam. Enjoy the entire cup of coffee before it has the chance to get cold because whatever the world needs from you, can wait a dang minute.

If you feel guilty, let’s all just take a minute to remember that even Jesus had to get away from the crowds and sit in silence in order to be refreshed to fulfill his life’s purpose.

 

~Control Freak~ October 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:45 am
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Hello, my name is Valerie and I have a problem.

Apparently I have a slight case of OCD when it comes to the cleanliness & organization of my home. While this wouldn’t be a big deal if I lived alone, it does pose a problem between myself and the other 6 people with whom I cohabitat. It’s not that they’re pigs, (not all of them anyways), but they don’t place as high a value on an orderly home as I do. They just don’t see the fun in housekeeping so it’s not a priority to them. I know, I don’t understand it either.

Just last week I went on a cleaning frenzy that included scrubbing the floors on my hands & knees and bleaching the ceilings…don’t ask. I was feeling pretty accomplished until my brood came rolling in with muddy cleats, soaking wet running shoes and an assortment of stuff to clutter my recently decluttered space. This would be when my alter ego unleashed its fury.

Here’s the thing, my kids and spouse do help out around the house, but they don’t do it my way, aka the right way! Autumn puts away the dishes but she puts my coffee cups right side up! Have you ever heard of such nonsense?! The boys ‘clean’ their room but not to my standards. My two littles like to help wash dishes which leads to a small flood across the counter that spills over onto the floor. My hubs will jump in and help with the laundry but will probably think twice about doing so in the future after that time I bit his head off for putting a hang-to-dry sweater in the dryer. (Ok, so I didn’t really bite his head off but if looks could kill, I’d be a widow.)

IMG_2728

Sadly, this is not the only area where I struggle with being a control freak. I love volunteering and giving of my time & talents but sometimes, I get a little twitchy when I think a task should be done more efficiently. I don’t know what my problem is but I fully intend to ask Jesus why He made me this way 😉 During a recent episode, I paused to think about the amount of undue stress I was causing myself by getting my britches in a twist when things weren’t run the way I would have done it. Since when did I become manager of the universe?!

At this point in my life, it would appear I have two options: I can continue with my controlling ways and drive my people batty to the point that they literally expect me to do it all OR I can do as the picture suggests and “tuck in my crazy” and simply be thankful for what they do instead of cringing at how they do it.

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered. “You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed.”

(Luke 10:41-42)

 

~Too Busy to Give Thanks~ April 8, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 1:38 pm
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busy

Don’t be “this” girl

Today I have been met with the hard reality of an overbooked schedule.  And I am exhausted.  I won’t bore you with the details of all that’s being juggled, just know that I am not exaggerating when I say I am overwhelmed.

But worse than being worn out and frustrated at my lack of time, I feel horribly guilty.  Our women’s group has started Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts.”  While we are about two weeks in, I have barely managed to read the first chapter much less start my list of gifts.  How in the world have I allowed myself to get so busy that I don’t even have time to write one thing that I am thankful for?!

Our house is being shown this afternoon so I have been cleaning like a lunatic & washing everyone’s bedding.  Why?  I don’t know, just in case the potential buyers want to check things out Goldilocks style and try out each bed.  I’d hate to think the house didn’t sell because of drool stains on the pillowcases.  My husband just ran by and noticed the extreme fatigue in my face.  Once again, he delivered some profound truth:

“Honey, we all appreciate a clean home but there is no reason to wear yourself out.”

How bout that?  Here I’ve been running myself in circles trying to get it all done meanwhile neglecting something as precious as naming my blessings and it’s all of my own doing.  No one has placed these crazy expectations on me, I do it all by myself.

Sometimes I wonder if I even read my own blog.  See the following:

https://peacefulpromises.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/someone-else/

https://peacefulpromises.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/it-is-ok-to-say-no/

https://peacefulpromises.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/expectations/

Clearly, I have allowed my “to do” list to take priority over my “need to” list.  So what if there’s a little dog hair on the couch or the laundry basket isn’t completely empty when company comes calling?  I believe it’s time to start that list of things for which I am thankful:

1.  A husband who reminds me that I am loved for who I am, not what I do.

“It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
    and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
    giving rest to those he loves?”

(Psalm 127:2 The Message)

 

~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)

 

~Super-Mom, I am not~ August 6, 2013

I have recently started to work a part-time job outside of the home.  This has proved to be a bit challenging for someone who has been a stay-at-home mom for nearly 5 years where my only other job was babysitting full-time.  While I am grateful for the opportunity to help provide for my family, I find myself getting increasingly agitated when I have to rely on someone else to help me get them here, there and everywhere.  If I miss an opportunity to do something with them and someone else steps in, I get jealous.  (insert pouty face here)  And I’ve had to reduce the amount of blogs I post due to the madness that has become my life.

Compounding the problem is the fact that I have two boys playing football on separate teams, a daughter cheerleading & singing on the praise team at church and one of my football playing boys is also running cross country.  Today I saw our first conflict.  One Saturday this month, Peyton has a race @ 8am, Isaiah has 2 games @ 9 & 11 and Peyton has a game @ 12….and guess what?!  They are all in different locations, like 30-45 minutes away from each other!  This is where my control freak tendencies go into overdrive.  I can’t possibly be at all four events so surely the world is going to come to an end.  After all, it is not possible for my boys to function without their momma present.

If someone could kindly pass the scissors, I will cut the apron strings.

The problem is I get so riddled with guilt when I feel like I am failing my kids, but there is one of me and like 100 of them (this is only a slight exaggeration).  So this is where I have to remind myself that there is no way on earth that I could possibly do it all.  While I would like to think of myself as super-mom, it isn’t possible for me to be in two places at once and I don’t think my husband would be on board with cloning.

I had to tell my kids that I wouldn’t be able to be at each event they participated in that day, that Daddy and I would have to divide and conquer.  Their response, “NOOOO, we can’t do it without you there to tell us how awesome we are!!”  Totally kidding.  I believe it went a little more like, “OK.”  It would appear that my kid’s expectations of me aren’t nearly as out of this world as the ones I place on myself.

The point is, as parents we can seriously stress ourselves out trying to do and be everything for our kids to the extent that it becomes detrimental to us and our families.  We get so wound up that it causes us to be short-tempered with the very people that we’re trying to please. Our worries and anxieties that we aren’t doing this parenting thing good enough make us crazy!  But Scripture tells us that we don’t add any time to our lives by worrying.  I can fret all day about what I can’t do for my kids and miss out on doing what I can do.

So I commit today to make Matthew 6:34 my mantra:

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Rather than spend all of my precious time stressing over our hectic schedule in the coming days and weeks, I choose to give my attention to what God has for us on this day.

This is what the coat rack looks like when my mom friends gather.

This is what the coat rack looks like when my mom friends gather.