Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Your Gift is a Gift to You Too~ November 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:43 am
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It’s been two weeks since I’ve sat down to write. Normally I would chastise myself for allowing so much time to pass without doing what I truly feel is part of my calling, but not today. Today I am simply thankful for the opportunity and the gift of writing. Too often I believe we take our gifts for granted, thinking of them as only being beneficial to those we serve. However, this morning as I carved out a few minutes of quiet to let my fingers fly, I realized just how much my gift is a gift to me also.

Sharing my life with you is a blessing to me. Writing gives me the freedom to be gut level honest about my struggles and my victories. While it’s always my hope that it will minister to whoever finds their way to my page, there has never been a post that didn’t speak to me first and inspire me to take stock of my own life. What I realized this morning as I sat curled up under my fleece blanket with a steaming cup of coffee in my hand while the rest of the house was perfectly still was simply this: when I write, I am forced to shut everything else out and focus only on what the Lord has laid on my heart in that moment. And that is the gift.

The last couple of weeks have been busy with our typical commitments mixed in with some major life changes. I was looking at my writing as one more thing I had to do, another obligation, and in all honesty, feeling somewhat bitter about not having the time to fit it in but for the wrong reasons. This morning as I slowly let the words come out, I realized how peace overtakes me in those moments when the only “noise” that seeps in is the sound of my fingers on the keys.

What is your gift? Have you stopped to reflect on how it changes your life? Maybe say this little prayer with me today:

Dear Lord, today I am thankful for the gifts and the talents, both great and small, that you have given me. Help me to see how even while I use them for your glory, they are a blessing to me. In your precious name, Amen. James 1

 

~What I Learned From Watching “Frozen”…Repeatedly~ May 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:22 am
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“Let it go, let it go!!!”

These words ring out in my house on a daily basis, from the mouths of my babes or the television speakers.  The ladies of the house are hooked on Disney’s latest hit, “Frozen,” self included.  What’s not to love about a musical that features a dysfunctional family?!  Combine that with the deceptively charming villain, a simple yet wise talking snowman, a reindeer that reminds us all of our favorite pet & the love interest who struggles to communicate his feelings, (something most ladies can relate to), and you’ve got yourself a hit!  Not to mention the wildly successful single from the movie soundtrack…seriously, these Disney people are on to something.

Around the 27th time of viewing this movie, something Queen Elsa belted out caught my attention:

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

It was one of those “aha” moments…like, how have I heard this song a bazillion times and not picked up on the depth of this verse?!

How many of you feel stuck?  Who can say that your current circumstances have you feeling confined, unable to move forward…paralyzed by fear?  Perhaps you are so consumed by thoughts of failure that you remain at their mercy, controlled by feelings and not by faith.  So many of us sense a pull to do something great but we place limitations on ourselves that have us convinced we can’t possibly find success through that avenue.

Fear can manifest itself in numerous ways but I have found the hardest to overcome for me personally is insecurity.  I oftentimes struggle to believe that I have what it takes to do anything meaningful.  I don’t like to admit this, but I think someone else needs to hear it.  The truth of the matter is, those of us who have accepted Christ as our savior have the most powerful resource available by way of the Holy Spirit.  We don’t have to rely on our own abilities but simply trust that if God planted a desire in our hearts, He will equip us with what is necessary to see it come to fruition.

Self-doubt, past mistakes, worldly rejection…all of these things are powerless against the plan of God.  We are not meant to be prisoners of our own minds or criticisms of our peers.  So let me pose this simple question, “What would you do if fear was taken out of the equation?”  Fill in the blank from this statement:  I will not let ____________ consume me.  I will fulfill my purpose.

Now, let it go.  Lay down all those self-deprecating thoughts and accept the gifts and talents God has given you and put them to use!  You are more.fear is not master

(For inquiring minds…yes, “Frozen” is currently being watched in the background.)

 

~Separation Anxiety~ April 29, 2014

I sat down to write this morning and found myself feeling horribly intimidated.  With our hectic schedule over the last couple of weeks combined with my allergy-induced fog, I have had very little time, much less ability to focus, in order to write anything worth reading.  I finally overcome the time restraint obstacle and get slapped in the face with a new one, fear.

When I am able to write on a consistent basis, I feel confident, not necessarily in myself, but in my connection with the Lord and the ability to discern His voice to what He’d have me to share with you all.  After essentially a two week sabbatical from writing, with a post or two tossed in for good measure, my worry is that I have lost that momentum that I once had in doing what I truly feel called to do.

And I am a little freaked.

It scares me to think that I could so easily lose the feeling of intimacy that I have with the Lord.  Life is busy, most likely always will be, but too busy to fellowship with my Creator?  Yikes.

Driving my kids to school, a Scripture came to mind, seemingly out of nowhere (wink, wink):

“Remain joined to me, and I will remain joined to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain joined to the vine. In the same way, you can’t bear fruit unless you remain joined to me.”  (John 15:4 NIRV)

I hadn’t forgotten about the Lord during my busy season but I had certainly neglected my time with Him.  I believe that is why I felt scared to post today.  My lack of communication with God had me feeling fruitless, like I had become separated from Him to the point of losing the gift that He has given me to encourage through writing.  I was looking in rather than looking up, failing to remember that my help comes from the Lord.  I can’t do this writing thing on my own.  It’s by His grace alone that I am able to share my story, combined with His word, in order to lift up the downcast and brokenhearted through the power of a multi-faceted testimony.  The very next verse in John 15 goes on to say, “…apart from me, you can do nothing.”  Rather than see this as a belittling, you are nothing without me attitude, I see it as a promise that He is always with me and gives me the strength and skills to do things that could never be done within my own ability.

One simple word, vital to our strength

One simple word, vital to our strength

 

~Someone Else!~ March 26, 2014

“Honey, I have to do it!  If I don’t, who will?”

“Someone else!”

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

How many of my lady friends can relate to the above conversation?  Another project comes up and you feel obligated to say yes because you just know that if you don’t do it, it won’t get done.  Many, many times I have agreed to take on something that I really didn’t want to because I succumbed to the pressure of “everyone else has said no, we need you.”

Several years ago while I was pregnant with my Emma, I was being pulled in about 15 different directions.  I was volunteering for my kids school 4 days a week, teaching preschoolers Sunday school, singin’ in the choir & the praise team, serving on the PTA….you get the idea.  I remember vividly one Sunday morning, the praise team had just finished practicing and an elder started to approach me as I came down the stairs.  I had a sense of dread because the look on his face said, “I’m about to ask you to do one more thing….”  Keep in mind, folks, I wasn’t just pregnant, I was ginormously pregnant!  He proceeded to make his request for my assistance in another area of ministry.  As soon as I opened my mouth to give a reluctant ok, my man stood up from behind the drums, pointed one of his drumsticks at us both and said, “NO!  She says no!”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!  Truthfully though, I was relieved.  I was about to add one more thing to my already overloaded calendar and it was something that I had zero interest in.  Initially I felt guilt-ridden because I was panicked that since I said no too, that this task was going to fall through the cracks.  Everything in me wanted to call him up and say, “I changed my mind, I’ll do it.”  But I resisted, (with the help of my voice of reason, aka, Jamie).

Here’s the deal, friends, you don’t have to do it all.  I know, I know…there are only a handful of people who do everything all the time because no one else will step up.  It’s ok, I promise you.  If it needs to get done, someone else will see to it.  It is entirely acceptable to choose where you will serve according to the gifts and talents that you have been blessed with by God.  Don’t believe me, take a look at the Truth, and let it set you free!

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.  If your gift is serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.  If it is giving, give generously.  If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

(Romans 12:6-8 NLT)

Kindly take note to the fact that nowhere in the above Scripture does it say that He has given all of these things to any one person.  This is why we are the body, working together not independently, to meet the needs of His people.  This obviously applies to the church and it’s various ministries, but can also be used to gauge how you book the rest of your calendar as well.  calling