Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Mommin’ Is Hard~ February 16, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:09 am
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Lately I find myself alternating between wanting to trade in my kids for billy goats and refraining from wrapping around their legs so they can never leave. I attribute this to the fact that my baby is in kindergarten while my eldest is halfway through his sophomore year of high school. Every day is met with it’s own challenges. Aside from the obvious difficulties of trying to parent wildly different kids across an impressive age gap, I’m battling my own emotional chaos. I LOVE my babies; fiercely, wholly, without exception. But (y’all knew a but was coming) they exhaust me. My days are filled with fits and back talk, timeouts and tears, carpools and practices…fleeting moments are mine alone and sometimes those are wasted on my own tears. All because I’m 100% positive I’m doing it all wrong.

I yell too much. I don’t pray over them enough. I’m a nag about their chores, their eating habits, their school work, etc, etc. If something goes wrong, it’s my fault. Oh, you failed your test? Totally my bad. Your knees are acting up again? I should just buy you new ones, that’ll fix them! You don’t have supplies for your project due tomorrow? How could I not use my mind reading powers to anticipate your every need? I’m such a loser!

While I am being a bit facetious, I am seriously terrified that when they leave, they’ll never come back and yet I can’t stop parenting and just be their BFF. You see my conundrum?!

This is where a couple of choice friends “come in clutch” as the teenagers say. (My kids are rolling their eyes if they’re reading this.)
I know when “those” days strike, I have a beautiful support system that will talk me off my ledge and remind me it’s not okay to use your kids as bartering tools or try to sell them on Etsy. ūüėČ

Hold on mommas, we’re not as screwed up as we think we are. Do you, pray A LOT, pick your battles and find a solid friend to vent to. Do those things and we might all just make it out of this parenting gig alive and at least mostly intact.

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

 

~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.

 

~13~ September 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:23 am
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Photo cred-cuz Kristy

Photo cred-cuz Kristy

Effective today, at 12:43 pm to be exact, I will have been a mommy for 13 years. There is no greater accomplishment that I could ever achieve that would bring the sense of pride I feel as a parent. God has so generously blessed me with a large family that I don’t deserve and it all started with the cutie in the picture above.

From day one, this kid has had my heart. We are so much alike in numerous ways and yet so completely opposite in others. He is analytical, I’m emotional. He’s hardcore competitive, I’m driven more by having a good time. He is strong willed & self confident, when I tend to be concerned about others opinions & still struggle with insecurities.

In spite of all our differences, he gets me & I get him.

This picture was taken at a recent cross-country meet and I feel it sums up our relationship quite nicely. I have always & will always be my boys number one fan, his momma-coach. I will be there to push, encourage & support him in all that he does. He will never have to question the passion I have to see him succeed. He will never doubt the love that I have for him, my first born. The one who gifted me with the title “Mommy.”

“And his mother stored all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51

Thirteen years have gone by way too fast. I watched him walk into the school this morning, a teenager, knowing full well that as rapidly as these years have passed, the next five will go even quicker. My momma’s heart can’t take it. I want my boy to be my baby forever.

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.-Robert Munsch

Happy birthday to one of my greatest blessings, Peyton Andrew. You are a joy and a treasure. Words don’t always convey the depth of emotion behind them, but know this, there has never been a momma more proud of a son than I am of you.

 

~Parents Need to PARENT~ March 10, 2014

I have determined that middle school is where sweet little kids turn into 3-headed dragons. ¬†The chatter that has been circulating among parents and what little I can drag out of my own children would even make unsavory characters blush. ¬†These kids are 11-14 years old and getting away with things that I didn’t even think about until college!

  • ¬†Foul language is considered part of normal conversation.
  • “Twerking,” is the new craze at the dances…thank you, Miley Cyrus for your contribution to society.
  • CHILDREN are making out during school and some have already engaged in sexual activities.

Are you kidding me?!

So what’s a freaked out momma supposed to do when her kids have no other option than public school?! ¬†How can I ensure that my kids can be stuck in the middle of these atrocious environments and come out unscathed & still living for Jesus?

Proverbs 28 is riddled with verses that we parents can pour into and pray over our children.

When your child is surrounded by a group doing all kinds of wrong and is unsure what to do:

“The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.” (vs 1)

During school, when they see everybody getting by with doing whatever they want as opposed to what they should be doing:

“Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.” (vs 14)

“The blameless will be rescued from harm, but the crooked will be suddenly destroyed.” (vs 18)

If you have little disciples like we do, anxious to share the Word of God but fearful of rejection, who may be tempted to join the masses:

“Those who lead good people along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the honest will inherit good things.” (vs 10)

What happens when their closest friends turn from their church-upbringin’ roots and decide to embrace the false teaching that is attacking them from every direction:

“Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.” (vs 7)

“It makes good sense¬†to obey the Law of God,¬†but you disgrace your parents¬†if you make friends¬†with worthless nobodies.” (same verse, CEV translation)

I am so utterly disappointed in the job that parents are doing these days.  They are succumbing to the pressures of this world by allowing their children to set the standards and the rules instead of demanding a certain level of respect and personal integrity.  These children that are acting out in public are belittling themselves.  God created us all to be spectacular and by behaving with so little self-respect and absolutely no dignity they are falling well below their potential for greatness.

I’m sorry about the soap box, I am just horrified at the downward spiral that are young people are falling into. ¬†We can only expect so much from their educators and Sunday school teachers, at some point, Mom & Dad need to step it up a notch. ¬†For those of you who may be living inside a bubble, oblivious to the hell your kids are raising when they walk out your door, I pray that the Lord would thump you on the head and open your eyes! ¬†I can only pray that we are doing a decent enough job with ours because I know they are just as susceptible to temptation as the next kid and boy have my kids messed up at times. ¬†So I am seeking the Lord on my behalf too. ¬†I want my kids to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. ¬†Mom & Dad, Nana & Grandad…it is time to hit your knees to protect your babies.steering

That is all.

 

~Wise Child, You Bless My Soul~ March 5, 2014

“My child,¬†if your heart is wise,¬†my own heart will rejoice! ¬†Everything in me will celebrate¬†when you speak what is right.”
(Proverbs 23:15-16 NLT)

As a momma, I can truthfully say that nothing brings me greater joy than realizing my kids “get it.”

We have 3 pre-teen/teen children, 2 boys 1 girl. ¬†Our girl is our little evangelist. ¬†She will tell anyone and everyone about Jesus and try to lead them through the sinners prayer before they even realize what’s going on! ¬†Her and several of her Jesus-girl friends have started a Bible club at school where they talk and share prayer requests….IN SCHOOL!! ¬†Go girls! ¬†They are shining their lights so bright and out in the open that there is no doubt in my mind that they are absorbing every bit of what we and the church leaders are pouring into them.

Now my boys are a different story. ¬†Most of the time they seem so checked out and goofy that I’m pretty sure they haven’t heard a word of the sermons preached, lessons taught or correction given at home. ¬†Then the little jokers surprise me.

Just the other day, one of my boys randomly walked in the kitchen and announced, “It just gets on my nerves.”

“Ok, son, what exactly are we talking about here?”

“Well, when kids at school talk about how much the looooove Jesus then turn around and cuss or act rude to someone.”

I kept my cool but inside I was doing my go Jesus dance! ¬†Not only did he disprove of the immature behavior of some of his peers but he immediately recognized that their actions didn’t line up with what they claimed their beliefs were. ¬†And it made him ill.

An overwhelming sense of pride washed over me as I watched the aggravation cover his face as he talked about how annoying it is to listen to people say one thing and then live in complete opposition of what they just said. ¬†My boy is listening and receiving what we’re preaching.

This isn’t the only time they’ve melted this momma’s heart. ¬†Boy #2 is my macho, tough guy, joke playing little sneak. ¬†He thrives on trying to make people laugh regardless of how foolish he looks in the process, he is his father’s son. ¬†So I tend to think there isn’t a serious bone in his body. ¬†Until the day he came to me about a little girl in school who is struggling and had opened up to him and another friend about her self-deprecating thoughts. ¬†You could see the tenderness in his expression and the compassion in his voice. ¬†He was truly concerned about this girls well-being. ¬†I just wanted to burst into tears and hug his neck but again, not cool, so I listened intently while my heart was bursting with the realization that we must be doing something right.

Being a parent in the days that we are living in is painfully hard even on its best day. ¬†Our kids are faced with issues and temptations that we can’t even fathom. ¬†It is scary. ¬†Most parents think they are failing miserably at the job of raising confident, godly children, but when they give us those little “aha” moments, what joy it brings to our souls. ¬†Keep at it, weary mom & dad, I promise you they are hanging onto your every word & looking to you for an example. ¬†That’s a heavy load, and one that I pray you and I will take seriously. ¬†If you want your children to live a life that honors the Lord, check yourself and make sure that there aren’t some changes you might need to make.what you teach