Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~What is the assignment?~ January 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:31 am
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I’ve been homeschooling the kiddos for just about a month and half. While I believe we are finally beginning to navigate the new waters, every single day, Emma will inevitably ask me “what am I supposed to do?”

Each day I write out their assignments for every subject along with any special instruction needed.  I try to make it so they’re able to be self sufficient, learning to work at their own pace and be held accountable for their class schedule. Each time Emma asks the question that I know is coming, my response is always, “what is the assignment?” She hates that, by the way. She’d much rather I walked over and held her hand, so to speak, giving her direction and correction at every turn because she doubts her ability to do it alone, but I won’t. I want her to do her assignment, as instructed, and go over it with her to see where she still needs improvement and where she excels. She would prefer I do it with her to ensure she is answering each question correctly as she goes.

This morning while reading my devotion from the First Five app, I was reminded of how I do the same thing with my assignments in life. It spoke to me so loudly, I wanted to share with you but my technology-challenged self can’t seem to link it to this page. I can share the image…..


In this short devotion, Lysa shares the story of Moses and his reluctance to approach Pharaoh to let the Lord’s people go. He felt inadequate to handle what felt like a huge assignment. As Lysa points out, “The resistant way Moses responds lets me know he misunderstood his assignment. Moses thought he was to bring enough power in his words to convince Pharaoh. And since his words lacked power before, it’s no wonder he thought this was a terrible strategy. But God never told Moses to bring the power. Moses was simply told to bring the words. Moses’ job was to be obedient to God. God’s job was everything else.”

Just like my Emma, it seems we often get caught up in the end result causing us to shift our focus from the task at hand. We center our thoughts around what should happen, allowing doubt to creep in making us question our ability to simply perform the task that’s been given.

I’ll leave you with one final example. Let’s say your assignment is to pray for others. Instead of focusing on the Holy Spirit and what He prompts you to pray, you worry about the impact your words will have on the one you’re praying for. “Will they receive salvation? What if this prayer goes unanswered, will they doubt God? What if my words are lackluster?” You’re assignment isn’t to save them or provide the answer to their prayer, that’s God’s part. You’re job is to pray with sincerity and allow God to speak to them through you.

“Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.” (Prov 3:5-6 ERV)


~Nightmares Are No Match For My Jesus~ January 14, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:45 am
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Could you say no to this face?!

Could you say no to this face?!

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning…I’m talking 2 or so….my little mini-me came to my side of the bed with tears rolling down her chubby cheeks.

“Mommy, I had a bad dream. Can I please sleep with you?”

We try really hard not to make it a habit of letting our little ones crawl into bed with us in the middle of the night. My husband is a cuddler and it kind of creeps him out a bit to roll over and throw his arm over the 3-foot-tall version of his wife 😉

So in my half awake, one eye open state, I started to send her back to her own bed. That is until I looked into her big doe eyes and saw the look of panic on her face. Her voice broke when she tried to talk and she was actually shaking. Sorry husband, scoot your fanny over, mini me is coming in! The moment she crawled in next to me, she snuggled as close as humanly possible with her head on my shoulder and pulled my arm over her tiny frame. And she stopped whimpering, instantly. No more tears, no more shaky shoulders, no more ragged breaths. She was comforted at the exact moment I held her close.

Without even thinking about it, I started to pray for my girl, that God would protect her impressionable mind and fragile heart from things that would wake her in such a state. Sometime mid prayer, we both drifted off to sleep.

This morning I can’t help but draw a parallel to my relationship with the Lord. No matter the time of day, He is never too worn to open His arms to me. He is never too groggy to pull me close and soothe my soul. He is always prepared with words that bring comfort in the midst of the scariest of times and when I let Him, he can replace my tears of sorrow with tears of gladness.

I am overwhelmed, folks. My momma and daddy friends will know what I mean when I say sometimes, I’m just so exhausted that I don’t know that I have anything to give my babes…physically or emotionally. And then there is our heavenly Father, with more kids than we can ever count, and yet He is forever there for me, for you and for all His precious children without fail.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let he righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

Snuggle in close to Him and feel His strength. Let Him drape His arm around you. Now feel the heaviness in your life lift as He takes your burdens and cares and makes them His own. And find rest. Sweet, sweet rest.

“But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.” (Psalm 73:28 NLT)


~Trust Without Borders~ December 30, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:38 am
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One of my absolute favorite songs right now is “Oceans” by Hillsong. I feel the lyrics adequately sum up my life over the past year.

More so than ever before, I have felt God calling me to do what is out of my comfort zone. Invitations have been accepted to be part of ministries that are growing and taking shape as we go. I’m the gal who likes to know the what, when, why and how of things in advance. So as you might imagine, stepping out into the unknown took great faith on my part. With the New Year now fast approaching, I have found myself floundering a bit and I think this morning I’ve discovered the source of my irritation.

I’ve been trying to figure how to make it all work on my own. It’s not that I stopped seeking God, but I was leaning heavily on my own abilities to plan, organize and multi-task. My mind has been racing with “I need to do this. I need to go there. I need to call so-n-so…” and the list goes on. With all the racket, I was having trouble hearing that still small voice that is always present to offer direction, encouragement and most importantly, peace. I was believing God for guidance, but I wasn’t trusting Him enough to give me what I needed when I needed it. My control-freakedness had put a strategically placed wall between me and my willingness to trust without limitations.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov 3:5 ESV)   

Not anymore. If called God me to it, He will lead me through it.

I feel certain there will be days when I struggle to find balance. Today is shaping up to be one of those days. I’m pecking this out one-handed, trying to write with a snotty 3-year-old in my ear, a snuggly wee one on my chest and a mind that is screaming over all the things I’d like to accomplish today.


“(I) know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. .” (Rom 8:28 HCSB)  

That’s right. Even in the mundane, everyday life stuff, God is working, giving me grace for the moment. I only need to trust Him without borders.



~Eyes Open, My Love~ August 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:04 am
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303db061470732e00637018689917ac8When things get real, my first thought is to shut my eyes tight, plug my ears & sing “Jesus loves me” at the top of my lungs. It’s not very practical, but my inner child just wants to avoid the unpleasantries of this life. Then again, I am a grown-up now and as nice as it would be to pretend I’m a princess living in an elaborate castle, the reality is I’m a mother of 5 who scrubs toilets daily in a humble brick house with scuffed up floors.

I know it would be easier if we could close our eyes. We wouldn’t have to see the horror that plays on the news every single day. We wouldn’t be able to read the collection notices that keep coming in the mail, further evidence that our financial situation is in a rapid decline. We wouldn’t have to watch our loved ones suffer with life threatening illness that makes us wonder if there is a God and if so, why won’t he intervene.

You know what else happens when we shut our eyes to life? We miss the ‘aha’ moments, when God shows up and miracles happen.

For every violent war story that fills the tv screen, there’s another of love in the midst of turmoil that restores our faith in humanity. When the numbers don’t make sense and it would seem that all hope is lost, God takes what we would call financial ruin and uses it as a testament of His provision for His children. As we watch sickness ravage the body, God brings healing in one of two ways: he calls his child home where pain & suffering cease or he does what only he can as the ultimate physician and makes the body whole again.

There is a song by Need to Breathe that inspired this post, “Keep Your Eyes Open.” Take a look at my favorite verse:

Just past the circumstance,

The first light, a second chance

No child could ever dance the way you do

Tear down the prison walls

Don’t start the curtain call

Your chains will never fall until you do

We could close our eyes to the world around us and avoid all the ugliness but in doing so we will also miss the beauty of God’s hands at work. No matter how bleak your circumstances, it ain’t over til God says it’s over. Focus on that instead of your worries for a change.




~Miraculous Blessing~ January 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:58 am
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Our little family has had it’s share of highs and lows over the last few years.

When I was pregnant with Emma, we were told she exhibited signs of downs syndrome.

We watched helplessly as Peyton suffered with excruciating headaches.

We’ve fought the legal system to protect two of our children from a dangerous environment.

We have sat and looked at our bills only to realize the money wasn’t there.

And in all these struggles, one thing has proven true each and every time.  The moment that we decided to release our worries and cast all of our cares onto the Lord’s capable shoulders, He showed up.  I’m not talking about a little pat on the back.  I mean the kind of move of God that blew our minds and left us completely awestruck at His love for us.

With Emma, we prayed and decided to ignore the doctors urging and forgo the extensive testing.  Miraculously, the elevated numbers dropped and I delivered a healthy baby girl with ease.

Some of you know how Peyton’s story turned out.  After months of fretting and crying to God, he was healed in an instant…and I do mean an instant.  One day he was sick, the next day it was all over.

We are still in the throws of a fight over two of our children, but we know that the victory has already been given to us as the battle belongs to the Lord.

As for our financial worries, I can’t tell you how many times God has showed up in the craziest of ways.  We have been granted unmerited favor with debtors, we’ve received gifts of items we desperately needed but couldn’t possibly afford-like a refrigerator, and we’ve been showered with blessings from the most random of places just when we needed them most.

Last night was no exception.  I won’t share all the details, but I had to give God a shout out.

We had an unexpected visitor show up on our doorstep.  I was clueless to what was going on until it was all over because I was downstairs putting 2 rambunctious girls to bed.  I came up the stairs to find my husband with a look of shock on his face.  He could hardly put into words what had just taken place.  The Lord sent us a miracle through someone that we could have never anticipated.  This person handed something to my husband and said that the Lord laid it on their heart to give it to us and wouldn’t let them alone about it until they did!

There are no words to explain to you just how awestruck we all were in this house last night, we still are.  We know the Lord loves us, He’s proven it time and time again, but it still amazes me to see Him work in such a tangible way.

The moral of this story is to completely lean into God and trust that He will always give you just what you need at the very moment you need it.  Looking back over our story, how could we not trust him?!

To our guardian angel who was obedient to the Lord- I pray that you will be doubly blessed for the love and generosity that you extended to our family.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)



~Is it time to let go?~ December 31, 2013

Undoubtedly the Lord is trying to make a point for me and mine.  It seems like everywhere I look, I am faced with the reoccurring message of letting go.

“Is what you’re trying to hold onto holding you back from something greater?’

“You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but God has something awesome and new in store for you, yet, if you are afraid to let Him lead you out of that pond, you will never know that that He has an ocean for you to sail on…Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”

And in my own thought process, I continually find myself at war with feelings of anxiety at the thought of losing what is familiar.

Change is scary, at least for creatures of habit like myself.  At the same time, I can appreciate the fact that remaining stagnant doesn’t automatically equal safety.

Have you ever heard the expression, “familiarity breeds contempt”?  I wonder if that’s the place that I currently find myself in.  Has my inability to accept change and my outright defiance towards something new caused me to settle into an unpleasant place?  I feel like Oscar the Grouch…”this is MY house….these are MY things…this is MY LIFE!  And you can’t make me move on!”

Thankfully my deeply rooted faith wouldn’t let me keep my mad face on for too long.  I turned to one of my favorite books in Scripture for some help:

“But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

(Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT)

I don’t want to be the girl who is so busy looking backwards that I completely miss what is right in front of my face.  Some of life’s circumstances look bleak and downright awful…to the point that you can’t possibly see any good ever coming from it.  However, we are getting this story one page at a time while God is working with the whole book so doesn’t it make sense to trust His plans over our own?let go