Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Admitting Ignorance and Seeking Forgiveness~ July 11, 2016

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“She and Molly are about as opposite as it is possible to be, which would be fine if Dina didn’t take Molly’s choices as a personal affront.”

It’s been a couple months now since I finished reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline that my friend, Julia, sent to me. I remember reading the above excerpt and feeling an immediate check in my spirit. With the recent events in the news, I was reminded once again of this line. 
Being polar opposites would not be an issue if we weren’t so quick to take offense to one another’s choices. When I peruse social media, that’s exactly what I see. People on opposing sides berating each other in attempts to defend “their side.” I’m all for a good debate, the problem is when it gets personal and turns into a name-calling show down. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make them an idiot. You see this in response to all manner of topics: politics, religious beliefs, parenting styles, lifestyle choices…I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture. 
We live in a diverse nation. We have an opportunity to learn & grow from our differences or we can segregate ourselves, choosing to shut out anyone who doesn’t fit the same mold. 
I will be the first to admit that I’ve lived a relatively sheltered life. I grew up in a small, Southern town. I am NOT knocking that, I loved my small town life! However, the minority population was small and not particularly diverse as was the LGBTQ community. So it’s fair to say I’m pretty uneducated when it comes to the issues they face because I’ve not experienced it firsthand. I’m going to admit something that’s really hard to say, my lack of knowledge has at times come across as fear. Allow me to elaborate. When you grow up being the majority and having no real exposure to different cultures, all you “know” is what you watch or read. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many positive stories about Muslims, African-Americans or the LGBTQ community. I want to change that perception by doing my part to see people for who they are, not their skin tone, religious coverings, whose hand they choose to hold or any other “book covers” that would cause me to make unfair categorizations. 
I hope that my willingness to admit my own ignorance will open others to the same. I know I can never truly understand the level of discrimination others face. I can do better at being a friend to all and not making assumptions based on preconceived notions that have no real basis other than my irrational fears derived from biased news coverage.  

 For those who have been on the receiving end of my ignorance, I ask for your forgiveness & the opportunity to show I can be a better version of myself. Let’s all look for ways to love one another today BECAUSE of our differences. 

 

~Benefits of Wisdom~ February 12, 2014

Day 2-Proverbs 2proverbs 2

Yesterday we discovered the entire purpose behind the book of Proverbs is to encourage us to seek wisdom and understanding from the Lord so that our lives would be in alignment with Scriptures.  The same point is reiterated in chapter two.  Something you may have noticed about the Lord, when something is really important, He gets a little repetitive.  I suppose He thinks we’re hard headed and need to be told multiple times to be sure it sinks in.  He’s right, by the way.

Did you know that you have to ask God to give you wisdom and insight?  He wants us to seek out understanding.  Think about it, when someone asks you for something you know that they believe you have what they need.  Asking implies that you want to learn and are actively listening.

Once we have sought these gifts from the Lord, he makes us four promises that require very little from us:

1.  He (the Lord) grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.  

Honesty has always & will always be the best policy.  I can say there have been times in my life that telling the truth was painful, either to me or the person I was sharing with, but it is absolutely necessary in order to live the blessed life.  You want to have deep connections with people & know how to respond in any given situation, be honest-with them, yourself and the Lord.

2.  He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

Moral uprightness, strong principals…that is how integrity is defined.  The Lord wants his children to have a backbone and stand by their convictions.  You stand up for what the Lord declares as true and he will shield you from your adversaries. 

3.  He guards the path of the just

Be fair.  Stand up for the innocent.  Don’t condemn the guilty.  The Lord is the one who sits on the judgment seat, thank goodness because I do not want that job and quite honestly I don’t want you in that position either!  Let your hearts and minds be open and kind and the Lord will direct your steps.

4.  and protects those who are faithful to him.

I like this one.  God had promised his divine protection over my life if I am committed to him.  God’s love for me is steadfast, does he not deserve the same in return.  I think yes.

(Proverbs 2: 7-8 NLT)

Seek wisdom, trust that God wants to grant you understanding, have a reverential fear of Him and watch how your life is transformed during this reading challenge.  God is moving, people.  It’s up to us if we go with Him or sit and watch from the nosebleed section.

*This is day 2 of our 31 day reading challenge, it’s not too late to join us!  One chapter of Proverbs a day, February 11-March 13.  There will be a post here for each reading. Blessings!*

 

~Mean Girl~ July 29, 2013

There is a mean girl living inside of me.  She looks exactly like me…until she opens her mouth.  The worst part about her is she tends to show herself to some of the most beloved people in my life, my children.

It makes no sense, but sometimes I can be incredibly hateful and short with the biggest blessings God has ever given me.  I sat and thought on it and realized that just maybe it’s because not every single moment of parenting screams “blessing”!

Allow me to paint you a picture.  It has been one of the longest mornings of mommy-hood in my life.  Everything my kids can do wrong has been done with flair.  Glorious naptime arrives and for the first time all day my butt connects with the couch.  Just as I start to truly relish the quiet, I hear rustling from the girl’s room.  I tiptoe to the door and listen….”Mooommmyyyy, I poop!”  Down the stairs I go and there stands my Bella in her crib, pant-less.  It would appear I have a little Picasso on my hands and with no crayons in sight, she has decided to improvise.  Here comes my mean girl.  As I look upon the mess that I have the privilege of cleaning up, my mind is reeling “NOTHING about this moment shouts blessing!!”

I lectured my 2 year old with enough vehemence to make a military general retreat.  Half a bottle of bleach & one bath later, the smoke clears and I realize just how foolish I would have sounded had anyone been listening in.  My daughter didn’t do anything different than nearly every other child has done at some point.  But I was so tired and frustrated from a very long morning and she made an easy target for me to unload on.

However, I refused to let my mean girl win.  Just because “she” felt justified in her response, didn’t make it right.  So I used the best weapon I have to shut her up, the Bible.  The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom when it comes to controlling our anger.

“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”  (14:29)

The next time one of my children, or anyone else for that matter, throws a crick into my day, I have to choose to exercise understanding over acting a fool.

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”  (15:1)

When my knee-jerk reaction is to respond with a hot-temper, I am teaching my children to do the same.  With every harsh word I speak, I’m stirring up the “mean girl/boy” inside of them just dying to come out.

“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.”  (19:11)

Some wrongs cannot be overlooked when it comes to parenting, but as a wise woman once said, “You have to pick your battles.”  Thanks Mom, as always, you were right.  Respect is something that everyone craves but few work to get.  Granted it is a given that children should respect their elders, we make it far easier on them when we express grace & mercy rather than going off like a raving lunatic.

This is obviously an area where I am a work in progress.  There are days when I feel like I should be wearing a warning, “Caution: Mean girl crossing.”  It is by God’s grace that I can and will overcome.  I ain’t no quitter!  On the most difficult days when I struggle to bite my tongue, my goal is to recall the words of James 1:19:

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.”

Sometimes it is to my benefit to count to 100 before I open my mouth!hand over mouth