Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Admitting Ignorance and Seeking Forgiveness~ July 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:58 am
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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. 

 

~When Saying Nothing isn’t an Option~ July 8, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 12:13 pm
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 It’s been quite some time since I sat down to write. I thought it was because I had nothing to say but with a little more reflection, I think it’s because I’ve been struggling with having something encouraging to say and I don’t like to add to the constant negativity that surrounds us. Then I wake up this morning and see yet another string of horrific events.

Honestly, I have yet to recover from the mass shooting in Florida and much has happened since then. I rarely watch the news. That’s probably irresponsible of me but it truly depresses me to the point that it affects my ability to function. I feel helpless and frustrated and terrified to walk out the door with my children. I did tune in once this week to see that over 60 shootings occurred in Chicago over the holiday weekend. Granted there were only 4 fatalities but among the injured were a 5 & 8 year old shot while playing with sparklers! This morning social media informs me of not one, but two officer involved shootings followed up by a sniper attack?! I have a limited knowledge of all of the above because I can’t watch the video footage circulating and of course if we aren’t present, all we know is what the media presents. But it appears to me that every single instance was driven by hate. When did it become the norm to turn to rage & murder simply because you don’t “agree” with someone? Instead of people mourning the sensless loss of human life, arguments flare up over gun control, immigration and politics. I have never claimed to be the most educated but one thing I do know for certain is hate solves nothing.

I’ve been silent since the Orlando shooting because I have no desire to engage in these sorts of arguments. The moment I read an article about a momma texting her son who was later killed in that nightclub, my whole world changed. At any moment, that could be any one of us, staring down the barrel of a gun, begging for mercy where there is none. Possibly even more sobering, it could be any one of us on the other end of the line, where someone we love is the one in peril. People, can you even imagine? One minute you’re enjoying a night out, singing in your place of worship or just going about your daily business and the next, your world is flipped on it’s side.

So I won’t be engaging in a battle over whose lives matter, because to me, they all do. Vengeance is not mine to seek, instead I choose to pray for peace & justice for all victims.   

 

~Harmonious Living~ March 10, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:38 am
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I went to bed last night with the windows wide open, thanks to the lovely Spring weather we’re having. This morning I was awakened by a chorus of birds just chatting away. I’m laying here now, listening to all of the varying chirps, too many to count, and each one as beautiful as the one before. All of these little birdies with their own unique voice, singing their own tunes and yet they harmonize flawlessly. They’re not the same size or color, they don’t all live in the same type of nest, and yet here they are, singing their hearts out, together, making the loveliest music. 
Maybe we could all learn a little lesson from the birds. 

We may not look alike, sound the same, be similar in size, skin tone or ethnic background. We may live different lifestyles, have opposing beliefs or wildly different upbringings, but does that have to mean we can’t all sing our songs in harmony? Diversity is a wonderful gift that we should use to learn from one another rather than use to sow discord among our peers. While we may be different in numerous ways, we are all apart of the human race, in this life together, don’t you think we should act like it? 

 

 

~Stop The Labeling~ June 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:13 am
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Labels, you see them every which way you turn.labels

  • Heterosexual
  • Homosexual
  • Black
  • White
  • Democrat
  • Republican
  • Christian
  • Conservative
  • Liberal

Labels that place us into a specified group that cause others to dislike us…and vice versa…based solely on the fact that our group ain’t their group. Why is it that we’ve made it impossible to belong to a society where there is no need for such labeling which leads to dissension?

What purpose do labels serve other than to bring division and sow discord amongst brothers and sisters? Yes, that’s what we are, brothers & sisters in Christ. We are all descendants of the Lord and He loves us equally. I do not believe it was ever the Lord’s intentions to see us tearing each other to shreds over our differences.

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26-28 NLT)

We are ONE nation under God. Why are we allowing all of these unnecessary classifications to divide us? Even if we fit into the same “grouping”, we are NOT always going to agree on every aspect of life! It’s ridiculous to assume that we can walk this life without disagreements but why are we so quick to blame our arguments on a label? “It’s because I’m ___________.” Discrimination is, unfortunately, still prevalent in this nation so sometimes it may very well be true that a disagreement stems solely from that. However, it could be that someone just disagrees with your opinion, plain and simple.

To be clear, I have friends that fall under every category I named above. But when I look at their faces, I see who they are and what I love about them, not some scrolling list of adjectives.

A little advice from my husband: “Love each other and pray for understanding. Don’t assume to know someone based solely on what you see. Embrace the differences. Something that totally changed my life not too long ago was my prayer to see people as God does. Try it…it will reconfigure your thought process.”

 

~Black, White, Polka-Dotted or Striped~ August 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:57 am
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If you ever wonder why there is racism in the world, take a look at how the media runs the headlines.

“Several black kids bully a little white girl.”

“An unarmed black male is shot down by a Hispanic.”

“A group of white teens brutally attack an Asian girl.”

(These are not actual headlines but are very similar to ones I have seen recently in the news.)

Why is there any reason to include the race, ethnicity, religious background, etc. in the headline?  Does it matter what the color of skin is?  Isn’t the issue that a child was bullied, an innocent person shot or that a girl was beaten?  Why make issue of the race of the individuals involved?  Shouldn’t we be outraged that a crime was committed and leave it at that?

When I read these type of news feeds, my stomach turns.  Not only because of the violence that is running rampant in our world, but because we are being fed hatred for one another based on skin tone.  It’s horrendous and shameful.  The media is using hate and discrimination to up their “numbers” all the while fueling the sickness that is tearing God’s people apart.  News stories such as these cause white children to fear their black classmates, or everyone who isn’t white to fear bald-headed, tatted-up men.  Does anyone else find this wildly offensive or is it just me?!  Those in positions of influence are using their “power” to create unwarranted, irrational fears between God’s family and this should not be!

Yesterday I shared a Scripture with my facebook friends:

“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:28 NLT

Either you believe this, or you don’t.  We were all created in God’s image, every last one of us.  We were placed on this earth for a purpose and I can assure you that not one of us was created to spread racial discord.  In Romans 2 verse 11 it says, “God shows no favoritism.”  Then in James 2 verse 9 we are told “if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.”  If the Lord who created the heavens & earth and everything in them is not interested in giving preferential treatment of any one people group over another, than who are we to do just that?

racism

**If I may add, I can’t stand referring to human-beings as a color!  This entire post was meant to make a point that we are not defined by the color of our skin nor should we pass judgment based on the same.**