Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Watch Your Mouth!~ January 9, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:43 am
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I was at the gym earlier this week and I overheard a conversation that had me hanging my head.

I’ll paint you a picture.

Two young boys were working out beside of me and talking loud enough that eavesdropping wasn’t necessary. I noticed them because I recognized one as being a talented athlete from a local high school. I was thinking, “how nice to see some kids are motivated to continue to push themselves during their offseason.” Then they opened their mouths. I was so disappointed to hear such ugly words coming out of their handsome faces.

These guys are obviously gifted in their sport of choice. They were good looking kids, (side note: if you are under the age of 25, you are a kid to me so this is not a reference to a small child.) Knowing what I do of the one, I am certain that younger athletes look up to him. That’s why I was hanging my head.

My kids are younger athletes who spend considerable amounts of practice & conditioning time with guys just like these two. I can safely say that this is not the kind of example I had hoped my kids would see from upper classmen.

Granted, there are some older kids that have been phenomenal at setting a shining example for the younger generation and for them I am so very thankful. I can only pray that my kids will be pulled to them and not the aforementioned group.

What I don’t understand is why they felt the need to talk that way in the first place. It was an everyday conversation they were having, about nothing of real significance, and yet they couldn’t communicate without dropping the “f-bomb every other word. It used to be that swear words were reserved for when you were highly emotional, aggravated or so angered over something that “normal” words couldn’t effectively convey your feelings.

I can’t really say why this bothered me as much as it did other than seeing just one more way that kids are growing more and more desensitized to things that used to be frowned upon in our society.

For those who may think I am overreacting, “their just kids being kids,” allow me to point out one very important Scripture.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart. Those are the things that make someone ‘unclean.’ Evil thoughts come out of a person’s heart. So do murder, adultery, and other sexual sins. And so do stealing, false witness, and telling lies about others. Those are the things that make you ‘unclean.’” (Matt 15:18-20 NIRV)

There is way too much careless speech being tossed around. People of all ages no longer take the time to process their thoughts before opening their mouths. There is a reason why the Bible warns us of the power of the tongue. Words can be an encouragement to the hearer or they can bring devastation. We need to get back to the practice of giving careful thought to the words we allow to pass our lips. May I exhort you to lead by example today? Speak life, refrain from useless words that add nothing to the conversation and prove that you can adequately express your emotions without cursing like sailor…as my maw-maw used to say!

 

~I DO Care~ December 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:20 am
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I have felt very convicted over a 3 word phrase that I probably use every single day. The words aren’t ugly or said hatefully, but I believe the conviction came because they imply an emotion that could be perceived as hurtful.

Wanna know what it is?

“I don’t care.”

Whenever the kids ask me for something, like a snack or to watch a certain show, rather than give a simple yes, I typically say “I don’t care.” I’m not really sure how this came to be and it never stuck out to me until recently. But I don’t like it. Why would I tell my children I don’t care about anything?! Because truthfully, I DO care…about every little thing that concerns my people.

Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase. The results really hit home.

“Saying “don’t mind” sounds very polite and gentle. It’s like the person is saying “It’s ok with me.”; however, “don’t care” sounds stronger and it’s like the person is saying, “It doesn’t matter to me”.”-http://english.stackexchange.com

Synonym for I don’t care-uninvolved

That’s not at all what I mean when I say it! Jesus, help me!

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Prov 16:24 ESV)

While I never intended to be harsh, my careless use of a simple phrase indicates otherwise. Nothing about “I don’t care” is seasoned with grace. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how hateful it does sound.

Ephesians 4:29 has been on my heart fairly often lately and I have to wonder if that’s why the sudden feelings of guilt over my choice of words.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV)

My kids, I’m sure like many of yours, never stop with the questions..

Can I have this?

Can we go there?

Will you get me..?

While the constant requests can be taxing on ones nerves, we should still take care to respond with love and kindness rather than harshness and irritation. I for one don’t want my kids to stop coming to me because they feel they are an aggravation to me.

This has become a habit to me, one that will take some time to break. But I am determined to do better in this area because even the simplest of words have the power to build up or tear down.

words

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life” (Prov 15:4 ESV)

I want to be that tree.

 

~Mourning that which you never had~ January 29, 2014

Just over a week ago, I attended the funeral of my closest cousins’ grandfather.  We grew up very close so I knew him as a child and was happy to honor his memory.  I sat behind my cousins and watched them shed tears as they made peace with the finality of the moment.

As I left the funeral home, I cried too, but for a different reason.  Watching people very close to me grieve the loss of someone dear to them made me realize I was lacking something.  I don’t have a grandfather.

I had no relationship with my biological father so by extension, no relationship with his dad.  As most of my readers know, I was raised by the man who chose to be my father, (not a step-dad,never, ever call him that, he is my dad).  His father, my Pa-paw passed away when I was young.  He was a very quiet man and difficult to get close to.  Not because he wasn’t loving, he just wasn’t expressive with his feelings, if you know what I mean.  When he passed, I don’t remember feeling sad because I was too young to really grasp what was going on and we didn’t have that closeness that some do with their grand-dads.  Then there would be my mom’s father.  I will not share personal details of my mother’s story but this man was not someone I cared to know nor was he someone we were ever around.

And that’s it.  I can’t really say why this sudden realization saddened me, but it did.  I wanted those precious memories that my cousins will now cherish.  I wanted the words of wisdom that can only come from an older, wiser, more seasoned generation.  I have no old phrases that “grandpa used to say.”  So my ride home became a time of mourning that day as my heart ached for something I would never have.

Death has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?  It makes you think on things that would normally escape your attention or that you would typically push deep down inside the safety of your heart.  A blogging friend shared this quote yesterday and it gripped me at my core:

There is a wealth of unexpressed love in the world. It is one of the chief causes of sorrow evoked by death: what might have been said or might have been done that never can be said or done.
Arthur Hopkins

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.  You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.  My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” 

(Psalms 39:4-5 NLT)

I pray that it doesn’t take death to make us appreciate life.  My hope is that I will learn to cherish each moment I am given and that I will never waste an opportunity to show love.  If our lives are but a moment, wouldn’t it be a shame to waste it?

As for my hurting heart from the lack of grandfatherly love, you never know, the Lord may just place a surrogate in my life.  He loves me that much.

greatest loss