Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~When Hurt Makes You Want To Quit~ June 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:01 am
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I am a very sensitive gal, sometimes…oftentimes…to a fault. I let my feelings get hurt and take offense when others could and do let it roll off their backs. I make no apologies for that. My sensitivity is also what helps me to connect with others.

Today, I was unfriended. I made a mistake. A misunderstanding took place in a group setting. I called it out. It was then clarified, on both parts. I thought all was right with the world. That is until a separate message came through where no one else could see it. I was accused of a handful of things that don’t bear repeating.

Ouch.

I went from furious, to hurt, to eventually over it. Here’s why.

I am 100% comfortable with the prioritization of my life.

I am confident in who God says I am.

At the ripe old age of 33, I have come to the realization that you can’t please everyone so you best just focus on pleasing God.

Hurting people hurt people. 99.9% of the time, it is unintentional. It could be someone is having a horrible day. Perhaps they are physically ill, dealing with relational issues, fighting a spiritual battle I know nothing about it…the why isn’t important, it’s just a fact that if you’re dealing with any other struggle, it will affect how you respond to any give situation. I am not excluded from this little phenom.

Lastly, because of you, my friends. I posted on social media about my hurt and that we all should be more careful in our word choices, myself included. And without fail, you lovelies did what you do best, offered love & acceptance for who I am, flaws and all.  IMG_7346

I will not deny my place in this particular hurt. I read a message and took it one way while the author claims to have intended something else entirely. This is why writing can be dangerous. If you’re not looking me in the eyes, I can very easily misinterpret what you mean. This doesn’t excuse the words that were said to me, but it does force me to take a careful look at how I post on this blog.

My only goal is to reach people through total transparency, which includes admitting when I’ve made mistakes and seeking forgiveness.

Here’s the best news, God’s Grace & mercies are new each and every morning. Breathe it in. Yesterday is over, today I get to try again to give my best for God. And I will.

The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matt 12:37 NLT)

 

~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.

 

~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.

 

~Another “F” Word~ March 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:12 am
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silenceThis past week has been a bit wild for me so there has been little to no time to write…boo.  I was just going to let it go until Monday, then my little Belly-boo decided to provide me with material for a weekend post.

My Mom was in yesterday and we were out running errands together, just the three of us.  Miss B. was quite full of herself, barking her orders from the backseat as we made our various stops.

“I want my sucker now!”

“Let’s go to the store first!”

And here comes the big one:

“Where’s my freakin’ egg?”

I BEG YOUR PARDON!!!!  “Bella Grace, don’t you say that!  Who told you that word?!”

Cute as can be, she pointed at herself.

Obviously, I know she had to have heard it somewhere and as Mom and I were hashing out it, we had the painful realization that it has crossed the lips of nearly everyone in our home.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Typically, the context in which it’s been used has been more of a light-hearted tone, “Are you freakin’ kidding me, that’s hilarious!!”  You get the jist.

But the sound of that word coming from my sweet girl’s mouth sounded so foul that I knew we had to start being more mindful of how we speak.  Is it a swear word?  I guess not but it sounded so similar to the other, detestable “f” word that it made me cringe.  It made me think, what does the word actually mean anyway?  The Bible warns us not to speak idle words because one day we will give an account for every single one.*  Truthfully, I had been using this word occasionally and overlooking my preteens using it without having a clear understanding of what we were actually saying.  Well surprise, surprise, it is defined as “a euphemism for…..” you guessed it, THE “f” word.”

I feel about as big as an ant.  Epic fail, no momma of the year award waiting for me, even my babe is basically swearing.

Very quickly this morning, I looked for a Scripture for myself and to share with the fam so that we won’t be so careless with our choice of words.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Even the descriptive words we use to express emotion, should be carefully weighed to be certain that we aren’t dishonoring the Lord in our speech while setting a not-so-shining example for the little eyes and ears that are upon us in the process.  Nothing about the word in question brings encouragement to those who hear it, so I’d say it’s time we retire it’s usage.

*Matthew 12:36

 

~Stop Talking, Start Thinking~ March 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:35 pm
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“Observe the people who always talk before they think—even simpletons are better off than they are.” (Proverbs 29:20 Message)

The majority of my generation was taught to think before you speak, not the other way around.  However, it seems these days that people are getting more and more aggressive with their speech without taking into account what the repercussions may be.    

I’m going to share an illustration that I have seen done before to teach the power of words and the reality that they can’t be taken back once spoken.

The teacher stood at the front of the class as they all looked curiously at the items on their desk: a tube of toothpaste, a paper plate & a q-tip.  She was giving a lesson on thinking carefully before you allow yourself to speak, especially when you’re hurt.  She looked at her students and instructed them to take their brand new tube of toothpaste and squeeze every bit of it out onto their plate.  The idea of making a sloppy mess appealed to the children so they grinned and squealed as they made squiggly lines across their plates.  Once she was certain that each child had done exactly as she said, she moved on to part two of this little demonstration.  “Class, I want you to take your q-tip and try to put all of that toothpaste back into the tube.”  The gleeful expressions quickly turned inquisitive as they tried their best to scoop all that minty fresh mess back into a tiny opening to no avail.  After watching them struggle for a few minutes, this brilliant woman drove home her point.  “That toothpaste is like our words, it is easy to let them fall right out but impossible to put them back in.”toothpaste

A valuable lesson we all need to make an effort to remind ourselves of daily.  Words come so easily but they can pack a punch and once you let them pass your lips, there ain’t a thing in the world you can do to take them back.  So allow yourself time to think before you let your mouth get away from you.  You will be glad you did….and so will the rest of the world.

 

~Words~ February 16, 2014

When was the last time you caught yourself  using one of the phrases your parents used to say?  You know the ones I’m talking about, the very things you swore you would NEVER say when you became a parent!

‘If you don’t stop making that face it’s going to freeze that way!”

“If so-n-so jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?”

“Because I said so, that’s why!!”

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

“When I was your age…..”

I believe that Proverbs 6 gives us some Biblical insight to explain this phenom:

“My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.  When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.  For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life” (vs. 20-23)

The words that we speak in any relationship stick, but especially those that we speak to and about our children.  I can remember many encouraging words that my parents spoke into my life….I can also remember the not so good words.  I’ll never forget a time when someone had said something that absolutely devastated me and when I sought counsel the response I got shocked me, “They’re just words.  Let it go.”

No.  They are not just words.  Matthew 12:36 says “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  Perhaps if we took that into account before we opened our mouths, we’d be a bit more careful in our choice of words.  The tongue is tiny but holds the power of life and death.  There is no such thing as “just words.”

I’d like to give us a little visual to aid us in our language towards our loved ones, more specifically, the little ones left in our charge.  Imagine that every person on earth has an empty cup in their hearts.  We should be pouring crystal clear water into every empty cup we encounter.  Our children’s cups should be filled to overflowing so that when the world attempts to dump it’s contaminated sewer water into them, there will be no room in their cup.

The crystal clear water is encouragement, biblically sound teaching and words of praise.

The sewage water represents the culture that we live in that offers up words that go against every teaching of the Word of God.

One springs up life while the other pollutes.  Which one do you hope that your children will say of you?words