For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Parenting--The Amazingly Simple Answer

Folks ask me often how I have such amazing kids. Here is the recipe:


2. Know they were made to be amazing

3. Understand the road to amazing is bumpy. They'll mess up and so will I and only God can cover any of us.

4. Accept the fact the best thing I can give them is my attention, interest, and encouragement. I am Mom 24/7. They are not my children simply when it is convenient.

5. Plead for and give grace....and plead for more grace when I don't give enough.

6. Say no even when it hurts...especially when it hurts me. (some of you parents know what I mean)

7. Pray some more.

8. Be amazed...every day...with the wondrous people God is growing them into.



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Because No One is Small or Insignificant

Sunday night I created some concern when I posted about my worship time in church that day. I had really hoped the focus would be on the big vision God was giving me and the fact that although I am nothing special as a person and by myself I can’t make a difference, but with HIM I can accomplish great things. It really is all about Him, and honestly, I’m humbled at the vision and scope He has given me. That was truly what I meant when I used the words “small” and “insignificant”. However, that was not how they were interpreted, and some beautiful hearts expressed concern and support.

I’ve considered how to respond and prayed about it because…well, you’ll see…I hope. I even considered saying nothing, but last week the Lord kept echoing in my mind one sentence people have said to me untold number of times over my life: “Jerri, I’m not you.” They say it with sadness, and it is obvious they think there is something about me that makes me somehow more than them. More gifted. More outgoing. More determined. More spiritual. More…I don’t know. I’m not more than anyone. That is what makes me small and insignificant. I’m no bigger or more significant than anyone else. I’m just Jerri, and, yes, there are some fantastically cool things that comes with that, red hair included, but there are some things that are hard and keep me on my knees praying because they are not something I want up where everyone can see them. They are ugly, and I know they are ugly, and I promise you have witnesses who will testify they are ugly.

But even with as ordinary and regular as I am, God can take all that stuff—even the ugly—and do powerful, powerful things I could never do on my own. If He can do that in MY life with my background and my ugly, He can do it with anyone’s life.

So, let me tell you about the real me. It may get ugly. Are you ready? Okay.

First of all, I am not "small" or "insignificant". I don't EVER think that way about myself. I think I was put on this earth to have powerful impact. I believe I am a gifted speaker and writer. I believe I am a force to be reckoned with. I believe I do have my Daddy's full attention, and, yes, I do believe I am the favorite.

I am fully convinced if I need my Daddy, He will send any resource He has in heaven to my aide, and if need be, as it once was, if I need Him to, He will get off His throne and come to earth Himself to do what needs to be done to save me from whatever has the audacity to attack me. Mostly, He saves me from myself.

I truly believe anything that comes before me I am capable to handle. I believe any giant and any mountain that steps in my way makes a mistake because it will come down.

I believe I often come across as harsh and overly blunt, and because of that, I sometimes say nothing when I should say something, even if I say it with a bit more edge than I intend. In my opinion, these are my two greatest weaknesses, and I would appreciate prayers for these things if my Daddy brings me to your mind.

One of my great strengths is my refusal to back down from a fight when I’m fighting for someone or when I know I’m right. One of my great challenges is learning when it really doesn’t matter if I’m right or not. I get to practice this

Because I know I’m a strong presence, I sometimes play “small” in order to not overwhelm people or to keep from being a target. This is one of my greatest faults. I truly believe I can be a strong presence and be a place of refuge in that strength without being less than who God expects me to be. I’m still learning this. I hope I get it figured out before I die.

It hurts me when people don’t like me or people don’t understand me. In fact, those wounds cut horrifically deep, and I expend absurd amounts of time and energy figuring out how to mend the relationship. The Lord is teaching me to know when that matters because not all relationships are meant to be mended. It is a hard truth, and I have to keep that on the altar before Him all the time.

Oddly, though, I have no problem standing against another strong person when I feel that person is threatening, and if they don’t like it, I don’t care. Still learning proportional response. Sometimes a .45 is enough to fix the situation, and I bring a tank, and sometimes the collateral damage is… Remember the ugly I talked about? Well, this is way on up there on the ugly list.

I stink at being vulnerable, and God has made it clear this is one of my greatest strengths. However, it has been stolen through people’s painful treatment, accusations, and abandoning me throughout my life. It is something He wants restored. Can I tell you how much I am not loving the idea of THAT battle? But I am also excited. Walls can be so hard to maintain, and it is not good for me (man) to be alone. It’s a worthwhile battle. Love the idea of when it is over, just not the walking through.

If God brings you to mind, please feel free to pray for any (or all) of the above.

I am far more the warrior than the woman of grace, and I realize that rocks some people's world's and upsets their happy apple carts and rips their comfort zones to shreds. I have been called "intimidating" by more than one person, and while I can assure you I never desire to intimidate, I also have no intention of being less than who God created me to be.

I can also tell you if you are fighting to be who God created you to be, I'll be your best cheerleader. I will be the warrior who stands with you to encourage you and defend you because when we start standing up in the Truth of who we are, Satan will start throwing bombs about who we used to be. I’ll be there to remind you of the Truth and to tell the liar to go to hell where he belongs. I just may not say it gracefully. J

I'm not perfect. I don't claim to be, and I'm more aware of my faults than most people think. I thank God for grace, and I pray every day to be a person who extends it more than I expect to get it. I make mistakes. I hurt people's feelings, and sometimes I can't figure out how to say I'm sorry without sounding not-sorry, and I hate that. But honestly, sometimes I don't say I'm sorry because I really think I am right and have nothing to be sorry about.

That is kind of the way I see me.

Now, let me tell you how I see YOU.

First of all, you are not "small" or "insignificant". Don't EVER think that way about yourself. I know you were put on this earth to have powerful impact. You have gifts and talents no one else has. He has a big plan, and you are part of it. You are a force to be reckoned with. You have your Daddy's full attention, and, yes, I do believe you are the favorite.

I am fully convinced if you need your Daddy, He will send any resource He has in heaven to your aide, and if you need Him to, He will get off His throne and come to earth Himself to do what needs to be done to save you from whatever has the audacity to attack you. He will even save you from yourself.

I know you are a gift and a treasure, and I also know I am no better—no bigger, no more significant, no more talented, no more important—than anyone else, not even you.

So when I say I am small and insignificant, I don’t mean I think I’m worthless and unimportant. I’m simply saying I’m a human being like everyone else. Period. I’m also HIS, and in Him, I’m everything I need to be for Him to be great through me.

I believe that is true of everyone. So anyone who has ever said or thought, "I'm not like (Jerri, Ann Voskamp, The Piano Guys, Tedd Dekker, insert the person Satan uses against you HERE)," no, you're not. But you aren't supposed to be. You're just supposed to be like the beautiful flavor He built into you.

And THAT is always significant.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grace--Love, not License

Yesterday I wrote about what grace is and what it does, but some of you need to know what it isn't and what it won't do.

Grace is not a license to do whatever you want knowing God will cover your butt.

Grace does not hand out a condom knowing you will be stupid and have sex with someone you shouldn't. Nor will grace tie you down so you don't go to that crackhouse again. Grace does not hide your wallet so you won't go to the track and lose this month's rent and risk putting your family on the street. Grace doesn't save your job when you've been looking at porn at work, and grace won't make your spouse stay because you aren't responsible enough to be faithful.

But Grace says, "If you have sex, I'll love you, even when you hate yourself."

Grace holds your hand and whispers, "You can do this," the whole time your body aches and the only thing you want more than that drug is to be clean...and even when you don't but you are determined for this time to be different.

Grace says you don't have to lose your self-respect forever just because your past choices made you lose everything else.

Grace never brings up the past except on those days when you are drowning in what a bad parent you are and how you never get it right and how you wish you could do it over, and then it reminds you of when you were the mom who wanted the crack more than you wanted that baby and you couldn't get through the day without a drink and you chose the way out instead of searching for a way in.

Grace reminds you of who you are and encourages you to believe in who you can become.

It is Love that says I know it all, and I'm still all in...with all of you...the parts that hurt and  the parts that hope.

Grace can't fix the past or change what you did or who you were. Grace just says, "You don't have to be that anymore."

And if you are tired of who you are and what you are doing, I want you to know, there is grace, and God has enough for you.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grace--When Looking Up Says You Never have to Look Behind Again

"Jerri, you keep mentioning grace, and I've heard about it in church, but I really don't understand what it is."

"Jerri, I have this head knowledge of what grace is, but I can't figure out how to make it heart knowledge."

"Jerri, you keep mentioning grace. What IS it?"

Let me tell you about me, and my experience with grace, and maybe that'll make it more real and less "theological dictionary."

When I was a teenager, I had an addiction to prescription drugs. I used alcohol to excess so I could feel numb. I thought the most valuable thing about me was my jeans size. I got everything wrong and nothing right, and there was an ample number of people who told me so. I was horribly ashamed of who I was and what I did, and there was no way out of it. I was judged by people in my family, in my school, and in my church. Did I mention I ran with the "bad" crowd? Druggies. Drunks. Thieves. People who thought sex was a premium and people were expendable. People with rap sheets as long as my arm with no fear of the law. In fact, the only law  they recognized was the one on the streets dictated by the situation.

In an effort to pull my life together, I met a "nice boy", finished college, and got married. The degree turned out to be useless for employment, and before the honeymoon was over, I realized I had made a huge mistake but had no where to go and saw no way to get out. I tried to get help from the church and the church leaders only to be told what I failure I was because he was so amazing, it must be me. I spiraled into a dark place, shut down, hid the truth no one wanted to hear...and hated myself more than ever.

Nineteen years later, the charade came apart. A divorce petition was filed, and the fake I had been for all those years was right in the open for all to see, and judgments came hard and fast. And can one really drown in shame because if you can, surely I would?

How could I have stayed with someone like that? Did I have no self-respect? How could I lie? It was my fault for not telling. And it felt like all the sins and failures and false claims were waged against me, and I had been found guilty of it all because how could I be found otherwise? And there I stood in front of the firing squad who felt they had every right to demand I take responsibility for the whole mess I had created, and, Lord God, was it ever a mess.

I had made the wrong choice. I had married badly. I had...believed for the miracle that didn't come, and when you believe for a miracle and it comes, you look like a giant of faith, but if you believe for a miracle that doesn't come, you look like a sham and a failure. I looked like the biggest charlatan of all.

So there I stood. Taking the beating and the hits and the judgments, and there was no way out. There was no defense because how do you defend a life gone so horribly wrong? You can't.

But you can hide.

Except you don't hide in the lies or in the facades. You don't hide in mirages of what you wish things were. You hide in Truth.

You hide in Him.

You hide in the One who says, "I'm not ashamed of who you are or who you were or what you've done. I'm not ashamed to have my name associated with yours. I'm not ashamed to be seen with you. In fact, I want to be here. I want you for me. I want to give you grace."

Grace is the thing  that steps between you and the Judge, and instead of your getting beaten, it takes the bullet you deserve. Instead of hating you for all you've done, it loves you because you are simply you. It doesn't look at who you've been. It sees who you are and were created to be, and instead of looking back, it rejoices in now and looks forward to what will come.

Grace is the get-out-of-the-disgusting-Jerri free card. It is the gift that says you no longer have to be who you were or  think like you did or hate yourself for what you weren't. It is the Voice that says, "You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I have a purpose for you. You are worth dying for," and when you point to the past, He smiles and says, "I'm bigger than all that."

It is the safe place where punishment isn't, and you no longer have to fear the next shoe dropping. It is where you can breathe and dream of what you can become instead of carrying the weight of what and who you have been.

Grace is the Love that says, "You are more important to me than my right to be angry about not being important to you.."

Grace is what says I don't have to carry a sign that says:

"I'm an addict, a drunk, a failure at marriage, a failure in society, a failure at life.
I am an embarrassment to my parents, a bad example for my peers, and disgrace to my church.
I lose patience with my kids, lose desire to care, lose concern for others.
I deserve nothing good because I am nothing good."

Because in grace, none of that matters any more.

What matters is that I let Jesus take the nails, take the garbage, and have my heart.

What matters is that I choose God's love over my self-hate.

What matters is that I leave my insanity in the graveyard where I was living and walk right into civilized society and tell people how good God is because how good He is far more world changing than how bad I was.

Grace is when you are on your knees sobbing with your heart screaming, "If only I could start over...", and you hear that whisper that says, "You can."

Grace is what forgets what you got wrong yesterday and excitedly waits to see what you get right today.

Grace is the gift that lives in the present and has no interest in the past.

Grace is all about who He is and so very unconcerned with who I was.

Grace is what says, "You don't have to look back. Just look up."

So I do, and in Him, I find me. The peace-filled me. The hopeful me. The fearfully and wonderfully made me...the me I always wanted to be but never could on my own, and you know what that looks like?

It looks like grace.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Because Sometimes You have to be Right

It happened in Sunday school in a class with the deacon, the worship leader, the assistant pastor, the senior pastor, a friend of mine for years, his son, and me. The assistant pastor is the class leader, which means he serves as referee, and this particular morning he must have been feeling something between courageous and insane because he picked the topic of Halloween for the discussion.

Being the vocal female, I stayed quiet. This is not a good topic for me, and I know it. I am very opinionated on this issue, and sometimes opinions become a battlefield to die on, and it was not a good day to die...for me or anyone else in the room.

Then it happened. One comment led to another, and someone said something else, and I tossed in a quick thought and tried to step back, but the young man said it, “It’s just about candy.”
And that line of thinking kills.

“NO! It’s not!”
It is not about candy or costumes. It is about satan and hell and agreeing with demons, and haven’t you ever read the history?!

And my opinion gives way to passion, and my passion refuses to lose this battle. The calm demeanor disintegrates, and I am shocked at what the church finds acceptable if it is just presented in the right wrapper, and I am honestly hoping this young man simply doesn’t know, but if he doesn’t, he needs to. Then the long-time friend who is the father throws in, “I realize you are a woman, and most of you think you are always right.”

His words slam hard because there are times I did have to be right, and having to be right can sometimes make things all wrong, and I question.

Do I really believe I am always right…or are there topics in which you have to be right always?

There are times we cannot afford to be wrong.

When we are dealing with satan and his minions and their determination to steal, kill, and destroy all we are and all we love, we cannot afford to be wrong. And that is what Halloween is.

Halloween is about heaven and hell and inviting hell into your house wrapped in a piece of chocolate or dressed in a princess costume.

Halloween is about agreeing with an enemy who wants nothing more than to kill, steal, and destroy, and to give him an inch is to risk giving him everything.

It is NOT about candy. It is about your kids and your marriage and your lineage. It is about saying you will not entertain evil, not even evil that feels good or tastes good or lies and says it is good.

Halloween is about standing your ground and holding fast and knowing to agree with any part of hell tells them you accept them all because they don’t want your taste buds.They want a way in because they want it all, and a house isn’t taken down with an A-bomb but a million tiny cracks in the foundation where the water and the termites and the enemy seeps in.

If a member of Al Qaida steps onto your front yard and holds out a piece of candy, will you let him or her into your house? No. If you are in Texas you will grab your gun and kill them where they stand before a second step could be taken because you know they don't want to come in for tea and a chat about Duck Dynasty. They want to destroy your way of life and kill you and all those you love. You will NEVER let that into your home. They are evil, pure evil, and you will kill them or die trying before you let them near you or your loved ones.
The fact is the same evil that runs that operative is the same evil that is celebrated and worshipped at Halloween. The same evil that kidnaps children, sexually molests them, and kills them is the same evil celebrated and worshipped at Halloween. The same evil that will destroy your marriage, turn your child prodigal, and make you put a gun to your head because it is all pointless anyway is the very same evil worshipped and celebrated on Halloween.

If you were to show sympathy to that Al Qaida operative, he/she would think you were sympathetic to their cause, to who they are, to what they stand for. If you decide one part of evil is acceptable, you decide it all is. Satan doesn’t care if you just want candy. He wants your soul, and if he has to wrap his evil in candy to get to you, he will.

I don’t care if it is Halloween or yoga or some other demonic rooted activity or mindset or philosophy wrapped in a pretty wrapper. Satan will not give up what his inherently his, and some things cannot be redeemed, and God expects His children to have the sense to see the fruit and walk away.

We tell our kids not to take candy from strangers because the strangers might be out to hurt or kill their bodies, but every Halloween Christians encourage their kids to take it by the bag fulls from satan who is out to destroy their souls.

Why? Because we don’t want to give up the traditions? Because we want our kids to have the great childhood memories? Because we are afraid of looking like freaks who don’t do what the culture does? Because this is what we’ve always done, and we are determined to be right?

Just remember. You can be determined to be right and be completely wrong. And when that happens, sometimes the consequences just sting. Sometimes there is hell to pay.
There are times when wrong cannot be an option. You simply have to be right…even if you have to buy your own candy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

An Open Letter to Robin Thicke

Dear Robin,

I don't know you. In fact, until I watched the VMA video, I didn't even know you existed. However, I did watch the VMA video, and I do know you exist, and I know a bit more about you than I wanted to, and I would like you to know some things, too.

I want you to know what means to be a man of integrity and honor. Just trying to google your name to make sure I spelled it right told me a lot about you. Granted, paparazzi and tabloids have a tendency to stretch the truth or just make it up, but if that is the case, what I saw was a lot of stretching and similar imaginations. Robin, I know society, and maybe even your dad, tells men that real men are the ones who can convince as many women to have as much sex as a body can tolerate. A real man is unattached but always wanted. A real man is one who is always in control, always above everyone else, always...the master...who lives above consequence or concern. Society lies.

A real man knows how to honor and cherish one woman. A real man doesn't need everyone woman in the kingdom but knows how to daily take care of his queen. A real man knows the only one he needs master is himself, and he knows that is the hardest one to master of all.

I want you to know what it is like to be a real man.

I want you to know shame for what you've done and how you've lived, not so you can wallow there, but so you can leave there. No one repents of their past without seeing the damage and disgust it holds. I hope you see yours with wide eyes and open heart, and I hope you walk away from it, and when you do....

I also want you to know grace. Grace is the wondrous gift that says starting today, right now, that person you were is someone you don't have to be any longer. It isn't a get out of consequences free card, but it is a get a new future promise. You have to choose it, though. It won't fall in your lap. No one will wrap you in it and throw you into tomorrow. It is a choice, and you only find it in the One who created you in the first place. I hope you take it.

I want you to know forgiveness both His and your own. Very often we look at the life we've lived, especially in front of people, and we have a hard time getting past it because we can't let it go. Give the past to God, let Him handle it from here, and you keep moving. There is nothing back there and beating yourself up won't change it. Best thing you can do is leave the dead in the tomb and walk back into sanity, just like the man in the cemetery whom Jesus set free from the demon. Get set free. Leave your demons and move on.

I also want you to know I had a hard time figuring out what to say in this letter because honestly, what I saw on the VMA video and what I've read about you disgusts me, but sometimes, what I see in my mirror disgusts me, too. I pray for forgiveness and grace for me. I pray for it for you as well.

Finally, I want you to know if you ever want to talk about what any of this means, I would love to talk to you. There is a life so much better than the one you are living. You may not see it now, but prayerfully, one day you will, and when you do, if you want to talk, I am here. Just wanted you to know.

God's grace to you.

With utmost sincerity,
Jerri Kelley Phillips

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

An Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

Dear Miley,

I've never had the pleasure of meeting you, but I am a mom of a teenage girl who has sung your music and loved your hair and a teenage boy who has eaten popcorn and watched your movies. We are a family who has prayed for you because...well, we know. As a woman and a mom of a daughter and a son, there are a few things I want you to know.

I want you to know I'm sorry. I'm sorry you were exploited growing up. I'm sorry you carried a company on your shoulders. I'm sorry that people asked you to be an example to others when they were lousy examples to you. If they had been good examples, they would have known when to pull the plug, when to let you be a teenager, when to tell you no even when you wanted on stage. If they had been good examples, they would have cared more about you than their profit margin or their ratings. They would have shown you what a true "covering" does. They would have shown you how adults protect young people, maybe even from themselves. They would have known that sometimes dreams need to be held at bay a bit, that just because you can doesn't mean you should. They would have protected you. I'm so sorry they didn't.

I'm sorry the pedestal gave you a nose bleed and people didn't know how to handle it when it gave way.

I'm sorry you were not taught that your greatest value wasn't in what you could do for others but what Jesus did for you. I'm sorry you became a product to be marketed instead of a person to be nurtured.

I'm just so sorry.

I will not pretend I know how you feel. I know how I have felt when I was at the mercy of situations beyond my control or others' bad choices, and I was angry. I was sad and grieved what I had lost. I think if I were you, I would be outraged...and sad. I think I would have a lot to grieve, and if you are anything like me, you might even want to punish some of those folks who failed miserably. Of course, if you are a better person than me, maybe not. But if you are like me, I encourage you to grieve all of it. Give yourself some time to heal up. You'll be stronger if you do. And don't waste your energy trying to punish those people. It's not about being above it or better than them. When you hurt core deep, being better than anyone means nothing. However, the longer you focus your energy on them, the longer you are in their pathetic prisons. You deserve so much better than that. I say cut them lose and walk away because you deserve a better life than they have to offer. You've been at their mercy long enough. Give yourself the gift of freedom, beautiful one. It's time.

I want you to know you are welcome in my home any time. Come by. Have some sweet tea. I have an extra bed. The room is weirdly pink (previous owners doing), but if you can endure that, you are welcome to stay a bit. Rest. Don't impress us. Don't perform. Sing in the shower. Don't. Up to you. But you are welcome any time.

I also want you to know I'm concerned about your recent choices because I'm concerned about you. A woman who knows her value does not need to make some of the choices you've made, and I want you to know I know you are priceless. My family knows you are priceless. You were made by a perfect God who never makes mistakes. You were handcrafted by the greatest Artist ever. We know.

I want you to know if you decide one day you don't like the choices you are making or the life you are living, God has not abandoned you, and He can redeem anything. Lord God knows you haven't done anything I haven't done. I just didn't do it on a stage, and the paparazzi didn't care, and I'm telling you as a witness to His mercy, He has not abandoned you. Nothing is beyond Him. YOU are not beyond Him.

And the last thing I want you to know is I'm praying for you. Still. I've been a woman who didn't know my value, who made bad choices, who was failed by those who should have protected me. My heart is for your good, and my prayers are as well.

God be with you and help you find all you are in Him.

With absolutely sincerity,
Jerri Kelley Phillips

Sunday, September 1, 2013

When God Throws Your Own Words in Your Face

It was medical responders class when I said it. We had finished CPR and learning about heart attacks and the reality that the heart of the survivor may the only one we could really help.

And the nightmares were relentless.

Him unconscious in a car on the side of the road. My pulling him out of the car into my lap, trying everything I knew to bring him back. His dying there anyway. It played through my dreams at night and my thoughts during the day, and there was no conscious place it wasn't.

We were driving over to Burger King to grab lunch when he asked it. How he had died, and I told him, mechanical sounding and tired.

"So why did you take this class?"

Because I found medical response fascinating. I loved learning it all. I love the puzzle, the challenge, the whole thing. The cerebral answer.

"Doesn't it make you think about him and what happened?" All the time.

"Then why do that to yourself?" Because nothing will bring him back, but maybe--MAYBE--I can keep someone else from going through what we've been through, and if I can prevent this pain for even one person, it's worth it.

If I can make the difference for even one's all worth it.

Two years later I sit in my garden tub. Tears roll down my cheeks. The pain is deep, and no matter where I look, it is there.

I think about recent blogs and posts and verbal comments and conversations and discussions, and they tumble out of my head and replay in front of me. I talk too much. I always think I'm right. I'm just flat wrong. Who am I to say that? I said it the wrong way, to the wrong person, in the wrong tone. I should have said something else, written more, said more. I should be more humble and willing to learn. I should be more courageous and willing to teach. I should sit down and be quiet. I should rise up and step into my destiny.

I think I should stay in bed and avoid people altogether.

I think about the conversation two years ago, in the car as he asked why I chose to take the class. He had no way of knowing at that moment, I was trying to figure out how to fail the class because really, I just wanted out. I wanted out of the dreams, out of the torment, and out of the responsibility of it all.

The dreams were tormenting, and the always present reality that there would be someone I couldn't save and what then? What happens when you do your very best and it still isn't good enough, and no, I'm not God, didn't want to be, but this frail human had reached the limit and maybe the reality of what I couldn't do or be was the point where I shook my head and said, "Enough is enough." Really, is peace such a horrendous thing to want?

All I wanted was peace.

I sit in my garden tub and ask the same question: Is peace such a horrendous thing to want?

And again the mental and emotional torment is unending, and I am all too aware that no matter how good I am, I am never good enough. The reality I can't help everyone slams me like a wrecking ball. It is the barrage of voices telling me how I am not enough--not good enough, not smart enough, not "this style" enough, all. And this frail human being with a heart exhausted from three years of trying to rebuild a life and trying to understand who I am to be and what God wants to do has reached her limit, and maybe the reality of what I'm not or the personality and style I don't have leaves me shaking my head and saying, "Enough is enough."

Peace isn't a horrendous thing to want, and I'm wondering if the way to peace is to walk out of the war because, God in Heaven, I'm tired, and if I step off the battlefield, will anyone notice anyway?

Then it happens. His voice whispers, and my body cringes.

"If I can make the difference for one person, it's worth it."

My words. In His mouth. Not what I want to hear.

"How much is one person worth?" His voice is close to my ear, and I really don't like this. "If there was one person on a battlefield, and you knew you could reach them, but you also knew it meant every member of the enemy's army would turn their sights on you, would you leave them there, or would you go get them?"

He knows. And I am torn between being honored and being angry. "I'd go."

I feel His smile against my ear. "Yes. You would. Jerri, there are people down, and you are the only one who can get them, and, yes, the assault will be hard and unrelenting, and you may need a breather--"

"Not as long as there is one more I can get."

His smile broadens. He knows.

And I have no idea how I will stay on this battlefield, but I will, just like I passed that class, just like I didn't flinch when my patient was young man with symptoms of a heart attack...and the same heart problem that killed my husband...because sometimes they don't die in your lap. Sometimes they get what they need and live long, beautiful lives.

Sometimes it stinks to be the one who will run into the burning building, but I think it would be worse to be tormented by the voices of the ones I could have reached but didn't. So I'm still here.