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.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Searching for Life Beyond my Imagination Part 3

I'm wondering...if we are called to be different, if we truly believe Christ is the Savior and healer and the Spirit is the counselor...why are there so many broken Christians wandering around?

I'm not talking about imperfect. I'm talking about broken--insecure, angry, lacking trust, fearful, still living in abuse, still living identities of rejection/abused/unvalued.

If Jesus is the answer, why are so many people who attend church regularly, pray and read their Bibles, and do the right stuff, still living in lack? If Jesus came to give abundant life, why are so many living in poverty conditions? Why do the statistics of church attenders (for suicide, divorce, drug addiction, crime, etc.) look just like those of non-church attenders?

If Jesus really makes a difference--and I know He does--how do I need to live and what do I need to do so He can make a bigger difference in others' lives through me?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Searching for Life Beyond my Imagination Part 2

My mind reverberated with the question:

If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

For the first time in my life, I knew.

First, I would stop spending four hours going to church every Sunday morning, and instead, I would take Jesus out to folks who need Him. I would have worship and teaching a nursing home or youth home or orphanage. Instead of praying for God to bring people in, I would ask where He wanted me to take Jesus to. The Great Commission says:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”--Matthew 28:18-20

If I fully lived the truth that all authority is Christ's and I can't lose, I would go.

Second, I would have a study in my home in which I taught people their real identities in Christ. It is my experience that the church teaches a lot about how to live (i.e. what to do and not do), but they don't teach about who we are. If people really understood who God is and thus, who we are in Him, wouldn't we doing what Jesus said we would do?

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."--John 14:12

I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone doing anything close to what Jesus did, which makes me think we either don't know Him, don't know the Father, or don't know ourselves, and it is time to change that. I cannot continue to live an innocuous life proclaiming that my prayers are bringing about changes I just don't know or see yet and I am making an impact by loving "every moment those God puts in my path" and say that is good enough.
When I imagine what God can do through me, safely sitting on a pew singing hymns, dropping a tithes check into the offering, and lying by telling everyone I'm fine because--what will they think of me if I'm not?--isn't it. I imagine young people passionately desperate for Him.
I imagine young people finding answers for their lives, finding identities their parents had no idea how to nurture, being healed of abuses most of us do not want to imagine. I imagine young people who dream of changing their city, not just upgrading their cell phone. I imagine young people with a ferocious faith who know they can't lose...
...And who will teach them they can't lose unless someone believes she won't lose them?
I want to be that someone.
I imagine women walking out of broken hearts and broken pasts. I imagine women rising up to know they are the place God chooses to birth reality, not just the physical but the spiritual. They are the place heaven invades earth, and if they can conceive it, He will bring it forth. I imagine women knowing they are able and worthy and hand-chosen to be the dreamers and birth place of mighty movements of God. I imagine women doing and being and breathing and birthing more than they can think or imagine because of who God says they are. I imagine women with a ferocious faith to boldly know they cannot lose...
...And are just waiting for someone to say, "I believe in you because I believe in the One who made you and lives in you."
I want to be that someone.
I want to do what Jesus said I will do, and while I'm not doing it yet, I imagine I can.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Searching for Life Beyond my Imagination Part 1

My friend John Perron is a Marine. He served actively for 9.5 years, served in Desert Storm.

My friend Leanna Ellis is author of the Plain Fear series, one of my absolute favorite series ever. She is one of my soul stretchers. She dumps truth in my lap, plops down beside me, and asks, "So, what are we going to do with this?" She's always in with me, and we go some interesting places together.

I've never met Allen West, but he gets in my face with his comments so often I think he is my personal version of a Christian USMC Jiminy Cricket that lives in the land of Facebook.

This week comments made by all of these people suddenly slammed together like a cosmic crash of life questioning proportions.

John told me once, "We (Marines) were never allowed to believe we lose." Take those words, "We could not lose," put them on reverb in your head, and let them play so long that they sink into your spirit so that the core of you is whispering, "We can not lose." Now add the harmony, "If you knew (I cannot lose), what would you do?"

That is the background music playing when Leanna plops down beside you and says, "I read this book about this man who lives with such ferocity of faith..."

Now, insert Allen West commenting on a young woman who embodies two values of the Marines: 1. Semper Fi and 2. never leave a comrade behind.

And suddenly I can't help asking if my faith is ferocious or happily "good enough", and how truly "good enough" is it, if I am leaving comrades behind?
And if I truly know God's character as semper fidelis, how can I remotely suppose I could lose?
And if I truly can't lose, what would I do?

If I know I can't lose, what would I do?

For the first time in my life, I knew.

Friday, October 11, 2013

On the Unthinkable Days

He's been gone almost a year.

Each day I look at the calendar, breathe deep the step closer, bow my head, and pray.

I've never lost a brother. I have no idea how that must feel. I won't tell her I understand. I don't. And when it comes to advice for how to get through the day, all I have to offer is, "Trust God to not let go of you." How many days I prayed that very thing. "God, I can't figure out how to hold onto you, so please don't let go of me."

I pray He doesn't let go of her, and I know He won't. Through the kicking and the screaming and the questions and tears and....rage...and...all of it. He holds on.

But the day is still there, and the pain is still real, and the place he sat is still empty, and the phone he answered goes to someone else, and, dear God, a year? Has it really been a year?

Some folks don't remember the date, and that's okay. Some folks remember but don't know what to do with it, so they do nothing, say nothing. I've come to accept that as okay, too. Silence is far better than a voice that rips right to the soul because of a heart that doesn't understand.

Me? I'm jumping right into that day with her. I'm going to cry because he was amazing and the world lost a beautiful life. I'm going to send her a message with a prayer and love and tell her today is hard, SO very hard, and my heart is with her. Even if it means getting through one minute at a time, I know she can do it...even though there is a part of her sister's heart that doesn't want to...because part of her simply wants to be with him...because...a year? And how many years to come? And what life events between now and then that he was supposed to be part of? And does anyone really know how totally unfathomable it is to think of those days without him?

One minute at a time. On this day...and those to come. That is how we get through sometimes. One minute at a time.

And even though I know it is true, I don't think I will tell her as hard as it is to believe, it will get easier. Whether the pain lessens or the heart acclimates, I don't know. The hole never goes away, but somehow the smiles come easier, and the tears some less. And surely it is all because God does not let go. Time doesn't heal. He does.

She knows this.

She has lost people she loves before, and her heart has mended, but this...oh, my gracious, nothing is like this. Maybe I will tell her that. Maybe I will tell her to simply be nice to herself and grieve and cry and mourn as much as she needs to because she really does need to.

While she mourns, I will think of my favorite memories of him and what his life meant to me, and I will choose to do things that celebrate that life. I will write down everything I do, what I feel and think, how I smile and cry, and I will tell her everything because she needs to know.

She needs to know people remember the gift and mourn its loss. She needs to know I don't understand...can never understand...and yet, I do.

I understand she might need to tell me things, things that made her laugh, things that make her heart break, things that give her strength, questions she has, anger still working through. If she does, I'll listen. And so you know now, I'm going to cry, maybe with her, maybe without her, but I'm going to cry because...because part of me still keeps thinking this can't be real and it certainly can't be a year...and, God in heaven, I wish they didn't have to hurt like this. I know it is part of being in this world, but, God, I hate this for them. I hate this for her. My heart breaks for her.

And I know. I know it won't fix anything. It won't remotely make it better, but my heart is holding her tight...and even though he is gone, my heart isn't letting go of him either. And who knows but in ways only He can manage, maybe my stepping into the day with her is one of the ways He holds onto her. If so, I hope she knows He is holding her tight, and even on this day...the unthinkable one year day...He isn't letting go.