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, February 24, 2014

Why I Believe--There are a Million Reasons

People wonder why I believe in God.

When I can pray, "God, this thing that is only an issue to me but is hurting my heart is bothering me. Can you please address it?" and less than 24 hours later it is settled, not because I addressed it, but because of the craziest roads that got it there, and it happens CONSISTENTLY, no one can convince me some cosmic mind or wandering energy or "coincidence" is responsible. Things that like convince me what is responsible is a God who loves me, hears my words, knows my heart, and responds to me with the fullness of Himself.

Someone asked me, "Have you ever seen God?" I have not seen His face, but I have seen His hand work on my behalf in a million ways.

Yes. I am convinced with the very core of who I am God is real, and I am He loves me with all He is.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Because You Need to Know

I don't often post to other people's blogs or post other people's work here, but this article...nothing I say can compare. This is heart deep to the core, and you need to read it.

You need to read this because someone you know will need you to know this. There is no "at least". There is no spiritualizing it and making it more noble or less tragic. There is just loss--horrible, heart wrenching loss. And you need to know.


The Lewis Note

Friday, February 21, 2014

Why miscarriage matters when you're pro-life

Back in my former life, I was a proofreader.

We were a fabulous group of gals. But, I'm not going to lie -- we were pretty nitpicky. And NOT the most popular in the office. In fact, we had not just one book, but multiple books by which we would mentally check each word, each phrase, each sentence.

We had rules about whether a dash should be the size of a capital "N" or a capital "M" (and yes, we did measure). We ensured the proper use of "insured," then assured all the writers that, yes, everyone gets those words mixed up. And of course, we must never forget to correct the spacing on an ellipsis. (#.#.#.#). Very important, that one.

But we had one rule that trumped all rules:

Consistency was king.

You see, on most issues, you could get away with breaking a rule or two -- as long as you were consistent.

And now, after both quitting my job and going through 3 first-trimester losses in a row (primarily surrounded by pro-lifers), I really wish I could say the same thing about life. And about pregnancy loss.

I must make a disclaimer (to all my friends and family reading this) -- You did the best you could. And for the most part, I felt loved and I knew that so many of you grieved with me.

To be perfectly honest, before my losses, I didn't quite understand that the way we pro-lifers treat miscarriage is important.

And yet after we lost Olivia, it didn't take long for me to realize that in this Christian microcosm of ours, somehow an aborted baby had so much more to offer the world than a miscarried one.
To read more....
All rights and text belong to Rachel Lewis, author of The Lewis Notes. All credit is hers.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Finding Peace in th Promise

Today I started writing Gypsy Ponderings again, and I'm pondering Joseph and the pain of living the present when the promise looks a million miles away.

Sometimes the promise looks impossible because of our circumstances. Sometimes it looks impossible because really, something that good for me? And sometimes it looks impossible because I can't possibly be brave enough to live it.

Today I am struggling to be brave, and I'm failing. So, I'm stopping. And instead of being brave, I'm being still.

Want to join me? Come on.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

When People Hate Being Loved

I've been reading about this person and that person coming out as gay and how courageous they are for standing up for their beliefs. And I'm wondering.

If I come out as a Christian who stands for the Bible, traditional marriage, forgiveness for sin, living a godly life, and heaven not being for anyone who doesn't play by the rules to get there, does that make me courageous or a hater? Because here is the thing, I don't hate anyone.

I don't think those people coming out as gay hate me because I'm not. So why should people assume I hate them because I come out as a Christian? Because I don't agree with them? There are a lot of people I don't agree with, but I don't hate them. I just don't agree with them. There is a difference.

I don't hate people if they are gay, heterosexual adulterer, or a virgin; drunk or sober; drug addict or clean; victim of believing the lie of abortion or had 18 babies and counting; church goer or not. I don't hate them. However, I do believe with all that is in me that the only joy in this life comes from a relationship with God the Father and Creator through His Son Jesus, and the only door for that is confession of sins as defined by the book written via inspiration by God, the acceptance of forgiveness for those sins through the blood of Christ, and living out the salvation one claims to have. Because of that belief, if someone is living outside the guidelines presented by the Bible, I will call the actions wrong.

I tell my son when 7x8 does not equal 64. I could leave it like that so he could feel good about himself, but he would be wrong, and it would impact his life. Telling him the right answer may not make me popular with him, but if he listens, it helps him in life.

If know the truth of what God expects and the glory of what He offers and do not speak that truth, then I am really saying, "I know this is messing up your present life and will keep you from entering heaven for eternity and in fact, will send you to hell, but I don't care. I'm too afraid of making you angry or hurting your ego to do what is best for you." I don't tell people the truth out of hate. I tell people the truth because I know a better way.

I don't tell my son he is wrong because I think he is stupid or broken. I tell him because he doesn't know. It's not a judgment against him. It's just where he is. When I share the truth of Christ, it isn't in judgment of someone not following Him. I don't think they are stupid or bad. I think they don't know.

So what makes me a hater exactly? The fact that I think there are consequences to one's actions? The fact that I have the courage to stand against the lie that God is good and God is love  and He just wants people happy and would never send anyone to hell?

Well, God is good and He is love, which is why He sent Christ to die on a cross for the forgiveness of sins and redemption of lives. You can find that over and over. It is all over the New Testament. What I've never found, though, is a live any way you want for free card. It simply isn't in there.

Again, not hating. Just speaking the truth according to the Word of God.

Now, if you don't like that Truth, that is your choice. If you don't want to live by it, that is also your choice. I still love you, but I won't lie to you and tell you it's okay. Love wants the best for you. Hate doesn't care what happens to you. If I told you it's okay when it's not, THAT would be hatred, and even if you hate me, I love you too much for that.

Matthew 7:12 on the Road

Hey, y'all, on the way home last night, the kids and I came upon a wreck. No emergency vehicles yet, so I stopped to see how everyone was. When EMTs arrived, I handed off the patient but was asked to stay in case I was needed, so I sat and watched.

I want you to know what I watched.

I watched several men take amazing care of 5 people involved in the wreck while they figured out what happened and addressed the issue of an un-collared pitbull who was sweet but very attached to his mommy they were taking away. These people always amaze me. I wish everyone of you could ride a shift with them. You might see them differently. You might see them less as immortal heroes and more as real people with huge hearts, which brings me to what else I saw.

I saw these mortals doing all this work while idiot drivers drove by way too fast. (For the pastors, yes, I repented of those thoughts I had for those drivers and the desire to take a baseball bat to the front of their vehicles as they drove by. Okay. I'll have to repent again). I also saw idiot drivers who nearly caused more wrecks by driving too fast, not paying attention to the car in front of them, and screeching brakes to stop before causing another wreck.

Folks, those men and women belong to someone. They are husbands/wives, dads/moms, sons/daughters, best friends, and the bright place in someone's life. Try on a whopping dose of Matthew 7:12 and ask how you would want that person treated if that were your "someone". You would want them treated as treasures to be valued and watched after. You would want people to be careful and thoughtful. SO BE THAT! Not all of this world is about you, where you're going, or what you have to do. Sometimes this world is about you doing the right thing in respect to someone else. Our responders are someone worthy of your value. Please kindly treat them with the value they deserve.

And if no one else thanks you, I do.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yesterday Was Ugly, so Do Something New

Ephesians 4
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self,
 which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

You know that old self that yelled at the kids yesterday, picked a fight with the beloved, was rude to the cashier who had no control over the fact they don't have your favorite chocolate, and tossed some select sign language at that driver who needs to learn the point of a blinker.

Yeah. That self.

Take it off.

Toss it in the trash.

That isn't who you are anymore. You just forgot for the day, but today, you remember without fear.

You are like God in true righteousness...doing the right thing, saying the right thing, responding the right way, only holding the right things important...and holiness...forgiving yourself, humbling yourself to ask forgiveness from others...and being humbled enough that they can easily forgive you because they shouldn't HAVE to forgive you, they should see your true repentance and be compelled to forgive you.

Put on that new self that takes up the easy yoke that isn't weighted with pride or ego or self-loathing, but with love, kindness, and mercy...even for yourself.

Beating yourself up for yesterday won't undo it, but it might lead you to repeat it, so let it go.

Put on the new you with new hope for a new outcome in this new day. It's a gift. Unwrap it for all its worth.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This Momma on her Knees

Meltdown day.

And both precious children in my home got to see it in all of its inglorious wretchedness.

If I could get anything really REALLY right, it would be being a mom.

All the things I think I am getting right everywhere else become nothing when I get this so wrong.

Oh, Holy God, forgiveness and grace for me..
....and for our children, be the voice that speaks louder than mine..
....and give them hearts to forgive me and embrace you.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Prayer Request Today...Awe of You

Dear Lord,

If I could have anything today, I would want awe because I am guilty of making you too common and thinking you are more concerned about my comfort than my holiness. Today, give me a merciful look at your holiness that I will not forget so that I truly treat you with the honor, respect, and awe due you.

Forgive me for my self-centered religion. Deliver me that I might take part in your righteousness.
Be glorified in me for your purpose.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Provided for Promises

Joshua 1:11
11 “Go through the camp and tell the people,
‘Get your provisions ready.
Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in
and take possession of the land
the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”

This morning I am praying for the Lord to order my steps so I know how to get my provisions ready. Stirring in my spirit on these words "Get your provisions ready." Seeking Him, trusting He has a plan He is going to share, and praying for the courage to follow that plan with filled-with-faith abandon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nothing Says, "I Love You," More than the People who Really Love You

Like I need the reminder? Like any of us do?

Just in case we missed the memo the other 363 days out of the year, there it is in bright red.


Or the lack thereof.

In my case, this is the third year I face Valentine's as a single. There is no expectation of flowers or a card or a date for dinner, and the rules of this holiday are clear:

If Valentine's is to celebrate the one we love, and no one celebrates me, then...I surely must not be loved.

And the heart crushes, and the tears fall, and how does one breathe through that?

Well, let me fill you in on a secret.

Valentine's Day lies.

It isn't a dozen roses or a pretty card or chocolate or even a fancy date that declares you are loved. It isn't jewelry from a store or a diamond that sparkles under studio lights. Love isn't something plastic can buy you or something that has to be paid back.

Love isn't some big thing someone does for you once a year.
Love is the million little things anyone does for you every day of the year.

Love is when someone helps you pick roses to go on your daddy's casket.
Love is the note that says, "I'm praying," when you wonder if anyone really knows how horribly hard this road of yours is.
Love is the grocery bag with the chocolate pudding left on the front table when you are so sick you cannot get out of bed, little less to the grocery store.
Love is a friend who takes you to get a rental when you truck has been totaled in a wreck and then checks the rental for dings and bumps when all your energy is spent trying not to be overwhelmed by how wrecked your life feels.
Love is time and attention and joy...even when the person has no knowledge about this hobby you love but loves how your face lights up when you talk about it.
Love isn't what looks beautiful when the light hits it just right. Love is beautiful because of how it shines in the darkness.

A friend of mine doesn't kayak, but he knows I love to, so he gave me the number of a friend of his who is an instructor so I can learn more and increase my kayaking options.
Another friend who knows more about guns than I may ever learn was excited with me when I told him I had ordered the barrel for my rifle.
My cousin took time to drive me for my post op visit today and then took my kids to the library.
One of my besties spent nearly four hours on the phone with me a few nights ago and talked about stuff I never talk about...but needed to.

Friends rejoice with me, encourage me, cheer for me, check on me, pray for me.

They love me.

And I know. People will say, "It isn't the same."

They are right. It isn't the same.

It isn't the same because these people have no spoken or unspoken contract. They don't worry that I'll be upset or hurt if they don't "do something". They have nothing to gain by their kindness. No one is creating an environment where they can't NOT do anything without looking like some lazy, uncaring scumbag. There is nothing to tell them they need to do something nice. They just do.

It is different.

It is different when people love because they choose to.
It is different when people show that love, not because they are told to, but because they want to, because they want you to know you are that important to them.

Yes, it is different.

And Valentine's Day is wrong. I may not get roses or cards, and I may not have a date on that "special day".

But I have people who love me everyday, and nothing says, "I love you," more than people who really do.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Identity of the Promise

As I wander through Genesis, I am pondering promises...theirs...and mine. Over at Gypsy Ponderings I have been sharing these wanderings for the last week or so. As I have finished each day's readings, I have been left with much to consider. Today, I'm left asking if I am living the promise.

Genesis 39—“The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.

So often people tell the story of Joseph and focus on his slavery, ability to interpret dreams, and his restoration, but the big picture gets lost. I think we don’t like the pattern of promises in the Bible. We like to think promises are made and kept quickly and easily, sort of like sitting on Santa’s lap in early December, dreaming wildly for a week or two, and waking up to find what we want wrapped in pretty paper and bows. But God is not Santa.

God is not about a childhood wish but an eternal purpose, and His great gifts don’t come wrapped in pretty paper under a tree by a warm fire but instead wrapped in swaddling clothes in a cold stable in a manger.

As I’ve been reading through Genesis this time, I’ve noticed a pattern. God gives great promises, and they come with great cost.

No promise comes without the training to hold it and keep it.

Joseph is a slave. This is not the promise. Joseph wasn’t living God’s promise, but he promised to live God. I’ve known, and still know, way too many people who aren’t living the promise who make the lack of promise their identity instead of making their identity one that allows God to keep His promise.

Joseph didn’t live as though he were in lack. He lived as though he were living in the fullness of his identity—his identity was a leader, a man of character, a man of God. The circumstances, social status, and living quarters didn’t define him or whe chose to be. The promise wasn’t so much about circumstance as it was identity. He understood the promise wasn't about what he received but who he was to live.
His identity is one of greatness,
and he chose to live that greatness where he was.

Joseph had the promise of being a great leader, and I’m sure being the youngest and being hated made those promises seem like steak to a starving man. Maybe he even told his family about his dreams because he knew what they meant and he hoped to intimidate in some way. I wasn’t there. I don’t know.

All I really know is God gave him a promise and confirmed it. Then God took him through training to hold that promise, and in that training, he was stripped of all he was in order to become all God needed him to be.

Except, was he?

His situation changed. The circumstances changed.

But the promise was never about those.

The promise concerned who he was, and can who we are at a core be stripped from us…or is it simply uncovered when everything in life that might hide it are removed?
To read the rest of today's comments and thoughts, please drop over by Gyspy Ponderings, February 2, 2014.

Soul Whisperings--Handling the Storm

Sometimes God calms the storm.
Sometimes He calms the child.
Sometimes He expects the child
to know when to get out of the rain.