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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Love Stands Wide-Open

And after running errands all afternoon, I ran by the house to pick up the kids and take them for shakes. When we got home, the front door of the house was standing wide-open. WonderGirl was out the truck door before I got it stopped. She was concerned about the animals, I was concerned about...other things. She stopped at the front door where all of our dogs sat in a line waiting for her. Yes, a ...wide-open door with dogs barking in multiple backyards, and ours sat at the door jam and waited for us. A Lab mix and Beagle/Dacshund just sat there with a tiny poodle and waited for us.

Sometimes God doesn't scream I love you.
Sometimes He just waits for you to get home so He can show you as soon as you walk in the door....that is standing wide open.

Be Grateful. Tell him.

Dear ladies,
If you have a husband who took any of the responsibility today,
who maybe told you to take a rest while he made some tea for you,
who let you debrief all that is in your bulging mind,
let you sit by him and just be with him,
be grateful.
Tell him.
I'm not telling you that because I'm single and I'm jealous like some people want to be mouthy and say. I'm telling you that because he has probably annoyed you today or yesterday, and when someone is with you all day, you forget how much he adds to that day, how much he adds to your life.
Right now,
take a moment.
Be grateful.
Tell him.

Monday, August 18, 2014

For Whatever Comes This Week

I know you may become exhausted this week.

I know you may want to just throw in the towel.

I know you may wonder why it has to be so blooming hard.

But whatever mountain you are facing, however big the giant,

stay in the fight.

If you can't fight, stand your ground.

If you cant' stand, hit your knees and pray.

A warrior on his/her knees covered in blood and mud is still a warrior winning the fight as long as you can still declare, "My God is good."

He is good.

He has you.

Keep trusting Him.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Living the Dream

I'm in my mid-40s. Failed marriage. Failed divorce. It ended abruptly when my husband died of a massive heart attack. Nearly 20 years simply trying to be a good wife. Now I have nearly 20 years of being a mom under my belt, and I'm doing that by myself. 

This is not what I had planned.

That may shock you, but it is true.

I really had a very different plan, and now, none of it applies. Some things really are too far gone.

It can be easy to get stuck there--in the too far gone. Things that could have been if I had only made a different decision somewhere along the path. It's easy to get bogged down in self-hatred because I did this. I made the choices that led to here. It's easy to drown in words like "forfeited" and "blew it". It's easy to be so fixated on what didn't happen that we never turn our eyes to what can happen. It's easy to be so lost in our limitations that we don't anchor our hope in God's UN-limitations. We get tunnel-vision on the closed doors and miss the ones standing open right beside us.

Believe me, I've battled that middle-age, not-as-fit-as-you-used-to-be, you-must-be-crazy-for-thinking-that, no-one-will-take-you-seriously, time-to-accept-and-settle mentality.

But here is the thing, it's a mindset. Nothing more. It isn't a law set in stone. It isn't truth declared in the heavenlies. It's a self-perception, not a God-perception.

See, God is the Alpha and Omega. He doesn't control time. He IS time. When He wants to do something fun, it isn't a person age that will stop Him. It is their attitude.

For example, Caleb in the Bible. He walked into the Promised Land with 11 other guys, saw the wonder of it, and went back and said, "We can do this!" Because of 10 men with an all-about-me-and-my-power attitudes, Caleb and his buddy Joshua ended up spending 40 years wandering around a desert. Joshua ends up taking over the leadership role of the nation, and Caleb takes down any enemy that comes at him. At one point, he goes to Joshua and says, "I want this particular mountain right here."

Joshua says, "You know, there are some folks there who won't want to give that mountain up, and they are pretty stout fighters."

Caleb looks Joshua in the eyes and with a spirit unlike the other men says, "This is what I know, Joshua. I know I wanted that mountain 40 years ago. I know I'm just as strong and able as I was then. I know I'm 80, but I know my age isn't the defining quality of me. My God is, and I know He has told me that is my inheritance, and I know if I got against those warriors, I'll get that mountain. I know I cannot lose and will not lose because I know God's promises never fail."

Joshua isn't remotely surprised, but he has to smile. He knows this man. He knows his spirit. He knows he will take that mountain. "Then God be with you."

And Caleb, at the over-the-hill age of 80, marches his family right to that mountain, right into war with its inhabitants, right over their dead bodies, and right to the top where he gets the promise God gave him 40 years ago...when it made sense, when it was feasible, when he wasn't too old for it to be too far gone, but here he is, "old", and it is right in the palm of his hand.

As I write this, I am trying to take a break from all that is rolling through my head. I am trying not to think about all of, except all I keep thinking is really how utterly amazing it is.

When I graduated high school, I wanted to be one of three things: a basketball coach, military strategist, a sniper. I know that last one sounds wacked out, but it wasn't about killing. In truth, they were all three the same career in different venues. They were all about studying the opponent, figuring out the strengths and weaknesses, and determining a strategy that utilized my strengths to overcome their weaknesses.

I didn't get any of them.

As for the military, I really considered the Army until I met the Marine Corps and fell in love. Instead of going into the military, I went in for knee surgery. The surgery ultimately saved me from a knee replacement, but I lost basketball, the military, and any career that required a physical test to pass it, so even police academy with the possibility of sniper school wasn't an option.

When I decided to marry a man, I gave up the hope of coaching basketball. I knew my intensity, and I knew I had to choose because I couldn't be married to both.

So I finished college with a degree that was useless by itself but a foundation for a counseling degree or a program in ministry. I could still work with people, help them walk out of lives that kept them prisoner, and equip them to build lives they wanted.

And then everything went wrong, and I ended up on the other side the life I never expected in the dust of dreams I once had wondering what now.

What now was the belief that I'm still here and God still has a purpose that is bigger than any human's words or actions, and I wouldn't settle for anything less.

So I made a list of what I would have done if I could have, and then I started doing them, and the craziest thing.

I took a class with a police chief who helped me with a manuscript I'm working on, and he connected me with a firearms trainer who spent a few hours with me, and without knowing my story, said, "I think you would be perfect for long range precision rifle competition." I had only shot a rifle half a dozen times. He didn't care. If I wanted to learn, he'd teach me, and the most God-only road opened up. I'll be sure and post pictures of my first competition.

I became an NRA instructor for their Refuse to be a Victim class and realized it doesn't really address the special situation of women who are stalked or are daring to live beyond domestic abuse, so I let the two years pass and let the certification lapse, and now I teach Personal Protection without a Firearm classes, not just for victims of violence but anyone who wants to learn some simple ways to protect themselves.

While the time was passing and the healing was happening, I was journaling, and all that journaling has become two of my favorite classes to teach:

-Life Undaunted, Living Intentionally. A great life doesn't just happen. It's built. In my Living Intentionally class, I teach the principles for building the life God created a person to live  instead of settling for the one some one or some society says they are stuck with.

-Reimagine. Rebuild. If I could give anyone anything, I would give them their true identity, the one they were created by God to live. I would erase the lies people's words and actions speak, and I would tell them the truth about themselves. I would tell them they have purpose, they are priceless, they are beloved, they make a difference, they can live beyond the lies. I would tell them God is bigger than humans, and His word is the only one that matters. I would cleanse them from the lies and wrap them in the truth. I would give them hope and the tools to reimagine themselves so they could rebuild their lives. In this class, that is exactly what I do.

In the teaching, I've had questions I can't answer, so I contacted the one who could, LtCol Dave Grossman, who is most gracious in sharing his wisdom. Now I am taking one of his online classes and plan to take more, and our email conversations have been added to the supplemental material for the class I'm taking and prayerfully helps him and others train and prepare our warriors for combat--both in the fighting and the healing. Who ever thought...?

On the side, I'm still a certified medical responder and am working with the fire chief and others to develop a support team for our firefighters.

I'm planning activities for "non-froo froo" women (my friend Mike's words. I love them) such as kayaking, archery, time at the gun range, camping, and emergency response training.

And in the midst of all this, I'm still writing, and I still get to be the mom of the most amazing young adults ever.

Plus, there is the myriad of things that don't fit on a resume, like calling a friend I haven't talked to in months but who suddenly came to mind...and listening to her cry because she had to put her 18 year old cat to sleep. Or having lunch with another friend and listening to the wondrous things God is putting in her life...and how hard change can be...even beautiful change. Or reading an email from another friend who is walking a hard road and doing it with such grace and praying for comfort for her places that hurt. Or even just texting a verse to someone or writing a verse or maybe a prayer on a card and dropping it into the mail. I realize these sound like things I do, but the truth is these are privileges the Lord gives. It is an honor to be a safe place, to be a strong shoulder, to be a dream believer. It is a privilege to be the one people know will walk with them when the road is hard and rejoice when the blessing comes. It leaves me humbled because I know these people have other friends, but they trust me. That is a gift.

It is ALL a gift.

And it is ridiculous, this mountain I'm taking...this mountain being given to me.

It is ridiculous all the things I wanted my life to be that weren't...but are.

It is ridiculous...this...this God who is time, who says, "I'm the Alpha, Omega, and everything in between, and I'll put my promises in wherever I want, and nothing of this world can stop them if someone simply accepts them and lives them."

Is this exactly what I had in mind? No. Not at all...but it is.

Am I exactly who I had in mind? No. I'm not...but I am.

And this crazy hodgepodge of stuff that could never be because of age and fitness that has my life in this His presence, and while I am in stunned of awe of what I get to do, I'm even more in awe of who I get to live...of the One who lets me live it.

And here I am in my mid-40s. Failed marriage. Failed divorce. Single mom. A great example of what an athletic body isn't. Laugh lines that aren't funny. Knees don't work and play well with the rest of me a lot of the time.

This is totally not the life I dreamed of living, and yet...I'm totally living the dream.

And you never get too old for that.

Copyright 2014 Jerri Kelley Phillips

Thursday, August 7, 2014

When the Day Runs Out of Control...Be Still and Know I Have Control

The day running over you like a freight train, and you running hard to keep up or just not get left behind? If so, stop a second for this:

Be still and know that I am God.

Know my heart.
Know my plans.
Know when to let go of what you thought you needed to get done.
Know when to repent for chasing the wrong things and ask me what my things are.
Know the only thing you really need to worry about is our relationship.
Know when the people in your life are more important than the things you are trying to do.
Know when to just stop, sit, and have a good cry.
Know when to trust that I have this.
Know if I ask you to do something hard, I've already made a way for you to accomplish it.
Know there is nothing that falls that I can't pick up if I need it.
Know the emails, phone calls, texts, and private messages may boost your ego, but I strengthen your soul.
Know you cannot do what I've laid before you to do. I will have to do it through you.
Know my purpose will be accomplished. Your being part of it and reaping the blessings is your choice, not my guarantee.
Know if you will not follow me, I can still use you, but you will be frustrated, not blessed.
Know right now, it might behoove you to stop all the yelling and crying and bemoaning you are doing and actually talk to me instead of everyone else.
Know that if you talk to me, get my perspective and my peace, you'll be an instrument of peace in your home and relationships and not an instrument of destruction.
Know the only way for this to work out well is by knowing I'm God.
Know I cannot fail...and I will not fail you.

Know you have to trust me...I'm trustworthy.
Know you have to follow me...I lead you through good places.
Know you have to let me be Lord...I am the good Shepherd.
Know I love you.
I've got this.
Just be still and choose to let me have you.

And by the way, all those circumstances and people who have been driving you crazy, entertain the thought for a moment that they are mine, and I'm using them to get you right here, right now. Think about it while... get still and know I'm God.