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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Today I failed the grace test.

Last week I told the kids' piano teacher they would miss class this week due to the county thinking they had the right to ask me to do jury duty. She was pretty unhappy and told me I needed to make the county let me out of it. Um...and how do you expect me to do that.

"You're a single mom!" Like I don't know this?

Then she wanted to know when I plan to make up the classes. I don't. I had already decided I didn't. With piano and voice and other stuff on that day, there was simply no way to make up all of it without taking another day to do it, which I don't have, and I wasn't going to listen to anyone fuss about my making up this class and not making up the other. So, everything got dumped.

And I heard about it.

I listened, and then I said, "In case you haven't noticed, I am a single mom. I can only do so much."

She huffed and puffed, and I walked out the door.

Today I had jury duty, which ran more than an hour longer than expected, so I called when I got in the car and told the kids to be ready when I got home; I was hungry, and we were going out to eat. So we went out to eat, and then we had to get grocery store which had been on the back burner with everything else that loaded this week.

While we were there, my honest focus was getting done and getting home and getting ready for what tomorrow needs. Then we ran into someone my brain thought it should know but couldn't pull up. Turns out it was someone who noticed we didn't make it to youth group tonight. Now, understand, it impressed me to no end that this kind woman knew us when I couldn't pull her up, and she was sincere in her invitation, which I do sincerely appreciate. Not that we've made it to youth even once. The time really doesn't work for me, and I have this crazy idea that church should bless a soul and feed it, not stress it out. She was truly trying to be sympathetic when she said, "We have to shuffle kids to make it work."

And grace was gone.

I just looked at her and said, "I have no one to shuffle with."

I have no clue what was said after that because I was suddenly buried under the avalanche of...

You know, for a long time I just wanted something that looked like normal, and  evidently we've reached it because people seem to think as an only parent I can pull off the stuff that two parents shuffle and struggle to do.

So we sit at the table and look at the possible activities and figure out what works for the family. It's a great life skill really.

But that means the new family get together at our co-op got lost behind one class, and the young actors guild got lost behind something else, and driver's ed will either wait another semester or WonderGirl and I will have to breath deep and find our way through the ocean of emotions since a class isn't possible right now with everything else going on. And the culinary classes WonderBoy would flourish in are hit and miss since the senior year have-tos have priority. And...

People get antsy because they text or call or email and I don't get back to them quickly enough, and they lovingly invite me to things that are good and beautiful, but I don't go because I have so very little personal time that I spend it letting my brain wind down from what people need me to do.

Today I'm drowning in single-ness with all the things that demand to be done and what hasn't gotten done because life shifted my schedule without asking permission first, and none of it is stuff I can step out of, and right now, I'm

And I hesitate to write any of this because some smart-aleck who knows nothing about being a single parent will be more than willing to tell me how I need to organize and plan better or give me some great wisdom on prioritizing, and I'm going to want to tell said know-it-all just that arrogance and wisdom are not the same thing and perhaps he/she should work on the wisdom part.

But here is the thing. I don't write this blog for the people who know everything. They don't need me. I write it for the people who might be walking the same stretch of road, might be just as tired, might be wondering why they get out of bed when it is the same crap different day, might need to know they aren't on the road alone.

You're not on the road alone.

So, let's do this.

Let's just stop right for a moment and make a plan to swim because otherwise, we just might sink.

And the plan goes like this:
I'm going to imagine every one of those lovely people who are asking us to be part of their "whatever". You know the ones, the ones that trip the switch where you feel like you are drowning and no matter how much you do, it's never enough? Yep. Thos.

Okay, got those in your mind? Now, feel grateful for the person who wants you to be part of their live and wants to be part of yours. That person loves you. Really. They do. They love you. Be grateful.

Feel yourself love them back. Let the emotion fill you up until it pushes up the sides of your mouth and you smile.

With that loving smile of gratitude on your face, look them in the eyes and say, "Thank you, but I simply cannot do that right now." They may not like that answer. It's okay. We are not going to let our gratitude become annoyed by their selfishness. Instead, we are going to put our hands up and say, "I'm sorry you don't understand, but really, I cannot do this right now. I'm maxed out, and I would appreciate your not adding to my load by asking for or expecting something I cannot do." If they continue, we will simply say, "This conversation is done. Thank you."

And it is done. The frustration is done. The anger at their selfishness is done. The feeling that we cannot be all things to all people is done. We've been the most important thing to ourselves and our families--protector of the peace.

Now, we are going to pray and thank God for those people and specifically mention something good about them. Why? Because it does our hearts good.

So how are  we going to handle tonight when we try to go to bed and our brains won't turn off? Breathe deep and thank God, not just rattling things off, but stop and think back over the day and pick good things to relive. I'm going to remember my cookies and milk, and give sincere thanks. I have found it is far more powerful to relive 2 or 3 good things and enjoy the gratitude of them than to rattle off a dozen that are things I'm supposed to be thankful for but don't make a difference in my soul.

In the morning? How are we going to get our feet to the floor? "Lord God, give me my daily bread...and give me the strength and wisdom to partake of it well." We are going to look at the Bread Giver because He gives us to do only what really needs to get done. And as long as we keep our eyes on how great is His help, we will drown in our helplessness.

And we won't suffocate from doing it single because we won't be doing it alone.

Copyright 2014 Jerri Kelley Phillips, All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment