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.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Words

I ask you today to make my words food for the soul.

To the soul who is beaten down, may they be a safe place filled with gentle kindnesses.
To the soul who is ready to quit, may they offer the courage to keep walking.
To the soul who feels pointless, may they offer a new perspective, a new hope for their lives and their purpose.
To the soul who is unsure, may they breathe faith and offer solid footing.
To the soul who is looking down the wrong road, may they offer a strong compass that points back to you.
To the soul who is holding onto past grief or bitterness, may they offer the road to freedom and out of the prison of darkness.
To the soul not sure what to do, may my words be a fountain of wisdom.
To the soul who can't see you in the darkness, may they be a light that shines, takes them by the hand, and leads them gently to you.
To the soul exploding with joy, may my words rejoice with them.
To the soul who needs to be important, may my words be words about them, hearing them, knowing them; may they not be about me, my stories, my ups or downs, or how anything they said applies to me but solely about how you desire to be right in the middle of them.
To my own soul, may my words be a compass that directs my heart and mind back to you. May they never agree with the enemy's lies or taunts or accusations against you or me, but may they be the truth that gives life, and as I fill my soul with words of life, may they pour forth and be a fountain of life for others.

Lord, bless my mouth today that it would be a place where YOU speak freely, and I only speak what I hear you say.

Thank you for your faithfulness.

I love you. Amen

Copyright 2015 Jerri Kelley Phillips

Monday, March 16, 2015

Praying Out Loud, March 16, 2015


Today I declare you are holy. That seems such a ridiculous thing to have to say, but in truth, we forget that. In the midst of singing Jesus Loves Me, laying out a wish list like you are Santa Clause, and taking coffee into your sanctuary so we are comfortable in your living room, we do not hold onto the fact you are holy. You are worthy of our praise, not because of the thousand great gifts but because you are God. The sun that came up this morning is your doing. The rain that falls is your doing. The brain that controls my fingers as I type is your doing. You are greater than my mind can comprehend. Your power alone should still me in my tracks to ponder the greatness of you. I don't need to be in awe of what you give me. I need to be in awe of who you are. So today, I declare you are holy. You alone are worthy of my praise. You alone are worthy to be God, to have the position of Lord in my life. Lord God Almighty, keep my eyes set on you. Keep my eyes set on the hugeness of you. I don't mean the hugeness of you to do things for me or the power of you to work on my behalf. I mean keep my heart focused on the vast, amazingness of YOU. Just you.

Thank you. I love you. Forgive me where I love you badly.
In the Almighty, lacking nothing, name of Jesus I declare your praise and lay this petition before you knowing you hear me and answer because it pleases you to do so, Amen.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Unholy War on Women...and Men

A friend of mine on Facebook shared an article about a famous woman dressed in a bustier and skirt made of pinkish latex. The general consensus in that comments was that this was a bad idea. One man, however, did not find it enough to simply express his disapproval. Instead, he blended her family's name with an incredibly foul word in such as a way as to suggest this is the defining aspect of these women.

I expressed my offense at his word choice and assured him there are other words to express one's disapproval than that. In my opinion, his comment was a full-frontal assault against women. Not just that woman, but all women, and that is not okay.

I see women on a regular basis whose husbands, boyfriends, fathers, and even sons beat on them physically and mentally. They call them all kinds of names that rip at their self-value, courage to do great things, and belief that they are made for a glorious purpose. I see how words hit just as hard as a fist, and I see how enough small hits with a hammer can split a boulder wide open as easily as one blast of TNT. That man's comment was a verbal hit with a pretty big hammer, and I refuse to stand by and let men unleash on women, whether the hits are big or small, fist or word.

Because women deserve better.

Women deserve to be valued. They deserve to be encouraged. They deserve to be seen as gifts. They deserve words that give them boldness to believe in their purpose and to live big.

And so do men.

No. Men aren't the victims of physical violence as often as women, but I know women who can beat the masculinity out of a man with their mouth as effectively as a man can beat a woman black and blue with his fist. Both are equally as wrong.

And I really wish I could say the battle is across gender lines, but it isn't. I seen the women wage war against women, and I see men wage war against men, and I wonder while we are tearing down the gifts of God how much of the provided answers to problems we keep praying for and wondering why no answer comes are being destroyed one devaluing comment and one hateful action at a time.

I'm afraid the real answer should terrify us.

Terrify me.

So I ask, not really sure I want to know, but fully knowing I need to know:

How do I wage war against the gifts you've breathed life into?
How do I tear them down with... attitudes,
...what I do that tells them they are unimportant,
...what I don't do to remind them how important they are,
...what I say that tears at their courage,
...what I don't say to encourage them to live boldly?

Dear God, show me where I am part of the problem and change my heart and mind so I am part of the answer. Amen

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dear Parents, Being Real Makes Overcoming Real to Your Kids

Dear parents,

 Your kids really need to see you struggle and overcome.

I know that sounds crazy, but a dear friend and I were just talking about this Monday, how my kids think I'm all that and then some (which is nice but...). Sometimes that creates an unrealistic standard for them to live up to. Today, they are watching this amazing mom of theirs relearn call signs and learn a new phonetic alphabet, 10 codes, and signal codes. My brain is not as malleable at 46 as it was when I was 20, and this is a challenge. We often fear that our kids seeing us struggle will diminish us in their eyes, but every new code or phonetic call I learn, my kids are seeing me overcome. They are also seeing themselves overcome that hard sentence in French, all those nerves they have to memorize in advanced A&P, the next obstacle they face. As parents it is not our job to make our kids believe we handle all of life perfectly. It is our job to equip them to handle life, and that starts with the belief they actually CAN handle life.

Don't just tell them they can. SHOW them they can.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Using "Something" to Stop the Hurt...Doesn't

I thought I lost track of her in high school. Outgrew her. I matured. I was sure I had left her behind. But this week she showed up in my bathroom mirror. I pretty much hated her then, and I think I hate her even more now.

In the last week, I've made some bad decisions.

I tried to find a way to belong at a church where the Lord said we didn't belong, and yesterday, I made the mistake of trying to talk to someone who was far less concerned about how my heart was aching and far more concerned about how I was failing to live up to the Faith Hall of Fame inductee requirements because, after all, the way I was feeling was wrong, the way I was thinking was wrong, my attitude was wrong. So much for simply wanting a kind voice that said, "I'm sorry your heart is hurting."

A friend of mine talked to me after the church situation and asked, "Why did you do that?" He wasn't judging. He didn't understand.

I told him I thought I had heard God about not belonging there, but I was giving Him the chance to correct me in case I missed it out of personal reasons.

And that is the truth. At least that is what I told myself and chose to believe when I did it.

I didn't want to tell him the rest because, since we are being undaunted truthful in the ugliness of it all, I was embarrassed to tell him because it sounds pathetic. It sounds desperate. And frankly, I feel stupid wanting it, but I tried to fit because for the last five years I have had nowhere to fit. For the last five years I've tried very hard to be courageous and brave and solid in faith...and I want a place to be...soft...a place I don't have to be in charge and know all the answers...a place where I can say, "My heart aches," and not be told how it is all my fault and how that is a sign of my faithless immaturity because after all, if I really trust God, then I trust His plan for me and I trust His ways and His timing, my heart won't ache for what it doesn't have because it is filled with the joy of God and has no need for anything know, like human relationships.

I told my friend once I had this fantasy of being wanted, not just because I can pray for people or because I have the answer to a Bible question or know how to respond with medical aid or because I serve some utilitarian purpose but because someone simply enjoyed my company. He told me it isn't a fantasy. Evidence suggests that it is.

So, I tried to fit into a church I don't fit into and tried to have an authentic conversation with someone who clearly disapproves of my imperfect authentic self and other stupid attempts to simply feel like I fit somewhere. To feel like someone really valued me enough to see value in me and listen...and want my company.

And I hate this part of me that simply wants a hug, who would like to hear someone tell me I'm beautiful, who wants to be invited to dinner, who wants to be enjoyed enough that someone simply wants to sit on the couch and watch a movie. I'm not talking about a man being in love with me. I'm simply talking about a friend who has time for dinner more than once a year...if that often. I hate her because these things about her hurt me, and I hate that I lose my senses, get desperate, and do stupid things to make the hurt stop.

"What a person desires is unfailing love..."--Proverbs 19:22

That's me.

And even as I write this, I want to delete it all because I dread the Christian-ese fallout, but the title of this blog is Undaunted Reality, and I believe a lot of people have the reality of wishing someone  really accepted the parts that weren't performance perfect...and wanted their company anyway. I'll be honest. I don't have the answer, but I can tell you with all honesty, I'm sorry your heart hurts, and if I were there, I'd hug you. Not just one of those pansy hugs either, but a long "lean on me 'cause I've got you right now" hugs, and you could breathe because all that stuff you are carrying, I'm in it with you. But I'm not there, so all those words don't really help, so let me just say...

Dear One,
I'm so sorry your heart hurts.
Mine hurts for you.
And I know it is crushing when you don't feel wanted and loved, and it is easy to want to destroy that part of you so you don't hurt anymore, but please don't. Please keep believing...even when evidence suggests that your hope is merely fantasy.
I'm praying for your strength and your courage to keep believing...and for you to know the joy of being wildly loved.
With all my heart,