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.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Unexpected Answers

I guess every artist has their definition of "making it". For country singers, it used to be singing at the Grand Ole' Opry. For some actors and actresses it is being on Broadway. For a friend of mine, her "making it" was having her photography showcased at a particular gallery. For me, there was a list, and right at the top was being published in a Guideposts book.

My mom loved Guideposts. When a new book came out, she bought it and read it cover to cover, marking her favorites, going back and reading them again. On my bookshelf is the compilation book from 1998. I've never read it, but my toddler used to sit in her grandma's lap, "read" to her (follow the lines with her finger while she made up the stories), turn the page, and read some more. Every trip to my parents', my daughter read to Grandma, and every time, my mom listened as though each word were gold.

In April 2010, I took a deep breath and a big leap and submitted my article "One Dad Plus One Dad Equals a Whole Me" for consideration for the Guidepost compilation Unexpected Answers.

In the article I talked about the blessings of my two dads. My dad was a hard worker, faithful to my mom, took me to church every week, helped me learn the Bible, solid, but he wasn't a nurturer. I remember hearing him say one time how proud he was of me, and that was the week before he died, and I heard it while I stood outside his hospital room not wanting to interrupt his conversation with a visitor. My dad sometimes choked out that he loved me, usually after I said I loved him, and if we wanted to see him, we knew where he lived. When he died, he left a big gaping hole in my "daughter heart". I sat in my study not too long after Dad passed and railed at God. "You promised me healing. How are you going to heal this? He's dead. How are you going to make this any better at all?" Two years later, my mom married my stepdad.

My stepdad hugged, called just to tell me he loved me, and made time with my family a priority. He wasn't the spiritual strength my dad had been, and the deeper, foundational conversations didn't happen with him, but he loved me and my family, and he filled the gaping hole.

Not many people get the best of both worlds, but I did.

On June 18th, I got another answer to prayer. An acceptance letter. Guideposts wanted to publish my story.

I wanted to call my mom first thing to tell her about it because I knew she would be thrilled. Her daughter was in Guideposts. I immediately started thinking of how I would sign the copy to her. Oh, my lands. She was going to be so tickled! I could already see her showing it off to her friends. But instead of calling her, I decided to surprise her when the book was done. The publisher expected to have it finished in time for Christmas, and it was going to be the perfect gift. I'd wrap it for her, put a bookmark in, let her be stunned. I'd be excited all over again...with her. So I didn't tell.

Then things changed.

Mom was diagnosed with brain cancer July 30th. It had travelled there and to other parts of her body from her lungs. On August 2nd, I told Mom she had two months to live. There wasn't going to be a Christmas with her.

When the shock had worn off and we had Mom stabilized, I contacted Jeanette at Guideposts. I explained the situation, told her about my mom's love for Guideposts and why this was so important to me, and told her I know books take time, but did she have any idea how much time?

Honestly, I was praying for a miracle, and I knew it was a miracle. The book was supposed to be ready for Christmas. There was no way it would be done in September, and that was hoping the brain cancer's assault was slow. If it was aggressive, Mom could lose her ability to know anything even before then. Really, it was going to take a miracle for Mom to see this.

Still, with big, fat tears rolling down my face, I wrote the email.

Less than 24 hours later, I had a reply. Jeanette contacted Erin who was in charge of the actual printing. Her simple question, "Can you do the miraculous?"

Less than 24 hours after that, an email arrived in my inbox. "I'm attaching a PDF of the book in case that helps any. This is what was sent to the printer. If you want, you can print just the pages your story is on (and even the cover page) =)"

And there it sat. Unexpected Answers. MY unexpected answer.

I did get to share those pages with my mom, and she was proud and excited for me. It wasn't the celebration I had hoped for...but it was also more than I could have hoped for.

On October 2nd, Mom went home to be with Jesus. The books wouldn't be ready for another two months. Their arrival was bittersweet, but the kindness and compassion of the ladies at Guideposts who let me give Mom a sneak


  1. Wow, Jerri. Just Wow. I was thinking this would be a story about how staff at Guideposts helped you through the publishing process. But this is a story of how our Heavenly Father cared for you! What a gift to share those pages with your Mom. And to have such an intentional stepdad. Blessings, Simone

  2. Thank you for asking about it, Simone. In order to make sure I had all the facts straight and the names, I went back and read through my journal. I haven't read them since I wrote them, so nearly five years. I thought it was beautiful then, but now that I am on this side and the pain is not drowning me, it is was even more beautiful to see it now. Again, thank you. Blessings!