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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Crazy Love of God

Something I used to hate about God but now find to be wondrous and beautiful:

 He will totally upend your life, destroy your comfort zone, and leave you feeling like you are in the deep end of the ocean with no ability to swim so you can see HE ALONE IS GOD and He loves you too much to leave you in a prison you probably didn't even know you had created for yourself. AND, He'll drag you through the gates of that prison to freedom with you kicking and screaming and calling Him ...all kinds of bad Daddy names because He knows one day you won't be stupid anymore and you'll get it...and you might even have the courtesy to be thankful, but even if you aren't, He'll have still loved you deeply and wildly even when you didn't know what real love looked like.

--Jerri Kelley--


Friday, January 29, 2016

What We Really Need

Today I ask you to bless each person who reads this, and even those who don't. I ask you to give them what they need so they can see and know you better. I ask you to give them comfort where they need it...and discomfort where they need it.
I ask you to give them courage where they need it...and humility where they need it.
I ask you to give them a spirit of service where they can be a light in someone's darkness...and a spirit of courage to know when they need to stand their ground and for them to stand well.
I ask you to speak truth to them...the things they want to here...and the things they don't.
I ask you to give gifts to each one so they can see your loving hand...and take things away that have become idols and objects of entitlement thinking.
Above everything else, I ask that you would do what is necessary to heal, restore, purify, and save today...especially where we mostly need purified and saved from ourselves.
Thank you for your faithful kindness and love. You are merciful to hear my prayer and answer it.
Oh, and, Lord, where we kick and scream and act like spoiled brat 2-year olds, be a good Daddy anyway.
I love you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Hard Part of Being Loved by God

I'm thinking back over last year, and overall, I really enjoyed 2015. There were a couple of really dark spots, and they were hard, but they were also healing. I've mentioned my friend John before. He is incredibly gifted for knowing how to stand in those places with me. He served in the Marine Corps for 9 1/2 years, and he understands that sometimes you can extricate a person from the battle, and sometimes you have to sit with them and be a presence while the battle rages. He is good at both, and oddly, one of the most healing things of this year was being in that dark place, looking up, and seeing him standing there. I fight for other people. I've never had anyone who stood there and fought for me. And although the dark place was hard, his being in the middle of it was healing in ways I cannot express.

You know, we try to avoid the hard places. We try to avoid places where we are on our hands and knees, bloody and bruised, with our faces inches from the ground while we just try to breathe, and all our brains can come up with is, "God help me." Those places shred us. The pain of those places is deeper than any human words can speak, and what I have found in the last five years, and so vividly this year, this is the very place where God becomes so clear. This is the place where healing we never imagined happens.

I think, though, often we only see how hard it is. We live in our anger, feelings of abandonment, and pain. We choose to see that and only that, and we don't see the people fighting for us or the way God provides for us.

One of the passages I pray over my kids and myself personally on a regular basis is from Ephesians 3.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I confess to you during October and November that when I prayed this, I was expecting some kind of warm fuzzy. I thought I'd feel all...well, new romance-ish. You know, like when you first fall in love and you're just overcome by the joy and excitement of it all. That is kind of what I expected. Looking back, I realize that was shallow, but really, I was at a place where I really wanted to feel better and warm-fuzzified joy and excitement would have been better.

Except, what I got was even better than that because what I got was beyond the emotion of new love. What I got was the depth of established love, the kind of love that you lean into on the really hard days when you've got nothing lovable to offer, and instead of having something to give, you simply need.

I started praying that, and the Lord started reminding me of different parts of the year. He reminded me of hard parts and hurtful places and the utterly feeling of exhaustion, and then He reminded of the people who gave a hand, gave a kind word, or stood there until the battle was manageable again. He reminded me of the love He had poured out through people, through the right verse at the right time, through the right song on the radio just when I needed it, through a vacation filled with mishaps that have become sources of laughter.

And when the year was over, I looked back at the year, and I saw the hard places and overshadowing each one was the gift of love God poured into it, a gift that would have meant nothing without the hard stuff. I looked back and saw the wonderful things and saw the beauty of His fingerprints on those, too. It was just an amazing year of seeing God love me in amazing ways with amazing determination and amazing depth.

As the New Year slid in, I read the posts wishing people prosperity, joy, and all good things. I tried not to wish anyone anything because if I could give anyone anything, I'd give them my year last year, with all the joy, adventure, and wonder...and all the hard, the empty, and the feeling lost. I would give them the God I experienced and the intimacy I've learned. And I would give them the truth from this side of all that: It's worth every moment. It's worth the hard stuff you go through because of all the God stuff you get.

The hard part of being loved by God is the road to the reality of just how much you really are loved by God.

And it is so very worth it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Year of Words

January 1, 2016
The first day of the New Year.

In the circles where I listen, chat, and ponder, the big word is, "I'm doing a new thing." Isaiah 43:1-19 is THE scripture of the year, I think, which is really kind of cool because that is part of the scripture the Lord gave me to define my mindset for this year as well.

My primary scripture is John 1:7.
"If you remain in me, and my word remains in you,
 ask anything you wish, and it will be done for you."
My secondary scripture is Isaiah 43:16-19.
 16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse,
The army and the power
(They shall lie down together, they shall not rise;
They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):
18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
Now you may be wondering what in the world is a scripture for the year, and even if you are familiar with that, you may not know primary and secondary words. I'll take some time to explain.
First, let's define "prophetic". "Prophetic" is when God decides to share His heart about things. A "prophetic word" is when someone takes time to listen to God's heart and then share what they hear. It's not freaky or weird or creepy. It's just sharing God's heart.
A "word (or scripture) for the year is when God gives a word or scripture that He wants someone to use as a definition or source of expectation for the year. Now, these are interesting. A few years ago, He gave me the word "joy" and gave me the scripture Romans 15:13. It was the year after my husband died, grief was still raging, the kids were still stabilizing, and the immensity of loss was really hitting us. "Joy" was not how I would define that year. The only joy is when it was over. However, last year, He gave me the word "adventure" and Joshua 1:9. Last year had some hard lows where grief slammed into our family with incredible fierceness, and we had to get out of our comfort zones to deal with it. Ultimately, the experience of dealing with it was healing beyond what we hoped. We also did things we had never done before and dreamed dreams that we had never considered. It was beautiful stuff.
I've never had a year when God gave me two words, but this year, He talked to me about one the first day, let it soak in and simmer for the Spirit to speak some more, and then told me the second one two days later. In fact, the second was an answer to questions about the first one.
So, how does one hear these "words"?
Hearing God is interesting. Sometimes I'm not sure if I am hearing Him or if I am wish-thinking. In this case, I was sitting on my couch one morning during my quiet time, and a very clear thought came into my head. Except it wasn't in my voice, if you know what I mean. "You haven't asked me about your word for next year?" I hadn't. I had given no thought to it, honestly.
Now, between you and me, I really wasn't keen on the idea of a word for the year. What tends to happen to me, and others I know, is we hear something and get an idea of how that will look based on how we want it to look, how we want wrongs righted, how we want our lives to be different, and one of two things happen:
1. We push forward with our agenda, which isn't what God has in mind, and then we get mad at God for not keeping His word...that we made up in our heads and He never even said.
2. We think He is going to wave some magic wand that will suddenly make that thing happen. I have learned this is one of the great lies perpetuated by the church. There is no magic wand. There is God rewarding obedience, and a lot of people miss their promise because they don't invest in it.
But I figured it this way, if God was going to bring it up, then He had something already in mind. My job was to be still, hear His mind, and agree with it.
Let's talk about that phrase a moment: "agree with it".
In the charismatic circles you may hear people talking about "getting in agreement with God." That usually means they are going to keep saying what they believe God said over and over and over. It can almost become like a mantra, and people think if they say it, that is the same as faith, which will "release it to happen". That is only partially true.
James 2 tells us faith without works is dead. Faith is not simply believing in something. It is living in a way that shows you are committed to the truth of something. If we profess to be a Christian, than that relationship should determine how we live. Paul says we cannot go on living in sin if we are saved. This isn't some heavy doctrinal law. It's common sense. If I believe Jesus came to save me from my sin, why would I think He is okay with my continuing to live in it? If He came to set me free from sin, not just damnation for it in eternity but sin itself now, then He expects me to run from the thing that enslaves me. Faith in Christ as Savior tells me I need to live like someone saved from what has kept me enslaved, which is sin.
Faith is living what we know is true.
So when God gives a word, He expects me to live in relationship to that word, which means He expects me to live as though I believe what He said will happen. I choose to do what is necessary on my part to see that promise fulfilled.
For instance, let's say that the word the Lord gives is "restoration of health" to someone who is coughing a lot, having a hard time with any physical exertion, and has a hard time sleeping because when he/she lies down they can't breathe. Now that is an amazing word! But, there is on magic wand, so what that person needs to do is praying for what He expects of them so He can fulfill the promise.
See, one of the big faults in the church culture and its "God loves you no matter what and has good plans for you" attempt to "reach people and make God relevant" is it dismisses personal responsibility. It dumps a key word: if. Go back and look through the Bible. If you find a promise, with VERY FEW exceptions, you'll find an "if".
If you keep my commands, I'll bless you.
If you have faith in me, you will be saved.
If you love me, obey me.
So keeping that in mind, let's go back up to this poor suffering soul who has been promised restoration of health. I honestly know people who would take that and say, "God promised to restore me to health and restore my breathing and give me stamina and help me sleep better," all the while puffing on another cigarette.
God promised, and God's promises can't fail, right?
Well, God's heart is what He WANTS to happen, but honestly, we can refuse. Jesus could have walked at Gethsemane if He had decided to do so. God gives us choices. We can live in a way that we get blessed, or we can live in a way that rejects the blessings; that doesn't make God a liar. That makes us faithless...because we are not living as though we really believe Him.
Why is it important for our words to come from God? Anything else is just a New Year's resolution.
In John 15:5-7, Jesus says,
I am the vine, you are the branches, if you remain in me and I in you,
 you will bear much fruit;
apart from me, you can do nothing....
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask anything you wish, and it will be done for you.
Very important things to get here:
1. Apart from me, you can do nothing. (New Year's resolutions are in human strength, which fails)
2. I am the key to bearing much fruit.
3. My words--my will, purpose, desire--remain in you.
When His words remain in us, when we believe them enough to invest in them and live like we believe Him, we will desire His heart. We will ask according to His heart. He will answer because He really wants His heart released and tangible to be seen and experienced on this earth, whether that be in our lives or through our lives into the larger population.
That is why God gives "words for the year" or "scriptures for the year". He wants His heart to be experienced on earth as it is in heaven. It is as simple as that.
So what if you are reading this January 1st or 4th or even May 4th? Have you lost your chance at a word? No. Not remotely. God can speak His heart to you at any time.
What if He gave you a word and you really didn't buy into it so it's sort of been just lying there like an old magazine on the coffee table? Have you forfeited that word? Honestly, I don't know. Some things are time sensitive. However, instead of being worried about "a word" focus on the real issue--your disobedience. Repent for not seeking Him and how He wants you to live your part of the promise. Ask His forgiveness and ask Him to purify you. Maybe you need to ask why you avoided doing what you needed to do. Deal with it. Get right with God. Make obedience your priority, and if the word is able to be restored, your obedience will open the door for that. If it can't be restored, at least you are ready for the next one. The big deal isn't a promise; it's the relationship.
I didn't really talk about what I meant to talk about, but that is okay. I think this is what God wanted to talk about, and if you want to talk about it some more, email me or leave a comment. I'll be happy to talk and answer questions all you want.