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, February 28, 2018

Had Your Fill of a Season? Perhaps God is Using the Season to Fill You

Wednesday in North Texas, and it is raining...more. But you know what? The lakes are filling up. The reservoirs are filling up, and when the heat hits, the water will be there to sustain us.
Kind of like life, isn't it? We get tired of the season we are in. We get tired of the "more" of something, and we are ready to move on, and yet, it lingers. It is really easy to grumbly during those times and miss the blessing, but here is the Truth.
If something lingers, it's because God has a lasting purpose for it, and it may just be that its purrpose is to help you last.
See, if we lean into God during the times of "more than what we wanted", then we get more of what we need when there isn't enough of us to make it through the hard.
If we lean into God when we are tired of what is going on, then we have more of God when we are just flat tired.
Praying for you this morning.
Love and prayers,

Thursday, February 22, 2018

If You are Grieving, I Understand

It has been a long time since I wrote about grief. I think that is because I have finally moved beyond the feeling that my heart has been ripped out of my chest and breathing feels excruciating, and frankly, I don't want to remember that. I don't want to remember what it felt like to think of listening to my mom gurgling in her last breaths before she died from lung cancer or seeing my husband's body on a table in the ER as I tried to figure out how I was going to tell my kids or his parents that he had died. I don't want to remember looking at the empty chairs at my table as we tried to have Christmas dinner for my brother, kids, and myself when all I could see is where my husband, mom, dad, and stepdad weren't. I don't want to remember the times I picked up the phone to call Mom to ask a question or times I started to call Rob because something had happened only he would understand the impact of. And I really don't want to remember the nights where I woke up and could swear I saw his silhouette in the darkness but knew if I reached over, he wouldn't be there, so I lay there, letting myself believe a lie because it was less heartcrushing than the truth.
I don't want to remember the heartcrushing pain of grief or loss or emptiness. I don't want to remember how little things can slam you like a freight train and suck the air right out of your lungs.
But I do remember.
I also remember what it was like when someone made some thoughtless, packaged, "get back to normal so I can feel better around you" answer. I remember the pain that inflicted, too.
Thoughtless, judgmental statements like:
"God needed another angel", which a crazy number of my friends who have lost babies and children have heard. Seriously? What kind of person says something like that?!
"You shouldnt' be sad for that person. They are in a better place. You should be happy." I'll be honest. My first thought is always, "Let me put a bullet in your loved one's brain, and THEN you say that." This who statement and its derivatives infuriate me. They may be in a better place, but there is someone who loved them HERE, missing them, wishing they could share all kinds of things with them but can't. That is reason ot be sad, and that is not selfish.
"Well, at least you never held your baby." When a woman who has miscarried tells me someone has said this, my heart breaks for that woman. Love is carried in the heart, not the hands. How dare anyone minimalize the hope, joy, and excited that comes with the news of a baby on the way.
There are so many others that totally dismiss the broken heartedness of grief. They make the person grieving sound selfish and wrong. They brush over the depth of the loss as though it were nothing because, after all, we know Jesus has this, so who are we to do anything but rejoice that these people are in a better place?
Who we are are the ones left behind with the empty cradles and the empty chairs and the empty beds and the phones with no one to call and the babies on the way that will never know their dad/grandparents/aunts/uncles. We are the ones who thank God for a better place but still have to walk through the pain of adjusting to the void.
And if you are one of those people learning to walk through the void, I'm sorry. I am so, so sorry. I can tell you honestly, God and time do wonders. I can also tell you honestly it is a hard road, and it takes time to learn to breathe again without it aching more than you think you can bear. And, honestly, there is no magic time limit when you wake up and suddenly you are fine. I have come to realize the idea that it all gets better in a year is only a partial truth, so it's okay to ache on holidays, birthday, anniversaries, and death days as long as you do. Some folks won't get it, but a lot of us do.
And I'm sorry for the things people say because they either dont' know what to say, don't think about what they are saying, or have never experienced the loss you have. Do yourself a favor and forgive them. You've got enough going on that your heart is trying to carry without adding unforgivness, too.
If I could, I would sit with you, hand you kleenex when you need them or hold the box when you didn't, listen to the stories you need to tell or sit in silence when you have nothing to say, give you a long hug or just be present. I would let you grieve in earnest and let you feel what you feel and say what you need to say and be honored that you trusted me with that honest part of you.
I am so sorry for your loss. I'm praying for you. Please feel free to comment if I can pray specifically because I will.
May God comfort you, lead your as you move forward, give you peace in Him, and be your ever present help.
Love and prayers,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

When No One Seems to Care About You at All...

You know those mornings that are not quite in sync? The ones where you walk into the kitchen where the sink you left empty last night is stacked with dishes...again, and the dog that is afraid of storms whimpered by your bed all night so your sleep was erratic at best, and this little--or loud--voice keeps asking why in the world you bother because clearly it doesn't make a difference, and nobody cares, and....
Okay, let's stop a second. Let's breathe. Those mornings happen. Those weeks happen. I know, and they can make you want to crawl right back in bed or right into a bottle of something numbing and not come out, but here is the truth that your voice may not have the clarity to tell you:
A clean sink may not matter to anyone else,
but YOU matter to others.
The laundry being folded, the counters being wiped down, the lawn being mowed, the floor being swept....those THINGS may not matter to anyone in your house,
but YOU matter to people in your house and in your life.
Don't mistake their apathy for clean as a lack of love for you.
Don't mistake a messy life as saying YOUR LIFE doesn't matter.
How do you get past the glums? Because we all know emotions are hard battles to fight through. What do you do when no one else seems to care one iota about you?
Care about yourself.
Do something nice for you.
Leave the floor dirty and the dishes in the sink.
Go read a book.
Take a long bath.
Make some chocolate covered strawberries.
Go to bed early.
The world won't end. Leaving dishes in the sink or footprints on the floor doesn't make you a failure. Sometimes it makes you sane.
So go be sane.
Know you are loved.
Know you are valuable.
Know you can love yourself and feel good about it.
I'm gonna go have some chocolate milk and read a book now.
Love and prayers!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

As a Mom of Kids who Have Grieved Loss, I Grieve for a Kid who is Lost in Grief

I have been thinking about this young man in Florida who walked into a school and started shooting. His mom died in November, and that is no excuse, but maybe it is because my kids lost their dad when they were 10 and 13, and being a socioogy major, I knew the statistics of kids who endure that. Do you know that young man fit those statistics? He did an extreme action because he was hurting and didn't have a way to fix it, so he hurt others...and himself.
I don't know what he was like before his mom died, but I know I was criticized for being a helicopter mom during the 3-4 years after the kids' dad died. I was told I needed to give them room, that their being allowed to crawl in my bed was wrong or "sick", that I was trying to fix them. Some people simply could not see that I was giving them room to grieve honestly with someone who might be able to help them process their grief and pain and anger. Some people couldn't see that night time is hell when you are hurting and being able to reach over and touch the parent that was still alive was stabliity, not sickness. Some people couldn't see thatI knew I couldn't fix them, but I never wanted them to feel abandoned in their pain.
And I am left wondering about this kid who may have had issues before his mom died but clearly was lost in grief afterward. Could this have been avoided? Could someone have helped him grieve better? Could someone have stopped these horrifying statistics, not just for him but the friends and families who lost their loved ones?
The truth is, my heart is broken for all of them.
And I know the whole issue of gun control, but, y'all, I don't see an issue of gun control. I see an issue of a kid who was hurting, who got lost in the darkness and wasn't found. What if he had been found? HOW could he have been found?
My kids have never threatened to kill people. Shoot, my son uses a glass and paper to take spiders outside because he won't kill them. But then, they also weren't left to find their way through trauma alone. One absolute truth about trauma is: if you leave trauma unaddressed, it will beget futher trauma. I wonder if this young man in Florida had anyone who tried to step into the trauma with him.
I don't know. I guess we will never know.
What I know is if we make this an issue about guns, then we only see this young man as a gunman who should have been stopped, not as a hurting person who really need help. As long as we only see the gun, we don't see the people in pain holding them...or find a way to help those people so they never consider picking the gun up in the first place.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy in Real Life

A friend of mine told me today one of my attractive qualities is my happy positivity. That was a very cool compliment.
A lot of folks have been kind and commented on the fact that I look so happy. Truthfully, I really am happy. And you know what I've learned the key to happiness is?
Letting my heart feel thankful for the every day or small "special" and beautiful wonders in life.
For instance, today WonderGirl headed out of town for the weekend with a friend, so WonderBoy and I had dinner at a fave burger place, picked up art supplies at Michaels, and watched part of a movie. Best part? The talking and laughing.
One of my all time favorite songs--Something Beautiful by NeedtoBreathe--came on the radio, so I turned it up and sang along.
I had a great talk with some men old enough to be my dad at the gym this afternoon. One of them told me about his son who has served in the military since the mid-80s and how proud he is...and how hard it has been to see his son some ways, not for the better. It always leaves me humbled that people share those things with me.
Right now, I am curled up under my favorite fluffy blanket, which doesn't sound like much, but I have a fluffy blanket, and that is not a small thing.
More ducks flew over, and I listened to them quack from the time I heard them until they were too far for me to see.
And I had a pancake breakfast with my kids before WonderGirl left.
It was kind of a plain day, but it was a wonderfully delightful plain day, and as I prepare to go to sleep, there is a smile on my lips, and my heart is full.
Yeah, I have to admit, I'm pretty happy. :-)
I hope you had a great day too.
Love and prayers for a blessed rest...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Life with God can be SO Funky!

You know, I used to really struggle with God. I didn't understand Him. I didn't know HIM. I knew theology. I knew hell fire and brim stone. I knew stories about this God waiting to squish me like a bug if I messed up, but that is not the God I've come to know. The God I know now is breathtaking beyond anything I could dream or imagine. He is loving and gentle and kind, and, yes, He disciplines me, but even that is driven by mercy and love. He is no longer some God in heaven I... serve. He is my Lover, my Husband, my Best Friend, my Encourager, my Comfort, and my Partner in the wildest adventure I could have ever dreamed. Every day with Him is like some wild new thing.

This morning I was thinking about yesterday, and the way the Lord let me pray for people and speak into them and how some people spoke into me. They spoke to exactly what I had been praying about, and I am so thankful for that. Obviously, it is always wonderful to know God adores me enough to speak to stuff I don't tell anyone else about, but it also assured me that I am not missing it. The road did change radically from what I thought we were doing, which is fine because whatever road we take is going to be flipping awesome because, hello, I'm with God.

But this morning I was pondering all of yesterday, and I started to laugh and just said, "God, life with you is so funky." And, yes, in that instant, I heard music. The attached video is a good visual for my life with God right now, and the choreography is perfect too! I'm watching going, "Really, you want me to do that?!" And about the time I think I have a handle on that, it changes. LOL Life with God really is breathtaking and amazing. I won't lie and tell you it is easy. If you are really living with God, He will stretch you beyond yourself until He is the only one who can make something happen, and the stretching is hard, but WOW! When that "something only God can do" I said...He is breathtaking.

Hope you are having a gloriously funky day!

Jerri L. Kelley

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Prophetic Word for Those Seeking Him--"Be Still and Learn Me"

This morning when I was praying, I asked the Lord if He had anything to share with y'all, and He said a lot of you are stressing about the next step or the next path or an outcome. You are stressed because you can't see what is coming and you want guaranteed outcomes, guaranteed blessings. Those things don't exist. What you are asking for does not exist. You are asking for what is easy and you want to know it will be easy and not hard and not hurtful, but that is not biblical. Hard things come. Hurtful things come, but in those things HE comes.

So if you want to know the answer to your question and seeking, this is what HE said:
All the answers are in Me.
All your wisdom is in Me.
All your peace is in Me.
Be still.
Do not be anxious thinking I won't hear you.
Don't be anxious thinking I don't care aobut you.
Do you not think I want you to be blessed?
Do you not think I want to do good for you?
My heart is for you.
Your success is My success.
Why would I not want this for you?
YOu worry because you do not know Me, because you do not know My heart.
Be still and learn Me.
Find out who I am.
Until you know who I am, you cannot know what I am capable of.
Until you know who I am, you cannot know my love for you--its height or depth or width of length.
Until you know who I am, you cannot know how far I am willing to go for you or with you.
My heart is for your good. If you truly want the good things, you need to be still and learn my heart.
I amf or you. Be still and understand what this means.
--Jerri L. Kelley--
February 12, 2007