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.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Prayer for Those Grieving

Father, this morning I know several people who are grieving and feeling the emptiness of loss. I lift them up to you. I ask you to speak comfort to their aching places, and I ask you to give them courage as they walk through this valley. Give them the courage to look beyond the grief to the joy that memories will bring, and I ask that during this grieving you would give them reprieves--reprieves from the pain so they can breathe and think without the fog of hurt and loss feeling like it is sucking the life out of them and a reprieve from the forward march so they can grieve deeply and honestly. I ask that you protect them from thoughtless statements of others that inflict more pain, and I ask you to send kind hands and words to encourage them, to carry them when need be. I ask you to impart hope for a day that doesn't hurt "like this one does".
And, Father, for those who feel alone because of so much loss, I ask that you would speak as only you can. Be the presence only You can be. Give hope of how you can fill the void because you can. Your word promises that you sit the lonely in families. You take care of orphans, widows, and the lonely because you know it is not good for us to be alone.
I pray that each of these people grieving this morning would know with all they are that they are not alone. That you are with them, that they are loved, and you are filling the empty places if they have the courage to heal and love again. And sometimes, Father, that takes a LOT of courage. I ask you to give them that courage too.
Thank you, Father, for the precious lives that have lived and poured into each of these who are grieving. Thank you for the gift these loved ones have been. THank you for how they have made each of these people better, enriched their lives, continue to impact the world through their influence. Thank you for these beautiful treasures that are being celebrated evening among, and with, the tears. You give lavish gifts, and these who are being mourned are incredibly lavish gifts. Thank you.
Father, thank you for hearing my prayer. Thank you for answering in your love and mercy. Thank you for being a kind, gentle, and concerned God. I praise you for your trustyworthiness and your tenderness. You are beautiful, and I thank you for who you are.
With faith for answers to each of these petitions and absolute certainty of your love and concern, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen
--Jerri L. Kelley--

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Thursday morning coming in wet and soggy with low-lying clouds and the reality that we'll want all this water in July and August but right now....Did I mention it is a LOT of water?
But as I sit here looking out the window at the small lake formerly known as my backyard, I am fascinated. I don't see water. I see sky. I see the reflection of things higher than.
Higher than my thoughts.
Higher than my ways.
Higher than I can dream or imagine.
Higher than where I am looking obviously.
Sometimes I get so caught up at looking down at what I think is too much or not necessary or just flat destructive, I need God to use the lower to reflect what is above me.
And you know what I see in those reflected clouds? Hope.
I see a sky that will break forth sunshine.
I see light places that are not as heavy as others.
I see heaven.
When I look up, I see beyond the skies to haven beyond and the God who reigns there...who reigns here...even in the hard rains and all the water.
This morning I am asking Him simply:
What do you want me to see?
In the reflection, in the heavens beyond, in the water that covers so much of the beneath...what do you want me to see?
I know you are in all of it. Open my eyes to see you. To know you. Help me look beyond what I'm tired of and have had enough of so I can see how you are showing me...once again...even more are enough.
And isn't that what He wants us to know? That in everything, HE is enough,
Isn't that what hard does? Reflect the truth that makes us look up so we see and know He is enough.
Isn't that the crux of our faith? He is enough.
Especially when we have hit the wall and too much is screaming how we are not enough too handle it all, He is enough.
I'm praying for you this morning, that even in whatever over-saturated with hard you are facing or are in, that you can find rest in the Truth that HE is enough.
God's blessings,

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...