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This Ampersand Life

“I’ve gone through a divorce and I still believe in marriage. I was a single parent, and I still got most things done. I was in a career transition and it was okay. 

Life had not been all rainbows and sunshine, but I was still deeply in love with Jesus. To the average person the word “and” might get passed over, tossed aside, or used without considering its value. Or it may feel overwhelming that life involves both this, and this, AND this, AND this. But to me, it provides comfort. 

God does not leave me in my circumstances. Where I am now isn’t where I’ll always be. He is my refining fire and I already know that He will get right in the fire beside me. The &’s of life remind me to keep moving, learning, loving … & that was all the motivation I needed.” Hope Fully, pg. 113-114

I first wrote these words in my journal (and then posted them in a note on my Facebook page) six-ish years ago. I had just taken a big leap and walked into a tattoo shop in Anaheim on a bit of a whim, and I left with an ampersand permanently declaring residence on the inside of my left wrist. I wanted a visual reminder that Jesus was present. That however today felt… there was another day coming. The good days may not last, but neither will the bad ones.

In the days since the book has published I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next. I know that I’m not done writing. I’m working on a companion devotion/ journal to the book that will help you have a conversation in hope about your own life. I have jotted down other ideas for what it is Jesus is asking me to share next, but I’m waiting for Him to give me a clear direction.

What is clear, however, is that He isn’t done with me yet. If you had asked me even six months ago if I thought my life would see joy again, I’d have thought you didn’t understand the heartache I was drowning in. I know Jesus allowed that brokenness to heal old wounds. I know that He didn’t do it to hurt me more, but to bring new life.

Hurt & healing at the same time.

A painful past & the promise of a joyful future.

A broken marriage & the gift of redemption.

Hopelessness that tries to linger & real HOPE that doesn’t disappoint.

This Ampersand Life. It doesn’t get weighed down by what was. It doesn’t live in the what should have beens or what should be’s. It lives in the right now. Aware of the hope present even in the hard things. But it also lives in view of what comes next. There is always an & waiting…and as I write this I’m smack dab in the middle of a new story. A story of redemption that is being written from unexpected places in unexpected ways. And I’m not just joyful in the way that we choose joy when we don’t feel like it. I’m truly JOY FILLED. Jesus has given me some of the things I’ve long waited for. And He withheld no good thing in doing so.

That’s my story, but what is that thing that you are waiting for? What is your “&”? That thing that you pray for when you are alone with Jesus and no one is listening? That thing that settles in the corner of your heart and lingers there?

And the rain fell, and the floods came,

and the winds blew and beat on that house,

but it did not fall, because it had been

founded on the Rock.

Matthew 7:25

Build your life on the solid rock. Put in the work. Weather the storms.

& then Jesus…

He will do the rest.

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