My story isn’t over yet.
I gently ink these words onto my left forearm, pen gliding along my skin, the letters coming out with lines and loops.
The words echo in my head, bringing me peace and hope that wasn’t there before.
It isn’t over for me –
I mark a semicolon on the edge of my wrist.
I know the One who holds the pen to my story.
It’s been an interesting few weeks. I’ve had the time to step out of my regular life and think some things through – to think about things deeply, consider my expectations for the future, and reflect on where I feel I should be right now.
I took a two-week trip to visit my friend Gabriela (who many of you may know from her blog, A Heart Redeemed), and we had countless conversations about these things – about not knowing what’s next, but anxiously wanting to know.
During the trip, I came to a realization that I hadn’t before, about pain, and about living our own stories.
Many times, when we experience such sorrow and disappointment, the roots go so much deeper than just one disappointing event. It’s about what we believe in our hearts, or at least desperately want to believe –
that our stories are going to turn out alright in the end.
When things happen in our lives that cause us to lose people that were important to us, to miss out on what we thought were great opportunities, to fail regarding the things we believed were essential – many of us experience the pain that comes with the “what could have been” – but just wasn’t.
We become attached to the steps that we think will take us to where we want to be in the future, and they might even be wonderful things, too. But when our plans don’t come together, and things turn out drastically differently than we imagined, it’s easy for our first thought to be, “Why isn’t this working?! This needs to work out!”
Enter: the philosophy of the semicolon.
As a writer and an editor, I love semicolons, and probably too much; I continue sentences where many people would end them.
Here is what I find most fascinating: When we write our own stories for ourselves, it’s easy to end them right where we are. “My heart was broken…and I knew I’d never be the same again. The end.”
But what happened to letting God write our stories, rather than us?
The semicolon philosophy is this – knowing that where we might have chosen to end our stories, giving them hopeless endings, God continues them. He tells us that He has a good plan for the rest of our lives, even when good does not mean easy, comfortable, or what we would have chosen.
Simply, it means choosing to believe that our stories aren’t over yet, and that in the end, the pain will have been worth it.
“In the end, it’ll all be okay” can be easily misunderstood. It doesn’t mean we’ll live free of pain or hardship, live lives of pleasure and euphoria, and get our very own happily-ever-after.
But what it does mean is that God has a good plan for our lives, and He won’t ever leave us, even in the messes we create for ourselves.
It means that His grace is sufficient for us every single day of our lives, and that His love is unending, regardless of our choices, our mistakes, and what others have done to us.
It means that this world is not our home, and one day soon, all of our pain will be gone and we’ll live forever in paradise with the Rescuer of our souls.
It means hope, peace, and joy, right where we are, because we have a God on our side that longs for us to know Him, to trust Him, and find comfort in Him.
In our seasons of pain, we must hold onto the truth that our stories aren’t over yet. We must see the semicolons – the places where one could end a story, but God chooses to continue it.
Because He is faithful. He is love. He is good.
And our stories aren’t over yet.