I wouldn’t put it past myself to accidentally have a typo in the main headline of a blog. But in this case the semicolon is intentional. It’s a tricky little guy — one of those more-complicated-than-necessary punctuation marks (well, for some of us it is). It is most commonly used to join two closely related thoughts together in the same sentence while still noting a distinction. In other words, it basically tells us that the initial part of a statement is not the whole story; the sentence does not end there (see what I did?). Thus, one half of the statement would not be the same without the other.

Over the years the semicolon has become symbolic of overcoming pain and pushing through hard times in the face of unfavorable odds. It often represents a continuation of life despite dark circumstances. Movements like Project Semicolon are centered around people who struggle or have struggled with suicide, depression, addiction and self-harm. As it would in a sentence, the punctuation mark symbolizes that a life story is not over yet.

As someone who has struggled with all of the things listed above at one point or another in the past, I think it’s a pretty neat little mark. I suppose in my case it goes against the grain a little since it played a part in putting an end to my father’s tattoo resistance. Sorry, Dad.

On a serious note, one of the coolest parts about having experienced heavy darkness is the ability to speak to people in those same places with credibility. I know what it feels like when giving up seems easier than facing another day. I know the numbness that replaces the desire to keep going. I know the moment when all of the pain turns into desperation.

I also now know there’s an incredible freedom and love for life available on the other side thanks to Jesus. I don’t say that flippantly. I’m a skeptic at heart and an arguer by nature (and dang good at it. Just ask my family or any ex-boyfriend). Convincing me of a Savior who offers a love that will never stop was not/is still not an easy task I assure you. The concept of Jesus used to be a bandaid idea that I thought people threw at me for their own sake.

But then I encountered a love too unconditional to escape. And believe me, I tried to escape it. I still do. There have been times I’ve even felt anger at its constant presence and supernatural nature before because I can’t comprehend it and I know I don’t deserve it.

And yet here I am, promising you that it’s real and it’s available — for free. I still have days when I doubt it, but it’s always there to prove itself.

I still have scars and scary memories. I still struggle. I don’t have all of the answers by any means and you better believe I still try to run sometimes. But I also have tasted something victorious that I can’t shake — something more powerful than any of the darkness I’ve seen.

Grace pursues us even in the darkest places and moments.

If you are reading this, God is not done with you. Instead of escaping this world through numbness, denial, or by ending it all, there is an escape in the arms of a God who can turn pain into greatness. I’ve watched Him do it in my life and I see Him still doing it today.

You and I were created for more than barely making it through each day. 

My heart is to offer encouragement to others who are in places similar to where I have been and create awareness for those who may not have seen the same darkness. I also really want to share what I am learning about the Savior I’ve met.

I’m a messy person with a messy past. But I’m also a survivor, and let’s be honest — if you’re breathing, you are too. This world isn’t always an easy one to live in. But I believe with my whole heart that we can live a life that’s full of true joy and peace that’s too deep to be stolen.

Friend, I wouldn’t dare say it if I didn’t know it to be true.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6

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