Heartbreak to Strength Blog

Are you living in the middle of the Ampersand?

Have you ever heard of an ampersand?

I recently learned what this meant in Kaitlyn Bouchillon’s book, Even If Not. The Ampersand is the “and” symbol (&).

Kaitlyn says in her book, “An ampersand connects two different thoughts or ideas. When you see an ampersand, you know the story isn’t over yet.” She shares in her book that most of us live in this in between: Broken & mended. Dark & light. Lonely & in community.

We live in the ampersand.

A couple weeks ago, I had an ampersand moment. My heart was bouncing back and forth between joy & sorrow.

Honestly, I still am struggling to understand God’s timing because on the exact same day, just hours apart, I experienced my highest high for my year and my lowest low.

That morning, I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite authors whose books have impacted my life. That afternoon, my heart shattered as we said goodbye to our sweet dog, Shadow.

Excitement & Sadness.

Joy & Sorrow.

I was living in the ampersand. Have you ever found yourself in this place?

As I was processing my emotions, my mind kept thinking about Kay Warren’s book, Choose Joy. She talks about how life is like two railroad tracks that run parallel to each other. On one side of the track is sorrow, all the painful things that break our hearts. But running right alongside is the track for joy, all the good things and beauty in our life.

Kay says, “It’s accepting both the sorrow AND the joy together and choosing then to see it from God’s point of view.”

Friend, are you living in the middle of the ampersand? Maybe you are living in the middle of healing & sickness. Brokenness & Wholeness. I want to encourage you today.

God is also in the middle of the ampersand!

In those hard in between times, God is guiding you & comforting you. He is with you in the middle of the pain and you don’t have to walk this hard road alone.

Just last week, I was shopping when my eye spotted it: An Ampersand! I was elated and immediately bought this & symbol. It‘s a reminder that life does not always go as we hoped and planned, but God always meets us in the messy middle.

Friend, I want to remind you today that God wants to meet you in the middle of the ampersand.

Love, Jodi

Depth Podcast Link

God Sees You and Loves You. He Made You For a Purpose.

In college, one day of the year that I dreaded as a single, 21-year-old woman was Valentine’s Day.

I remember watching my friends get flowers and go on special dinner dates and honestly, I felt less than.  Maybe you have felt the same way. 

Valentine’s Day was a reminder that I was alone.   

I think our culture puts a high demand on being in love or having a special someone on Valentine’s Day. If you fall into a different category like single, divorced, or widowed, this holiday can be extremely difficult.

If you wish Valentine’s Day was already over, let me share some truth that has helped me.   

1. Valentine’s Day focuses primarily on romantic love, but I encourage you to expand your definition of love.

Think of all the loved ones in your life and honor one this Valentine’s Day.  Place your focus on the love for your kids this year.  Give attention to the deep admiration you have for your parents, siblings, or friends. 

2. Valentine’s Day puts an emphasis on special dinner dates, so I encourage you to start a new dinner tradition.   

At our house, we decorate the table like a fancy restaurant and eat our favorite finest cuisine: steak and shrimp. We exchange cards and gifts; I love my special Valentine’s Day dinner with my sons at home.   Maybe it is time to start a new family tradition.

(Note: We did ours early this year because my boys will be out of town on Sunday)

3. Valentine’s Day places value on the temporary, but I encourage you to have an eternal perspective.

Let’s end with your most important relationship: God’s love.  John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  I love this graphic and the word Valentine in it.

What if we viewed Valentine’s day through the filter of God’s love?  What if we stopped trying to find our value through earthly love, but instead focused on our worth through God’s eyes? 

Valentine’s Day is a reminder of God’s love!

I wish I could go back in time and share this truth with my 21-year old self.  Friends, if you are feeling alone this Valentine’s day, remember the God of the Universe is whispering to you right now, “I see you. I love you. I made you for a purpose.” 

Praying this truth sinks into your heart this Valentine’s Day!  

Love, Jodi

Depth Podcast Link