I always thought tattoos were interesting. I have no idea why, but I would look at them and think to myself, “What does that mean?” and “Why do they have that?” I was inexplicably drawn to them and could only imagine the story behind the ink. I even researched what the Bible said about them. However, I was raised by a father that said a tattoo was a “permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.”
Throughout history, tattoos have sometimes had negative connotations. My husband had a grandfather who was a merchant marine that was embarrassed of his – so much so, he hid his with long-sleeved shirts in sweltering heat. Cher even had hers lasered off. Yet they seem more ubiquitous and socially accepted now than ever.
To me, tattoos are interpretive, personal art. The only thing that stopped me from getting one was the fact my intuitive husband said I’d want to change mine out after a month like an accessory. His opinion was correct in that I was easily bored with decor and fashion. In those areas, he had me pegged.
There were, however, nonnegotiables in my life: my devotion to my family and my faith. To explain, it takes supernatural, God- equipped strength to raise (much less live with) 4 teenagers. So, when I hit a particularly difficult, rough patch, I decided to take a personal “break.” I have no clue how to define or what constitutes “a break,” but I will say it was the healthiest choice. No kidding, I hit a very high, hard wall in parenting. So, I separated myself to avoid perpetuating anymore negativity and to gain perspective. I went to the beach and started praying fervently. I had no idea what to do, how to do it, or what could come of my quandry. I just kept seeking divine guidance. I knew God was there and would help me but I didn’t know what that would look like. The more I prayed, the more God drew closer. I felt His comforting presence and sensed my job was to back off and let Him do His work. I felt without a doubt that God was telling me to “Be still” and just “Be Thankful.” That message, after days of prayer, was all I needed to stop trying so hard to force change. My role rather, was to rejoice and be thankful for all God’s blessings. This was new for me: I was to stop micromanaging everything and just “be.”
After contemplating this reality, it dawned on me that I felt a permanent reminder was in order. It was like I was driven by an external force that sunny weekday to go to the beach tattoo parlor. Yep, a middle aged, mother of 4 had an unwavering plan to commemorate this “God moment” in ink.
With their high-tech, graphics design program, and medical grade equipment, the artist created a light- hued, grey scripted message on my inner wrist. It was and is my permanent message from God to be still and be thankful.
It has induced hilarious banter from some like, “Did you get that in prison?” I also find it humorous that I am the only one in my family with one- none of my college kids do. Interestingly, it has also been the impetus of deep conversations with strangers regarding faith. I don’t regret it and haven’t for one moment wanted to change it out either.