Prepare yourself for something you may disagree with!
When I met my husband online (Christianmingle.com) we spent two days sending emails back and forth before we met in person. One of the questions he asked me was if I had any tattoos. I knew he had some from his profile pictures, and I proudly said “Yes! I have a ladybug tattoo on my foot.” I was very proud of my “edgy” tattoo because I was raised to believe that “good girls don’t do that.” But, my mother had it on her bucket list to get a tattoo of a ladybug on her foot before she turned 50. She had made a list of things she wanted to do between the age of 40 and 50 but, unfortunately, she died right after she turned 49 and never got it done. A few years after she passed, on my 30th birthday, I got a small ladybug (about the size of a nickel) on my foot. Such a rebel.
I was pretty much the only one out of my friends that had a tattoo. Of course I knew people who had one or two, but it was not a part of my culture. One reason being as a professional actor it just wasn’t convenient to have tattoos that were visible because it would become very difficult to cover depending on the role and costumes.
I lived in a trendy urban area of a big city so I had seen lots of people with them, and while I didn’t want to judge them, I just didn’t know how to resolve what I have heard in church and within my family. One or two was one thing, but for some reason, people who had sleeves or were covered even more than that seemed odd, or even bad.
Then I met my husband.
First thought? Oooooh, he’s bad-boy sexy! Is he a bad boy? NOPE! But my first thought was he must be edgy and bad if he has so many tattoos. But that wasn’t the case at all. I loved hearing all about how the art on his body told the story of God’s goodness, power, love, and victory in his life.
Spending time with him, I saw how the tattoos were a powerful conversation tool and open door to share his testimony. We decided to get wedding ring tattoos, and I couldn’t wait to tell people what the design meant and why we choose to do it.
I have a few more tattoos now, and something has shifted in me. Maybe it’s because I live in a town where it seems EVERYONE has tattoos. I was blown away when I first moved to this much smaller town, to see that those who have tattoos aren’t just the edgy urban people. It seems like across the board everyone has them! Grandmas, soccer moms, business men and women, and pastors are all tatted up! But that shift came when I saw my Dad the day I got a new one. I showed him and apologized with a sassy smile, to which he replied, “It’s your unique temple, honey, decorate it any way you want!” WOW! I was so impressed! And yea, it is my temple…my temple for the Lord to live in. He loves the way I decorate it because I decorate for us…Him and me.
As one of the pastors at a large church, my job requires that I stand in front of a lot of people on a regular basis. The people who I have the privilege of speaking to enter the room from all manner of doors. One day on the patio of our church, a young woman came up to me and told me that she felt so encouraged to see that I had tattoos because she had always felt uneasy about coming to church unless she covered hers up. Her tattoos were beautiful and we had a moment of sharing our work and the meaning behind it. I was so thankful that she felt free to be herself because of something she saw in me. I see people with tattoos all over their body, even faces, at our church and I am thankful to work and attend a church with wide open doors.
My friend, Christina encouraged a group of us to get rid of the “ewws” in our lives. If you haven’t seen Jimmy Fallon‘s “eww” skits (where he and a guest dress up as teenage girls and while discussing all manner of things, they just say “eww” to everything – you don’t have to be around teenagers for long to see the relevance of this skit). They are super funny and can be easily compared to how some of us who have been raised in a religious church culture can often view others. The “eww” mentality keeps us at arm’s length from those who Jesus loves and fosters the lie that we are any better than “them.”
So, I am adorning my temple and I will share it with the world. Let the Lord be glorified by the praise that my body sings. And let those walls of judgement and distance fall down so that we all may be free to receive the love of the Lord and praise Him together.
Show me your tats!!