I got a tattoo yesterday.
"I'm not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship." - Lousia May Alcott, Little Women
I used to be afraid of storms: the future ones and the damage from the past ones. The wreckage still stares me in the face because no one has cleaned it up. I think God offered, but I just gave Him a sad smile, and said, "How will anyone ever remember this tragedy if we don't have the rubble to stare us in the face every day?" I refused to let go, to forgive myself since He has forgiven me... to truly rest in the grace and peace of redemption. Never mind the fact that He wants me to keep moving. Anyways, I've realized: these storms, my scars, they make me imperfect and they make me "me." They are beautiful, because flaws and imperfections are beautiful. So now, I'm not afraid of the storms that are coming. They make me who I am. I will not be broken beyond repair, because of the One who carries me, and loves me, and forgives me, and rebuilds me. And cleans up my messes. He never goes away. And I am stronger and wiser (eventually) and more equipped to love Him and others because of all the shit I've been through. So, no. I'm not afraid of the storms anymore. Not the aftermath of the ones from yesterday, or the ones that are on the horizon. I'm learning this whole "life" thing, and my storms make me human. And it's beautiful.
The reason it's a tattoo is kind of similar. Yes, "my body is a temple." But some church buildings have graffiti on them, and God still abides there. Someone was telling me that it's like a three-year-old coloring on Picasso's paintings with a crayon. Our skin is beautiful, it's a creation. Why would we ruin perfection? But... that's not me. I have scars. And I don't want them to just be on the inside. I don't want to be fooling anyone, normal and flawless on the outside, but tattered on the inside. I want to be transparent. I want to be physically imperfect. And especially, I want to love my physical "imperfection" the way that God loves me, with all my blemishes. He loves me with my flaws. And I want my body to represent that.
So that's it. That's why it's permanently going on my body, penetrating my skin with the needles the way that the Spirit penetrates my heart, "with groanings too deep for words." It's so much more than a story. More than pretty words on paper about how God rescued me.
Because... it isn't pretty. It's actually really, really messy. And ugly. And definitely not a "one and done" deal. The words on my body stay there, reminding me. Even when the pain subsides, the words are still there. "Remember where you were. Remember what He did. Remember His love - in spite of your weakness."