tattooed on your heart

tattoos. a controversial subject.  my husband has 2 armfuls of them, a process that began {way} back when he was 18.  i had my first tattoo done when i was 22.  i'd been married for 3 years and my husband, Brian, wisely made me wait, even though i'd been saying i wanted one for a while.  he said..."when you can't sleep because you want one so bad...and when you know EXACTLY what you want, we'll talk".  it seemed more like fatherly advice, rather than husbandly, to me at the time. but since i was, in fact, married at 19 and he is 6 years older than me...well, it was appropriate.

Sid's Tattoo Parlor, Tustin, CA
now here we are, 20 years later, and at 42, i got my 7th tattoo.  i wasn't really planning it {ie; losing sleep over it} however when you live, uh, lets say on the outskirts of a big city, and the opportunity presents itself to get in some ink-time with a well-respected artist...you jump at it! my daughter called me out on the last-minute decision...."wait a minute...you always said you should lose sleep over....", "yes", i said,"you should. i still believe that. however, once you have a few tattoos already... and when you live where we live... you just always have a few ideas bouncing around in the back of your head just in case".  plus, i had an idea of what i wanted...

that hurt a little bit
when i was growing up in Anaheim, CA, my dad pastored Anaheim First Church of the Nazarene.  every Sunday...and i do mean every single one...he opened the morning service with this verse:

"and God has not given us a spirit of fear. but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." {2 Tim.1:7}

one day i asked him why he quoted that particular verse every week.  he replied that it was his life verse.  a verse of scripture that God had used in the process of calling my dad into ministry.  at a time in his life when he felt incapable, afraid and unsure, God used those words to remind him who he was in Christ. and that in Christ, through Him, he could accomplish what he'd been called to.

that verse became my verse.  it has affected my life in countless ways, on numerous occasions.  it has helped me remember that my calling is secure in Jesus, even when i feel like "he couldn't have meant this job for me". it has held me safe and sound along the path of ministry that can sometimes get rocky and lonely and steep.  i'm grateful to my dad for listening to the Lords calling and acting on it.  i'm grateful to God for the Word of Truth that guides and protects.


so, i called my dad the day i got this verse tattooed on my arm.  i have to admit... i was a little nervous to tell him. i mean, my parents haven't been all that thrilled over the years with Brian's and my, uh, artwork. and even though i'm a wife and mother...and adult for pete's sake!... i was still a bit apprehensive about calling him.  but, i knew he'd see it eventually, and i didn't want him to hear it from someone else.  so i dialed his number, and conjured up a happy tone in my voice as i said..."guess what i got?! a new tattoo!! but don't worry, you'll like it. it's our verse!" and i will remember his response forever. he actually laughed a little, and then said,

 "hey, as long as that truth is tattooed on your heart, i'm ok with it."