Seeking a tattoo artist or My Words made Beautiful

When I was 18 and wanted a tattoo I decided I simply was not old enough. So I gave myself a future date. If I turned 30, and still wanted a tattoo, then I could have one. Looking back this seems like a very mature and even thing for an 18-year-old wanting a tattoo , but I have in some ways been 30 since I was 15. This probably explains why, just 6 months shy of thirty I often feel like I am still 15. It seems to work the other way too.

I had always said I wanted an Ichthus, a Jesus fish. Two simple lines together to form an ancient symbol of the body of Christ. It was in fact, a non-believer who first pointed me to the problem with my plan, 12 years in the making. “Abby,” she said frankly (the frankness in her speech is something I hold dearest about her) “You can’t get a Jesus fish. When I was in New Orleans every douche bag frat boy who came down for a mission trip got drunk and ended up with a Jesus fish tattoo. Your faith means more to you than that. You can’t just get some generic tattoo” Later she would point out the deeply personal nature of my faith, personal is the way this God was passed down to me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This revelation was good for my soul, but difficult on my tattoo plans. It took me a year to let go of the Jesus fish entirely. I kept trying to incorporate it into various designs. I have blogged before of tricky church labels that never quite fit, about the desire of my heart to simply be a Jesus Lover. I even said boldly on this very blog that I would get those words, scrawled across my left foot in my own hand. I would label myself. But somehow, that isn’t enough for me either.

I have considered my “life verse,” the one revealed to me at Christmas two years ago. “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” Or recently, the thing I hope is one day said about my writing “Abby tells stories that are true.” Neither of these is enough. Either of these is too much.

I have considered an owl, (my dad tells me) owls are the new sign of the prophetic. They can see into the darkness. There is something mysterious and beautiful about this symbol, and I even had an encounter with one the day my oldest daughter was born. Am I really ready to explain to all who ask that I have marked myself as a prophet, one who hears from God? Recently i have heard talk of the modern-day prophet being one who imagines and speaks a better way into this world. I aspire to do that, here, with my girls, in my classroom, in the book I am finally getting around to writing. Speaking truth into existence, oh if the Lord could use me that way.

Ask my husband, my sisters, my bible study, my students, speaking in metaphor is a trademark for who I am. But for someone who speaks in metaphor as often as I , I am remarkably bad at thinking visually. I struggle to remember to accompany posts with pictures, I can never remember that my students think better with a chart in front of them. I am built for words, yet it is a picture I am craving to become a permanent part of me.

Six months from now, on my thirtieth birthday, I want the tattoo I have been dreaming of, But what exactly is that? I keep searching the internet looking for someone who could look around on this humble space, dig into the words here, and out of them create something that is beautiful. From blog to tattoo is apparently a market untapped, but it is the metaphor I want to wear for the rest of my life. It is something I am just beginning to believe: God can take my humble words and out of them create something that is beautiful.

Surely, one of you knows someone who could make this come true. I would appreciate you putting this into the right hands. Surely my life verse also applies to my tattoo. If you want to know about more Jesus people with tattoos check out the Deeper Story Synchroblog.

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10 thoughts on “Seeking a tattoo artist or My Words made Beautiful

  1. Abby… love the idea of a long-anticipated mark, a memory marker on the anniversary of your thirtieth year. I hope you connect with someone who can cull out the image that will speak to your heart and represent your deep longings in ink. One day I’ll visit your blog and see the picture, hear the story unfold a bit more and wish you Birthday Blessings!

  2. Oh flip!

    There’s such a lot of pressure, because it seems to me that you’re asking the question, what one word or phrase or symbol sums up the whole of me, and also brings Glory to God?

    And you are more than one word. (Two, at least! ;-))

    I like Truth for you. Is there a symbol that does that? (Japanese characters are useful from that point of view – just make sure you check it out with a native speaker beforehand…!)

    True story.

    I quite like that phrase for you- cos it contains two important words I associate with you, it points to the True Story, and also it sounds quite funny and witty, which is also what I associate with you.. 🙂

  3. I got my first tattoo at 31, in honor of my mother, who passed when I was 30. I wanted a claddagh (her side of the family is Irish through and through), but the wise artist told me it would have to be huge to be done correctly–and I wanted small. So a four leaf clover it is. On my 39th, I got a triquetra symbolizing all the important 3’s in my life (there are a lot, to include faith-based meanings). Long story short, find a symbol that speaks to you, that is connected to faith and promise and blessings, perhaps from your heritage.

    And on a practical note, as a woman…have it placed somewhere that won’t change too much in 30 years! (Mine are on the insides of my ankle, still look great after almost two decades.)

  4. I am a fellow thinker-in-metaphor who has wanted a tattoo but never gotten one. (Though, I did not plan it as well as you have.) One thing I have always been stuck on is where. Have you decided that part yet?

    I have always been drawn to 2 visuals. One is the butterfly. I love the picture of new life. It is so beautiful, and there is so much meaning behind it. And, it could easily be done with subtlety, which is more my style. The other is the triquetra symbol of the Trinity. I love thinking about the fulness of God displayed in it.

    Maybe this post will be the final push to go and get one…

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