As promised, here is the part two of the Suffering blog found below. It is not easy for me to write, as I know there may be judgement for this decision of mine from some. We all have different ways we look at things and I just ask that if you are opposed of what I am about to open up, please love me through it. So far in life, I was the one opposing this, but nonetheless here I am 🙂
I GOT A TATTOO.
Suffering was and continues to be a part of my life during various seasons. In my last season a thought came to me about a tattoo of the cross on my right wrist. I dismissed that idea, but it kept on coming back to me. When I was at the Women Wine and Wisdom event I received a revelation that I usually exhaust all my options before I run to Jesus with my suffering. I also realized that based on the verse in Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” God is the closest to me in my suffering, and I wanted to be reminded of this verse forever. What if I had a reminder with me to go to the cross first (lean on God) in the midst of any circumstance? God, do you really want me to get that tattoo? Is it OK for a Christian to have a tattoo? I would always have to behave appropriately because my identity will be so visible…can I do that? I mean, I don’t even feel comfortable having that Christian fish sticker on my car because of the way I drive sometimes… Can I really pull this off? Days went on with these thoughts in my mind…
Having given my heart to God over a decade ago and learned how to listen to Him, I knew that God has begun revealing something to me. Something about my identity, strength, perseverance, remembrance, and His power above all circumstances. I then asked God to give me one more sign, a sure sign that this tattoo idea is something I would not be able to dismiss easily… sure enough I did not wait for long.
Couple weeks ago on a Sunday I came to church and the message was “The Walk”. Our pastor spoke about Jesus and how immediately after getting baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit he walked right into temptation, the dessert for 40 days. There he was tempted with various things and came out strong. In a way our life here on earth is also filled with many temptations, even when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Suffering is a state of temptation for me. After recognizing suffering as a temptation, I now know not to give into it but rather to persevere and walk it out, just like Jesus did. Toward the end of the sermon our pastor spoke about his recent trip to Egypt and the persecuted Christians there. He told us a story that gave me goosebumps – Coptic Christians of Egypt for many years have been under persecution first from the Roman Empire and now from Islam. They are forced to convert to Islam or die. Regardless of this suffering, they wear tattoos of a cross on their right wrist as a sign of their identity in Christ. They even tattoo their babies, so they are brought into their identity in Christ from an early age. These people face major persecution, discrimination and restrictions, major suffering and it continues today. Yes, today – while we sit in the comfort of religious freedom here in USA. Coptics carry their tattoos with pride, even though they can be killed for being a Christian. It is unreal the amount of faith these individuals have to be able to forgive their persecutors and those that discriminate them, to be able to so boldly portray their faith. I can only imagine what they are reminded of when they look at their tattoos. They show their wrists upon entrance to church gatherings, otherwise it is difficult to come in due to such high persecution.
WOW! Could God be answering me right now? Is this cross that I have pictured months ago truly such an important tradition for persecuted church? Could I commit to carrying this meaning with me for the rest of my life? What if the pastor will raise his hand and there is a tattoo of the cross on his right wrist? God let that be my last sign! Sure enough Pastor Dan then raised his right hand and showed everyone his new tattoo that he got in Egypt. I was floored, absolutely floored! At the end of the service we were invited to pray, were anointed with oil and made crosses on our wrists with the mixture of ash and oil. As I dipped my finger in oil and ash then drew my cross on the wrist, I knew my answer. Tattoo it is!
See it is not about Pastor Dan and copying what he did. Truly, it is about God answering my inner thoughts, having a conversation with me and leading me in this important decision. God showed me the importance and value of such statement on my own wrist, he showed me depth of the faith that I have never seen before…
Is it OK for a Christian to get a tattoo? / Well, this is a controversial topic. I believe – YES! If you are doing it for the right reasons. I also believe that you don’t have to have a tattoo to prove your faith, be closer to God, nor do you need to show off your faith…etc. I believe in asking God before making such commitment and I believe in His free will given to all of us. It is interesting, but some say that Jesus himself, very possibly, had a tattoo on this thigh. In Revelation 19:16 “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
I sat down to finalize my decision and asked myself – what exactly will this tattoo mean to me?
- My Identity as Christian for life.
- Visible symbol of my identity to others – I am not ashamed of Jesus, I won’t hide.
- A reminder in the suffering/temptation to lean onto God first, always.
- A reminder to look at the eternity, not at the perishable life on earth.
- A reminder to pray for persecuted Christians and thank God for the freedom I get to live in.
- Overcomer – Christ has overcome, so will I. I can walk out anything I face in this life, because of the cross.
- It is a symbol of resistance and perseverance.
About a week after experiencing the move of God on that Sunday I walked into a tattoo shop. It was a nerve-racking experience. I did this quickly because I got tired of losing sleep over this. Should I? Should I not? Could I? Could I not? What if? What will people think? What if I will lose friends over this? All of those thoughts raced and raced… I realized I was doing the right thing the moment the needle pierced my skin. The pain, the ink, the blood, the buzzing – it felt just like the baptism. In my heart I was committing myself to the Lord over again, it was me and Jesus and this moment is incomparable to anything else I felt in my entire life. A commitment, now visible to everyone, a constant reminder of my identity and hope in Him alone.