One day your child asks for pierced ears and then she’s on to tattoos. Body Art can be a tense subject in your household and we want to take the time to help YOU as a mom understand why your teen wants one. This subject has been divided into two posts. Today, we bring you the story behind my scars and tattoos.
The Story Behind Her Scars
I gritted my teeth as droplets of blood rose to the surface mixing with royal purple ink. This would be my reminder. I sat back and admired Scott’s handiwork. A purple butterfly on my ankle, something visible to remind me daily that God can take anything, any mess we make–and create beauty out of the ashes.
That was eight years ago.
The years have passed and my daily reminder has served me well. Women who are rough around the edges and have a hard edge see my pretty face, my clean skin, my neat clothes and think I don’t have a clue what trouble is. Then they glance at the deep jagged scars on my arms before resting on my tattoo. Suddenly they’re at ease and ask where I got my ‘work’ done. And in the midst of skin and ink–they get a glimpse of God.
These are the conversations I love, it’s what I was made for. To be able to transparent about how I wrestled with God. To witness in a way that makes sense to them, to have common ground. I get to share my past my addictions, my suicide attempts, and how our Maker set me free. I recite my life verses of Psalm 66:16-20, all of Psalms 51, Isaiah 61:1. We talk about the stories of the woman at the well and the prostitute Rahab. And perhaps for the first time in their lives, God is real and tangible.
So I took another step of faith.
Lurking in the shadows of my past are some pretty dark days and you can see from the photo the scars on my arms. And there’s some even deeper ones topside. I needed a way to express the difference between my yesterdays and today. To show how God had transformed my life and to cover up some of those scars.
In the past, my labels were
Not Good Enough
And so many women have unknowingly picked up these labels, carrying a heavy load their hearts were not meant to bare.
This past weekend, I had a book signing at the library, it happened to be the weekend of Kearney Cruise Nite in which hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of people line the streets of Kearney to check out the classic cars.
While I was signing books, a mom came in with her boys. She was ‘rough around the edges’ and didn’t connect well with the clerk, hostess or other christian authors. She walked by my table and smirked at the title of my book. Quickly, I introduced myself. She was on guard until she saw my tattoo. Suddenly I was on the same playing field as her and here comes the best part, she wanted to know what the word ‘redeemed’ meant.
This is what I live for, what we all live for. Not only to reach out to Jesus but to others for him.
Are tattoos for everyone? No, certainly not. Scripture says we are to treat our bodies as temples because Jesus dwells within us and for me, my tattoos are a part of my ministry in how I witness to women and teens. It’s also a daily reminder that I belong to Christ, I am redeemed, I am a new creation, and I have an eternal legacy.
So what do you do if your teen wants a tattoo? How do you communicate with your child? It’s hard to know how to express your concerns with your child when every fiber in your body is screaming “No!” Here are some thoughts from moms like you.
I think tattoos are a personal issue, they are not right for everyone. It is important to pray and study to figure out what direction God is leading you. I also think it is important to think about the long term issues associated with tattoos. Here are a few questions to think about before getting a tattoo. Will this tattoo or placement of the tattoo affect my ability to get a job? Can I hide the tattoo if necessary? Is the tattoo in a place that will significantly change as I age? Does this tattoo have a deep meaning or do I just want it because it is cool? These are a few questions I think are helpful in deciding whether a tattoo is right for you. —Angela
I told my sons that if they got a tattoo, I would remove it one layer at a time. When my son did get a tattoo, when he was close enough to 18 to be rebellious enough, I learned unconditional love just loves harder, making sure it deeper than the ink covering the perfect skin God gave him. They learned mom’s bark is worse than her bite- Your article talks poignantly about the tattoo journey from the wearer’s walk – and it is dishearntening that for some, unconditional love is only skin deep! —Blue Cotton Memory
Tomorrow we will bring tools and ways to discuss this controversial issue with your child or adult child including one author’s experience with her own daughter wanting to get tattoos.
What are your thoughts, how would you handle your teen getting a tattoo? What about when they become adults?
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