I am a stay at home mom of 2 little boys in suburban America.
I drive a minivan that I swore I’d never drive.
I live in a really pretty neighborhood with lots of nice people.
I lead Bible studies.
I love Jesus.
I’m a decorator and a creative person.
And now…I have a big ass tattoo on my arm.
And if I’m being honest with you, which I always am…I’m freaking out just a little bit right now. Ok…maybe a lot.
It’s not so much “buyers remorse” or anything…but as the tattoo artist said to me yesterday “That’s a badass tattoo.” And as I left and looked down at the big ol bandage on my arm, I thought to myself….”and it’s a big ass tattoo too!”
It’s bigger than I was originally thinking…almost twice as big (that’s the truth of it that I’ll tell you if I’m not trying to convince myself that it’s only 1/3 bigger than the original plan.) And it is absolutely beautiful. But like I said…I’m a mini-van driving, carpooling, conservative who’s now sporting a big honking tattoo in a really obvious place. And here’s what I’m having trouble coming to terms with after permanence is already in place….
What will people think of me?
I wish I could say that I really don’t care…but that’d be a lie. I care. And I’m realizing as I’ve got a big spot of amazingly beautiful and deeply meaningful ink on my arm, that I’m challenged by the meaning of the tattoo for me…even in the existence of the tattoo.
Where do I find my identity?
The story of the tattoo goes something like this:
A little over 4 years ago I had my first miscarriage. After we lost the baby and I struggled with what that meant and all that was going on at that time, we had dinner with some friends of ours. They prayed for us, and as our friend Chad was praying, he stopped and said “The Lord just told me that you are going to be the mother of warriors.” Warriors….plural. And warriors….for the Kingdom of God.
I’m good with that. I love that. I want to raise my boys to be mighty men of God…willing to fight to see the Kingdom of Heaven advance here on earth. So that’s what the Hebrew written there means. Technically, it means “Mother of Conquerers”…but honestly I like that even better…a greater implication of a battle already won. And I’ve wanted that phrase tattooed on me ever since then. Part of my identity.
Then, about a year and a half ago, we were standing in church one day during worship and I was thinking about getting the tattoo and praying about it. Then I had this strong impression that “mother of warriors” wasn’t my only identity…it’d be an incomplete tattoo. I’m a wife too….to a great man, who I know God wants to use for great things. And I heard the Lord say to me…”you are also the wife of a general….a general in my army.” So that’s what the 4 stars represent….a 4 star general….that my husband is… and is becoming in the army of the Lord.
I have to tell you a funny aside about this part though. At first I was thinking… “Am I suppossed to put 5 stars here?…because a 5 star general is pretty hard-core…pretty awesome.” I kept having this impression though that it was just suppossed to be 4 stars, but I didn’t want to offend my husband by somehow making him feel demoted or like I didn’t think he was capable of top level awesomeness. So I told him my dilemna…hoping that I wasn’t offending him with the dilemna. He got really quiet and said “Would you like my input on this?” I was hesitant, but said yes. Then he said to me “it’s supposed to be 4 stars. Some guys spoke the very thing over me before you ever said it…you confirmed what had already been spoken. I just haven’t told you before now because I didn’t want it to sound arrogant or anything to you.” Then he went on to tell me that the office of a 4 star general is given for a specific purpose…for a specific need. The appointment goes hand-in-hand with the position of office to which they are linked. Pretty cool huh? So….that’s what the 4 stars on the crown are about.
About 6-8 months ago, I was in church again and thinking about identity….and my own identity…and the tattoo…when I heard clear as a bell… “You ARE a mother of warriors, and you ARE the wife of a general….but never forget that above all of those things, you are a daughter of THE KING.” Hence the crown.
My identity….written on my arm…most importantly to remind me, and now I guess…that other people see too. So here’s my challenge now as I look at this big ass, bad ass, amazing word from the Lord for me on who I am to Him, and who I am on this earth….
Own the big, bad tattoo on my arm….but more importantly…MOST importantly….own the meaning behind it all. Own the identity…and be defined by the identity given to me by the Most High….not by one I seek from other people.