Cassie and I are SO excited to be sharing this linkup with you today. We both love tattoos, how they tell pieces of the whole story of a person. The permanence of the artwork that embeds itself into someone's skin.
I do think there are some tattoos that are reckless and not exactly art or story telling.
My ink, though...mine is deep. And it's a big part of a story.
Digital representation of my ink. It's on my lower hip...not exactly a location a photo needs to be taken of.
I got this tattoo exactly three years ago tomorrow, two days after my 21st birthday. And I was in a deep dark point in my life. This tattoo, once meant to give me permission to run from deep pain, is now a symbol of redemption.
I wrote on Cassie's blog a while back about sex in marriage and I noted that I didn't wait until my wedding night to have sex. At the time of this tattoo, I subscribed to the belief that "it's my body, I'll do what I want, with who I want, and it doesn't matter."
I had an extremely traumatic experience when I was a freshman in college that led to this belief forming. I don't plan to go into detail on that experience on this blog. At least not now, possibly not ever. Suffice it to say, it really messed me up for a really long time. And I was already a little messed up.
Two months after getting this ink, I would drop 17 pounds in one month, but that still wouldn't be enough.
Five months after getting this tattoo, my parents rallied around me and got me the help I needed to face my pain, learn to enjoy food rather than see it as the enemy, and ultimately brought me into the friendship that would result in me meeting Jesus.
The swallow was meant to symbolize me flying away from pain, away from the things that haunted me, and away from having to face it and what it had done to me. I wanted to be free of the rules, free of restriction, free of hurt, and free of the broken girl I had become.
Then, grace happened. Jesus came. Jesus took over. Recovery started.
Recovery from eating disorders (there, I've said the words. Someday I might write more about them but for now just saying the words here is brave enough) is no joke. To be perfectly blunt, it totally sucks. Recovery from trauma...sucks doesn't even begin to cover it.
But after months and months and MONTHS of work, meeting friends who showed me Jesus, who knew the absolute worst things I had ever done (and there were some really bad things) and who loved me anyway, focusing on healing broken relationships with my parents, and embracing the process of moving forward, I finally learned what freedom feels like.
The swallow in my tattoo was drawn by me, and was traced by the artist onto the template he would use to ink me. The wording "live free" is in my handwriting. This ink of mine...it's 100% my art. Someone else just put it there permanently.
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, So a curse without cause does not alight.
My swallow now represents my past not being a curse to me anymore. It represents grace taking over, Jesus protecting me, and allowing me to fly free of the chains of pain that once bound me.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
The words once written in anger, pain and denial now mean that I am no longer bound by who I was. I am no longer captive to my pain or my demons. I am free in Christ.
My ink is a visual representation of the deepest memories of my soul. The darkest, the most beautiful, and the dark turned to light. My story is held in the lines on my skin. My pain and my redemption both represented forever.
Some say "what if your tattoos stretch as you age? What if it doesn't look like it did when you got it?" I say...to me, it already looks different. It's more beautiful now than it ever was before. I dare say, it will only get more beautiful with time, as my story plays out in years to come.
This is my ink. This is my story. This is the love of the Lord written on my skin.
And now, I invite you to join together with us and link your ink and your story too.