My husband was 13 when he and a few friends decided to give themselves tattoos. This is what happens when you leave teenage boys alone together.
After searching through bathroom medicine cabinets, desk drawers, and sewing kits, they found rubbing alcohol, a bottle of India ink, and a few sewing needles.
Now the big decision, what type of tattoo?
My husband decided that at the old age of 13, he would tattoo a broken heart on his forearm. He outlined it in pen and started to work, needle in ink, needle to arm until the heart appeared. His arm red and swollen from the repeated stick and poke.
What boys don’t understand at that age is that over the years appendages grow – elongating and widening. And when boys become men their tattoos distort – turning broken hearts into acorns.
My husband has worked with young people for most of his adult life. Over the years, he received countless questions from intrigued teenagers and confused little ones about the acorn on his arm. In fact, it was the question that I wrestled with when we first met – why does this very attractive man have an acorn on his forearm?
A few years ago, he finally had enough! He found a tattoo artist, shared his childhood story, identified the image that would replace his artistic endeavor, and it was done.
J.E.S.U.S covered his broken heart.
and think about that – Jesus covers …
The brokenness of life.
He offers unconditional love wrapped in indescribable grace. It covers our childhood mistakes, our adult dysfunction, and our tendency to be self-absorbed, prideful, and controlling.
My husband’s professional tattoo was a human attempt to cover the poor judgement of his youth. Red and black ink obscuring bad decisions, burying embarrassment, concealing youthful insecurities.
The solution came with discomfort but the outcome – JESUS covered the brokenness.
Do you ever feel like you need to cover the mistakes of your past?
Maybe it was an innocent childhood misjudgment, teenage rebellion, or an overt sin. The outcomes of these events haunt us, cause pain, chase after us, making today and each day we move forward unfulfilling.
We search for forgiveness but all we find is an internal dialogue that tells us – we are less than, unworthy, unlovable.
Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on our own attempts to right our wrongs – if honest, we probably get it wrong more than we make meaningful correction and positive change.
What we can do is stop the searching. We can stop our human attempts to cover up and confidentially approach God.
Hebrews 10:21-23 tells us,
(19-21) So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.
(22-23) So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.
The Message (MSG)
Jesus “cleared the way”; we are “presentable both inside and out.”
No more shame.
No more guilt.
BeLOVED, you are covered.
You are not what you have done in your past. You are loved inside and out – just as you are!