When you grow up in a very conservative home like mine, you learn very early on that tattoos are the devil's ink. There's no good reason to mark up your body. The Bible says no alterations. What if the man you want to marry doesn't approve of them. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but you'd regret it. It's impulsive and people get it to show gang affiliation.
So when I was in high school, I used sharpie to write things to remember from youth group lessons on my wrist/arm. Usually one-word things like "idols" or "joyful". I can't tell you when, but at some point I started writing the word "love" in script on my ankle. When I began my Police Explorer career, I had to be careful about where I wrote things because any ink had to be covered by my uniform. I wanted to go into law enforcement and the same rule applies to most law enforcement agencies. So I kept writing that word "love" on my ankle. For 5 years.
All through college I was poor and wasn't 100% sure that I wanted it tattooed. But I wrote it by hand every time I came out of the shower. As I started working a real job I kept writing it and began thinking of a tattoo, but I wanted to wait till I had the last piece of the puzzle--a man. Until one of my co-workers said that is a terrible idea. Don't get a tattoo for a person. Get it because you want it. I decided I was tired of it coming off in the shower, and the next day got it done.
It comes straight from 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not rude, is not self seeking, it keeps no record if wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.
It is for my friends who have walked with me, and at times carried me, through my life.
It is for my family who is always there.
It is for my guide dog family--the people AND the puppies who I've poured my heart into.
It's for my future man who I might not yet know, but who I pray for and know that God has all picked out for me.
It's a symbol that I'm a grown up now. I'm not my parents' robot. I can think, decide, and act for myself. That I can make a choice based on what I want and don't have to live by their rules.
It's a reminder every minute of every day how much God loves me and how He wants me to love people.
And it's a great conversation starter.
So yes, mom and dad, I have a tattoo. And I still love Jesus. And I'm thrilled that I finally have it done.