the one with the tattoo

“I got a tattoo!” Words I wanted to say for awhile but wasn’t sure when the day would come. But September 18, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee me and my pal Eli had a bonding moment over a tattoo gun and me passing out.

Safe House Tattoo in Nashville was awesome. The atmosphere was nice and cozy, with beautiful details everywhere and not at all like your typical sketchy tattoo parlor. I felt comfortable (though anxious) and welcome. I wanted to take home that rug and see if they’d notice.

Seeing as this was my first tattoo, I probably drove Eli crazy with my dozens of questions leading up to the actual process. He was so gracious and helpful – answering my questions and helping me figure out specifics of how to make sure I had the best design. So thanks, Eli for being calm in spite of my incessant curiosity.

I got back in the chair and got situated – I was feeling good and calm. I was chatting with Ethan and Eli and acting like it was no big deal, since you know, he had like 50 tattoos and I felt a little like a pansy.

But he was great. He asked me questions to help distract me and humored my nerves by telling me it wouldn’t be too bad. I was doing great. Feeling okay (although it feels like someone constantly scratching your sunburn) and thought I had it in the bag.

Just as I was feeling slightly cocky like a champ, cue karma and my body disagreeing. I started feeling woozy right about here — only a letter and a half to go. I asked Ethan for some water, then calmly looked at Eli and said, “I’m going to pass out now.” And out I went. Like a light. For a good minute or so. Until I woke up, sweaty and nauseous and for sure embarrassed with Ethan and Eli anxiously looking down at me like “ummm… come back….”

Someone got me a granola bar and I tried not to throw up (because my track record at doctors offices is to do just that… pass out, wake up, throw up, repeat). But praise Jesus, that did not happen and I finally got some color back. Eli kindly waited for my pansy self to calm down and finished the n and d in hand.

I survived, acted like it was no big deal, and we went on merrily about Nashville. Jeni’s wildberry lavender ice cream was a nice treat to get my blood sugar happy again. I was only slightly embarrassed but mainly just giddy to have it finally done and very pleased with how it turned out.

Ethan was so patient and kind with me as I freaked out all morning. He acted excited even though he has zero desire to ever have a tattoo. I got a good one.

It’s kind of surreal to look down and see something permanent. I think about how I’ll take this with me everywhere I go for the rest of my life, and it’s kind of exciting to think about where and what all that will entail. Already in the past few days I’ve been able to talk about this verse and what it means – which was something I definitely wanted to happen.

The words “You open your hand” are from Psalm 145:16 which reads, “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” It’s one of my favorite Psalms and definitely one of my favorite images throughout Scripture. Ever since my junior year of college, the image of an open hand has meant so much to me over the past few years. My roommate Stacey pointed out that imagery to me for the first time.It’s really twofold: God opens His hand continually to provide us with Himself. He provides security, blessing, physical provision, and everything else we could ever need. That verse talks about His satisfaction for every desire we have, which represents so much. The spoken desires we have, the hidden desires we may not be able to articulate, they are all satisfied in Him because He is enough. Always.

But that image also exists throughout Scripture in so many other ways. Open hands are essential on our end too – in order to receive and in order to let go. We open our hands to say Lord, we surrender. We open our hands to partake in His provision. But we also open our hands to let go. When there are things we hold tightly, gripping with everything we have, we are unable to receive the provision God offers. I learned that lesson many times over the last few years and each time I kept coming back to this verse. ‘You open your hand’ has been stuck on my heart and in my thoughts for six whole years, and it felt like a good enough time to make it a permanent reminder.

So my prayer has been for the daily reminder – to trust His provision, to let go of the things I hold tightly, to open my hands to receive and believe that He is enough. I’ve been able to tell so many people already what my tattoo means and with each conversation I’m asking for the confidence and boldness to speak to this truth. I like the idea of permanent accountability – to look down and remember this faithful promise even as a grandma one day!

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