This is the story of my first tattoo. It’s a story of sin (mine) and forgiveness (God’s) and betrayal (mine) and unending faithfulness (God’s).
Maybe you can relate?
I’ve been reconciled to God. Our relationship once severed by sin, is now restored by faith in Jesus Christ. And it’s not by anything I’ve done, but because He chased after me with an unrelenting, perfect love.
Oh, man. On my best days that’s enough to straight up take my breath away. What hope! What joy! What gladness!
What’s more, if you find yourself at my table, or in the office next door, or next to me in the waiting room at dance class — well, then, I want you to know all about this hope I have. The peace and joy and love that fills me up and spills right out. If you’d ask me about it, I could talk your ear clean off.
But that’s on my best day.
On my worst? I’m just like Hosea’s wife. Unfaithful, distant, uninterested. I pretend I don’t see you coming down the aisle at Target and avoid eye contact. I shrug off your attempts at deeper conversation. I ignore the nagging feeling that you could use a home cooked meal.
I battle selfish desires, greed, and bitterness, and I don’t want to make room or serve or share the hope I have. Do I even have hope?
He hears me when my heart cries out for healing, and greediness retreats. My capacity for compassion increases. My bitter heart melts into peace.
The transformation isn’t magic. It’s divine. Not from my own strength, but through the work of the Holy Spirit and a willingness — my plea — to be transformed.
The familiar words, “taste and see that the Lord is good,” bring tears to my eyes because I know exactly what it means. I’ve tasted His goodness. And I’ve been forever brought back into his favor. Reconciled.
Still I bounce back and forth between Hosea’s wife and Christ’s co-heir. I’m blown here and there by circumstance.
Sick and tired of my own unfaithfulness, I began considering a visible mark that would remind me of my role as a daughter of God. A tattoo. This was not something I’d ever considered before, but I was longing for my very own permanent Ebenezer.
I chose a small anchor as a symbol of the hope I have in Christ, and on a whim my whole family accompanied me to the tattoo parlor.
It was all over in less than ten minutes and now the tiny anchor on my left ankle symbolizes the deposit of the Holy Spirit that will keep me from being tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people– if only I ask for help.
My tattoo is my daily reminder to walk with God, anchored to His unfailing truth and the hope He brings because He has forgiven me.
Hospitality may start with a kind word, a delicious meal, or a warm place to rest your weary feet, but it had better not end until I’ve shared my hope with you — the anchor of my soul.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20