Thursday, November 29, 2012

God is present. Always.

A couple months ago I wrote here about my experience in Ghana influencing my faith. I wrote about the Adinkra symbols I saw in Ghana, specifically Nyame Dua, or the presence of God. I also mentioned the idea that I might get a tattoo of this symbol near my ankle, and well, I did it. I got the tattoo that I have been praying about and considering for a while. I couldn't be happier.

Before I got the tattoo I had a long breakfast with my old Young Life leader and good friend Jamie. It came up that I was going to be getting the tattoo while I was home for Thanksgiving break and she offered some really great advice. She, having a tattoo herself, was of course excited for me. Her tattoo is a beautiful piece done with I believe Lilies, and a pink breast cancer ribbon to honor the passing of her father and mother (Jamie if I am mistaken, please let me know!). I was telling her about how I landed on a symbol from Ghana and how once I got the respect from my parents I started praying and asking God for signs that this was the right thing for me to do. At a certain point I figured out that I was stressing out over not seeing these positive signs. I didn't see anything with God saying, "go ahead, do it." and was starting to get irritated. Finally I realized, I was busy searching for all these affirmative signs when all I needed to see was that God wasn't sending any NEGATIVE signs. He hadn't sent out any "No! Don't do it!" I voiced this observation with Jamie and she said something great. Sometimes God places these desires, ones that we can't always explain, because He wants us to do it. He wants us to be able to decide some things on our "own", without Him making it blatantly obvious. These desires are a good thing. After Jamie explained that I couldn't figure out how to thank her, because she had just put into words what I had been experiencing for 3 years almost. God placed the desire for me to get a tattoo praising His love and His work in my life, I just needed time to realize it.

So I went in to the tattoo shop on the Saturday of break with my roommate and friend, Margaret, and handed over the painting of the symbol I made a couple months ago. He traced it, sized it down, and placed th stencil on my ankle. It all felt right. After getting the placement right and watching ever so clearly to make sure he was pulling out a sterile needle (I am my mother's daughter) he began. I told Margaret she had to talk to me the whole time because I needed a distraction. I didn't complain, but the more it hurt, the quicker I talked and I know Marge picked up on it! 20 minutes later, I had a tattoo.

It was incredible. The feeling that I had after looking down and seeing my tattoo was COMPLETELY different than what I was expecting. I was thinking it was going to be this huge, emotional moment. I thought I was going to feel the weight of God on a good way. I thought I was going to feel this fulfillment. I felt none of those. What did I feel? I felt like that symbol should have been there all along. I felt confirmation that it was the right thing for me to do. This bothered me for a little. I wanted that big moment, where I could just feel God. Or at least I thought I did. Today I realized something. I already had that moment. I already felt that rush of God's grace. I felt that when I accepted Him into my heart at camp a while back. I felt that when I started my walk of faith. Now, luckily, I get to continuously feel God as a part of my soul, a part of my attitude. Not because of this helps, a lot more than I thought it would, but because God is continuously fighting for me. God is continuously present, as He was before I accepted my faith, but I know that now.

The tattoo has already done wonders. As humans, we are in a continuous battle of trying to be self-sufficient, but as Christians letting God in at the same time. The moments, while few, that I have forgotten to think of God since I have gotten the tattoo, all it takes is a glance to my ankle and I am reminded. I remember that while I try and be stand on my own, I need God to do so. I need God in every aspect of my life. I couldn't be happier to know that I have that reminder with me for the rest of my walk of faith. The road is long, and winding. I know I am not alone in saying that I have strayed away from God's plans in the past, and I'm not saying I won't now that I have this tattoo, because well, I'm human. What I am saying is hopefully this tattoo can remind me that I can always return to His plans if I do falter. He will always be with me.

Tattoos create controversy. I am well aware of this. If you are reading this and still have questions about why I got my tattoo, please don't feel weird asking. I got this tattoo knowing that there will be times when it will be opposed, and I will be critiqued for it. With that in mind, I know that there are many other parts of my life that I will be critiqued for, and just as I can't help a lot of those aspects, I now can't help this one. I became a Christian and got this tattoo despite future persecution for either.

No comments:

Post a Comment