A Big & Brave Mystery

July 30, 2016

The mystery behind being big and brave is to do something big and brave. I wanted to start this new life adventure off by being brave, like go-big-or-go-home-style. Mission accomplished!

On Saturday, Ethan and I scored our first tattoos!

God, I really hope my parents don’t read this one!

Okay, so let’s talk tatts. I’ve been raised to believe that getting tattoos defiles the body and since we’re supposed to treat our bodies like temples (that is, use to worship God), that we should never ink it up. It’s like taking a can of spray paint to a church. Right?

Plus, the Bible says… do not mark your skin with tattoos. Leviticus 19:28

What I was taught as a child was to take everything the Bible says word-for-word literally. And while I believe everything the Bible says, I now know that many things were written in context to a certain audience at a certain time. In this case, God was telling the Israelites not to be like the Pagans who tattooed themselves with names of their gods, etc.

The Israelites needed guidance - a lot of it. They were fresh out of Egypt where they’d been slaves for 400 years - told what to do and what to think. They were wandering in the desert, completely dumbfounded over how to live and take care of themselves. So, God gave them rules. Tons of rules. Rules about things like bodily discharges, skin diseases, offerings, sex, property, gardening, and yes… among other things… tattoos.

If I took every phrase in the Bible as the absolute manual over how I should live right now, then a lot about my life would be different…. I’d be okay with my husband having multiple wives, for example. I wouldn’t eat shrimp or lobsters (bottom-dwellers). I wouldn’t eat bacon. I wouldn’t wear clothes from two different types of threads. Guys, you wouldn’t trim your beards. To eat, I’d have to know exactly where my food came from - was it picked from the side of the field? Was the blood completely drained? Were multiple types of seeds planted in the same place? Has the fruit tree produced for more than three years?

Anyway, I think you get the idea.

The point is… I’m okay with tattoos. Honestly, I believe the God I love, who loves me, is okay with them, too. Ethan’s been talking about it since he was fifteen. Now, at 18, he’s seriously gung-ho about it. MY SON WILL GET A TATTOO. I didn’t encourage it. I didn’t need to. Most of his of-age friends already have one or two or three. I’m not sure if he’s even heard my tattoo/Bible spiel.

Anyway, the point is that he’s going to do it with or without me.


I just couldn’t wrap my head around my baby going to a tattoo joint with one of his buds and getting tiny needles rammed into his skin. So, I told him ages ago, “IF you’re going to do it, let’s do it together.”

I couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate our move and begin our new lives than by doing something Big and Brave and Beautiful!

Our artist was Brian at Artfuel. The place was a cross between a country bar and a carnival-style museum. Stuffed animals and skins lined the walls along with weird art. It was clean and comfortable - a good thing because we were there seven hours!

Yes, it hurt. Not like needles, as I expected, but like scraping. The most uncomfortable part was staying still for an hour and a half. Ethan couldn’t move for over two. But as with all things that are painful or difficult, the results were worth it.

- Two great tattoos with meaning and awesomeness.

- A day Ethan and I will remember always.

- A chance to be bold and brave.

Abby even told Joe, “Mom is so tough.”

Ethan’s tattoo is a compass (nod to being an Eagle Scout) set to the direction he would be sitting in if he were at home in his bedroom at our old house playing video games or working on the computer. It’s a unique snapshot of his childhood.

My tattoo is so many things to me… faith through rough times, the peace of God, following God’s will, my love for the Lord and His gorgeous creation, my sunrises spent in the Bible and prayer.

God is with me wherever I go. God always has my back. My beliefs are a permanent declaration on my skin.


“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind’.”

Matthew 22:37