This second semester has proven to be far from easy for me. God has placed so many challenges in front of me. Some of those challenges I navigated with ease, and others have proven to plague me. Through each problem I have found immense support within my amazing group of friends, who often feel a lot more like family.Over the past three weeks I have definitely hit the roughest patch. I was confused and I didn’t know where to turn. I was being Kristen. I was being stubborn. I didn’t want to show any signs of weakness. I finally couldn’t handle it on my own anymore and after opening up to a friend started to find the help I had been needing. I started thinking more and more about the word טוֹב which is hebrew for “good.” This word has always held a really heavy meaning for me. This was the word that transformed my faith and my self image. It was a huge moment for me. While coping with the difficulties of this semester, I continued to encourage myself with the word טוֹב. I even went as far to sharpie it on my wrist for an entire week in order to see it and remind myself that no matter what, God calls me טוֹב. How amazing is that?
In preparation for my first Ash Wednesday service, leading worship, and just Lent in general, I looked down at the sharpie on my wrist and thought “why not get this permanently?” After careful consideration and thought, I called the tattoo parlor and scheduled myself an appointment. During the Ash Wednesday service I realized that there really was no better time for me to be dealing with these things. Lent is the season of repentance. It is the season of giving things up in order to openly admit that we are sinners before God. When we admit our problems in the presence of God, he looks down on us and tells us that although we are wrong, he does not condemn us. I have decided that I am not giving up anything for lent this year but rather, adding things. I have added devotionals three times a day, morning, noon, and night and I am going to focus on my prayer life. I have realized that I often have to schedule time for prayer or forget to do it at all. This lent season I am going to change my habits. I am going to make prayer and conversation with God a constant thing in my head.
As I got on the el to head to the tattoo parlor yesterday, I had almost no fear… okay maybe I was a little afraid of the needle… but I had no fears that I was making a mistake. I felt God in this process with me. I felt that this was the right choice for me. I made the tattoo artist draw it up five different times before we finally agreed that it was just what I wanted. I sat down in the chair and she put the transfer onto my wrist. I slight tinge of nerves struck but I let her get to work anyways. Five minutes later I was marked. I now have an extremely public display of my faith and a constant reminder that God sees me as טוֹב, good, perfect, working the way I am supposed to. Even though I sin, go through hard stuff, and even get angry at God, HE DOES NOT CONDEMN ME. He loves me the same and stands by me no matter what.
I could not be happier with the decision I made, the placement of the tattoo, the look of the tattoo, and I know deep in my heart that I will never regret the decision I have made.
Through these crazy difficult times I have clung to one verse, and one verse only so I will leave you with that verse. I hope you can meditate on it and apply it to your own walk with God.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1: 6-7 NLT)