Inked by Stu. Redeemed By Grace.
I am a big fan of tattoos. I think they are raw and open yet personal and cryptic at the same time. I enjoy the process of new ink. Visualizing it, designing it, picking out the perfect spot for it to adorn my skin for my lifetime. My tattoo artist, Stu is a creative genius. I have a modest number of tattoos, five to be exact and (as a pinky promise to my Ma) none of which can be seen in the professional arena. I made a promise to my mother that until I was at least 40 I wouldn’t ink that which couldn’t be covered up in a suit… Yes, I did feel like I was selling myself out a little with that promise but as a 30 year old professional, I can say my mother was onto something (don’t ever tell her I said that.)
My 30th Birthday present to myself was my newest ink. Shoulder blade to shoulder blade it reads:
“Redeemed by Grace”
Over time I have had a lot of people say a lot of things about my tattoos. Some were closed-minded, judgmental and just plain hurtful (poor them) and some where complimenting, uplifting and sweet. My favorite encounter was perhaps the old man in a local bookstore who I saw scoff at the tattoos on my flip-flop adorned feet. As luck would have it, a little while later I found the same old man behind me in the checkout line. I was wearing a tube top so he got the chance to read what my back actually said. He tapped me on the shoulder and said “Young lady, I have never seen a tattoo like that one on your back. That is real nice. Real real nice.” I said thank you… And then I showed him the two on my feet that he had scoffed at. One being my favorite bible verse and the other a snippet of a note my Mother wrote me. He said that he hadn’t ever seen anything like that… Interesting how one little encounter can change a person’s judgements.
“Redeemed by Grace” happened during an ink brainstorming session. It was at a time when my life took a turn and my walk with Christ began to deepen… And by that I mean my life fell apart and Christ was there helping me to my feet. I started doing some major healing. Healing from my childhood, healing from past choices, healing from that which had become broken and warped over time. The words just seemed to form themselves together. It became a phrase I fell in love with so deeply that I needed it imprinted on my skin for the remainder of the days that I walk this Earth.
To redeem is to gain possession of, to buy the freedom of and to pay the necessary price of that thing.
Grace is God’s favor, blessing and acceptance for no reason other than the truth that he loves us.
I am Redeemed by Grace.
It doesn’t mean I am perfect, it means I am the most imperfect person you may ever meet. I make more mistakes in a day than I like to admit and yet Christ loves me.
It doesn’t mean I am better than anyone, it means that I have been humbled to the point of breaking. I have shed parts of me that I clung to so hard because I thought that it was who I was. Who I am can only be found in Him.
Redeemed by Grace… Purchased. By God. Through the death of his only Son. For no reason other than His perfect Love for us.