To begin, I would like to make clear that no one needs to defend their reasoning for getting tattooed, I would just like to share my story. I was raised in a Christian home and church where people viewed tattoos as somewhat taboo. Both of my parents had tattoos from when they were younger but didn’t encourage me to add ink to my body. When I told others I thought of getting a tattoo they asked: “What will happen to your tattoos when you get old?”
My mom always said if I wanted a tattoo I would have to be 18 with at least two years of knowing with certainty exactly what I wanted (including size and placement). She did not want me to make the same beautiful mistakes she had when she was younger. I waited, maybe because I was scared of the commitment, maybe because it did not have enough meaning to me just yet.
Once I got to college, I realized that more people my age had tattoos than I expected. This made me wonder if I was purely a follower of the latest trend. Being a Worship Arts major I also worried that getting a tattoo would be detrimental to my chances for a career after my schooling was over.
Why would a Bible-believing Christian woman want to get tattooed? Some friends and family thought a tattoo was unladylike, implying that ink would diminish my physical beauty; others asked why I would get tattooed when God made me how He wanted me to be. I kept these thoughts in the back of my head…
After my second year of singing in school, I had an important Vocal Jury which if not passed would mean I would either have to stay longer or change majors. I sang my five memorized pieces in front of a small panel of judges in the empty auditorium. They clapped, I bowed and then exited to await their decision. I was welcomed back into the room where they congratulated me for my performance but told me I might have vocal nodules. I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that what the one girl in Pitch Perfect had?”
Well, yes and while it may have been funny in the hit comedy, it was much more serious in my life. If I truly had vocal nodules I would have to give up all that I had been striving towards. You see, at some point along the way I thought I could plan my life for myself, instead of trusting God. This negative news brought me to a place of fear and humility. I knew I would have to trust God with not only my health but my career path as well. That summer, I went to the doctor. She scoped my throat and found that my vocal cords were healthy. It was the most intense relief I had felt in a long time.
My thoughts wandered back to my tattoo idea. God had brought me closer to Him through this trial (like so many trials before) and I knew that He gave me the gift of music for a reason. I had wanted a treble clef at the top of my back for a good amount of time - 4 years to be exact. I asked my mom to go with me. On the way to the shop she asked what type of wedding dress I would get, since I was getting tattooed. I replied “A dress that showed it off.” Her response was “Oh good, just testing you.” She knew how much this artwork meant to me.
Some might say that tattoos are ugly, defying God’s creation. I see mine as a way to share a part of my testimony as a follower of Christ. It is a testimony of God’s care for me, even when I am too small-minded to see it. I knew getting a tattoo would hurt, I knew it was permanent, but I also knew that it would be a reminder of God’s intimate work in my life.