Tattoo Your Heart


Recently, the daughter of a dear friend decided to get a tattoo, much to her mom’s dismay. As seen above, it’s actually very pretty. This young woman is an artist and drew the design herself. My friend (her mother) and I discussed this new love affair with tattoos, which I suppose has gone well beyond the fleeting fad stage. Tattoos are now ubiquitous, especially in today’s young adult population.


I must admit, I don’t understand the appeal of tattoos. And, I don’t know what precipitated their recent surge in popularity. Perhaps mothers of this 20-something generation are partly to blame. I remember when my children (now in their 20s) were babies. Rub-on tattoos were the big thing to do at birthday parties and any type of kid event, come to think of it. My children almost always had one of those tattoos on their hands, arms or face. They weren’t permanent, but they didn’t always come off very easily either.


When my daughter was about 4 years old and my son 2, I decided to have professional photos made. That was quite an ordeal and a whole other story that I won’t go into here. I’ll just say that after much crying and many struggles, we amazingly ended up with some great shots. We picked our favorite (one of Rebecca gently hugging her baby brother) to print as a 12” x 14”. When the final product arrived, we noticed for the first time a black blob on the back of Rebecca’s hand, the remnants of an old tattoo. I was so used to seeing these, that I had not even noticed it when I carefully brushed her hair and dressed her! (Can you see it?)



We were able to scrub that tattoo off eventually, although it remains in the portrait. But, why would anyone want a permanent tattoo that can never be scrubbed off? Why not a henna stain that fades after a while? I know I get tired of clothes, hairstyles, furnishings in my home—just about everything. Styles change, and so do I. I have embarrassing photos to prove it! I just can’t imagine deciding at the age of 18 (or even 58) to wear something every day for the rest of my life! I suspect the younger generation doesn’t realize this yet.


I asked a few people who have tattoos why they got them. A few said they just thought it was cute and made a spur of the moment decision. Some            wanted to stand out, while others just wanted to be defiant toward their parents. I suspect those people will someday tire of their choice and wish they had not been so rash. In fact, I heard of one young woman who got a very large tattoo the day she turned 18. The style quickly became outdated and she regretted it, opting to cover it up with an even larger tattoo that she will probably regret later as well. 


But some people got tattoos to memorialize a loved one or special event in their lives, or to make a lasting pledge of friendship or faithfulness. Some said it was almost spiritual—one of those rare moments when they were forced to be still for 4-6 hours. They spent the time in quiet meditation.


This really got me thinking. We live in such a hectic and disposable society now. We eat fast food off paper plates then toss them in the trash and rush to our next appointment. We buy cheap clothes for one season then give them away as a “charitable” contribution. We replace our laptops and phones every few years, and get rid of spouses just as quickly.


There’s no such thing as job security and loyalty any longer. We jump from job to job without any regard to the time, money and effort an employer might have invested in us. At the same time, our employers will most likely fire us in the blink of an eye to save a few bucks, without regard to our sacrifices or financial obligations.


So-called friends dump or humiliate each other on social media for the whole world to see. Many couples choose to live together rather than make a commitment of marriage because they want to be free to take off if they decide they’re not compatible. (Who is, really?)


We dump our churches, if we even go, and shop around for what’s best for us, instead of simply finding a place to worship God and be part of God’s family. Do we ever sit still for 4-6 hours and ponder God’s words (without the benefit of someone sticking us with needles and staining our skin)? 


As I reflected on all of this, it occurred to me that we have a God-given need for the everlasting. We’re searching for it desperately. It makes sense that young people want something that will endure… even if it is just a tattoo.


However, God has a better idea. He wants to give us an eternal tattoo. His words on our hearts!


These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Deuteronomy 6:6


Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds. Deuteronomy 11:18


I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jer. 31:33; and quoted in Heb. 8:10).


In my heart I store up your words. Psalm 119.11


The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. Psalm 37:30-31


Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:2-3


God tells us that His words are to be written in permanent ink on our hearts. That means we need to read and understand the Bible. Maybe even memorize some of it!


God also wants us to know that His love and His faithfulness are everlasting and will never disappoint.


Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3


As Christians, Paul says, You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3


When we have God’s word written deep in our hearts, and when we are confident of God’s faithfulness to us and his unconditional love for us, we can be at peace, even in our rushed and throw-away society. That spiritual tattoo will be clearly visible to others, like letters of ink written across our arms. It says, “Although the world around me changes and people disappoint me, God does not. He is eternal, and as his child, so am I!”

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. Deuteronomy 33:27. 


Now, go wear that tattoo on your heart!

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™