{The Meaning} Behind My Ink

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Since I frequently receive emails asking about the meaning behind my tattoo I thought I would create a generic post for those who are interested in knowing more about it.


First, I LOVE TATTOOS. I think they are BEAUTIFUL. In fact, I've never seen one I didn't like. Three out of my five siblings also have tattoos, and I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before my two youngest brothers get one (or seven).

Second, I have no regrets about getting one (and can't wait to get my second). I waited a long time before figuring out exactly what I wanted, and I'm so glad I did. Definitely avoided having tattooer's remorse.

My tattoo says I AM in Sanskrit. I AM is my favorite name for God because to me it's the perfect example of contentment. We never walk around saying I AM; we always finish our sentence with I AM tired, I AM hungry, I AM ready to eat, etc. God doesn't need to finish His statement because if He did, it would imply that He changes and He never does. If I'm honest, most of my thoughts are either spent worrying about the future or reflecting on the past. Both of these thoughts rarely include the Lord. My tattoo acts as a reminder to be fully present wherever I AM, and to learn to be content whatever my circumstances.

So there you have it. The meaning behind my tattoo. What's the story behind your ink? I promise, I think it's BEAUTIFUL already.

XOXO

48 comments:

Bianca Pastrana said...

I love tattoos too and yours is BEAUTIFUL! Mine is on my foot and it says Josefa which was my grandmother's name. It is a daily reminder to live life to the fullest as well.. Mostly because she was always present. She lived her life with no regrets and I always want to remember to take time to laugh like she always did and to never take anything too seriously. I want more. TONS MORE... but I will wait. Loved that you shared this with us!

Michelle (michabella) said...

So in love with your tattoo... The meaning behind people's tattoo are the best. I simply adore yours. <333

Kim said...

Your tattoo is so pretty! I dont have any tattoos as I am a chicken, but I always thought if I did get one, I would get the word "hope" on my inner wrist. I went through a couple of very traumatic events 5 years ago and hope (and God) is what got me through.

Scatterbox said...

First off, I need to know about the pain factor in that location. My next tattoo(s) are going to be the word 'laugh' on my left wrist (same spot as yours) and 'create' on the right, both in lowercase typewriter font. I can't imagine it hurting more than the hella pain I went through for my first one, so I'm not *that* worried. I don't think...

First tattoo, above my waist and right hip (NOT a tramp stamp, thank you very much!) was a black honu, or Hawaiian turtle. (It's actually this exact image, leaning to the right, not left - http://www.kauaisealodgecondos.com/images/Honu.gif) Short story is that it is a reminder to come out of my shell. Long story... Already mentioned I'm a born and bred introvert, which I've thankfully reversed a bit. It also represents my first trip to Hawaii five years ago where I supremely challenged my courage and fears in the outdoors. I went to the top of Haleakala, biked back down, went ziplining, and the biggie - went snorkeling in deep, open water (and then went back for more). That one's huge because I don't/can't really swim, have a very large fear of drowning, and just the day before, practically had a nervous breakdown about it. That week was a major breakthrough for me. A turtle is also my sorority's symbol, but that's more of a coincidence.

HEY! Probably should have emailed you this one, too, eh? :oP

R said...

my first one is a little green vine on my big toe. i got it in college during a campus crusade for Christ summer project. it was meant to remind me of John 15:1 "I am the true vine..."

and my second one is my sorority letters on the inside of my heel (i think that's where you'd say it was?). i was in a Christian sorority at UNT! :0)

my mother had two tattoos too, and she got hers before i did! (she was crazy. ha!) now i'm kind of thinking of getting another one in her honor. she went to heaven after a year-long battle with leukemia in august.

looking at me, you'd never dream i had them. i'm the "gap"-piest little preppy homemaker you ever did see! but it's addictive...once my husband and i got our firsts, now we want more!

Han said...

I would like some ink but i actually think that my Mother may disown me lol. Also I then wouldn't be able to give blood for like a year and even after that they might be funny about it :(

If I did have ink I'd have the outline of stars along my wrist or on my ankle but instead of that I'd get something that had reference to being a christian

A said...

My one and only tat is a remembrance of my Dad...who passed away 3 years ago today.

This is the finished product:
http://catonsblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/anchor-tattoo-sketch-on-back.html

And this is the meaning behind it all:
http://catonsblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/tatoo-time.html

I love love love my tatoo!! Def no remorse here!!!

Teresa said...

Five facts about my tattoo.

1) It is a celtic knot.
2) I got it when I was 19 to fulfill a dare from a game of truth or dare.
3) I was living in Massachusetts so had to cross state lines to get it.
4) It got discovered by my mother on Easter Sunday while we were taking a family photo. That picture is PRICELESS.
5)I often forget I have it.

MeeshOne.Love said...

hooray tattoos!
You are.

stephanie said...

My first tattoo was on last Thursday. On my foot. it pretty much covers my foot to. its a Sunflower which are my favorite and God showed something so cool to me about sunflowers (love how He always relates to us!). When they are facing the light they stand upright and live and when they are cut off or the sun goes down they turn and face downward. He never leaves me or forsakes me and as long I face him ill stand upright!! It also says.. "God is in the midst of her" I wanted God is in the midst of her she shall not be moved". But it wouldnt fit so ill save the rest of that verse(psalms 46:5) for my other foot.

The verse that has stuck with me for the past 3 years. Its one of those verese that always reminds you Hes right there! and Hes your strength!

So im completely in love with tattoos I agree they are BEAUTIFUL! and i've been wondering what yours meant. Thanks for sharing! Thats lovely!

Michelle said...

I have a rainbow tatoo-ed on my right hip to refer to the bible verse(s) where God created or sent a rainbow after the flood as a sign to that he would always take care of us.

CAW said...

I love tatoos with meaning- and purpose
No one in my church would ever guess that I have one- mine was a symbol of youth, rebellion and an act of being a follower and not a leader. Three girls went on a venture to cross state lines and get inked 14 years ago... that makes me sound old- I normally forget it's there. i would love to re-ink the lovely dolphin I spotted on the parlor wall (I'm a visual person if you can't tell)-
My mom has a tattoo on her wrist that she covers with a watch-she advised that if I did get one I should have in a place that when I am an 80 year old in church no one would gasp- so mine resides on my lower right abdomen (aka stretch marked belly) but is covered in a bikini....
I tell my daughter it's a birthmark (you know Im a white liar like that) - she is infatuated with it- and so she said to me? I wonder what birthmark I'll have one day-- she also picked out the barbie who had a tattoo in the same spot as mine because she said barbie reminded her of her mommy- HA. o go figure....

bonnie berger said...

My first (but definitely not last!) tattoo says "be the change you wish to see in the world," my favorite quote by Gandhi. It wraps about my left wrist and is written in my friend's beautiful cursive. Seeing it every day challenges me to be proactive about changing the way things are, be it immediately in small ways or in the long run.

Kayla said...

I have an anchor on my left wrist bone (outside wrist, not inner wrist like yours) which represents Hebrews 6:19-20 which talks about our hope in YHWH being a strong and trustworthy anchor.

And I have the messianic symbol on the back of my neck. That was my first tattoo actually. I have no tattoo remorse either and often forget that I have them.

Stacy said...

Yes! Thanks for sharing...i keep wondering what it is when i see it in a picture. It's SO beautiful, and your meaning behind it is even more. I have a purple one on my left wrist that says "Beloved." I got it while on a year-long Jesus journey around the world. I realized that my entire identity in my life has been "a youth leader" or a "missionary" or even a "christian" instead of my identity being rooted and grounded in His love. This year he's shown me that no matter how royally I screw up, how close or how far I am from Him, how well or how poorly I love him and people around me, I'm His Beloved. Nothing I do will ever make him love me less or make him love me more. That changes everything.

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

Your tattoo and your whole being is beautiful

beth joy said...

[until only love remains]
written in script on my foot.
i think it is a beautiful reminder to let God mold and mend and grow and work until only love remains.
it is also a song my jj heller. i love it. you should google it some time... :)

esther. said...

i have a friend with the same tattoo. only, in english. i've contemplated getting that very same tattoo.

i love it and everything it represents.

Dawn said...

Wow...that is wonderful, awesome and really beautiful. What a wonderful story and remembrance to be content...something I need to work on a fair amount. I love everything about this post.

I have my sorority letters within a sun on my right hip. Most times I forget it's there. In the long run it probably wasn't the best tattoo to get for the long haul...but it's a great memory of my college years, the years that molded me into who I am today...so no regrets.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Michele said...

That's so awesome - all the thought and meaning behind it really just brought tears to my eye! I AM was the theme of one of my dear friend's Bible studies in college and I remember thinking how profound it was!

No ink for me...fear of needles... I cried hysterically when I got my ears pierced at age 16!

Diane Schiefferly said...

Hi Em-

I have four tattoos- and like you, took some time to figure out just what they should be and represent. They are simple and beautiful- and I don't regret having them done.

The first one is the Chinese character for enduring friendship. My best friend and I got them together in the same spot on our bodies. We live far away from each other now and don't speak as often as I would like, but I know that we will be true friends forever.

The next three are infinitely special, too.

I have 10101 on my body to represent the day that my first baby's life ended- October 1, 2001. He was diagnosed when I was five months pregnant with Downs Syndrome, a severe heart defect, significant digestive blockages and other birth defects. After much guidance from specialists (including my "enduring friend" who is a doctor), soul searching within ourselves and prayer, Matt and I chose to end our pregnancy. I named the baby Ben, which means "Son" and I think about and pray to him every day.

I also have 70507 tattooed on my body right below the first set of numbers. This represents July 5, 2005- the day my 4 year old daughter Natalie, was diagnosed with Leukemia. I believe that Ben was brought into our lives to show that we could endure any challenge- together and with love and prayer and gratitude. Natalie is now 8 years old; she completed chemotherapy last November- and is a beautiful and healthy little girl.

My third tattooed set of numbers is 42206 representing the birth date of my sweet son, Owen. He is a healthy and happy 4 year old and one of the lights of my life.

Thank you for asking about the meanings. My tattoos are incredibly important to me and something I am proud to carry for the rest of my life.

With Love,
Diane

Darla said...

I LOVE that description. LOVE IT, LOVE it, love it!

Christie said...

I got my first tattoo last year in June. It is a cross on the inside of my left leg above the ankle. I got my second tat this past April. It covers my left shoulder and shoulder blade. It has 5 flowers that represent the birth months of my five children. It also has 3 butterflies in black to represent the three miscarriages that I've had. I'm already planning my next one - Celtic words that say 'My love forever' with a flower from my wedding. This one will go between the shoulders and partly on my neck. I'm addicted! My husband has 3 - one is on his lower arm and says 'Hinani' which means 'Here I Am' (biblical - meaning here I am completely and totally yours in the here and now). We didn't start getting tattooed until last year and we are both in our late 30s. We're breaking out of our mold.

By the way - I LOVE your blog. Your letters make the world seem a little better and brighter with your positive outlook on life and marriage. Thank you for writing it!

bigsoup said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bigsoup said...

I loved that you shared that you have more siblings than your twin.

I was hoping you were going to tell us about what you do at your "work" for your most frequently asked questions.

We have suggested to our boys that they wait until after they are 20 to get a tattoo. They need to leave room in their life to be able to change. They are not going to be the same person or enjoy the same things at age 15, 25, 40, 60+.

You have really thought your design through. It is sustainable and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Today's Letters said...

reading all of your tattoo stories has been amazing! i've laughed, i've cried ... they are all BEAUTIFUL. thank you for sharing them with me! xoxo

Kristin said...

Love tattoos and tattoo stories!! I have four and only two of them have any real meaning. I have two small footprints on my left foot. Its each of my children's footprints taken straight from their birth certificate and just shrunk down. I love looking at their cute little feet all the time. The other one is a brown yin yang on my wrist. Husband is hispanic. I am white. When we hold hands, it totally looks like a yin-yang. So I made it brown instead of the typical black. Without him, I wouldn't be me.

Jennifer said...

I like that message!

tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

He IS! :)

Grace @ Arms Wide Open said...

awesome tattoo! I have one tattoo on my ankle and it is the form of a woman running (kinda a stick figure but more elegant ;)
Running literally is a big hobby and love of mine, but figuratively it also reminds me to keep keepin' on no matter what life throws my way.

va_grown said...

I'm not a fan of tatoos, but I love your thoughts--thanks for sharing!

Serene said...

I have a lion...and write about it on my blog mammaserene.blogspot.com ...it is a representation of two children that I have lost (but will see again in Heaven) and a symbol of my God who brings hope:)

kelsey said...

This is so true! I've always heard about I AM but never really "got" it. You (and your hubby) are an inspiration!

december.rose said...

i just found your blog today. and it's seriously the best. I love your tattoo. I also have one, mine is of a dove holding an olive branch. It's Picasso's version from the dance of youth and it means so many things to me it's unreal. peace, hope, Holy Spirit, covenant.

such a great blog. i will definitely follow you!

sabrina in mexico! said...

I have one so far...it says "beloved" in Hebrew. just a nice reminder of who I am.

trying to talk my hubs into one that would go across our two wrists, that, when together, would say "what God has joined let no man separate."

Katie said...

Love it!! I AM is one of my favorite names for God too. You're right-- it's so powerful if you really think about it. God really is everything, and that name captures it all.

I just found your blog today, and I love it! You and your husband are such an adorable couple. Can't wait to read more! :)

Abigail said...

Wow, I love your tattoo!! And I love the meaning!! :)
I definitely can't wait to get more tattoos! ;)

Jessica S. said...

I have a floral design pattern on my calf based of Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
It's 3 sunflowers, 1 blooming, 1 fully bloomed, and 1 'withered'. It's a constant reminder to me that I am a but a breath and I live for my Savior who stands forever.

Trena said...

I have an angel on my left foot, making sure there's always someone a step ahead of me. I'm anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get my second, which will match an engraving on my little brother's gravestone (which sounds morbid, I'm sure, but means the world to me). Come visit Indy when you get settled in Louisville!

Today's Letters said...

trena, love indy! i went to taylor so i used to drive through there all the time :)

Kylie said...

I love your blog and have been a dedicated reader for many months now, but i've just stumbled over this amazing tattoo story!!!
I have two tattoos - my first was small star on the front of my hip - when i was at high school teachers told me i could never become want i wanted to be, but i didnt listen to them, i followed my dreams, and reached for the stars. 3yrs later i got my first tattoo when i graduated from my first university degree, as a reminder to always reach for the stars and follow your dreams.
my second is much MUCH larger, and it is a tigers face within a tigers paw print and its on the back of my hip - i love tigers generally, their passion, power, pride and family-ties. (also my favourite australian football team are the tigers!) - i got this one after my 7th and final year at university when i graduated with the qualification i always dreamed of as a child. it's a constant reminder that with passion, determination, faith and family you can achieve anything that you set your mind to.

Today's Letters said...

kylie, i loved reading about your tattoos! thanks for inspiring me this morning to keep reaching for the stars. xo

Chad said...

First off, awesome blog! I check in almost daily for inspiration and sheer awesomeness. Second, I love the Gratitude lately section, we all need to take time to be thankful for the small things. Third-ly, I have been wanting a Sanskrit tattoo for a while and have yet to find the right one. I have five other tattoos, the first is "ad astra de angeli alis" which is latin for "to the stars on angels wings" in memory of my mom. The second tattoo is in her handwriting (I found a card from when I was younger she had given me) and it says "I'll love you always". I lost my mom to cancer when I was twenty, almost six years ago... The third tattoo is a feather turing into birds going up and over my right arm and shoulder. Number four is the world map around my lower leg because I love to travel and number five is an old school nautical compass to go with the map. Soon, I plan on adding wings to my shoulders. Again, your blog is awesome and thank you for the inspiration to live life to the fullest and to be thankful for the ltitle things. All my best to you and Mr. Loerke

Today's Letters said...

chad, thanks for your encouraging comment! we're humbled by your words. also inspired by the stories behind your ink. looking forward to seeing your wings :)

Tiffany Streiferd said...

I have "grace" in script on my left wrist. It's a daily reminder of the way my life changed when I realized that His grace is sufficient for me. Love your blog btw:) I've read it everyday since my husband and I heard you and Tim speak at Merge last year! Your relationship both encourages and challenges us, thank you!!

Tiffany Streiferd said...

I have "grace" tattooed in script on my left wrist. It's a daily reminder of the way my life was changed when I realized that His grace is sufficient for me. Love your blog btw:) I have read it everyday since my husband and I heard you and Tim speak at Merge! Your relationship both encouranges and challenges us, thank you!!

Michelle Gonzalez said...

When my husband and I were dating we used to write each other love letters and I would sign then "Always and Forever" and he would sign them "Forever and Always". I had been planning to get "Always" inked for a year already but wanted to wait til after I was married (parents didn't approve and didn't want to disrespect them)and one day my then Fiance was trying to figure out what he wanted inked for me and it hit him, he would get "Forever" in the same spot I was getting "Always". We both knew it was perfect and then on our wedding day he surprised me by saying "forever" instead of "I do" and so I said "always". We got our tattoos the day after our honeymoon and they are such a beautiful reminder of not only those gooey and cheesy letters we used to write to each other but a constant reminder of the vows we made to each other.
http://i39.tinypic.com/2cysara.jpg

http://i42.tinypic.com/200bi8l.jpg

Sara Beth said...

What! That's awesome! I have the words "I am" (but in English" on my left wrist too :) Mine was spontaneous (though I already had other tattoos), but spirit-inspired and I too have no regrets :)

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