For a long time, I had talked about getting a tattoo… while different ideas/locations came to mind & pleaded their case, ultimately on my 29th birthday, one winner stood above the rest. Thanks to my awesome friend, TURBO, I now have this ink as a permanent reminder of a few things… & thanks to our LOVE series during village group (bible study), I had a recent reminder of this.

“There is no fear in love, But perfect love drives out fear. Because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” This verse has always meant a lot to me.
For whatever reason, I have always had a problem with fear.
Fear I wasn’t really saved.
Fear I would end up being left like my mom was.
Fear I wouldn’t be as successful as I was supposed to be.

I would try to play it safe in relationships, just to avoid getting hurt. Just like Rick Darden’s 1-2-3-Dweeb stories… I took myself out of the game & didn’t even try. Living life as a spectator. But living on the sidelines is not living AT ALL.

The year leading up to my 29th birthday, it began to mean even more. A year before that, I got the chance to send an email to my biological father. It was really as a means of letting him know I forgave him… I was choosing to not hold any bitterness towards situations which could not be changed… I wasn’t going to exhaust myself trying to prove my worth to someone who didn’t even know I was trying. For the first time, I could really say I forgave him, but not just for him, for me. What came next was a couple months worth of occasional emails resulting in a time & place to meet in person. I knew there was still a lot of pain in my family; but this was to get the closure I needed, to close a wound that had pretty much always existed.

Not because my dad wasn’t amazing. He is! Not because my dad didn’t show me love. He does! If anything, my dad, who’s name I bear, showed me the kind of love & grace that God wants us to all experience. He showed me what it meant to be chosen, after my biological father left when I was 8 months old. He epitomized the phrase, sometimes blood isn’t thicker than water. He adopted me, like Jesus was adopted by Joseph… & like God ultimately adopts us. He gave me the time & space to do this because he knew I needed it. So even though it hurt him, he wanted what was best for me.

Meeting my birth father was a whole other experience. I cannot express how much freedom was felt through being able to get rid of a thorn in my side from the previous 25+ years….. I felt so much weight off my shoulders, I thought I might float away.

Through this experience, I learned so much more about myself than I ever imagined. But when the dust settled, here’s what remained. I can’t be afraid. I can’t let fear rule me. If I am so afraid of being hurt by a man like my biological father that I never even put myself in the game, how is that better? Being alone, as protective armor, isn’t better than potential heartbreak. Likewise, I can’t be so afraid of being alone that I compromise myself & who I am. I don’t need to settle because I am worried God doesn’t really have my husband in mind… that He’s too big to worry about me. I am definitely unique, & some would probably say a bit too emotional/sensitive for my own good. But again, I want to love like God loves. Freely & without condition. If that means I am too emotional, then so be it. At least a broken heart proves I put it out there to begin with.

So, I choose LOVE.

Hence, this tattoo. The ambigram shows my personal struggle of choosing love over fear. Because of the nails piercing my Jesus’ hands, I can choose love, which drives out fear. So what other place to put this beautiful reminder than on my wrist? …where every time I see it, I see LOVE. And being driven out to my hands to be washed away is the FEAR the devil used to hold me back for way too long. After all, what if Jesus’ fear of death kept Him from the cross? What if God’s fear of rejection overwhelmed His love & He figured too many would reject Him for it to be worth it?

Once again, thank you Turbo, for doing this on my birthday, to solidify me wanting to live every single day without being afraid… that an earthquake could hit Southern California… that a Toyota could kill me on the road… that everyone I meet is going to hurt me just like my birth father… that I won’t be enough. This year, this month, this day… I choose love. And I choose it to the fullest potential that God’s freedom can offer it.

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