By Neysa Ellery Taylor
Proverbs 3:3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Now, before I get started let me say that I know this verse is a metaphor, not to be taken literally. But the reason that I chose to open with it is because that is how I feel about my tattoos. People often ask me why I have word tatts and no pictures. For me the first reason is simple: Words speak to me. Every word that I have on my back I earned. For those of you who don’t know, my back reads “Breathe, Strength, Passion, Wisdom, Obedience.” I earned each of those words. Let’s start with “Breathe.” There was a point in time when I could not see into the future. I was so lost that I didn’t really think that I would make it. Thinking about taking it one day at a time was even too much.. So I started concentrating on my next breath. I quit thinking days ahead. I quit thinking minutes ahead. I concentrated on the now and getting to my next breath. So I earned “Breathe.” I have earned each of those words through self reflection and hard work. So while they are written on the “tablet of my heart,” they are also written on my back as reminders of where I have been and what I have accomplished.
When people ask me if I will get any more tatts, I smile and reply “probably so.” The reality is I hope so. I hope to always learn something new about myself, to stretch and grow, to meet challenges and survive them. As I write the new lessons on my heart, I am sure that I will write them on my body as well. Quite honestly, the only reason I haven’t added more words is because I still struggle with the last word I added – Obedience. I quite often remind myself of a headstrong toddler.. I know what God wants me to do but I don’t always follow it. Until I consistently answer “yes” to all of God’s commands, I can’t add another word to my tattood report card.
The second reason I only have words at this time is because the picture I want is the grand finale. To call it a picture seems to minimize its significance. I will get a grand tree, deeply rooted and reaching upward. Why? Because trees just do what they were designed to do – worship. (Thank you Alice Walker for this metaphor.) Trees weather all of the seasons – plenty and famine, sun and rain – all while reaching upward in worship. For me, trees epitomize the way we are meant to worship. Through good times and bad, we should always reach out to God. Once you see that tattoo on my back, you will know that I am finished with my artwork, and with this type of illustration of the lessons I have learned. Not finished learning, but just finished displaying my homework.
Neysa Ellery Taylor is an integral part of the writing team here at Blackloveandmarriage.com. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work atMyriadthatisme.blogspot.com