a year & a moment

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be getting a Bible verse tattooed on my wrist, I probably would have laughed in their face and called them crazy.

And yet, here I am, with my third tattoo. A Bible verse. Displayed for all to see.

Oh, the irony. God certainly has a sense of humor. What a punk.

The verse – 1 Chronicles 28:20 – “Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.”

I was pretty uncertain about getting this tattoo, actually.  Yes, I know being uncertain about a tattoo is typically a recipe for disaster. But it’s not like that. I knew I wanted the tattoo; I was more concerned about what people would think of me getting it – something I’ve never experienced when getting a tattoo. Especially since this one isn’t as easily concealed as my other two. I was (and if we’re being honest here, I still am) afraid of the preconceived notions people will make about me. I’m afraid of the stereotypes. Of the judgment.

You see, I don’t want to be the “typical Christian,” if there even is such a thing. I want to seek meaningful conversations and relationships, dare to be real/vulnerable, make mistakes loving too hard, live radically … and then be completely, utterly, dependent on God’s grace to catch me when I fall.

I guess my own preconceived notion of Christians is that they play by the rules, live overly constructed lives, are blindly judgmental, and essentially put themselves in a box. And even though I know this is a lie (because I know and love some pretty dang awesome Christians that don’t fit this mold at all), I am worried that strangers will see me as a “typical Christian” because of this tattoo.

However, Stork assured me that getting a little-known verse from the Old Testament was BA. (And God knows I secretly aspire to being BA; hence, the tattoo trend). I also stand firmly in the belief that this verse is an integral part of my story. It isn’t my full story, but it is still important. It is mine, it is unique, and dear lord, it’s powerful.

Clearly, I embraced the uncertainty surrounding my tattoo. It happened. I’m “tatted” for the third time in the past four years. So, thank you to friends and family who accept my somewhat crazy decisions and allowed me the freedom to do so a clear conscience.

In light of all this uncertainty, there is one thing I am certain of, and it is this: I would not be the person I am today without God. Yeah, it sounds cliche, and I abhor cliche, but it’s true. I have experienced more change, adversity, and uncertainty in the last year than I ever thought imaginable. Initially, I dug my heels in, and in true stubborn-Lauren fashion, refused to change.

Well apparently God is even more stubborn than I am.

Thankfully, my ability to come out of this transformational period better, not broken, didn’t depend on anything I did. It wasn’t up to me. Because if it were up to me, I would be the same wounded, isolated, pridefully independent person I was a year ago. I would still be loving conditionally.

But God is a smart man. He knows how to get at my head and my heart. He sent people into my life who generated conversations that left me whirling and questioning and wandering. Until I wandered into Him.

I was loved (and forgiven) when I didn’t deserve it. By my people and by my god.

And because of this, I will willingly have the tough conversations with people so that they may experience the same hope and love and transformative power that I have received.

It began a year ago, and all changed in a moment.

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