Encouragement 07-16-04


July 16, 2004
Encouragement for Today

Holy Tattoo
Susanne Scheppmann, Speaker Team member
Key verse:
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16 (NIV) 
Dewy perspiration bubbled on my forehead as I pushed myself to finish the last round of exercise equipment for the morning. I pulled down on the handles waiting to hear the "swoosh," when I spotted a tattoo on the woman's leg across from me. I strained to see exactly what the tattoo represented. But as she jogged on the stationary board, for the life of me I could not decipher the piece of artwork. The blotchy blues streaked with red resembled a roadmap. I recall thinking, "What a lousy piece of work. I hope she got a refund." 
As luck would have it, she and I finished the circuit at the same time. She reached the stretching mat a few seconds of ahead of me and began to extend her legs. The blotchy roadmap was within inches of my face.
"Oh, my!" I thought. It's not a tattoo, but varicose veins."  My eyes riveted to her leg, and then I suddenly lost interest in stretching. I just wanted to get home to examine my own legs.
I knew before I peeled off the gray fleece pants that my legs were not exactly perfect. However, I was shocked when I turned to see my own legs reflected in the mirror. My heart lurched in disappointment. I realized in a moment, my veins could certainly be mistaken for "artwork." I studied them closely for several minutes.
Suddenly, I began smile. My veins were a roadmap, too. They displayed the winding twists and turns of my life. The big purple line running down my inner thigh was a memento of my first pregnancy. The smaller red spider veins crawled their way into my life from sitting cross-legged in a receptionist chair for years. The bulging seam on the left recalled the birth of my second son. Various crocheted markings wove their historic path from years of squeezing into tight jeans.  
This tattoo told a story. A story of a fulfilled life, my life. It was not ugly; it was holy. God's blessings were illustrated on my legs. I could sport this piece of artwork with pride. This masterpiece of art proved the evidence of God's faithfulness working throughout my life. I consider it my "holy tattoo!" 

My prayer for today:
Father God, today help me recall the many blessings you have granted in my life. Let me wear my life's "holy tattoos" with pride and thankfulness.  

Application steps
Peer in the mirror today. Do you see "holy tattoos"? Do you spy laugh lines from moments of giggling? Perhaps heavy thighs declare God's bountiful provision. Age spots revealing a lifetime of memories? List the "holy tattoos" of your life on an index card and post it on your mirror to recall daily God's blessings in you life.

Reflection points
How do I view "imperfections" in myself?
What evidence do I see of God's blessings in my life?
When I am with girlfriends, do I complain about my "holy tattoos?"
Do I thank God for his past blessings?

Power verses
Genesis 49:25-26, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. (NIV) 
Ephesians 1:3, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (NIV) 
Proverbs 31:30, Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (NIV) 
1 Peter 3:3-4, Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (NIV) 
Deut. 28:2, All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God. (NIV) 

Additional resources
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa Terkeurst
Dreams of a Woman by Sharon Jaynes
The Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes

Originally published Friday, 16 July 2004.