Okay so first to say that 1- I’m not crazy and 2- that I do not believe my tattoo has any kind of protective power over me…well at least not the way some may think. I was flipping through my Instagram and was looking at the picture of my shoulder tattoo that was finished last week and felt prompted to share the story behind this beautiful piece of art.
Whether you are for or against tattoos I will say that they are becoming more and more socially acceptable in today’s culture. They are no longer only found on convicts, bikers, and sailors. For some people they are fashion statements. For others they are an expression of self. Some have memorial tattoos while others get them just simply say they have them. I now have 3 and each one has a deep, personal and/or spiritual meaning for me. A quote in my dad’s handwriting up my right forearm, the phrase “bought with blood” translated in Hebrew is on my left wrist (that will play a part in my story later), and then my shoulder piece.
As you can see in the picture, my shoulder piece consists of two roses, a Bible verse, and 3 military dog tags; my mom (USN), my dad (USN), and my grandfather (ARMY). Each element to this piece is significant to me including the color and the tattoo’s location on my right shoulder. And here the story goes…
About four and a half years ago I started on a journey of healing and personal growth. There were a couple of events that happened in my life that finally lead me to really face my demons (though I had no clue how real it would become). I had had enough and needed to stop putting everyone else’s needs above mine and get help. That was the summer that put my on the track of emotional and spiritual healing as well as solidifying my identity in Christ and as God’s daughter. Aside from counseling, I began having sessions with a ministry at my old church called Inner Healing.
When I went through Inner Healing I began laying my burdens down at the feet of Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to do business with me. Inner Healing is really just intensive prayer where you allow the Holy Spirit to do healing to your heart and soul. Spiritual and emotional chains are broken so healing can begin and you gain victory in the spiritual realm. I realize to some of you reading this,it may seem really weird or out there. But the reality is that there are two worlds that exist, the physical (seen) and the spiritual (unseen). Most of the things that happen in the spiritual world, good and bad, end up manifesting some way in our physical lives.
For me, there were several battles and one large war in the spiritual world that had been raging over me for a long time including some things called generational curses. Put simply, generational curses are negative things that get passed down through the generations (unless they are broken in the spiritual world). It can be behaviors, personality traits, addictions, or even events. One lady I know, every generation had their house catch on fire up to like 5 generations back. Anyways, my family certainly has/had a few and my soul had been at war against them. Though I’m an open book, out of respect for my family I will keep the specifics of what they are private.
However, I knew what at least two of them were and so one night as I sat in the room with the two other ladies who facilitated the sessions I began to pray. As I often do when I pray, I began to get a vision as was praying against these curses and that God would break the chains they had in my life. That’s when it started. I had this dark, demonic presence on me as I prayed. I could feel it on my right shoulder, this black, dark, heavy presence. I prayed once and was able to recognize its presence. I prayed a second time with just as much intensity and I felt it get smaller but it was still clinging to me, physically clinging to me. At this point I asked the two ladies in the room to lay their hands on me (as is Biblical but another topic for another day) as I prayed in the name of Jesus for this thing to leave. Again, it got smaller but was still present. The fourth time the two ladies prayed over me themselves with all authority given to them by God and the Holy Spirit.
My nerves were twinging and shaking all over and as they were praying for me I looked down at my hands. My left hand kind of just turned over involuntarily, wrist facing up. Now for the freaky/crazy/weird part. The moment my left hand turned over, I felt the presence completely leave me. The nerves in the right side of my neck & right shoulder were going haywire. I kept twitching and kind of a physical torrets thing happening. It was kind of like the feeling you get after you’ve been carrying something heavy for a while and then you put it down; your arms are like jello and feel a bit funny for a couple seconds. Only this lasted longer than a few seconds. It was like I could actually feel the absence of the weight of whatever was on me and my nerves weren’t having it! I sat there processing what had just happened when I looked at my left wrist…the same wrist that turned over. The same wrist that had the tattoo of the phrase “bought with blood”.
And it hit me. You see the significance of that tattoo for me is that I have been bought with the blood of Jesus (where in lies my identity and who I am) and I got it on my wrist because of the nails that Christ was crucified with. In the spiritual realm, I was battling this demonic spirit with the power of the Holy Spirit but it wasn’t until God showed him who I was, who’s I was that the demonic presence left because it had no choice. My whole life I’ve had anxiety/panic attacks happen very sporadically. However since that specific event, I’ve had probably half a dozen semi-serious to serious panic/anxiety attacks. Every time it happens I know that it’s spiritually related and every time that it’s happened…among other things, that same exact feeling in my right neck/shoulder returns. Just like what I felt after we prayed away the demonic presence.
So several months ago, after I had another “episode” I felt prompted to get another tattoo but this time claiming my identity specifically as a child of God and it was to go on my right shoulder as a kind of armor. And so the verse I chose was 1 John 3:1 (which is also the theme verse for this blog) which says:
See the kind of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are…Beloved.
It worked out that the verse could include the word “Beloved” because that’s also a title that I’ve always been fond of. It’s so sweet, romantic, and adoring…I am God’s Beloved. I didn’t want just the verse so I decided since roses are my favorite flower and I could do an ode to my mom who has roses in her tattoo that I would add those. The roses are pink for my mom’s mom who is a 2x breast cancer survivor. Since I was claiming my identity as a daughter and the intention was for this tattoo to be a sort of armor for me, I thought it fitting to add my parents’ & my grandpa’s dog tags (also to pay tribute for my love & respect for the military). I even went as far as substituting what are normally social security numbers on the dog tags with dates: my grandpa’s has his and my grandma’s (who are both deceased) wedding anniversary and my parents’ tag both have the birthdate of my deceased sister.
I never thought I’d ever get a tattoo that big but I have to say that I absolutely love it! And though I know that it may not stop my panic attacks (you can read about in some of my other blog posts) from happening it’s a reminder for me of who I am and more importantly, who I belong to. My identity is in Christ and I am a child of God. I claim that. And NO power of Hell can or will ever change that. I may struggle and go through different seasons of doubt or war or even stray a little, but nothing can take away who I am…who’s I am! I love that everything about this piece has meaning and purpose and that it is now a part of me. Anyways, I think it’s kind of a cool story and just thought that I would share just a little bit more of me and my journey with the Lord!