We’ve all made stupid decisions, and we’ve all had moments that we’re not proud of. These are things that build character and thick skin.
I’m going to share a very close and personal story with you that I’ve only shared with a select of my dearest friends and family. I’ll spare you some of the details, but hopefully you get the gist.
So here it goes …… don’t worry, it’ll be a short.
THE QUICK STORY:
Back when I was 18 years of age I got a tattoo. Yep, a tattoo, and back when tattoos were not quite as socially acceptable as they are now. Also not just any tattoo, but a really horribly stupid and irrelevant tattoo. One that I’ve found myself very embarrassed of many times at the pool over the years. Of course this post is not really about a tattoo, but more about the story that began on the day that this stupid thing was embedded into my right shoulder forever. This day was very significant for many reasons. It marked the day of one of the most insecure yet relevant seasons of my life. A season that almost cost me my life, literally. This was a time where I was searching, reaching, and looking for something more than life had to offer me up to this point. However, the places I was looking only left me empty, lifeless, full of regret, lonely and near to death. As I laid in my hospital bed with two IV’s in my arm due to near exhaustion and pneumonia due to drug use. I heard an audible voice of God say…. where are you going and who are you going there with? I then replied with several expletives, as I was frustrated with God by not putting the right people in my life, and by only seeing God as an old people religion, and that he needed to show me a different path full of life and purpose or I was done with him and life as I knew it. Not understanding that this was something in my life that was only going to create perserverence and character in my life, and would only make me stronger in the future and able to help others that have dealt with the same or similar things.
I then walked out of my hospital room three days later and disappeared from life as I knew it and joined the mission field in India & Nepal. Not because I immediately became some kind of saint, because I wasn’t then and I’m not now. However, I went to find myself, and only myself, and in the process of helping and serving others I….. well……..found myself. Go figure, huh! This wasn’t my original plan but it ended up working out for me. Unbeknownst to me, this has since become a common thread in my life that has always stood true for me when I find found myself lost in life. Help Others = Find Yourself. Try it some time. You might find yourself in the process.
There have since been a few times in my life that I’ve found myself lost, and that’s okay as long as I find my way out. But I always look back at these times and embrace them and never erase them, because it’s the tough times in our lives that create character, not the easy times.
So what does this have to do with a tattoo you might ask …… Well, I got this horrible tattoo at the start of one of my biggest rough patches I’ve ever experienced to date, and have always wanted to cover it up or get rid of it cause it reminded me of a bad season of my life. However, I since have found myself wanting to EMBRACE that time in my life instead of ERASING it. Like I said earlier, it’s the tough times in our lives that create character and it’s the way we respond to these tough times that define who we are as men and women. Coming out of any of my tough seasons of life has always been followed by helping those globally and in extreme poverty, of course involving world travel. Therefore instead of me erasing my scars (my scar is in the form of a tattoo, but so much more than that) I chose to cover it by something more meaningful and more “ME” and what my identity and purpose is on this earth…….THE GLOBE and those in it. I will forever be a part of fighting global poverty and being a voice for those that do not have one as long as I live. Therefore I choose the GLOBE to be that image to cover my true insecurity on my back.
What is “your scar” and would you choose to “cover it” instead of “erasing it”? What are you and what is your purpose?
Below are some fun pics of my new, amazing and painful adventure…….. but it was well worth it and I don’t regret it one bit, as it helped me relive my last 19 years and what a journey it has been. I can’t wait for the next 19 years!
Photos by Daniel C White Photography
Actual photo of tattoo on my back by Lindley Battle Photography
Tattoo by Russell Hickman