On my right wrist, I have a simple tattoo that reads "I love you" in my grandmother's handwriting. In fact, multiple female family members have similar handwriting tattoos on their wrists or clavicles. We all went together and had a tattoo party when they heard of my idea and fell in love with it themselves.
My left wrist, though, all I wanted was an anchor.
When I was younger, I would have never suspected I would adore the image of an anchor as I do now. I thought of them simply in terms of sailing and pirates and such.
But then, my faith was tested. I guess that's a silly statement, because throughout one's life, faith is continually tested. I'm no different in that regard, and I have had many tests under my belt, each time, my faith in God remaining. From time to time, I may have distanced myself, but He's always been there.
But recently, over the last few years, my faith has been tested in ways I never dreamed of. From finding out my former husband was cheating on me with men and women alike, to threatened homelessness while I had no job and three children ages six months to four years old, to living in a homeless shelter and transitional housing, to being abandoned financially and emotionally, to filing for divorce... to self-sufficiency (for the most part, with occasional blessings from trusted family and friends) and single parenting in a God focused home, I've done nearly a complete 180 degree turn around in my life, and all the while, my God has remained, pulling me through, guiding me, walking beside me, carrying me, fighting for me, and calming me.
This anchor is my reminder. It reminds me of my past and my victories. It reminds me of God's sovereignty and steadfastness. It reminds me of hope.
You see, through everything in my life, my hope has remained. I've never been hopeless. I've never been completely alone, because I've known God to be with me always, even if I was refusing to acknowledge him. Even in my deepest despair and my darkest times, my hardest routes and my scariest valleys, I've had hope in a better tomorrow, and I've had hope that God would pull me through, as He has.
One of my most well-loved bible verses is Hebrews 6:19. It's beautiful in multiple translations. "This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary." NLT
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain." NIV
Hope is an anchor. What a beautiful image. In all that life throws at us, this hope keeps us steady.
What is this hope?
God is this hope.
"The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope." Lamentations 3:24
"Sovereign Lord, I put my hope in you; I have trusted you since I was young." Psalm 71:5
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5
"We put our hope int he Lord. He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust His holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone." Psalm 33:20-22
"You will live secure and full of hope; God will protect you and give you rest." Job 11:18
This tattoo is also my reminder to seek God continually, through my life. It's permanency shall remind me to enter my secret place and to pray. Sometimes I forget. Often, actually, I forget.
"Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times." Romans 12:12
And, it reminds me that God has a plan for me, even if I feel things are out of control, totally random or uncertain, or make absolutely no sense. Because God says so.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
The bible talks a lot about hope.
But so does music. Many know that God speaks to me often through music. I will hear a song a hundred times, and on the 101st time, it speaks in a new way, or I hear a lyric I had never heard before. Many songs that resonate with me deeply talk of God as an anchor for us, or his hope as an anchor for us, or him carrying us through storms.
"Let the King of my heart be the wind inside my sails, the anchor in the waves, oh he is my song." -John Mark McMillan, King of my Heart.
"When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil." Hillsong United, Cornerstone
"In the eye of the storm, You remain in control, and in the middle of the war, You guard my soul. You alone are the anchor when my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm." Ryan Stevenson, Eye of the Storm
These are just a few that came to me at the moment, but I know that there are more.
I don't always have my bible with me. I don't always have music with me. I don't always have my phone with me. But, I do always have my wrist with me.
And now, on that wrist, I'll always have my anchor with me, to show me, to remind me, to inspire me. Maybe someday, someone I do not know will ask about my anchor. Maybe they'll assume I'm a wannabe pirate. Maybe they'll think I was in the navy. Maybe, just maybe, they'll ask. And my God will fill me with bravery and grace, and I'll step out in faith, and I'll testify. I'll tell them all about how I've been through quite a storm,and my God, my Hope, my Anchor held me steady through it all, and I am no worse for the wear as the sunshine came out. I'm stronger. I'm braver. I'm calmer. I'm more rooted in my faith than ever before.
Because I'm anchored.