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Tattoos With Mom


The lighting is florescent, the music is loud and heavy. There is a table in the corner with bottles of iodine, rubbing alcohol, and a bio hazard container full of used needles. You’re surrounded by bad flash art featuring: marijuana leaves, devils, pin-up girls, and Christ figures.

This tattoo parlor is an unlikely place to acquire something to remind you that God loves and cares for you, but that’s what we’re here to do.

I have quite a few tattoos and all of them have stories. Some good, some not so good. Everything from theological symbols to a broken heart, a doubting Thomas, and of course a cover up. But we’re not here for me. It’s my mother’s 60th birthday and she has decided to get a tattoo. Her first and only tattoo.

She asked if I would set up the appointment and go with her. Which of course I did with great excitement (it’s not every day your mother asks you to take her somewhere like a tattoo parlor). When we got to the appointment, she showed me the artwork for her tattoo. It was a small brown and white sparrow.

“Why did you chose a sparrow” I asked knowing this was something she had put a lot of thought into. She told me that it was easy for her to believe that God loved my Father. He has been remarkably faithful in his relationships with God and other people. He has served the same church for over 20 years, been a godly Pastor, Husband and Father with a devotional life I have yet to see equaled. He has by all accounts done important things well. She then went on to say it was easy for her to understand why God would care for me; “You’re a Pastor. You study, write, podcast, and preach. You do things for God. I don’t do those things or anything else terribly important for God.” This was a surprising statement, considering my mother knows the terrible sinner I am, and many of the ways in which I’ve personally failed.

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