This is not about whether tattoos are a good or bad idea.
Instead, this a true story about a young woman named Debbie whose tattoo has not only saved her life but perhaps even the lives of her small children.
A colleague of mine recently found himself inside a greasy spoon burger joint one late winter afternoon. His waitress at the establishment was efficient and friendly. They struck up easy conversation. When she placed a plate down on the table he noticed a rather distinctive looking tattoo on her forearm. He couldn’t make out the whole thing but saw the words “Let God” just below the cuff of her long-sleeved t-shirt. He was was intrigued.
“Is there a story behind your tattoo?” he asked.
Big tears suddenly appeared in Debbie’s eyes. Yes, indeed there was a story behind it, and a dramatic one at that. She was a former drug addict and had been hooked for years on a variety of illegal narcotics. At her very lowest point a friend had introduced her to Jesus Christ, and she had undergone an intensive faith-based rehabilitation program.
“My counselor used to urge me throughout the process,” she shared, “to ‘Let go and let God.'”
Upon completion of the program, Debbie found herself repeating that phrase over and over again.
To “Let go and let God” became the new theme of her broken and now restored life.
“So I went out and got this tattoo,” she said. “I had them place it on the exact spot where I used to inject myself with those wicked needles. Now, if I ever get the urge to relapse, which has happened, I look down at my arm and the sight of that tattoo reminds me that God has changed my life and has rescued me from my addiction. Just looking at those words keeps me from spiraling down again.”
The late American author Jack London used to say, “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” This would be true in Debbie’s case, too, but because she found Jesus Christ, it’s her present and future, not her past, which I find far more interesting, exciting and redeeming.