Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tattoos Are For Life

I had wanted a tattoo on my wrist for years. It would be my 3rd tattoo. It was something I kept telling myself, "If you still want it in a year, get it." The next year came and I told myself, "If you still want it in another year, get it." I was, however, unsure of what tattoo I wanted.

In the Beginning:
During our first year of marriage, every morning I would leave our apartment for work. Outside on the telephone wire were two doves. They sat there snuggled against one another every morning. By noon, when I would come home for lunch, they would be gone. Every morning, there they were again. One afternoon, at lunch, I noticed one dove was still there perched on the wire. I looked up and around for the other but it was no where to be found. As I was leaving for lunch, I saw the one dove still sitting there. A great sadness came over me.... there on the street was the other dove. It had been ran over by someone's car. When I returned home from work that evening, the one dove was still there.
After almost two short years of marriage, Charlie and I made the journey to leave everything we knew behind and start a new life in Dallas, TX. We had wanted to leave Monroe for so long. What we didn't plan on, was that the opportunity would land in our laps smack dab during my first pregnancy. After Lake was born, I quickly realized motherhood is not that simple. Ha! I laugh now, but back then, I had no one. No one to pick Lake up at the sitter's when Charlie was working out of town and I was needing to work late. It already took me 1 hour to get to the sitter's from work and then I had to drive home. I LOVE Dallas. Love it. Love LoVe LOVE. I do NOT love the traffic. Not at all. Leaving for work at 6:15am to be there on time at 8am was extremely ridiculous.
In Dallas, while Charlie was working out of town for a few days, Lake and I would sit on the back patio of our apartment and watch 6 doves every day. You could tell which doves were mates, even as they played. When one would move away, the other would flutter over and perch beside it. It was so peaceful and sweet to watch them. Lake loved it and would constantly say "Bird! Bird!"
After a few years, we eventually moved to Baton Rouge. Of course, this was after I had a heart to heart with God about moving home. I really wanted to raise my son in a small town, with close friends and family at my fingertips. I missed home and that came as a huge shock to someone who was so willing to leave it. Once we moved to Baton Rouge, it took 3 long months to realize it was do or die.. get home ASAP.
When we moved home, I expected everything to "just be wonderful". We'd be back in our church, back with our friends, and so on... what I didn't expect was that a lot of our friends had moved away and others had moved in. Not that we didn't have friends here or couldn't make new ones, it was just different. I don't know how to explain it. It took a long while to get settled back in and finally have that "come to Jesus" moment where I said, "OK, you wanted me here. I know it and I wanted me here. So let's make the very best of it." But we did. We got back in a circle of friends we love so dear and met a few more. All of which have blessed us greatly. I realize now, a lot of my "adjusting" was pride. I did not think I would have a problem coming back home, but I did.
After a few months, and a few more trials, I knew it was time. I had fallen even more in love with my husband. And even more amazed at my God. So, right after my 31st birthday, Charlie took me to the tattoo parlor and I had a dove tattoo'd on my wrist. I knew it would cause a lot of jokes with the church folk because our Church symbol is a dove. That had nothing to do with my choice. I chose the dove, because I will follow my husband, the head of my household, to the ends of the earth, because that is the vows I made with him and my God, and nothing shall separate us.

The Dove:
God chose a dove to bring back the olive branch to Noah after the flood, showing there was once again dry land ... forever symbolizing a peace offering (extending the olive branch).
Genesis 8:11
The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf.
When Jesus was baptized, God descended His holy spirit on Jesus in the form of a dove.
Luke 3:21-22
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.
Have you ever wondered why God chose the dove for such catalysmic moments in history?
Well, I did some research, because I was curious. The dove doesn't have a gall bladder. It cannot produce bile, and without the gall bladder, it cannot store or concentrate this bile. The dove also mates for life. If one of the mates die, it will never find another. The dove is much like a pigeon. It has a great homing instinct... it always finds it's way back.

Home Again:
When we moved back to Monroe, that is how I felt. That God wanted to cleanse me of my pride. I had indeed found my life mate and I was beyond blessed to have had so many wonderful opportunities to move away with him. We were even more blessed to have found our way back home, in more ways than one... this time with a son. Here at home, we have expanded our blessings and now have a daughter as well.
I am home. I love it here. It is the place I found God. He is teaching me more and more about "home" and Himself every chance I give him. If there is anything I have learned from leaving and returning, it's that home is not necessarily a place, it's where your heart resides. I am forever grateful for my family and the strong bond I have with my husband. While marriage, and parenting, is never easy, I did say "for better or for worse". I love my Charlie and where he is, I want to be. I will gladly and boldly walk through the fire with him, because after the fire we will be refined.
Ruth 1:16-17
Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.