This is our personal story of our first tattoo!
This is a taboo subject for us because our families are decidedly against permanently marking your skin. I think a lot of this is difference in culture background based on appearance to varying degrees. By no means am I putting down our families for their values or what they stand for, but in our lives these “Markings” have a deeper meaning to our lives.
If you look in Joshua Chapter 4 we see the Hebrew people crossing the Jordan River across dry ground, a miracle that marked their lives. God had promised them that would walk in to the promise land and take it because it was theirs. It was after 40 years walking around the desert because they would not follow Gods dream for them. This is where we find them on the west side of the Jordan celebrating the miracle of walking across the dry ground of a raging river. To remember the life changing moment Joshua instructed by God to lead the men to build an alter with stones form the other side to worship.
This is one of the first stories I was taught as a child of spiritual markers. Spiritual markers have been use throughout history to recalibrate oneself when we are lost, or forgotten where we came from. In the past we had to go to a physical place to see these spiritual markers, whether it was a camp ground where God called you into ministry, a church, or a friend’s yard where the event happened, these were all physical locations. As our world grows around us, it is harder for us to journey to that place when we feel lost. Needless to say there is something powerful to making a physical journey but Elora and I don’t know when the next time we will be able to make it to Lake J, so we decided to place our spiritual marker on ourselves, a forever reminder.
There is a vast difference that I see in our generation and those past, with the increasing artistic ability and technique the pieces of art we are putting on our bodies are astonishing. With these new abilities and tattoo artist coming out of the shadows into a legit business, we are embracing them and using their craft to create our own spiritual markers.
This is my spiritual marker for my life, a vast changing point that I wanted to remember forever. My wife Elora and I have Acholi written on our wrist. Acholi is a Lau word for “human” which seems strange but there is a deep meaning. Acholi is also the name of a tribe in Northern Uganda that was decimated by Joseph Koni and the LRA. Through our involvement with Invisible Children we were truly confronted with the atrocities around the world, but at the same time at those that were going on in our home town. I was immediately endeared to the kids who sought the simple things in life, like education, family, community. That was just my human side, when I was forced to look at the situation through the lens of the Gospel, I realized what we all have been called to do on top of our gifts and talents. We have been called to love on those that are needy and wanting as an act of worship. (It’s funny how this simple and hard act can become a way of life.)
When Elora and I realized that we could never go back to the way we were living, in a bubble, we decide to get Acholi marked on our wrist so that we would never for get to love those people, the widow and the orphans, the street kids, and my neighbor. For me specifically it reminds me that we are all created in the image of God, even though our situations are different and the opportunities that we receive vary from town to country, we have just as much potential as the next person, but our resources dictates how for that potential goes.
My spiritual marker is on my wrist so that I see it everyday, reminded everyday that what I have is temporary. The things I have I need to used for the benefit of others and build relationships. Most importantly relationships that point to Jesus and his Gospel, because that is what I am trying to live out.