Okay…so it really isn’t that new.
I got it in January. It was my birthday present–for my 30th birthday.
From the moment I planned this unique and awe-inspiring work of art (for that is what a tattoo is, a work of art on your skin), my fingers have been itching to tell you all about it. In fact, I’ve typed this post before, multiple times–but it seems as if my words can never fully do my heart justice. I already know what many of you are thinking: “Good grief, lady–it’s just a tattoo.” Any of you are more than welcome to take this perspective. But to me, it’s a work of art that perfectly illustrates what I am called to do in this life while fully encapsulating my unique and creative personality–but I mean, sure—it’s just a tattoo.
So let me try to explain…
Everyone who knows me, knows about my obsession with all things nautical, so this ship makes perfect sense for me. But I chose a ship for more than this.
A ship has long been a symbol associated with Christianity. Specifically, it is meant to represent the church “tossed on a sea of disbelief, worldliness, and persecution” and as a result many early European churches (and even American churches) took on the resemblance of a ship in their architecture.
Many churches, like St. Catherine’s Church in France, built vaulted ceilings, creating a ship or boat-like appearance. Some architects even made their pulpits resemble a ship’s helm, making it clear that the reverend was the “captain of the ship”. From such analogies, we get great old hymnals and gospel songs such as: Anchored in Jesus, Eternal Father, and of course, The Old Gospel Ship.
But enough about the history–what does the ship mean to me?
In the words of Rev. Dan Bohi, we are all to be little Christ-ians with Christ IN US, or as he also puts it “the church on legs”. I think the original analogy of the church as a ship is beautiful in this sense. The church should never grow stagnate just as a ship should never remain in harbor. We should always be moving toward Christ and serving others with the love of God and his Great Commission in sight. This is one reason why I placed my tattoo on my thigh–to remind me to use my legs and get moving!
So, in my tattoo, I’d like to think of myself as the ship–an ever-growing, ever-moving church on legs, or ship at sea, as it were.
The ship’s sails are full-mast as they must remain in order to catch the Wind that is the Holy Spirit. He must guide and direct our lives.
Through the split between the sails, there is a glimpse of the sun, which cuts through the sails, forming a cross. This is to remind me that I must always position myself in such a way that God may shine through me. Just like the cross draws the viewers eye away from the ship, I want to live in such a way that when others look at me, they see Jesus.
The water is multi-colored to illustrate the perils of the sea, namely the unknown. For in living this life of servitude, one never knows what lies before them. It is fruitless to plan, for only God’s plan matters and he asks us to follow by faith, not by sight.
So, there you have it–the long-awaiting meaning behind my latest work of art!
Thanks to Brittany Delarosa at Legacy Tattoos & Piercings in Beebe for helping bring my symbolic work of art to life.