August 19, 2004.
I don’t talk that much about my faith on my blog, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a huge part of who I am. When I was baptized, it was both the end and the beginning of a very long journey. I had started my exploration of faith shortly before my thirteen birthday, and it was filled with more ups and down, questions and doubts, than I could possibly recount on my blog.
But, needless to say, I did commit my life to following Christ as best I can and I was formally baptized on August 19, 2004.
I was baptized in college, and so at the time it was pretty common for people to “assert their identity” by getting a tattoo. I didn’t go for anything that permanent, though I did get four piercing by the time I graduated (two more in my ear lobes, my nose, and my right upper ear). But for a long time, I thought about getting a tattoo. I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I thought it should be something spiritual in nature. It was the only thing I could think of that I would want permanently on my body.
Well, after years (literally) of thinking about it, I finally figured out what I wanted permanently inked into my body. After consulting with my husband’s friend to get the right translation, I picked last Saturday as the day to get my tattoo done. I would have done it on the proper 7 year anniversary of my baptism, but there was no way Erik and I could make it to the parlor after work on Friday before it closed.
So what did I get?
Well, I’ll show you:
So here’s a little FAQ about the tattoo to help answer all your questions:
So, what does your tattoo mean exactly?
There are two words and they are meant to go together. The top word is Enumah, which means “faith” (among many other things) in Hebrew, and the bottom word is Charis, which means “grace” in Greek.
Why did you pick these words?
I chose the words because they are themes to the Old and New Testaments. Faith is one of the primary themes of the Old Testament, seen in both the Israelites as a people and in Abraham, the father of both Judaism and Christianity. Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament (Torah), which is why the first word is in Hebrew.
Grace is one of the primary themes of the New Testament, seen in the grace given to God’s people through the blood of Jesus. Jesus is grace personified. Greek is the language that the New Testament was written in, so that word is written in Greek.
When I first decided on these words, I knew I would need to get them properly translated. Hebrew is a complicated language, and emunah means several different things, so I started reading up on it to learn more about what it means in Hebrew. I found one website that has a really great analysis of it, and this part I especially liked:
“Emunah” is a Hebrew term in which the concept got lost within the Hellenized church – “emunah” was stripped of its meaning by the Greek pursuit to mentally transcend the term “belief”, a.k.a, “faith.” A person in the Hellenized church says, “I have faith… I believe in God.” Yet the fruit thereof is nearly non-existent or non-existent altogether – their “faith” is nothing more than a mental transcendence of the idea, not a living out of the idea. The concept of faith in Hebrew, which is “emunah,” is FAR more than a mental exercise. Emunah is a working, living, and active trust in God – emunah demonstrates one’s trust and belief in God by everything one DOES, not says or thinks. To act contrary to God’s Word is to lack “emunah.” Emunah is “FAITHFULNESS,” it is outright TRUST in God and the exercise and portrayal of God’s attributes in one’s own life – emunah in a Believer’s life is the ACT of portraying God’s faithfulness and loving kindness…. Now, I understood that Abraham did more than just “believe” – Abraham did more than mentally acknowledge God. Oh, yes, Abraham acted on, worked out, adhered to, and relied upon God’s Word and promises.”
Faith and Grace are not necessarily meant to come from versus directly, but are supposed to represent the overall message of the Bible. They were chosen independent of any Bible verse, though I suppose I could find versus to support why I chose them.
Did the tattoo artist get it right? Is it accurate?
Yes, it is accurate, although it almost wasn’t! Because they are words, and not a free hand drawing, the tattoo artist used a stencil. When we first did the stencil and I was looking over the proofs, I accidentally left off the accent mark above the alpha character in Charis. The tattoo artist had already started Charis when I noticed it, but luckily, I could see that there was room to add the accent mark without having to stop and re-do the whole tattoo. The artist just freehanded the mark onto the tattoo based on an image we had on my phone. But that’s the reason why the accent mark is especially close to Emunah.
In the end, it actually worked out. If we had given more space between Enumah and where the accent mark is, the two words would have been spaced out a lot more. The whole idea is that Emunah and Charis are one tattoo, so I wanted them to be fairly close together. I suppose a tiny bit more spacing would have been nice, but it’s not something I’m fretting over.
Besides, if everything went perfectly, what kind of story would that make?
Where is the tattoo?
It’s on my right ankle. I tend to sit with my right leg over my left, so it’s easy to show off. I also picked the ankle because it’s both easy to hide, yet easy to show off. It’s not something that you immediately see, but it’s also not a hassle to show it off.
Did it hurt?
Yes. Yes, it did. It’s hard to describe what it feels like, and I can see why others I know haven’t really been able to describe it. Mostly it just felt like I was being cut into, repeatedly, for about fifteen minutes, which is how long it took to get it done. The tracing of the letters was less painful than filling in the letters, which required the artist is drag the needle across my skin over and over again in the same area. That was pretty intense.
My ankle itself felt a bit sore for the next day or so. Almost like I had sprained it but not quite that bad. I guess it’s one of the more sensitive areas and with the vibrations and all…
Are you going to get another one?
I have no idea. I’d like to say yes, but I think I’m going to see how this one goes! But there’s definitely a good chance, but I think I would keep it small, like this one. I don’t know if I could handle a large tattoo. Getting a tattoo is also very expensive. Even though this only took fifteen minutes, it cost $150! I will definitely have to save my money, but maybe someday…
Do you have any tattoos? What do they mean / signify? Would you get another one?