beloved.

I got a tattoo in September.

did you know that? you probably do if you follow me on instagram (which, by the way, makes my life look like a flawless stream of sunsets and and tea and poetry and journaling. it’s not. instagram lies. we all know that, right? you probably do, but right now I’m tired of hiding behind pretty filters and just want you to know that my life is not nearly as put-together as instagram makes it seem sometimes. I do love instagram, but sometimes it lies, but I love it anyway, but that’s another post.)

but so, a tattoo.

one Sunday night at 8:45 pm, three of my friends threw me into a car, drove me to a tattoo parlor, and walked me in to get inked. which makes the whole thing sound so much sketchier and reckless than it was, I’d been thinking about getting the tattoo for around three years and they just got tired of hearing me talk about it (in the two and a half weeks that they had known me. so maybe I was a little obsessed) and they said…it’s time.

and so, a tattoo.

it’s simple. one word. my handwriting, with a little help from the tattoo artist to even out the loops on the e’s and the height of the d. just a few inches. left forearm, closer to the elbow, on the inside.

beloved.

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people ask me about it sometimes, the girls that took me or friends from home seeing it for the first time or people noticing it peeking out from a sleeve. sometimes I get asked, do you love it?

yes. yes, I love it.

except when I don’t.

see, that one word on my arm declares, staunchly and boldly and permanently, that I am beloved. that my identity rests in being called beloved – not earning it and not performing for it and not following the rules and not being good – but simply that One has called me beloved.

what a beautiful truth.

and so I love it, except when I don’t believe it, that beautiful and impossible truth.

I hate it when I don’t believe that I am beloved. I hate it when I’ve been struggling and feeling like I am falling oh so short. I hate it when I’m trying to earn love and getting nowhere. I hate it when I’m unhappy, when everything seems grey, when I start to feel that at the core of me I am nothing but a mess. I hate it when I haven’t been talking to that One and I want to yell at him but I feel like there’s no point because he won’t yell back. I hate it when my tidy pieces start to fall apart and I don’t think I deserve it anymore.

on the days when I don’t believe it, I want to scrub that word right off my skin. because it feels like a lie, sitting all pretty in the crook of my elbow, telling the world that I am beloved when I am feeling the furthest from beloved. when I am feeling unlovable.

but that’s why it’s in ink, that’s why I walked into that tattoo shop. because even when I don’t believe beloved, I am still beloved. truth is like that, it’s permanent. and this truth is one that I need to be reminded of, frequently. more frequently than the good church girl in me wants to admit. this truth is one that I want to tie my whole being to: that I am dearly loved. much adored. precious.

that I am beloved.

because I think if I can rest in that, that will be enough.

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half way.

It’s almost impossible to believe how quickly the time has gone, how fast this adventure has flown by. It still feels like October in my head, somehow, and I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that no, it’s halfway over. Halfway over? How can it be halfway over? We just started.

I’m back on the Greensboro Fellows blog today, and I’d love it if you’d head over there for a little update on reaching the halfway point of this crazy, ridiculous, beautiful, messy adventure.

feet on the ground.

I walked away from the words for a little. away from the wrestle, from the fight, away from the tangled and messy and hard and beautiful thing that is scraping your soul raw and laying it out in lines.

away from the work of working through, of writing through. of chasing wild, of hunting healing, of trying to puzzle it out and put it together. I needed space, or maybe I didn’t, maybe I shouldn’t have stopped, but it’s done now.

and I find myself not sure how to do this because the heart-on-page thing is a habit that’s easy to get out of and it feels a little awkward coming back. still like coming home, but someone painted the walls while I was gone and I didn’t know.

I don’t really know if I have anything to say. it seems all I have lately is empty hands and slivers of thoughts.

(and some hopes and dreams tucked in there too, I suppose, though I’m not really sure what they are. but I’m working on that one.)

because honestly, it’s hard. things are hard. this whole doing life with people thing? it’s hard. it’s way hard. this whole doing life thing, in general? it’s hard. I am unsure and I am asking questions and thinking things through. and I have doubts and I have hurt places and I have things I wish I could change and things that I am slowly making peace with. and God has been rather silent lately, or maybe I haven’t been listening, but either way something is shifting.

some nights, I want to quit. a lot of nights, honestly. I want to get away. I want to run. I want to get in my car and drive, drive till I find a new town and pick a new name and make a new life.

but I’m a fool if I think that I won’t bring my same broken self to my new life.

and I’ve got people who love me, broken bits and all.

so I’m staying. and I’m asking the questions, and I’m wrestling. I’m dreaming and I’m hoping. I’m trying to fit sentences together again and I’m asking God if He’s still there, if He would show up for me. and yes, I’m still crying on the floor sometimes. but I’m fighting. I’m fighting for myself and who I want to be. some day, it’s a fight just to get out of bed.

but I will continue to plant my feet on the ground and fight.