When Chad asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I don’t think he thought I was serious when I said I wanted a new tattoo. 🙂
I got my last tattoo nearly 10 years ago in March of 2005, but I have been thinking about getting a 2nd one for the past 2 years or so.
I don’t tend to get things permanently affixed to my body unless they’re thoroughly thought out and have significant meaning to me. I spent a while trying to think of a great way to not only reflect on the growth I have experienced over the past 3 years, but to also reflect the positive change in my heart as I look ahead to the future.
I stumbled upon this quote on Pintrest by one of my favorite authors: C.S. Lewis and realized how perfect it was.
(I also used it in a blog post not too long ago!)
This quote is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
The context is this:
Lucy and the others are on a ship heading into dark, unknown waters. Everyone is scared and worried that Aslan had led them in the wrong direction. (Oh, wow! How many times I have had this very thought!)
At one point in the midst of some turmoil, Lucy whispers, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.”
After she whispers this, C.S. Lewis so perfectly writes:
“The darkness did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little—a very, very little—better.
‘After all, nothing has really happened to us yet,’ she thought.”
Then Lucy hears a whisper in reply: “Courage, dear heart” and she knew it was Aslan whispering to her.
I just love this part of the book so much because so often in my life, and probably in yours too, life seems dark and full of turmoil. How many times have we questioned where God was in the midst of our confusion, our fear, and our pain?
Those that don’t know the voice of God shake their fists to the heavens and cry out – demanding a reply and a rescue! What I have come to learn slowly, but surely over the past several years is that God is so very near to the broken-hearted. He is a breath away and has not abandoned us. Sometimes the darkness remains around us, but his gentle whisper calms our fears and comes to us in our pain.
The call to have courage is a steep one.
Courage is not easily grasped.
Courage means that when your circumstances don’t change at all that you still trust, you still hope, and you still believe.
Courage waits for that quiet voice to whisper and calm our hearts when our world spins out of control.
Courage knows that a brighter day is coming and that our response should just be to take our Father’s hand as he leads us through and eventually out of the darkness.
After Lucy hears Aslan whisper to her to have courage, Lewis goes on to write:
“In a few moments the darkness turned into a greyness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of the ship herself astonished them: they had half expected to find that the darkness would cling to the white and the green and the gold in the form of some grime or scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.”
This is exactly the hope that I cling to…That after all this darkness has passed me, that I will find myself in a place more beautiful and more bright than I could have ever dreamed possible. I am not there yet, but I know that day is getting closer…
It takes courage for me to keep hoping.
It takes courage for me to keep dreaming and believing.
It takes courage for me to undergo a procedure or stick myself in a needle for medicine to help me ovulate.
It takes courage to try again and again.
It takes courage for me to fight the bitterness that so often threatens to rear it’s ugly head.
It takes courage for me to tune out the voices of those who speak against the hope my heart clings to.
It takes courage for me to trust that He knows why I am here and He knows where I am going even when I cannot see.
My first tattoo was meant to be a reminder to me that love is difficult, selfless, and requires sacrifice. It was a reminder not only of Christ’s loving sacrifice for me, but the loving sacrifice he calls me to show others.
In the past few years, with all that I have gone through and all that still lies before me, I want the reminder of this difficult season, the reminder of the strength I’ve found in Him, and the reminder of the hope He gives me to be permanent: