So That Gideon Tattoo Happened

Sooooooo, last week I couldn’t write and I didn’t post.  One week went by for the first time in two years without a blog post.  It was weird, to say the least, and I will tell you more next week about why it didn’t happen.  But all in the meantime…THIS…happened…

Peace Tattoo

Its official.  I’m permanently changed forever!  Or should I say, I finally got the physical mark to show it.

Its interesting how it was just time.  Ever since March 31st 2014 when baby Gideon came I knew getting a tattoo was something that I wanted to do to honor all that God did in our family.  It took me almost two years to make it happen and now, because I yam who I yam, there are a few things inparticular I want to share about my tattoo choices.

The Peace:  God’s peace during that season of suffering and loss in our lives was thick.  It was tangible, it was real and I want a constant reminder to remember it.  The night before Gideon came, Dave sat down at the dining room table to pray for our family.  Before he did he shared this verse, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27.  If my arm was bigger I probably would have tattoo the whole verse on it.  Instead I chose the one word that impacted us the most: peace.

The Star:  Gideon’s blue star.  I wanted a way to remember my boy, a fingerprint of his that will leave a Gideon sized smile on my face every time I see it.  Blue Stars became Gideon’s symbol, an image to help us bring honor and remembrance to him.  I think part of the reason why it took me so long to get the tattoo is because I had the pieces in mind but never the whole.  Sometimes, when I am thinking about something a lot I dream about it.  Most times I pay attention, but one night I dreamt that I went in to get my peace tattoo, but instead of the “a” there was a blue star.  I woke up that morning and thought, “Well yeah!  That is perfect!”  It sounds trite to say, even a bit silly and cliche…but I only speak my truth!  And my honest to goodness truth is that I dreamt up the idea for this tattoo.

See that little blue star on Gideon’s hat? Say hello to the “original” Gideon Blue. Since then it has become our family color, our physical reminder of all things Gideon. When worn it brings peace, perspective, strength, and joy. It brings a colorful reminder that God’s goodness and love can penetrate to the deepest and darkest of places.

The Placement:  I must have drawn on myself a million times, but I kept going back to the same place on my arm.  The place where my baby laid, right in the place where I held him, where I’ve held all that I hold most dear in this world…all my kiddos.  It’s in these places in life, the most cherished, the most loved and valued in those places is where fear creeps in.  It’s in the sweetest places where our joy and peace are often drowned out by the worry, fear and stress.  So when I cradle arms, there my “peace” reminder will be.

The Size:  I ain’t gonna lie, when I set out for this “tattoo” ordeal I pictured a fancy script and TINY little “peace” on my arm.  And whoa there it is!  Not tiny, or in script, or fancy.  It’s plain, simple, and bigger than I imagined.  Yet even as I write that I realize, that’s how God’s peace was for me in my greatest hour of need and it’s a truth I go back to over and over again for strength.  Its nothing fancy, its not elaborate or in your face.  And the truth is I could have had it fancy, tiny, and script but I would have had to sacrifice the star.  And hasn’t that been the story for me?  I probably could have continued to go along, skipping even through the naive and minimally painless days of life.  But the Gideon pain followed by all the peace and a little life to impact us forever…well it was well worth it.  And so the star had to stay in the tattoo.  So bring on the bigger baby!

The Me:  I have had several “permanence” mini heart attacks since I got it.  Like the “Holy goodness what have I done?!  Wait, did I just do that?? I did!  Oh Goodness!!  Its like forever…”  And then in an elaborate stroke of irony I read it and, oh right, it says “peace.”  Guess I should get off my crazy horse and take a deep breath.  If you would have asked me ten years ago if I would ever get a tattoo the answer would have been, “no way, those things are permanent!”  That’s just the thing for me now, the actual reason why I got it.  This heart of mine, this life…I am marked.  I am fully and deeply scarred, yet because my God is big and His joy is real I live and I ain’t scared no more to ink that for the world to see.

Below are some pictures of our time.  My Dad came with me to get a tattoo too, his Gideon tat is below.  Pictured here is Dustin, our trusty tattoo man.  We all had our stories, our pain and our real life that brought us to tattoo our bodies.  And tattoo or none, we all have our scars.  Broken and bent we all go through this life, and whether we wear it on our sleeves or not, it’s there.  I can’t tell you what a gift writing with you has been, that you share your scars and your stories here.  Thank you for letting be me here and thank you for being you.

And speaking of you…do you have any tattoos??  I wonder what are the meanings behind them?  I would love to hear!  If not body tattoos, what kind of heart tattoos do you have?

Here I am.  Sitting, waiting, heart beating a little faster.  And there is Dustin, our trusty, cussing and kind tattoo man.  He had a full portrait of his Dad tattooed on his arm whom he lost a few years ago.  I got to share Gideon with him and together we acknowledged the pain of losing people we love.


Did it hurt?  Eh, you know what? It really wasn’t bad at all.  It only hurt a little.
My Dad came too for his Gideon tattoo.  Actually it was him over Christmas that lit the fire under our tails to finally get it done.  “You know what I want for Christmas?” (asks the man who has everything and is especially hard to buy for) “I want us to go get our Gideon tattoos.”  Yes!  That one I could do!  


7 thoughts on “So That Gideon Tattoo Happened

  1. Maria, I am so impressed with what a beautiful job Dustin did with the tattoos…They are so filled with PEACE, LOVE AND JOY that you, Dad and all have for our Gideon. So very proud of you both..Love u

  2. Dustin really is a master at his craft. I’m glad you both were in such good hands, blue gloves and all! I love that your tattoo was designed for you in your dream and I love how you placed it where his little body was lying in your arms. I couldn’t help but notice, too, that it is where you would put your fingers to feel your pulse, which is of course your heartbeat, which made me think of the peace you have in your heart when you think of your sweet baby son and the peace we all felt in our hearts that very special day in March. It’s a beautiful way to honor Gideon for all to see. It is you. It is perfect!

    1. Blue gloves, how did I miss that one?? So awesome. And I loved what you pointed out about the heartbeat too, made me think how it’s a double blessing that with every heartbeat Gideon is with us and when this beating heart of mine finally stops I will get to hold him once more. Love that you pointed me to that, thank you!

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