This is my new tattoo. New tattoo, this is my blog. It is brand new. (Obviously, it is still in plastic.) I knew when I decided on this tattoo I’d get asked a certain question a lot. Now, I know there are plenty of other questions, but there will be one that people ask most often. I’ll hit the other questions first.
Where did you get this tattoo?
When I need a referral for anything, I ask the ladies of ICAN of Atlanta. I wanted a tattoo, so I asked for their recommendations. Among their recommendations was one for Family Tradition Tattoo. So, I did what anyone would do. I stalked those recommended on Facebook, and decided I’d check out Family Tradition. I am very, very pleased.
Not where, as in location! Where on your body?
Oh. See, this is why you should fully understand the question before answering. Sometimes “where do babies come from?” isn’t quite what you thought. The tattoo is on the inside of my left wrist.
Did it hurt?
Yes, a little. Completely bearable, but it wasn’t an hour massage. It was an hour of needles in my wrist. Which surprisingly is much less painful than the previous sentence implies.
What does the Pastor think?
He knew what he was getting into when he married me. He should expect such nonsense at this point. (And he knows what is good for him so he says he likes it.)
What do the kids think?
Emery said, “Dat’s coot!” Aidan said, “Mom! That is beautiful!” Imogene said, “Where’s Peter Rabbit?” Ransom said nothing, instead just tried to get me to feed him. (Typical.)
What does it mean?
Here is the kicker question. The one I am certain to be answering for years to come. (Maybe people will stop asking me if I know what causes “that” and ask instead about my lovely ink. Maybe.)
You knew you recognized those sparrows, right? See, here they are in their original form. In the story of Peter Rabbit. I used to read this book to Imogene every night before bed, so I know the story well. In the story, Peter disobeys his mother and goes to the Farmer’s against her warnings. Peter finds himself trapped and gives up hope. Some friendly sparrows fly down to Peter and implore him to exert himself. Peter musters the strength to free himself and get away, avoiding destruction.
Now, the sparrows could have done what I would do and tell Peter he’s in the predicament because he lacks good sense and refuses to listen to wise counsel. The sparrows could have freed Peter themselves, making them the hero of the story, but they don’t. They simply offer encouragement for Peter to do what they know he can do.
As a mother, I feel I need to be more like these sparrows. I need to be more encouraging (and not just to my children). I need to build others up, not tear them down. I am confident Peter realized the error of his ways. He didn’t need the sparrows to tell him what an idiot he was. As a mom, it is my job to be like these encouraging sparrows. I should be standing on the sideline imploring my children to exert themselves, do their best. It isn’t up to me to rescue them from every situation, but to help them find it in themselves to be their own heros, to do it themselves. As a friend, it isn’t my place to tell my friends when they mess up or what is wrong with their lives. We all know too keenly what is wrong in our lives without others pointing that out to us. (And I’m not talking about accountability, just meddling.) What my friends need is an encouragement.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
When I look at these sparrows, my hope is that I will be reminded to encourage rather than to nag.