grace- The Meaning Behind My First Tattoo

“Grace” is a word that means more to me than I can explain. Just the simple utterance of it can spark a world of emotion in my soul. Masterfully folded into a Bible verse or song lyric can bring tears to my eyes.

When I was in high school, a second grader in the church class my parents teach said that grace was “something weird we don’t deserve”. At the time, I just compared that definition to my friend Grace and laughed about it. Now, I don’t think that kid was too far off. Grace is something weird (we could never understand it) we don’t deserve (we could never earn it).

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God has been speaking the word “grace” to me a lot, lately. It started when I was still in Orlando for the Disney College Program. I was so busy and always had so much going on that I never made time to read my Bible and didn’t pray much either. That’s a different story for a different day, but even then, the word “grace” started to stick out to me a lot. There was a song on the Rachel Platten CD I had bought- a completely secular artist and album- called “Grace” that really moved me during a certain week. I was struggling a lot with anxiety and jealousy and my eating disorder and I would listen to that song my whole twenty minute drive home from work at 2:00 in the morning for days, crying out to God that I needed Him, that I needed His grace to get through it all.

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Ever since then, that word started popping out at me every place I turned. I would read one Bible verse all day and it would be about grace. I would hear it on the radio, notice it in conversations, catch it on random pictures on social media. It was everywhere.

By the time I made it back to Missouri, this word started to make more sense to me. I researched the original Greek word and meaning, listened to songs that talked about it, and read all the verses I could about God’s Grace. I discovered how amazing and wonderful it is. It became my lifeline, my goal, my desire. I wanted to show others grace like God does for me. I wanted to show myself grace- one of the hardest things of all.

Here are some things I’ve learned about this mysterious, beautiful thing called “grace”:

  • God’s grace is truly all I need. When I have no strength, He is there to lift me up. 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • God’s grace is a gift. We truly don’t deserve it, and we could never earn it, but that’s what makes it so beautiful. Ephesians 2:8-9
  • There is no condemnation in God’s grace. By His grace, we are free from the law of sin. Romans 6:14
  • Where there is sin, God’s grace is greater still. Romans 5:20
  • Grace isn’t about perfection. Grace is about the absence of perfection. I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be me. And that is enough.
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When it came to finally getting my first tattoo- which I was waiting until I had worked at Disney World to do- I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a permanent reminder of the gift from God that keeps me afloat. My strength, my forgiveness, my acceptance. All the things this simple word means to me, and yet, I still cannot grasp the full beauty of God’s grace. He is grace. He is love. He is good.

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