I have tattoos.
None that I regret. All that have meaning to me. One symbolizes inner beauty. Another represents losing my mother to breast cancer. Another is an Italian word that symbolizes a 40-plus-year friendship with my best friend.
I have a semi-colon, the symbol for suicide awareness. The word Grace. The word Hope. A cross.
There’s also a Bible verse. Just the numbers – 31:25.
It’s from the book of Proverbs: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
I chose to get this tattoo after an attempt to end her life resulted in my sister spending time in a psychiatric unit. It was my daily reminder to pray for her – and I know there are alternate ways to be reminded to pray over someone other than permanent inked drilled into your skin.
It was my message to her, and for her, that we would pull through the depression she faced. I shared it with her – texted her a photo. She was thankful, grateful. We talked, and I told her what it meant for me, and for us as a team. We would fight this together.
Before I had this inked onto my wrist, I made sure of two things: that the verse remained etched in my brain, and that I was ready to explain to others why 31:25 was on my wrist.
It was my encouragement to my sister to keep fighting. Her reminder that she was born of His strength. That she was not in this fight alone. We still lost her.
It took some time to remember I had the tattoo on my wrist. I would stare at it in disbelief. Not that the verse didn’t serve its intended purpose, but that she was gone. And that I had this tattoo. And that she was gone. And that I had…
It wasn’t supposed to go this way.
Through it, I was served a very gentle reminder. It is that we must continue leaning on scripture no matter how our life turns. No matter the path it takes. To keep holding on to promises and to beliefs with scripture that touch your soul so deeply, that you want to share it with others.
I remember working with a local nonprofit on a project a year after we lost my sister, and was asked by a friend at the month-long completion of our work together, “Now I need to know what that means.”
So, I sat at a table and explained to him that it was for my sister, that I promised to pray for her daily, and that it was a reminder to her how strong she is, and that we would fight this. And I looked down at my wrist and just rubbed my thumb on 31:25.
And I motioned one of my hands to suggest, “And…well…”
My friend looked at me and said, “It still matters.”
And I’ll never forget that.
No matter our trials, no matter our fight, no matter what we lose or gain, His word still matters. I’ll admit even seven years since we lost my sister, it is still hard sometimes to look the tattoo. It can sometimes still force me to pause. I still rub my thumb over it. But I won’t stop sharing that part of my life, or that message.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Maybe I have 31:25 for more reasons than just for my sister’s fight. Maybe it’s a continued message that I’ve been asked to carry through. Maybe it’s for me now. Or to encourage someone else. It’s not easy. Life isn’t sometimes, but we must stay true to our convictions when a world so often tries to tempt us to turn the other way.
True to our faith, to scripture that speaks to us. True to what we know. What we believe. About Him. His promises. And carry that with us on our walk.