I am not a tattoo woman. That is to say, tattoos have never really been my thing. But if I were to get one, I know exactly what I would get, and precisely where it would go. I would get “Created in the Image of God” written in a delicate hand right over my heart, where only two men’s tools have been – God’s when He crafted and formed me in my mother’s womb, and two decades later, my EP (which stands for an Electrophysiologist, a special kind of cardiologist that deals with diseases of the electrical system of the heart), who burned my electrical system four times before putting in and removing my pacemaker twice. Only two men have seen the inner workings of my heart – the Creator Himself, who crafted and molded it into what it was before its malfunctioning, and then the bold and courageous man who was willing to take a risk to make it more functional years later after infection.
But why “Created in the Image of God” over a heart that didn’t work perfectly? Because it absolutely did, and because in the face of issues, God carried me through them. Because God never makes mistakes in His creation, and because I believe in the power of Scripture (not in its infallibility, but in its inspiration), and therefore, that my heart was created mirroring God’s; if mine had weird quirks, then so must God’s, and if my heart breaks, so must God’s.
Don’t worry, I am not rushing out to get a tattoo, and likely won’t ever – commitment issues? A fear of permanence? Will likely get destroyed in further surgeries, and then what will it say? (Laugh away…) Permanent Ink has never really been my thing anyway.
But will stay is the theology behind the sentiment. We are all created in the image of God, which means that we were created perfectly, with all our foibles, imperfections within, defects (birth, emotional, psychological, physical and otherwise) and never forget that. God saw it fit to carry me through all this, and wrap his hands around the perfect heart He created in the beginning, out of nothing. How unfathomable that is still boggles the mind of this weekend theologian, and yet with my mind set on gratitude, the scars I carry in and on my heart as a result of the five surgeries and procedures, I still tout the verse from Genesis 1, which says,
“So God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them…” (Genesis 1:27-28a, NRSV)
Because regardless of what we carry, we were created in the image of God, in the beginning, and blessed by God following that act of creation. I don’t need a tattoo over the heart that has been burned, ablated, scarred, infected, nuked with antibiotics and stimulated with electricity during countless EP studies to know that it was lovingly crafted by the Divine Creator who continues to compassionately hold my hand, guide me through this thing called a Call, and smack me in the back of the head when I stubbornly insist on a mentality of “my way or the highway.” This heart was created, whether it was created in the state its in now, or without its foibles, is as perfect as a heart without any issues, as God created it.
And so goes everything that God creates because the bottom line is, God the Father created it out of selfless and undeserving love for the very thing He was creating. And thanks be to God for that selfless and undeserving love, that we continue to feel each and every day, in a variety of ways; because in a world that struggles with inclusion of broken beauty, the perfection of God’s creation, just as it is, is something to be embraced and praised, and treasured as a precious jewel.
We are all created in the image of God; no one person is more created than another, nor is anyone created better, more whole or less whole. Everyone is created as God intended, and for that, I must say Thanks be to the God who created, who continues to create, and who will be the sustainer of such a glorious creation. And that creation includes tattooless but no less created me.