My recent state hopping was due to a conference on leadership that I was attending in Vancouver, WA.  And one of the most remarkable moments of the two days was when we discussed the power of the pen.

We are living, breathing narratives.

We carry the story of our parents, our professors, our mentors, our friends, their failures and successes and their vision for us in our veins.

Imagine that every word spoken to us was written into our flesh; an invisible tattoo.

What would yours say?

There are parts of my story I haven’t thought about for years. And when I reach for something new, when I stretch toward what I think God is calling me into, sometimes it’s like a sleeve falls back and reveals part of a tattoo I had forgotten about. The words stand out painful, dark and threatening against the vulnerable skin of my heart.

“Arrogant child; willful woman; unteachable student.”

I twist my neck around my memories to keep reading the hard words.

“Lost, prideful, could have been great if she had taken our advice.”

I feel the sting of the words as freshly as I did 13 years ago when they were being tattooed onto my soul.

“You could have been so much more than who you are.”

And suddenly the years I have journeyed since that moment are reduced to a wasted exercise in trying to escape the inevitable.

I believe what it says on my skin and not what it says on His.

“Behold, I have carved you on the palms of My hands.”

Isaiah 49:16.

Carved on the palms of His hands.

Rough, hard working hands of a Carpenter. Tender caring hands of a Shepherd. Loving, hugging hands of a Father. Friendly, familiar hands of a Son and a Brother.

My name is tattooed across all of them.

“Lisa-Jo is loved because I love her. Lisa-Jo is worthy. Lisa-Jo is called. Lisa-Jo is not lost because I am her Shepherd and I am never lost.”

For a girl who’s never had a real ink tattoo, today I am fascinated by them. Join me, won’t you? Stop staring at your own markings of failure and insecurity – look up and over at His hands and share what you see there.

What do you read about yourself, carved into His palms?

He is never lost. With Him nothing is missing; nothing is broken.

You are beautiful.

So, lift up your eyes and read what He has inked on His very own hands about you.

What does it say?