A few days ago I was talking to a friend who was showing of a beautiful griffon inked on her arm, I let slip that next time we’d see each other I would be branded, she looked at me nonplussed and said “you have always been branded”. I was stunned into silence by the truth of that statement.

Anyone who has been following this blog will know about my encounter with God in Wales and the giving of my new name. Before I left Wales I had decided to tattoo the name on my body lest I forget who I am created to be. I voiced it as an idea around the campfire the last night as an idea but it felt when I spoke it like a promise to God, or perhaps a promise to myself. And now it is done, I have gotten my first tattoo. My God given name in hebrew.

This name describes the me I was created to be, Gods intention for my life (Calling as a naming process is incidently the theme of the book I am writing in my spare time), something that has been true from the minute I was conceived until this day and will be the truest part of me no matter what I do with my life. Now I have lived most of my life trying to be my own boss, convinced that I cannot trust anyone else and I have not stood as firm as my name suggests, but it is a name to grow into, a calling to holiness and wholeness, a calling to truth and purpose. It is the truest part of me.

And so it is very much an outward sign of an inward grace. My tattoo a visible sign to remind me and others what God’s intention was and still is with me. And so it is a sacramental tattoo. My friend got it right in one, I have always been branded on the inside, all I have done is posted a reminder on the outside.

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Patrik Olterman
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