I don’t know why I feel the urge to do something adventurous when milestone birthdays come around. But sixty-five is here and I decided I wanted to get more out of it than Medicare.

Ziplining was my choice and my husband joined me in the adventure recently while in the North Carolina mountains. Highlands Aerial Park was great but it wasn’t the big rush I expected—not like skydiving five years ago. I guess stepping out of an airplane at 14,500 feet was a bit more dangerous. 

I wanted a real challenge.

So I got a new tattoo.

The tattoos on my back have been with me for years and since I can’t see them, I forget about them. I decided I wanted one I could see, one that would call something important to mind every time I looked at it. I had ihs superimposed on a cross inscribed on my right arm. I want Jesus to be in the forefront of my thoughts and to be reminded that all I am and do should be for Him. He is my Creator, Savior, Healer, and Redeemer. He is my Source of joy and peace.

But getting the tattoo was anything but a peaceful experience. As kind as artist Eli was, the drawing he did on my arm hurt like the dickens.

I don’t like needles (as my doctor’s nurse can testify) and I don’t like pain. Getting my earlier tattoos was painful enough to take my breath away but as with childbirth, the memory faded with time.

I like the results of getting tattooed. The cross and the word forgiven on my back have meaning for me. I’ve been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb who allowed Himself to hang on a cross for my sin. And now, the ihs, a combination of letters that represents Jesus, Savior of Mankind, will constantly prompt me to focus my life on Him.

The tattoo needle felt like a knife slicing my arm, one slow stroke at a time. I didn’t cry, but was taut as a board and scarcely able to breathe. I squeezed the life out of friend Michelle’s hand, which had to make her question her offer to come along for moral support.

Eli told me it would be less painful if I relaxed. Yeah, right. That’s what my gynecologist always says and it’s never made any difference in that office either.

But to put things in perspective, my pain was nothing compared to what Jesus experienced. He had nails driven into his wrists and feet and was lifted up and roughly dropped so that the weight of his body tore at His nailed appendages. I cannot imagine. And unlike me, He had no hand to hold; He was forsaken. His own Father turned His back from the horrible sin—my sin—that Jesus took upon Himself.

I’m blinking back tears as I think of the sacrifice my Lord made for me. That hardly seems like a birthday celebration and yet, it is. He came and died that I might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10)

And I do! I have the freedom to be me, to do fun things, to enjoy family and friends, and to serve my community. I also have the freedom to fail and fall short, but still know I am loved and forgiven.

I’ll continue to adventure as God directs. I don’t know where that might lead me but I’m secure in the knowledge I’m in good Hands.


  1. Cindi Johnson
    Oct 5, 2019

    So beautifully expressed! Love you and Happy Birthday!

    • Karen Curran
      Oct 5, 2019

      Thank you, dear Cindi!

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