Stephanie Bricker
Student Writer

Whether it’s a spontaneous choice or a long-pondered, careful decision, tattoos are forever. Julie Pearl is a sophomore education major with a dual certification in elementary education and special education with a minor in TESOL. She also has a tattoo that was a whole year in the making.

What does your tattoo mean to you?

On my left arm, I have the word ‘joy’ tattooed in Hebrew. One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is the life of David. To put it simply, David had a lot of baggage. At the end of it all, he was filled with so much shame that he dressed in sackcloth, which in his culture was considered to be a sign of having so much guilt that you voluntarily remove yourself from society. Then, in Psalm 131, David writes that God removed his sackcloth and clothed him with joy. God has been teaching me that whatever inadequacies or anxieties I insist on carrying, He takes them from me and replaces them with a greater joy that can only come from Him. My tattoo is a representation to me of how I am clothed in joy because of who God is, not because of who I am.

How long had you thought about getting this tattoo before you went and did it?

When I first got the idea for my tattoo, I decided to wait one year before I would let myself actually get it. That year wait only made me want it more as the time went on! I ended up waiting a little over a year so that I could get it the day that marked 5 years since I became a Christian.

Was there anything that made you hesitate to get a tattoo?

I think my biggest hesitation was what everyone would think of it. I knew not everyone was going to like it. Now, I love my tattoo and the response has been better than I expected. Everyone has been pretty positive about my tattoo. It has been a cool conversation starter about my journey with God.

Do you think the culture around tattoos is changing? Particularly in Christian settings?

I think it’s changing in a really positive way. I’ve seen that the Christian community is becoming a lot more understanding of the meaning that tattoos can have, and the ways that they can tell your testimony.

Do you think you’ll get any more?

A lot of people told me that once I get one I’ll always want more. I’m sure that can be true, but I haven’t had the desire to get another one. I love everything about my tattoo and wouldn’t change anything, but I don’t see myself getting any more