Adventuring // The Meaning of My Tattoo


Hummingbirds are quite amazing. They are so small and can instantaneously change direction, and at a moments notice, shift from full speed to standing still.


I'm very close to my immediate and extended family. I am beyond thankful to be able to say that I grew up with both sets of grandparents around, and living close by. A recent chain of events occurred in which caused my dad’s side of our family to completely uproot their lives and move to Missouri. The good news is that my aunt, uncle and cousins live in Missouri. The bad news is that our daily lives have forever changed without the presence of my grandparents. During this seemingly eternal season of hurt and change, my prayer-warrior Nan’s only desire was to bring our Missouri family and Ohio family back together however God may desire.

You must know, Nan does not like change. I mean, change is good in some respects ... getting a new couch or having a child, etc. For the most part, Nan is a very routine-minded person who sticks to what she knows and what she’s good at. God knows this about her. He designed her. I think it’s safe to say that this season in particular was the most change she had endured in an extremely long time. We had formed traditions and routines, all which disappeared in the aftermath of this situation. It’s understandable to be upset when your world comes crashing down before your eyes. Despite the fact that everything around her was changing and she wasn’t getting any clear or direct signs from God as to what she should do next, she never lost hope. But He always listens, even when you don't think He does. 


One morning, Nan woke up to begin her daily devotion and meditation in prayer (which is a daily habit for her) and found herself praying, not for the situation to disappear, but for God to make a way for both sides of the family to come together as a result of the never-ending chaos around her. It killed me to see this situation slowly tear her hopes apart. However, she never once stopped her faithfulness to God. This morning, in particular, she felt incredibly discouraged and defeated. She was slowly giving up. Then, she asked God to send her a sign. A hummingbird to represent our family’s permanent reunion. She asked God to send her a hummingbird and to make sure it appeared in her line of sight, outside where her bird feeders were kept.

Sure enough, within minutes, God sent her a hummingbird. Why a hummingbird? To Nan, it’s because she’s asked to see a hummingbird for confirmation before and was the first bird to pop into her mind. God is funny sometimes.

Due to a hummingbird’s adaptability and willingness to shift gears, change direction instantly, I feel as though God was showing her that it’s okay for change to happen. This was all in His plan for them. Unfortunate situations happen, and God knows. He may not cause people to make bad decisions that seemingly ruin people’s lives, but He accounts for those decisions and makes the best of them. God is positive and He is ALWAYS good. He will make the most out of your current situation and so should you. Hummingbirds represent adaptability to the life you’re living now and forget what happened in the past.

I have always wanted a tattoo but, because of its permanence, I wanted it to have a deep meaning. Something to remind me of a life lesson or connect me to a life experience in some way. It hit me: a hummingbird. Why? Because of the life lesson I learned through Nan’s experience and through my research. I've written posts about how much I struggle with change, and this tattoo is a reminder to me that change is part of life, God plans for change, He hears you and is working behind the scenes on your behalf, and it's important to move on from what happened in the past so that you can grow and learn.

All I know is that this situation helped me grow as a person, to see the good side of things in the aftermath, rather than keeping a bitterness in my soul. Looking back at Nan’s story of the hummingbird, before I got the tattoo, I researched the symbolic meanings of the hummingbird and was in awe of God’s creativity in the choosing of the animal to represent her situation, and how those meanings apply to our family’s life. 


The meaning of this tattoo is dear to me, and the fact that my wickedly-talented cousin Marlee designed and created it made it all the more personal. I never thought I would be able to bring myself to make a permanent decision on what would go on my body. But the combination of a great story and a personal design was too good not to choose to go through with it. 

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read this, it means a lot to me.

PS, I didn't even cry once.

Huge shoutout to my tattoo artist at American Crow Tattoo, Matthew Barnett (find him on Instagram @matthew_barnett, he is incredibly talented and such a chill guy), and to my cousin Marlee for designing it for me, it just wouldn't have felt the same without a little piece of home integrated into the mix (she actually wrote a poem about the whole situation that went down if you're interested in knowing a bit more).

// kenzie

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