To celebrate the big milestone of my 35th birthday, my husband gifted me something I’ve wanted for a while. A decade ago, I got my first tattoo, a star on my foot as a symbol honoring the friendship I have with Jacob extends through to the other side of heaven. A couple years later, I got two birds tattooed on my ribcage. The symbolism there is that at the end of the day it’s just me and God — He’s the larger bird in the front, I’m the smaller bird positioned close behind — a reminder my role is to spread my wings and follow Him.

February 25th, the day before I turned 35, the word “enough” was tattooed on my right forearm.

At first, “enough” was a simple declaration “I am enough“. A battle cry I’ve imprinted deep into my soul as the deep wound of “not being enough” has healed over time.

Over the months I sat with the idea, drew it on my skin, practiced looking at it every day, it moved into something more.

“Enough” became a three part declaration over my past, my present and my future.

“Enough” for the past is “I am enough”. A deep soul wound in me had grown over time — I didn’t believe I was enough. The wound was inflicted by well meaning and “doing their best” people in my life who’s actions communicated I had to strive for my worth, strive for their acceptance, strive for belonging. To protect myself from the pain the wound caused, I did strive, I strived like my life depended on it and when I strove and fell short, I threw my middle finger in the air and ran the opposite direction — of their expectations, their beliefs of who I was, even them as people. It took years to be able to identify so many of my behaviors and anxiety were rooted in the “I am not enough” wound. And it has taken years to heal that wound and replace it, not just the belief in my head but the deep belief in my heart — I AM ENOUGH.

“Enough” for the present is “this is enough”. Everything I have, right now, in this moment, it’s enough. My family is enough. My friends are enough. My finances are enough. My church is enough. My knowledge is enough. The breath I breathe is enough. The effort I’m putting in, it’s enough. God, He is enough. This declaration is one made out of contentment, not complacency.

“Enough” for the future is “enough is enough”. This is a reminder for me to stay angry at things worthy of my anger. Enough is enough — enough systemic injustice marginalizing people, enough white washing history, enough ignoring mental health issues, enough profit driven prison industrial complex and pharmaceutical industry, enough slandering people for their differences, enough cancel culture. The list could go on — stay aware, stay invested, stay angry — enough is enough.

Tabby and I started doing affirmations together. We started standing next to each other in the mirror and it’s morphed into something more, something deeper, as a recent example on family vacation validated how much these words matter.

While all the adults were playing a game (Tabby was “on my team”), Papa got up to get some Cheez-its. Tabby already had a snack so when she asked for some of what he had, I told her she could ask Papa. She buried her head in my chest “I’m scared” she said. I held her for a minute and went back to playing the game as she seemed to forget about the cheez-its and moved on.

A little while later, while in the kitchen fixing my own next round of snack, I feel a pressure at my hip and looked down to see two brown wide eyes staring back at me. “Mom, can we do our affirmations so I won’t be scared to ask Papa?”

I quickly knelt down, held my girl’s hands and declared the following as she repeated after me:

I am brave.
I am strong.
I am capable.
I am encouraging.
I am kind.
I am patient.
I am wise.
I am creative.
I am loved.
I belong.
I am enough.

With limitless resources at my fingertips, I get distracted and confused about what I should be teaching my kids. Things feel so complicated most days as I forget to brush their teeth or miss a teachable moment. I’m grateful for the reminder on my right arm. It silences the noise and centers me to my priorities. I want to show up as a mom who has an abundance mindset, one who believes there is enough — enough of herself, enough of them, enough of God — enough.

xoxo, va