Wednesday Wisdom Tip: Gauges, Tattoos and Other Piercing Things We Do

If you are joining me here today from Modsquadblog, welcome! I hope you will become a regular part of our community of women purposing to raise wiser daughters. Just click on the envelop above, adding your e-mail address and you will begin to get each post directly to your e-mail box. At the end of today’s post, I’ll announce the winner of the “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart” CD.

Today’s tip generates from a question from a bloggy friend:

“I am struggling. My daughter is a freshman at Bible college and has “let herself go”.  While still doing well on her studies, mentoring children, in Bible study group and in a new “urban ministry” church downtown, she has let her weight get out of control, she’s not taking care of her skin, she takes on the “grunge” look to go to class, and most recently showed up with ear gauges in her ears. She thinks that these huge holes will just grow back, but they won’t.  They will be permanent. I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know scripturally where to look and I don’t want a wedge between my daughter and me.  Please pray for me and if you have any direction, I welcome your advice.”

I have been on just about every side of this story. I, too, have a child in college and can relate to the changes that can occur in a life when they leave home.

As a sophomore in high school, my daughter also went through a grunge stage. Why would a girl who was so beautiful want to look that way? A dear friend of mine, Shari Braendel, gave me some sound advice, “Lynn, if she is not sinning, leave her alone.”

That smarted! I think I took I took it so hard because I wanted my girl to look better for my sake probably more than for her’s. I was focusing on the outside more than what was on the inside.

Our children look for ways to be their own person; different than us. As they grow up and leave home, sometimes this takes the form of things we are uncomfortable with such as gauges, tattoos and other things we do to our bodies. (I wrote post on tattoos and why people are attracted to them.) These can be indicators of what is taking place in the heart, but they are not always negative.

I believe the Lord would encourage us the same way that He encouraged Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7 “…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Our children’s heart needs to be the focus of our prayers and attention .

What do you think?

The winner from yesterday’s post of “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart” CD is Colleen G. Congratulations! Please e-mail me at [email protected] your full name and address, Colleen and I’ll get it right out to you!

Today is the last day that Proverbs 31 is offering 25% off all of our resources. If you haven’t purchased “His Revolutionary Love” for a teen girl you care about, today’s the day! Give a Christmas gift this year that will make a difference in her life eternally! I would be happy to autograph it for her as well; just let Teri know when you contact our office.




  1. Lynn – Thank you for this devo. Again – your words and thoughts are right on. I have a 13 year old daughter , who like your daughter, is beautiful. I have heard it since she was a baby. And within the last year, her choice in clothes and hairstyle have radically changed. Some call it punk, some call it grunge, whatever it is, it is nothing like me! So thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that she wants to be independent and different. She is not sinning. She does have a heart for God. So when I am tempted to worry about what others are thinking, I will remember what you’ve said and pray for her heart. Thank you!!!

    1. Karen,
      I am glad I could encourage you. I know that all will not agree with me. Sometimes these things are huge signs that something very wrong is going on inside our child’s heart. I just want to say that it is not always so. Ask the Holy Spirit to say when it is and when it is not.

      In the case of my daughter, she was very very sad and I had no idea. I just wish I had paid more attention to her heart and less attention to her clothes.

  2. Erika Sams says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with what you say. In response to your friend who states that her beautiful daughter: “has let her weight get out of control, she’s not taking care of her skin” — This concerns me. It seems she is hard at work for the Lord, but beware something’s not quite right. Check her motivation for why she’s doing what she is – who is she trying to impress? Luke 10:27 Love your neighbor as YOURSELF. Does she still seem to have self-confidence? Does she love herself as well as others?

  3. I needed to hear this, as my 14 year old daughter has been judged by others because of her “look.” She has a blonde streak through her hair and pink in the back. She wears crazy bracelets and character t-shirts. To me she looks like fun but others see her differently. She was even accused of being goth. It really bothers me that her outward appearance is more important to some people…thank you for reminding me of the verse about how God looks not what is outside but on what is inside. And I know that what is within is beautiful and godly.

  4. Kim Horga says:

    Thank you for addressing these issues. My 18 year old daughter recently got a rather large tattoo and is already planning her next. I do not like her marking her body and tried to talk her out of it but in the end I had to be supportive. I am sad because who knows if she will wish she hadn’t done this years from now? This gives me pause…

  5. Thanks for this post – it is encouraging as i have a daughter going away to college soon. She wants a tattoo, and it has been really bothering me – I worry she will regret it, or it will affect how others see her, potential job interviews, etc. She wants a tattoo of a cross in her wrist – and says “Mom, how can having a cross on my arm forever be a bad thing?” I will need to look for your post about tattoos. 🙂

  6. My question is: What if your daughter is participating in these things, and you do NOT feel like she has a heart for God at the same time? What then?

    1. Brenda – been there too! I don’t have a ton of wisdom here except that I pray, pray, pray. I don’t expect behavior that reflects the heart of God when that heart isn’t there. Each and every day I have to trust Jesus to do the drawing.

      1. Your comment about not expecting the behavior to reflect the heart of God when the heart isn’t there, just set me free from a lot of frustration! Wow, what a revelation! I have a son who is like this (though he is now 20) and now I can save myself and him a lot of confusion and frustration and just focus on the heart issue!
        Thank you so much for that word,


        1. Molly, that is the message my husband has preached to me time and time again when I am upset. It doesn’t remove the disappointment, hurt or sadness but it does help to elevate the expectation. My prayer is that the Lord will use me to love unconditionally and shine out how truly blessed and beautiful a surrendered life can be when you are in love with the King of it all!

  7. Melinda Waters-Miles says:

    As a mother of 4 daughters, 27, 25, 21 & 19, we have dealt with many an issue & basically have come out unscathed. When the issue of tattoos came about, I pointed out to them a scripture that addressed the issue. Leviticus 19:28. As young Christians this script spoke to them & thankfully they listened to God’s word. Understanding that God’s word is true they look ahead to the future & understand that a tattoo would probably eventually not be for them. I am thankful for open eyes & open hearts.

  8. Thank you for this. I really loved your friend’s quote about leaving your daughter alone. I’m 32 and I got my first tattoo ten years ago. It, along with the subsequent five, all have a personal and specific meaning. I have 8 earrings and a belly ring. Not one of my tattoos is visible unless I want it to be. I am happily marrried to a non-tattooed man and I have a 12 year old girl and a 5 year old boy. I work in a professional environment, my in-laws are an ordained minister and a secretary, both on staff at our church. If there would be cause to consider the “wisdom” of a tattoo, I believe I have it.

    The most common question I get is, “What are you going to tell your children when they want to get a tattoo?” The answer is simple: Mommy already has one for everyone. (I have one tattoo for each of us.) My art is meaningful to me. It’s all been done by one very fantastic artist (Walter “Sausage” Frank) To answer the question of if I could do it all over again, would I? No. I wouldn’t. As time has gone on, my feelings regarding my reasons for getting tattooed have changed. I no longer NEED the tattoos. However, I hide nothing from my children concerning my art work. They enjoy using mommy as a coloring canvas from time to time. And since they are permanently a part of me, I have no shame concerning them. Each event was different and unique times in my life that I couldn’t depart from in my memory if I wanted to – inked or not.

    Beyond this – my tattoos are MINE. No one else is being forced to wear them or even look at them. If there is a lack of enthusiasm or appreciation for my tattoos, then I can assure the offended party that the offense is THEIRS and I will sleep regardless. I do not mean this in the sense of blatant disregard and respect for others. Simply that my tattoos have nothing to do with anyone else.

    Tattooing is very personal. Ultimately the “sin” of them is, I believe, between the individual and God Himself. I’m aware of the scripture in Leviticus 19:28 regarding tattooing…however, it doesn’t say not to get tattooed. It says not mark ourselves for the dead. There’s a difference if the ancient Hebrew meaning is searched out.

    So…what do I tell my children? I won’t pay for or sign for an underaged tattoo. If they want one – or 12 -they can pay for it and they’ll do it as a legal adult. I AM the tattooed mother and as such, it is my duty to pass on to my children what I have learned…the good and bad of tattoos. And then, I remember that these little people do not belong to me. They were gifts to nurture and teach and train up in the ways of the Lord…and then they are His and I must let them go and He will take their hands to walk out the life He has given them. I can only do my part in love. Tattooed or not…me OR them.

    PS – Besides…. God Himself has tattoos….
    Isaiah 49:15-17
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    15 “ Can a woman forget her nursing child,
    And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
    Surely they may forget,
    Yet I will not forget you.
    16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
    Your walls are continually before Me.”

  9. Sound advice! I remember experiencing something similar when my second born daughter wanted to play the drums and had no interest in having painted nails or girly things. I then heard God gently telling me she was supposed to be in His image – not mine. Ouch! I lovingly let it go and let her go into God’s hands. She has since become a girly girl, but not because of my influence. I learned to love her for how God saw and created her.

  10. This has been an amazing read for me. I have received two beautiful revelations. 1. I can’t expect Godly behavior when the heart isn’t there. & 2. My children are made in God’s image, not mine!
    Wow, I have been set free from so much frustration and agony and so have my children.
    Praise God!

  11. I agree that the inward is what’s important, however my husband and I are teaching our “tween” age girls the importance of their bodies being a temple for the Holy Spirit. We tell them “you wouldn’t put graffiti on the walls of your church, so why put it on your body?” I think its important to teach them this while they’re young!!

  12. I think you are spot on whether it’s guys or girls … we have also talked about how you present yourself in the workplace and the fact that while it’s not necessarily right people do judge you on how you look. That being said our second daughter (who’s a knockout) has a very tiny nose ring/stud and it looks gorgeous on her (plus it’s Biblical check out Rebecca) …. we have done henna before as well, which some people don’t like as it’s a “tattoo” but there’s no piercing. Gages make me uncomfortable as do large tattoos but that doesn’t necessarily make them a sin….

    thanks for the post!

  13. What a beautiful post! I am a grace given God believing former pit dweller and a 30 year old mother of two beautiful boys. I am happily married and actively pursuing a PhD. I also sport 3 tattoos and will be getting at least one more. Beautiful mommas, how right it is that you are careful to notice changes in your sweet daughters! Please know that these body alterations do not indicate a negative future trajectory. As long as your daughters are crazy about Him He will let them know what is and is not right in His sight! Blessings on you precious mothers and daughters!

  14. Linda Ayer says:

    The Bible also says in Letivticus 19:28 “Do not cut bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.I am the Lord. (NIV) I did not let my daughter get a tattoo but she got one when she moved out and when to college. Now at the age of 35 she regretting that decision.

  15. Kim Garrison says:

    I’m not sure where I stand on this issue because my kids aren’t there yet- still young. However, my niece is away at college and I see her desire to be self-expressive (with tattoos and piercings) and the stress it puts in her family. But, two verses come to mind:
    “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body,” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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