Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vulnerability = Connection with God and Others

About a month ago, I met a woman with a tattoo on her shoulder. The tattoo was of a cat made out of ham. A hamcat. It was strange and hilarious, and it was plain as day at my eye level on her bare shoulder, so I asked her about it.

Me: Is your tattoo of a cat made out of ham?
Hamcat Tattoo Lady: Worst decision of my life. 
Me: Yeah...

An interesting conversation ensued. We laughed. We connected a bit, and here I am, a month and a half later wondering about the Hamcat Lady because while we spoke for five minutes, I thought she was awesome. I mean, first of all, she was quirky enough to tattoo a picture of a hamcat on her shoulder. And secondly, she had no qualms about being vulnerable enough to admit that she regretted her tattoo.

And think about that. I LOVE when people just own their stuff. It’s so courageous and interesting and real. And it’s what I love about Flatirons.

I feel like Flatirons Church, at its core, has always held tight to 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, the verses about Paul’s thorn.

You know what vulnerability is? Vulnerability is the Hamcat Lady. Vulnerability is saying, “Hey, I have this mistake that I made, and I’m going to walk around with it plastered to my shoulder for the rest of my life. I could try to cover it up, but I’m just going to wear it on my arm and feel the regret that I feel and let you feel how you feel about it. You might criticize and hurt me, but here’s my stuff.”

And that my friend, is how we connect. We boast in our weakness. It’s how we connect with other people, and it’s how we connect with God. Because a sure way to connect to God is to tell Jesus, “I messed up. Here are my weaknesses. Here are my struggles. Here are my failures and shortcomings. Here are the horrible mistakes I’ve made. I've heard I can ask you to forgive all of that, and you will...Are you sure you’re willing to forgive all of that?”

Flatirons is full of people with Hamcat Tattoos. Full of people with thorns in their sides. God could get rid of the hamcat. He could pull out that thorn, but many times, God chooses to use that hamcat/thorn to connect us instead, because nothing is wasted with God. Not even a Hamcat Tattoo.

Emily Donehoo is the only female in a family of five. She is a former High School English Teacher and National Trainer for the College Board. These days, when she isn’t scrubbing toilets, administering timeouts, working at book fairs, attempting to tackle dinner, laundry, homework help, dishes, and a preschooler’s incessant questions, she writes authentically about the hard stuff that really matters, hoping to uncover the truth that God has for us whether it makes us cry from laughter, pain or both at the same time. Read more of her writing here


  1. I love this blog! This is so simple yet so well written. I want to meet the hamcat lady! Beautiful! Thank you. I needed that (as usual).

  2. Thanks, Carole! I hope I run into The Hamcat Lady again in my life!