Words from my heart
A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. Apparently that means “a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image” (Wikipedia). On the 13th of April, I posted a single still image on my Facebook page, a Ramirez family portrait marking the 35th wedding anniversary Jaime and I had celebrated in February. That portrait conveys the complex yet beautiful idea of marriage and family, and it’s filled with thousands of words, thousands of stories.
Although I hesitate, I am compelled to tell you one of the stories. I hesitate because the story is fresh. And painful. However, I am compelled because images convey more than just complex ideas. Images have the power to convey illusions of beauty and perfection, and I do not want our image to be an illusion. I want it to be an image of truth.
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look so you might see a deeper, more honest beauty.
On our wedding day, Jaime and I promised to love each other according to 1 Corinthians 13, scripture known as “The Love Chapter.” It’s a love that is patient and kind. It’s full of hope and trust—a love without envy or pride. It isn’t self-seeking or
easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrong. But the truth is, Jaime and I get jealous and angry. We are often loaded with pride. And I, Laura Beth Ramirez, have kept record of wrong.
For thirty-five years, Jaime and I have been on a relationship roller-coaster of thrilling highs and dangerous lows—we’ve been on the brink of derailing more than once. We’ve had more highs than lows, but there have been days when our polar-opposite thinking has slammed our hearts and minds so tightly shut that it took a miracle to save us and help us crawl out of the dark.
That’s where we were the 18th of April at three o’clock in the morning . . . in the dark needing a miracle. Old, relentless issues had reared their heads again, leaving us broken and silent. As I sat on one corner of the couch and Jaime on the other, my thoughts began to stir.
First, I recalled how the Facebook Likes on our family portrait had climbed during the week: 100, 200, 300! Comment after comment referred to our beautiful picture, our beautiful family. One friend said, “What a testimony of God’s love and favor—35 years! Congratulations! Beautiful family—those precious littles!!” The response to our photo was overwhelming. And like seeds of hope, God planted every Like and comment within me, reminding me that Jaime and I were HIS testimony of love and faithfulness, a testimony being passed on to our children, to our grandchildren (our “precious littles”), and to the world.
Then the familiar question “Am I willing?” came to mind, a question that first popped up years ago while I was reading The Way of Agape. Author Nancy Missler wrote, “We need to be willing to love with God’s love, even if our circumstances and our situations never change.” The words be willing had jumped off the page and I remember asking the hard question, “Am I willing?”
That question continued to pop up through the years and had now become, “Am I willing to turn toward Jaime instead of away or against him?” Turning toward, away, or against was a new idea I had learned through Dr. John Gottman’s book The Relationship Cure. Was I willing to turn toward?
My thoughts moved along to Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. I had read his book this past semester for my history class. Frankl survived WWII concentration camps by forgetting the past and looking forward. Many of the prisoners, however, had lost all hope and chose to commit suicide by touching the electrically charged barbwire fence—they called it “running into the wire.” Frankl chose differently. He wrote, “From personal convictions . . . I made the firm promise, on my first evening, that I would not ‘run into the wire.’”
Running into the wire—is that what I had been doing? Was I killing off hope by keeping record of wrong?
While still sitting on my corner of the couch, my personal convictions to let go of the past began to rise. As they did, the old issues slowly relented and loosened their grip on my heart. Hope began to sprout. That’s when Isaiah 43 came to mind—God said, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
A NEW THING!!
I turned toward Jaime and said, “God can do a NEW THING in our marriage. I believe it! I know it!” I shared what had been stirring in my spirit. And in response, Jaime turned toward me.
A miracle happened.
The next morning Jaime left for an out-of-town game. I sent him a picture of the Isaiah passage from my Bible, along with the following text: “Good morning, dear. My heart is with you. I want to mark today as a new beginning because of who God is . . . that together we may proclaim his praise.”
He replied: “Thank you dear. I appreciate you sharing the passage. I agree. ILY❤.”
Agreed. Committed. Willing.
It was a new day and I was resolved. I am resolved.
I, Laura Beth Ramirez, am resolved to no longer dwell on the past.
I am resolved to not run into the wire—to not lose hope.
I will forget the former things because
GOD IS DOING A NEW THING!
I pray for a new understanding of love . . .
a deeper, more honest understanding of its beauty so that together,
Jaime and I may proclaim God’s praise.
Our photographer captured a single still image of our family on a beautiful afternoon in our backyard. That image conveys the complex yet beautiful idea of marriage and family, a plan designed by God. And in the mystery of God’s plan, there is one clear, resounding truth . . .
love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8).
If you’re reading this post and were one of the many who Liked or commented on our family picture, THANK YOU for being a part of our story. We are so grateful for you!