Side By Side

Written by on December 22, 2013

Jonathan Ramirez #2( 1)

Sometimes you tell the story. Sometimes the story tells you.

This week my tale began: “The warm air in the lobby of the bank wrapped its arms around me as I stepped inside the door. The line that snaked around the velvet ropes promised I’d be here for a while, so I undid the buttons on my long black wool coat. A white Christmas tree with golden ornaments and lavish ribbons brought the room to life.”

Jonathan Ramirez #3 (1)

“This stirs me deeply: a young boy races to the Christmas tree at the bank and touches the ornaments, filled with joy. He reminds us in this simple act to connect with others as we follow Christ’s lead. We too, touch the lame. The blind. The outcast. And through us, Jesus Christ moves to heal them.”

I need a photo of a kid for this story, I say to myself. So Friday, on a mission, I drop in on the bank.

A long line of customers winds around the velvet ropes. A small boy plays with one while his father waits his turn.

There’s the kid I’ve been looking for! I think. He’s a toucher—no doubt about it. I ask his father if I can take a couple of pictures of the boy with the Christmas tree. He agrees. A few minutes later, they join me.

Jonathan Ramirez #1 (1)

I find out the kid’s name is Jonathan. He plays with the ornaments while his dad, Jhasmanik, and I exchange information. (After all, this blog post is about to make them famous!) When I turn to take the picture with my smartphone, though, Jonathan bursts into tears. His father lovingly reaches out, picks him up, and draws him to his chest. I speak calmly to the son and try to coax him to pose for the picture.

Jonathan draws back and settles into his father’s calm assurance. Here is his safe place. When you’re with Papa, everything is okay.

Now he lifts his head and reaches for one ornament after another. His face shines like the dancing reflection of the sparkling balls before him. His dad puts him down, and Jonathan smiles and leans forward for more magic. I take a few more photos of now-beaming Jonathan and Jhasmanik.

Jonathan Ramirez #7 (1)

Once home, I review the photos. An amateur photographer, I’m still learning how to compose a photograph. The background of a photo often contains people or objects that I discover in the editing process.

This time, I’m surprised to find that behind Jonathan and Jhasmanik is an ad that says, “SIDE BY SIDE we’ll help you succeed.”

That’s the absolutely delightful promise God’s speaking over you today. He’s holding you in His arms and whispering, “You’re a toucher.”  Filled with the wonder of His presence, stretch out to explore His beauty with childlike wonder. Papa God’s holding your hand. Embrace the day with new-found confidence. For He declares over you, “SIDE BY SIDE, I’ll help you succeed, My child!”

Friend, how is Papa God transforming you in this season?

Jonathan Ramirez #5 (1)

Jonathan Ramirez #6.(1)jpg

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  1. Anthony Otten   On   December 23, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I thought the photos were great, Lynn. It reminds me that even though the Christmas season is often more stress than zest, I still appreciate it for the wonder it brings out in some of my close family who are around this age. Merry Christmas! – Tony

    • Lynn Hare   On   December 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks for the compliment on the photos, Tony! Coming from an ace crackerjack photographer like you, that’s huge! I love the wonder of the season, too. Merry Christmas to one of my favorite writers on the planet.

  2. Bonnie   On   December 23, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Great shot and story Lynn!
    Christmas is such a busy time, with every one rushing around and shopping. It Important to stop and appreciate the things of the heart. It is the love of family and friends. Sharing and caring for one another.
    It is a special time to recognize once again how much our Daddy God Loves us.
    He came as a child, for trust, hope, faith and Love.

    • Lynn Hare   On   December 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      Bonnie, yeas, I love the time we spend with family and friends. As you said, for trust, hope, faith and love. What more could you ask for in a Baby? I appreciate your love and friendship. Merry Christmas and I speak peace over your family!

  3. Susan   On   December 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Yes, our Father is Side by side with us… “4 He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. 5 We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort – we get a full measure of that, too. 2 Corinthians 1:4-5. Thanks for your story.

    • Lynn Hare   On   December 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Susan, thank you for your comment. I love those verses from 2 Corinthians! How awesome that we have the chance to use our own growth and hard times to comfort others. Brings us an upgrade in the spirit realm because God does it all with intentionality. Love that He does it to the “full measure,” too!

  4. Jane West   On   December 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Beautiful story, Lynn! Thanks. I may be one of the few people who call Father God “Papa.” Your story reminded me of that. It’s my equivalent of “Abba.”

    Bless you!

    • Lynn Hare   On   December 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Jane, thank you for your comment. How fun that you call Him Papa, too. Abba is such a beautiful name. Reminds me of Romans 8:15: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”

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