To The First Man I Ever Loved


July 30th will always be a special day on my calendar. It's not just another day for me because it's YOUR birthday, a day to celebrate you. And there is much to celebrate.

How do I tell the very first man I ever loved how amazing he is? How do I thank him for raising me and for doing it well? Words are hardly sufficient but I will attempt to use them nonetheless.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

I believe you have obeyed this Scripture with all of your children. While we are not perfect, I believe all three of us are positive reflections on you and mom and you have a lot to be proud of (this is not intended to toot my own horn but a statement of gratitude to my parents for doing their job well).

You are a man of God, instilled with Biblical principles and equipped with His word. I thank you for your faithfulness to equip your children with Bibical principles and for preparing us to love and serve the world as Jesus commanded. It is by your example that I learned what it looks like to love and serve others. It is by your example I learned the importantance of studying Scripture and prayer. You also taught me the importance of finding a church home and getting plugged in, no matter where life takes me. These things have shaped who I am today. You were a huge part of that. Thank you for sharing your faith with me and for believing in the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus.

You are my biggest fan. From coaching my softball teams to supporting my musical pursuits to encouraging me to do my best in school, you were (and still are) my voice of reason and encouragement telling me that I could do anything I put my mind to doing. And I know you believed that. In school, B's & C's were hardly acceptable, not because you were harsh or unforgiving, but because you knew I could do better. You taught me to always give it my best despite doubts, fears, and obstacles because in the end, my efforts would pay off. You pushed me because you wanted the best for me.

You are selfless. You went without so that your family could have. You are a picture of sacrifice. In every family, there will be sacrifice and someone has to decide who will make the sacrifices. I can say with an honest heart that you chose to be the sacrificer in our family. You drove old junker vehicles so that the rest of us could drive nice cars. You never bought the farm you wanted so that we could go to college (maybe you'll be able to get one before long). You served your country faithfully as a solider in the Air Force. You sacrificed your life to protect our freedom. You taught me the importance of exercising my right to vote, not to take it for granted because people paid the ultimate price to give me that right and freedom. I do not take that responsibility lightly. After you served your country, you gave up everything to move to a small Alabama town to take care of your elderly mother. You gave up income, security, familiarity, and privacy. You gave up comfort to serve. That was no easy feat but you made the right decision. Nothing will ever be able to replace the time you had with Mamaw and the example you set because you chose to be selfless. There are treasures in heaven with your name on them, no doubt.

You are a jack of all trades. I love that you've remodeled three houses now and you learned it by teaching yourself. You can fix just about anything on a vehicle and you keep them squeaky clean. You are a landscaping and gardening extrodinare. You can make a mean fire to warm the house in the winter. You can fly airplanes. And the list goes on.

You have a great sense of humor. Anytime you're around there is laughter. I love to hear you get tickled and laugh out loud. It warms my heart. Your light-heartedness and sense of humor are contagious.

You are a true source of wisdom. Anytime I face a fork in the road or have a difficult to decision to make, I consult you. Or if I'm just in a rut or bummed out I know I can always talk to you and you'll lift my spirits. Not only will you give me advice and listen when I need you to, but you will partner with me in prayer. And that means the world.

You are a man of intergrity.
You are a picture of strength.
You are a leader.
You are a friend.
You are a supporter.
You are an encourager.

You are the first man I ever loved. And you were my standard for qualities to look for in my husband. Trustworthy. Loyal. Gentle. Man of God. Wise. Kind. I am blessed immensely in the husband department and I know that is a result of your prayers and your example.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for believing in me and wanting better for me than what you had. Thank you for sacrificing for me. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for all of the lectures and for being more stubborn than me. Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes and for loving me through them. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for sharing Jesus with me. Thank you for loving Mom in front of me. Thank you for taking me to church and for studying Scripture. Thank you for being the kind of man that I want my son to grow up to be like. Thank you for being you because there is no one in the world like you. I am so very thankful you are my daddy. And I am proud to be your daughter.

I love you with all of my heart now and always.

Happy birthday Daddy!


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