But I thank God that I have gotten to know that man. I do too often find fault in him but the truth is that he is a very good man. One of the first things I fell in love with him for was his Christianity. I had never known someone so dedicated to praying before. It actually used to irritate me because he prayed and waited on direction from God before jumping in to something (like I was prone to do)! No, he's not perfect but he is in love with a perfect Savior who is transforming him before my very eyes. I've seen him mature so much over the last 8 years; it's incredible.
I know seminary has been a special challenge for Jackie. Like all students he has had to try to juggle family responsibilities, a 30+ hour a week job, and full time studies. I'm sad to say that I have not always supported him like I should. There have been times when I've made him feel inadequate when he has always done nothing but sacrifice for the ones he loves.
And what a joy it is to see him with those he loves! The first night they met, Keeleigh became his buddy. She used to block the door trying to keep him home. Through wrestling on the bed and tickle fights and jumping on the trampoline, he brought out a different side of her. He loved her when he really didn't have to--enough to make her his own. I'll never forget those early years when we first became a family and I got to see him settle into his role as Daddy.
Since then we've added a few to our fold. Though Jathan is a certified Mama's boy, nothing could replace Jackie's presence in his life. We're at the stage now that as soon as Jackie hits the door in the evening Jathan's first words to him are "Daddy, let's FIGHT!"
Ryland is TOTALLY Daddy's boy. When he was a baby, Daddy rocked him to sleep at night. When he became a toddler, he needed Daddy to kiss his boo boos. Not much has changed. His eyes light up at the sight of his dad.
I think Piper thinks her dads okay, too, as long as her mama isn't anywhere nearby! I know that as she grows she will come to know of the love he has for her. I see it in his eyes; she's Daddy's little girl!
And of course I can't mentioned the people he loves without talking about myself. I knew that I loved Jackie very soon after we met but it has taken me longer to see how much he loves me. He loves me by not always loving me in the way I think I should be loved. When I want to sull up and not talk, he draws the words out of me. He puts up with me when I'm moody and emotional. He has taken me places I never thought I'd go and introduced me to foods I never thought I'd eat. He's rubbed my tired shoulders at the end of long days and stayed up with me long nights through births and sicknesses. He's driven across town just to get me a burger at 9 o'clock at night and just last night he volunteered to fix me some cheese sticks at midnight! He indulges me. He's been someone I could trust to the utmost all along. Because that's just who he is.
I can't wait to see what the rest of his life brings. I can't wait to see him pastor a church and get to love on those people. I can't wait to see him bounce grandchildren on his knee. There's no one else I'd rather grow old with! Thank You, God, for this special day in history. Thank You for Jackie and all that he is!