My First Valentine

I’m not talking about my classmate who sheepishly walked around the corner of my home in first grade to deliver a little red heart with 7 or so candies in it. I’m talking about my Daddy.

Daddy in his letter jacket...

Every year on Valentines day for as long as I can remember my Daddy would go down to Don’s Drugs and purchase the largest box of heart shaped candies they sold. That was for my Mom. The second largest box in the store went to me. Typically, he presented it to me before I was off to school.

Dad had many faults. The greatest of which was that he was an alcoholic. He had been for years before my birth. Dad grew up with much less than the average kid. I’ve heard my Aunt Pat and Uncle Jerry talk about my Papaw Jones and the family during their share-cropping days. It was by all accounts a difficult life. Dad was a handsome man. I’ve heard many people (women especially 🙂 mention that my Daddy was the “most handsome man in Jones County). Based on photos, I think they were on to something.

Dad joined the army at the young age 17 (legend has it that he may have fudged on his age to be enlisted).  He quickly found himself on the front lines of the Korean war. Vietnam was also in the Lord’s plan for his life. Dad was a soldier. He lived and breathed military and loved each little aspect. I’ll never forget the day that Operation Desert Storm was in full effect. He called the local recruitment office and explained who he was (his rank and such) and told them he was ready and willing to join them. So precious… comical but hysterical none the less.  I’m beyond thrilled to tell you that Daddy accepted the call to be a soldier of the Lord within the last few weeks of his life. Anyone who knew my Daddy would know this was nothing short of a miracle.

Dad in Korea- on the Right

People question if I’m in denial… if I’ve forgotten all the childhood/teenage pain that Dad’s poor decisions made in my life. By no means. I’ll never forget them. They helped shape who I am today. I’m also pleased to say that I chose 20 or so years ago to give all the hurt that growing up in a dysfunctional home provides to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m not perfect (ask my husband, hah!) but I’m reminded of the Lord’s grace and mercy. I’m reminded that He chose me and it’s only the Lord’s grace that sustains me daily.

Be encouraged! I’m the first to laugh out loud (literally) when I think of myself being a minister’s wife. Who’d-a-thunk-it? Not me for sure. The Lord is able to use the least of us to accomplish His will. Simply amazing!

I’m so thankful for my first Valentine… I miss him still. I always will, but I’m so thankful to know that I will see him again one day! I love you, Daddy.

Mom & Dad at my wedding in 1995


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