Of course today is Valentine’s Day, so I decided to write a few words about my valentine, John Bray, one of the greatest gifts the Lord ever gave to me.
I grew up in a home that had fighting and shouting and cussing nearly ever single day of my life. I almost never saw affection shown between my parents, or graciousness or kindness. I remember laying in bed at night as a teenager, saying, “Lord, if you’ll help me, when I grow up, I’ll never have a family like this.”
In high school I had to write a paper on “The Ten Things I Want In A Husband”. I can still remember some of the qualities I wrote on my paper: a love for God, a love for people, and someone who could make me laugh for a lifetime…
Then I went to college and eventually fell in love with this skinny, crazy guy who fulfilled my dreams: he was kind and gracious and loved God and he had a great sense of humor (though at times I’ve questioned that!) and a love for people.
But one of the most precious things about John Bray has been that he has loved me unconditionally. It still overwhelms me when I think of how unconditionally he has loved me. Nothing held back, no strings attached, no demands made. He’s simply loved me. For that I am so grateful that there aren’t words to express it.
And because of that love, my life has been unbelievably full and sweet and fulfilling. He’s believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He’s always been my biggest supporter, my biggest fan and my biggest encourager. He’s always told me I could do anything that the Lord asked me to do. He’s trusted me, lifted me, and pushed me. For all of that I am so grateful that there aren’t words to express it.
And he helped me raise our two precious daughters. He balanced my seriousness with his crazy sense of humor. He loved our girls so much (still does!). He was all the things I never saw in a dad while growing up: patient, kind, gracious, fun and funny. He never missed a single event that was special to them (cross-country meets, music contests, prom pictures, piano recitals, plays – even the dress rehearsals!) For being that wonderful dad, I am so grateful that there aren’t words to express it.
And he still makes me laugh! For that I am so grateful that there aren’t words to express it.
I’ve often wondered how different my life would have been if I hadn’t found John Bray. It’s impossible to imagine. But on this Valentine’s Day, I can say, “Thank you, Lord, for this amazing gift you’ve given me” and “Thank you, John Bray, for a life-time of love.”
And for still making me laugh!