Happy Valentine's Day!

Many are celebrating love today with our annual Valentine’s Day traditions. Maybe you’ve bought or received a card or flowers. Maybe it was chocolates or a nice dinner. We know we can always win when it comes to candy and food! I, too, am celebrating love. A love that I want to recognize.

Over sixteen years ago, a single man made the decision to marry me. Never married, nor had children; he was probably pretty comfortable. He didn’t have to worry about silly things like leaving the toilet seat up or doing the dishes “the right way.” He could watch whatever he wanted on t.v. and go anywhere at any time without “permission.” Yet, this man chose to marry me. But you see, when he married me it was more than just me. I came with four children. He married a family. Not just anyone would do that. Not many would give up his “freedom” for a single mom and four kids. Yet, that is what he did. And although not perfect, he did it very well. (And continues to this day, sixteen years later.)

Throughout those years he has loved me unconditionally, challenged me, held me accountable, and forgiven me countless times when I have failed. I am not an easy person with which to live. To him, each day is a new day and that shows. Not only has he done this for me, he has shown the same to each of my children and to our grandchildren.

He has endured the fun part of parenting with numerous pets, sickness, discipline, and more. He stands by me when I don’t know what to do, and supports me in all of my decisions. He holds my hand through this crazy thing we call life. Most importantly, he prays for me.

He was there when I buried my cousin, my grandmother, my mother, a girl in my youth group, my brother’s dad, and most recently my uncle-father figure. He was there when I was sick; crying like a baby when things seemed critical. He was there when each of my children graduated from high school. He was there when our oldest got married. You get the picture. He was there. And he is still here, despite my crazy.

I have watched him shepherd his church with deep conviction. Not giving in to negativity but willing to grow where needed. He respects those whom hold him accountable through love. He loves his church with a passion. He sits on the minister’s counsel. He oversees support of our missionary and faithfully prays for them. He isn’t afraid to stand for that in which he believes, despite criticism. He has a heart for his fellow pastors and desires for all of them to come together for the greater of the kingdom. He has a heart for teens and has worked hard for our school’s FCA. He has formed a social media team that works against cyber bullying. His passion for helping the homeless has helped bring a winter shelter to our community.

This man who has deep conviction and loves his Lord has my whole heart. He has my deepest respect and I couldn’t be prouder to be his wife.

Dan Hopkins, thank you for not only loving me but for loving my whole family. Thank you for loving our Lord; for modeling faith and conviction. For being there through hard times. When you ask what I want for Valentine’s Day, I have nothing for which to ask. Because you see, in my eyes, you’ve already given me everything. Happy Valentine's Day, my love.

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