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FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART February 13, 2023

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Holidays always make me reflect on celebrations from my past. From my childhood, I remember making our Valentine’s Day boxes for school. We would cover a shoe box with brightly colored paper. Then, we would cut a slot in the top to drop cards into the box. At home, on the night before, we would fill out our cards for our classmates. To some kids you wrote a message of friendship, while others you just signed your name. In class, the teacher would have us parade past the boxes and place a card in each box.

The boy “Growing Up on Dump Ground Road,” took great pains to pick out the right card for each classmate. He certainly did not want to send the wrong message to anyone, especially a girl. The same was true for the notes he wrote, and even the way he signed his name. There could be no confusion about the friendly nature of the relationships. He loved everyone, but he did not want to be tied down to anyone. Even in high school, he had neither the time, the money nor the inclination to “date” anyone. While he had plenty of female friends among his peers, that was the full extent of their connection.

Things began to change for the DGR kid in college. At Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, the young preacher boy began to take notice of the female students around him. He had some casual dates with a few different girls. He even dated a senior for a time, during his freshman year. Yet, there was one particular girl that caught his eye. She was a pretty brunette that went to the same small church he was attending, Melwood Baptist Church. They had some mutual friends and she seemed very nice. He finally got up the courage to ask her for a date, to attend a revival service where one of his friends was preaching. It didn’t take him long to figure out that Sandy Grace was the one with whom he wanted to share his life. They got engaged at the end of their first year of college and married during Spring Break of their sophomore year!

For the man that God grew from that DGR kid, the choice to marry my wife was the second-best decision of my life. Asking Jesus into my heart is the only invitation that exceeds the proposal that I made to my wife. God has richly blessed our nearly 49 years of life together, giving us three children and eight grandchildren. He has taught us many lessons along the way, both in times of joy and times of struggle. At the marriage retreat that we attended this past weekend, we were reminded of the need to continually work at our relationship. We can never take for granted the blessings of the special people God puts in our lives. I hope and pray that you will all have a blessed Valentine’s Day, enjoying time with your loved ones!

Serving in love, Bro. Jim


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