My husband. Brad Leach. As we’re going on our ninth year of marriage, and he’s just returned from the heart of Africa, I want to take some time to appreciate just some of the many reasons why he truly is more than I could have ever asked or imagined. (These are in no particular order . . .)
(If you’re averse to cheesy, sappy blog posts, maybe it’s better that you skip this one. There’s gonna be more cheese in this post than you’d find next to a winery in France.)
1. He makes me laugh. I realized early on in my dating adventures that my top priority was someone who passionately loved Jesus more than anyone else in his life. But a close #2 was that he had an amazing sense of humor, and we could naturally make each other laugh. Brad sent me this picture on IM just shortly after we met. Yep. We used IM. How could you not smile when this guy is messaging you? Thank you, Brad for making me smile, laugh, and chortle from the first day that I met you.
2. He’s an amazing father. I knew early on that Brad would be a great dad. I watched the way he interacted with his family, the way he loved his nephew, and the way he was the favorite guy of all the young kids at his church. I never imagined, however, the way he would add another dimension to my love for him, as I watched him transform to be a father. I remember the day we found out we were having our first baby . . . a girl. He had a bit of a deer in headlights look about him. In my opinion, there is no greater foundational influence on a girl’s life than her Daddy. And Brad, I can think of no better Daddy for our girls than you. You are a picture of our Father’s love to Gabby, Claire, Caleb, and Karis. Thank you.
3. He’s my best friend. The very first night we met, we started talking about anything and everything. We talked at Borders Bookstore until they kicked us out. In the weeks following, we talked on the phone several hours a night. We’d spend the day together on dates and then we’d talk on the phone for several more hours as we’d drive home (we dated between Detroit and Pittsburgh). God immediately connected our hearts and hands as we grew in love built on a friendship first and foremost. There’s no one else I’d rather spend my down time with. Brad, if you’d wear it, I’d buy you a necklace. Do you want to be “Be FRI” or “ST ENDS?”
4. He’s a picture of Jesus. Before I met him, I prayed for a man who loved Jesus more than me and me more than himself. And I wanted to be a wife who could fit the same description. Long before I ever met him, I read his blog. It didn’t take long to read before it was so evident that this man passionately loved his Lord. And reading his insights made me want to know and love Jesus even more. In the years since, this has only grown. He selflessly loves and serves with special surprises, words of encouragement, extraordinary gifts, and sacrificial service in every season, whether or not I could give anything back. Thank you for being such an amazing answer to my prayers, Brad.
5. He’s the best preacher I know. Seriously. No offense to all the other preachers I know. But he’s really my favorite one. I remember the day I first listened to a sermon he preached. I downloaded it from his church’s website. I had to pause it so many times to keep up with my notes. I remember thinking, “Who IS this guy?” Brad, you truly have a gift for communicating God’s Word in a way that’s relatable, logical, applicable, and funny. Definitely funny. I’m so glad that no matter where I may go in life, I’m guaranteed to always have a good preacher. It’s just one of your superpowers, Brad.
6. He never gives up. Brad is one of the most disciplined individuals I know. He has an amazing way of setting a goal, crafting a plan to reach the goal, and not letting anything get in his way of accomplishing it. For example, in January 2015, Brad said he wanted to run and finish the Philadelphia Marathon. Nevermind that he had never run in a formalized race in his life. Nevermind that he had never trained for long distance running before. Brad did the research, got up early in the mornings, and bought running tights so that he was more than ready to go on the morning of November 22, 2015. Except for one little obstacle. His baby girl decided to show up a week early and he found himself coaching his wife in labor at 2 AM, rather than sleeping as he should. Did that stop him? Don’t be ridiculous. Finished the marathon on 45 minutes of sleep. Maybe that’s another superpower? You inspire me to greatness.
7. He’s an incredible leader. I respect his leadership so much. I’ve been on a leadership team of two different churches with him and watch time and again some of the most talented people I know flourish under his leadership. He has a way of catching a God-sized vision and communicating it in a way that is so compelling that you can’t help but do anything you can to make it happen. Leaders are attracted to his leadership because it’s genuine. It’s humble. It’s teachable. And it’s fun. We can kill ourselves trying to carry out a vision, but he always makes sure to take time to have fun. More than anything, Brad, I’m so grateful for your leadership in our family. I trust your leadership implicitly.
I could go on and on, but as the rat said after he was trapped in the tank of Velveeta, I think that’s enough cheese. I love you, baby, and look forward to growing even deeper in our love in the adventures to come. I’m with you heart and soul!