Thirty-six years ago today, the love of my life was born. At a whopping 9lbs + some, he came into the world ready to tackle it…literally! According to reliable sources (his family) there has never been a dull moment as far as Jeffery Walton Hickman has been concerned. Word has it that he required some frequent medical attention, caused quite a bit of terror from time to time, and yet, he’s always been a great source of humor and lightheartedness for everyone.
I met Jeff the winter of 1992. He had just transferred to Charleston Southern University, where I was a freshman. He pretty much captured my attention from the very get-go. He was suave, a flirt, and a gentleman. He was the first guy I had met at school that really seemed to want to know me…the real me…the one that felt out of sorts because she had grown up in another country, much differently than anyone else. He always gave me an attentive ear – was always a wonderful friend. Soon after we went on a mission trip together, and he asked me to be his “prayer partner” we came back to Charleston and began dating. Jeff had not been a Christian very long, but his fervor and passion for the Lord was contagious and REAL. I didn’t know a lot of long-time Christians that were so committed and genuine. He spurred me on to grow in my relationship with Christ, and because he had us put Christ first in our relationship, we fell more in love with our Savior, and with each other. We married in December of 1994 and from that point our lives have been the best years of our lives. God has tremndously blessed us and have given us the privilege of serving Him and others in ministry. Watching Jeff become who God has created Him to be has been the greatest joy of my life. He is a man of great integrity, great determination and great passion. His only desire in life is to see people saved and lived unashamedly for Christ. He is not willing to sit on the sidelines and not get his hands dirty. “Whatever it takes” is a motto we live by in the Hickman Family. No matter the work, the sacrifice, the cost…we will serve the Lord. Jeff leads our family in that each and every day. The person you see in public is the same person that we have the honoring of living with. No other person I know loves the Lord and people like Jeff.
Aside from being the best husband in the world, Jeff is a tremendous father. God has blessed us with four beautiful daughters. He raises them to be Godly women. He spends time with them individually. Many joke that they bet he wishes he had boys, but Jeff is not that way. He spends time with our girls just as he would if we had boys. They play in the yard together, work together, and joke around together. He is my partner in taking care of them, coming home from working hard to still help me here at home. He serves us and tends to us as though we are all his princesses. Our girls see Christ in how their Daddy serves. They see him serve their Mommy, and they know how Christ loved us the exact same way. No four girls could have a better Daddy!
Today, we wish you a wonderful birthday, Jeff! I know that you don’t care much for birthdays, but the nice thing about today is that we can show you just how much we care about you! You are the guiding force in our family. We are proud of you. You are a true man of God. You lead your family in righteousness and the people God has given you to shepherd, you lead in heart, soul, mind and strength! All who know you are better for having had you in their lives.