I remember the first time I spoke to him. Laying out at the pool, enjoying life as a recent high school graduate, my cell phone rang. Jeff Mullikin still claims he doesn’t remember quite how he got my phone number, but regardless, that phone call led to friendship which ushered quickly into teenage love. We had so much fun that summer, but August soon came and we headed our separate ways. Jeff to play baseball and study photography at SCAD in Savannah and I began school at Liberty University in Lynchburg. In September, the long distance took it’s toil and after a quick phone call, we split up and wouldn’t speak for six years.
In 2006 I married someone that Jeff once considered his best friend. Four years later, that marriage fell apart. I was left completely broken, hurt and down on myself, with absolutely no idea about my future. Out of no where, Jeff fell back into my life. He had heard about my situation and compassionately reached out to me. We met up for lunch, and then I just couldn’t seem to get him to stop texting me!
Jeff quickly became my best friend, walking me through the hardest experience of my life. Countless times he has let me cry on his shoulder when my situation became too overwhelming. He helped me clean and pack up my old house. And when my pipes busted in the winter and water ran for days, he was there beside me yet again, cleaning up my belongings and wiping my tears.
He has supported me in all of my passions and dreams, coming with me to the AIDS home and sitting through hours of youth band practice. He never forgets to remind me how much he loves me. In such a short time, he has built me back up. He is truly the greatest man that I know (the inspiration for my top ten list) and honestly makes me strive to be a better woman every single day. I trust him wholeheartedly and can tell him anything. He is my rock. Everything that Jesus Christ did to restore me spiritually, Jeff has done physically in my life. When I think of him, I think of Galatians 5:22, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Jeff is all of these things…and so much more.
It is an absolute blessing to spend the rest of my life loving him.