my theme this year has been "less is more"
and it's not like I'm consciously thinking, Stacey, do less, be less, have less.
i just honestly find myself wanting less rather than more.
i shop less
care less about frivolities
take fewer pictures, even
maybe it's a bonus of being 40ish.
i don't know but
these are the "mores" of my life of late:
the people immediately around me mean more to me than ever before. i can't believe that i have friends that i consider family. it's a perk i never counted on or expected.
i'm more grateful for Brad than I ever have been
i trust more that God's hand is in and over my life no matter the circumstance
i think my kids are more awesome than is even right.
i love them more every day.
i am more aware of the fact that people are quick to make judgements on
degrees of sin and sinners,
and love to subconsciously measure the distance of exactly how far fallen from grace various people are based upon the offense.
over the last few months, i've been face to face with some exceptionally needy women.
addicts, victims, prostitutes, thieves, con artists, all the above.
one particular night, as i sat across from a gal...once a beautiful, vivacious, young woman, now with evidence of extensive drug use up and down both arms, her eyes dark as night, tears falling uncontrollably from the years of abuse, mistreatment, and bad choices, all i could see were the words:
BROKEN and USED UP
i'm so past caring about
who did what first
who's fault it is
why people get stuck in such horrid places
can they change their life trajectory
will they ever get better
because....all i see is
BROKEN and USED UP
being near broken people reminds me how broken I am without the grace of Jesus.
i don't have answers for why i was born into the family i was and why this girl was born into complete hell on earth.
i just know that if i've sinned once, and she 1,000 times, we are both in equal need of a Savior.
1 sin separates you from God in the same way that 1,000 would.
i asked the Lord on behalf of this young woman, out of sheer mercy, to help her find Him before she breathes her last breath on this earth.
whether she ever cleans up her act or continues a lifetime of self-destruction, that God would make a way for her to spend eternity with Him.
it would be sweet redemption.
if the thief on the cross can find salvation in the last moment, then that is my hope for her.
the offer of salvation is GOOD NEWS and something you can hang your hat on.
this was SO not what i was intending to write but i've gone and done it now.
so the point is...
don't get on a high horse.
be quick to love
quick to forgive
quick to admit wrong
quick to stand strong on the truth of God's Word
quick to pray for humility
and quick to look for chances to express God's love to needy people.
my Brad took me to Ireland to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I can't believe I've spent over half my life with him. it's crazy and i feel so fortunate to be partnered up with him.
people have asked me, "so why Ireland?"
my answer is
because they speak English
there is more natural beauty than city madness
it's only an 8 hour flight
i love old structures
it's not a volatile place
my maiden name is Fitzgerald
and it just seems magical (and i can say to you now it absolutely is)
let me just tell you, it was unreal in so many ways.
i can't even explain how good the food was.
we drank coffee every morning and it was always served in a cup with a saucer.
and all but twice, it was mismatched china.
it was the quaintest thing you've ever seen.
the country side was breathtaking, the people kind, and the speed of life noticeably slower.
we got off the beaten path, drove on impossibly narrow roads, ate in spots where we were the only non-Irish customers, and learned first hand how what we call old here, is relatively new there.
the painted sheep
the older men who dress just like you imagine they would...tweed hats, sweaters and slacks.
the roads with no divider lines
the time with brad
the tinkering of cups and saucers
NOT being on a tour bus ( i couldn't deal with the claustrophobia it would cause me)
the thick accent that i had to strain
to understand in some cases
all of it.
thank you, bradford...i love you.
happy 20 years to us.
i'm fortunate to have you.