Barbara Higby

Stace and Grace

A family celebration of Stacey Day this past Sunday—the five youngest (Ava, Cole, Eli, Parker, Jackson) only know Stacey from the stories we tell. The others are Grace Gleaners all: Phil (Stacey’s husband), me, her brother Corey, niece Zoe (of rock climbing fame*), nephew Ty, sister-in-law Amy, daughter Kaylee (now 18), brother David, brother Shane, her father, and sister Bethany. Absent are Sam and Noah (“Your house is like the Garden of Eden…with marshmallows.”*) and Micah and Phillip (Bethany’s husband) who never met Stacey.

Tomorrow, October 11, marks 15 years since Stacey Joy left us: her parents, her three-year-old daughter, her husband, his family, her four siblings, nieces, nephews, and more friends than I knew. How could 15 years go by without her bubbly presence when I didn’t even know how I’d live the next 15 minutes?

This morning my Bible reading brought me to Psalm 18, one of my favorites. I read again what happens when we pray—God hears, the earth trembles, the mountains shake, fire comes from His mouth, He parts the heavens and comes down, flying on the cherubim and soaring on the wind, His voice thundering from Heaven.

When Stacey died, I was not aware of trembling earth, shaking mountains, or breath of fire. Why did He not swoop down upon the cherubim, soar on the wind, and shoot arrows of lightning, as Psalm 18 claims?

Or did He?

When suffocating sorrow and paralyzing pain threatened to steal my next breath, God heard the words I could not utter and He parted the heavens and rescued me. When the earth trembled beneath me, I thought it was the presence of evil, but it was God’s voice banishing fear and accusations. God’s rebuke bared the lies and His arrows of lightning scattered the enemy. His grace invaded my being, my heart, my world—He routed despair and claimed residency. And I’ve been gleaning His grace ever since.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support. (v16-18)

For these 15 years, I’ve known God as described in Psalm 18’s opening verses. He is my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my refuge, my shield, my salvation, my stronghold, my tower—even when “the cords of death entangled me” and “torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.” Forever I will sing praises of His measureless grace!

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall. (v28-29)

*Sited in my book, I Was Broken, Too

5 Responses to Stace and Grace

  • I praise God for your testimony of His grace! Such beautiful and encouraging words to all of us struggling with answers and comfort from pain and loss to lift our eyes, open our eyes to God’s mercy and grace in our time of need. Thank you for the encouragement!
    I love u!

  • Oh dear Barbara I can relate to what you are talking about. At the same time you were going through this valley I was in my country taking care of my mother, diagnosed with state four cancer so I was in shock to find out that such vibrant girl full of life were not here with us anymore.
    My mother passed away three months later. So I will always remember Stacy and her beautiful smile.

  • Hello Barbara. I just had to let you know how much this meant to me. September 14 I lost my baby sister to cancer. Just now I was laying on my bed feeling as though I were sinking into a black hole and I couldn’t get out. I decided to just flip through FB, and you came up as a suggested friend as we have 3 mutual friends. I saw your post about Stacey Joy. I remember when that happened. I decided to read your blog. Thank you for writing it. I will go and read Psalm 18 myself. I just wanted you to know that your words helped me. I realize that this was not random, but rather an answer to prayer

    • Dear Lorraine, I only just read this. Since I switched web sites I’ve not been receiving notifications of comments. I am so sorry for your loss. Is there any word more apt than “loss”? I tried to find you on FB but to no avail. If you knew Stacey, I must know you or your family. Can you email me privately? I would love to talk further with you. I write about the hole you refer to in my book, I Was Broken, Too. It may minister to you if you’ve not already read it. On the other hand, the timing has to be right for you. Looking forward to hearing from you and learning more about your sister. Blessings, Barbara

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    in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a
    outstanding job!

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