I will never forget the week that I got to spend with Stacy Taylor.
I had only heard stories about him from his daughter, Christianne, and a couple other of my really good friends. I don’t know if I can remember a day that I was with Christianne where she didn’t mention her father in one way or another. I could tell that they had a special bond with each other, and that Stacy was an incredible father to her. He gave her so much wisdom, insight, and love – and it was so apparent when you talked to her, you could tell there was something different and unique. I had a lot of ideas about him, needless to say, before I even met him and I always wondered what this man was like.
I went on a trip to help Christianne shoot a dear friends wedding in Texas and I got to stay with all of the Taylors for about a week. Staying with a family that you don’t know at all is always interesting. You never know what to expect as when you are with family, everyone is usually their full genuine self. You can’t hide the things you normally can around your friends and its much harder to “behave” properly. With the Taylors, however, their full genuine selves were something to witness. They immediately welcomed me and made me feel like I was part of their family. Inside jokes were passed, loving comments were made, and wonderful advice was given. I couldn’t do hardly anything more than just take it all in – I knew I was experiencing something grand and I wanted to remember everything I could about it. It may have been ordinary to them, but it wasn’t for me. Of course they still had their quirks just like every other family (I always find those qualities endearing as it means they are real, not trying to be someone they’re not), but God shown through all of them each in their own way and it was wonderful to witness.
I spent a lot more time with the whole family that week, but I can’t tell you how incredible the conversations were that I got to have with Stacy. We talked for over an hour one night at his ranch, and he asked me all kinds of hard and good questions about life and faith. We talked about raising kids and what it was like to have a daughter and son, what marriage was all about, and what following God meant for a man. It was a conversation that I’ll never forget and his words impacted my heart incredibly. You always want to believe that men like him exist, but until you get to experience it first hand, you don’t know where the bar is truly set and what God can do with someone. When you meet men like Stacy, you realize that the body of Christ exists for a reason and we are all here to help each other become more like our Father in heaven. He did that for me – I felt inspired and encouraged by him, I look up to him greatly for what he has done and was doing.
If you can, remember the Taylors in your prayers. Today is his memorial and I wish more than anything I was with them and the 1000’s of people that must have shown up for his service. It’s never going to be the same for any of their family and it’s so hard to understand death in this life – especially when it is cut way too short. Know that your legacy lives on, Stacy, and if I was changed by only knowing you in person for a week, I can’t imagine the impact you had on everyone around you and your family. You are missed, and I am excited to one day celebrate with you in Heaven. Thank you for your words, encouragement, and for showing me what a man of God looks like.