How the Love of Two People Saved My Life

Little bit of a dramatic way to start a post, right?

Hardly, especially once you truly understand how things have completely changed for me over the last 6 months.


This post is going to be all about Josh and Stacy. Two of the best, most sincere, beautiful people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. This post isn’t going to be about my wife or kids (that’s in the drafts for another day…).

Fair warning before I jump right into this, you’re walking into an emotional post. It’s going to get pretty sappy. I’ve cried. A lot. You might, too. We can ugly cry together. Let’s make this a bonding experience. I tried to break up all the sentiment with moments of humor throughout.

This has been in my drafts for weeks because I keep adding to it before I get around to hitting the publish button. It’s a long one, and honestly I could keep adding to it with each passing day. But at some point it’s got to get posted. The point of this post is to share with everyone how much of a difference a simple act of kindness and generosity can so significantly change another person’s world. I’m not trying to make anyone cry. I’m not trying to brag. I’m not trying to make you feel like your life would be better if you knew these two people (although, let’s be real, it absolutely would be).


In the past I’ve been pretty open about my periods of depression (see here…). I’ve dealt with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, sadness, etc., but I’ve never been truly lost. I couldn’t always process my way out of my feelings, but I always had a sense of self-awareness. For 31 years, that is until last year happened.

So there I was just making my way through life, lost, running on auto-pilot for most of the year.

Just some background. I’ve “known” Josh for about 3 years. He was Maddi’s cross country coach. Maddi would always have stories about him. How he would run practice really hard. How she preferred when one of the other coaches were training them for the day because he never took it easy on them. He pushed her. Every day. And cross country is the one thing she’s never quit. And I know it’s because he instilled the confidence in her she needed and pushed her to be better and to love something she was good at.

And then he became her teacher. And we heard stories about how “scary” he was. He was passionate about what he was teaching. Breaking rulers on the first day of class to “intimidate” his students. And then she would tell stories about his dad jokes. And she would talk about how her and her friends would spend their lunch working through life with his assistance.

I just assumed that it was just a silly school crush Maddi had on her teacher. Let’s be honest, we all went through that. But Maddi doesn’t really let many people in. She likes to keep to herself. This was someone she trusted and felt safe around.

And then my youngest, Benny, started kindergarten and was in the same class as Josh’ son. And they instantly became best friends. All Benny talked about was his new friend. All. The. Time. It was the cutest thing. For anyone who knows how far Benny has come (see here…) you will understand how amazing it was to see him take to someone socially so quickly. I didn’t know who this kid was, but I loved him for the change he was making in my own son’s life.

The boys would schedule their own play dates and my wife would coordinate everything with Stacy, who I really didn’t know at the time. I was just starting to let my guard down to Josh a little out of sheer respect for the impact he was making on Maddi’s life.


So this brings us to around August of this past year, where I was just floating through life. Benny was having his birthday party and really wanted his best friend to be there. The boys had had a few play dates at that point and the adults had often said over the prior few months that we should all just get together. It’s something you just instinctively say to be polite, right? “Let’s catch up sometime.” “It would be great to have you over for dinner.” So, we decided to invite their entire family for the birthday party.

That day changed everything.

Stacy and Allissa just clicked. They connected immediately. If you ask anyone who was at that party, they all assumed that those two had known each other for years. They had so much to talk about. I was still in a weird place where I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, but I think Josh saw that and he just made himself part of the party. Maybe he saw something I didn’t see at the time. Maybe he saw me screaming out for help. Maybe he just thought I was an alright person?

At the end of that day I told Allissa we needed to follow through and actually get together with them. These were genuinely nice people, like the ones we met in Ireland. You just don’t find that kind of kindness here. Or at least that’s what I told myself.

We would see them during cross country season, and Allissa and Stacy would get to know each other during the meets whenever she was there and I slowly started to get to know Stacy a bit. We didn’t actually schedule anything for about 2 months until we ran into each other for the school Trunk or Treating. We finally said enough was enough and made plans.

Our families got together for dinner for the first time a week later and immediately the kids were overjoyed. They ran off and the adults didn’t exist from that point on. Me being me, I was awkward. Of course. I was still in this mind set of staying guarded to protect myself. Because “everyone will hurt me”.

It went well, though. We played games together, we ate dinner, and we started to pull back my shell just a little.


Things escalated very quickly from that point. Next thing I know we are trick-or-treating together on Halloween. Dinners happened every few weeks or so. The kids were so excited and I was finally starting to realize that I could open myself up to these people. They made me want to by the way they accepted us.

And then we were invited to their New Years Eve party with their closest college friends. Talk about intimidating. But it ended up being amazing. Josh has a way of bringing people together and making them feel like they belong. I met some amazing people that evening that I can not wait to know better and be a bigger part of their lives and for them to be part of ours.

After that, dinner every few weeks became every week. And it was something I looked forward to. One of the highlights of every single one of my weeks. Mondays always seem so far away. We would talk, play games, eat, and just open up to one another. People have never been able to get me to do that before.

And these two people, who were absolutely destroying the walls I built up around myself, just kept showering me with unconditional love. They were giving me what I needed in my life without me realizing that I was missing it.


For anyone who has known me at any point in my life will know that I do not have a very good track record with friendships with other men. As in, aside from elementary school friends (who are no longer in my life), there has been no successful friendships at all. And I would even be as bold as to say that includes my siblings. I’ve always been able to relate better with women. Probably has a lot to do with fear of competing for dominance and proving masculinity.

I’m not getting into psychology today. I’m not talking about how it bothers me that people shame me for not caring about sports. Or that I’d rather stay in and watch a good Hallmark movie and get in touch with my feelings. Or whatever… someone asked, right?! Riiiiight…

So for Josh to come into my life and be someone I wanted to pour my heart out to, you should truly understand how meaningful that is. It’s never happened. As in… ever. And yet I can tell this man everything. And I usually do. Without a single fear of judgement! I could come to him and tell him I did something terrible and he would look at me, hug me, and ask what he can do to help. Granted, he would at some point tell me if I did something stupid, but that’s just something I love about him. That he will call me out on my crap.

And he makes me want to be a better person. In basically every aspect of my life. He is an absolutely amazing father. He is a fantastic husband. A huge extrovert and everyone absolutely loves being around him. Even Maddi loves him, and she has some people issues.

And he is a devoted Christ follower. His passion in the things he truly believes in is so incredibly inspiring. When he gets going on a topic that he is into, it’s amazing to see him go. It’s like watching a science experiment with a bunch of chain reactions going off all at once. It’s mesmerizing to be a part of. Sometimes chaotic, but it is something beautiful that you want to be a part of.

He never knew of my past, and yet he came to me with unconditional love in his heart and accepted me before I even knew what was going on. He made me a part of his family before I could make sense of what was happening. Josh introduced me, indirectly (but if you know him, more than likely intentionally with a long-game plan), to what unconditional love actually was. Before I met Josh and Stacy, I didn’t know. My heart was filled with pain, anger, bitterness and sadness. And it’s, mostly (about 95%), free from all of that now.

He didn’t see me as a project. He didn’t see me as someone that was broken (granted, I definitely was). He didn’t see me as someone who needed to be fixed. He didn’t even know my religious views. He just said “Hey, man. I love you”.

He told me once that the timing of me coming into his life happened for a reason. Oh boy, I hope he truly knows that the timing of him coming into my life was a moment of Heaven on Earth.

Josh has a way of seeing the bigger picture. He can see into people’s hearts and knows how to speak to them on an intimate, personal level. It’s a gift. And an amazing one at that.


Josh has a way of getting you energized. He’s the pep talk before a big game. Stacy, on the other hand, has a way of calming your soul. She’s like a bedtime story after a long day. When you’re with her the world just slows down, in the best way possible.

One of my absolute favorite things about Stacy is the way she hugs you. If you’ve ever been given a hug by her, you will know exactly what I’m about to say. If I am having a bad day, my mood is instantly lifted. If it’s a good day, it just gets even better. She doesn’t give you a hug like you’re a new acquaintance, quick and with a few pats on the back. She embraces you, squeezes, and holds you. A hug so tight that it just puts all the broken pieces back together again. It makes you feel like everything in the world will be okay, even if just for a few moments.

The best way I can describe it is you can feel the love of Jesus radiating from within her. It is a hug full of unconditional love and warmth. Odds are, knowing the person she is, she probably makes everyone feel this way. But you know what? I’m going to ignore that and just pretend that I’m special. ☺️


Stacy is a truly amazing caregiver. We have entrusted her with our kids at least 5/7 days of the week. And she loves them so much as if they are one of her own. Benny and Shai, who both have some social anxieties of their own that they are overcoming, tell us constantly about how much they just love her. I trust her with all of our lives, and I’ve told her time and time again when she has the kids that they are hers. Her rules, her discipline, her fun. And she doesn’t treat them any different, which I have so much respect for.

She shows up when the kids are sick, bringing them things to make their days special. She makes everyone around her feel so loved, whether it’s in the way she talks to you, or makes you feel included, or cooks you dinner, or bakes you desserts (she could definitely open her own bakery someday…. yum!).

Stacy has taught me to fully embrace my emotions. I don’t need to hide who I am, and she seems to have a way of sensing when something just isn’t right. If you need to cry, she will be right there and cry with you. It’s pretty impossible to be in the same room with her and not leave with a smile on your face. She just has that effect on others.


These two people brought me out of one of the darkest points in my life. When I was going through one of the toughest times they both came to my side, put their arms through mine, and asked to walk with me. I didn’t know at the time that they were helping me walk a path back to salvation, but I can tell you now I’m really not surprised. These two are living examples of what it means to be followers of Jesus.

I am blessed to be able to see Josh every weekday morning when I drop the kids off. And as I make sure to hug my kids and tell them I love them, I do the same with him. Why? Because he means that much to me.

Whenever we are all together, it’s something we all do. And it just brings so much joy to my life.

We have, on multiple occasions, been up into the early hours of the morning talking about all sorts of odds and ends. We lose track of time picking the kids up and talking for an hour. I don’t know about them, but it never seems to be enough. Sometimes with people I struggle to find things to talk about. It’s never happened with them. Not once. And we spend hours together every single week.


When I fully opened myself up to the two of them on where I was with my faith, I asked them how they were able to be such devoted Christ followers and compartmentalize that part of their lives and not have that be a big part of our friendship.

Oh how naive I was.

They weren’t compartmentalizing anything. What they didn’t do was try to build our relationship around something that we may or may not have been on the same page about. What they DID do was love me unconditionally. They were living their lives following the life of Jesus. They weren’t hiding anything. They were 100% being true to themselves. They didn’t care one bit about what I believed. They loved me anyways.

They loved me anyways!

I would do absolutely anything for their family. Any of them. And I know that they would do the same for mine. I trust them with everything I have. Literally everything. These are people I would genuinely give my life for.

Now our families have become one. We are not 5 of one, 6 of another. We come together as a family of 11. We have trips scheduled together. We have plans a year out from now. I am looking forward to my birthday for the first time in a very long time because of them. We laugh together. We cry together. We pray together. We break bread together. We joke around and tease each other. We have full on gif conversations. We have inside jokes (flowers, and freezers, and chica bread!). We create lifetime memories. Together.

We love one another and the world is a better place because of it.

They are helping me in my journey to be a better follower of Jesus. Never once telling me I should do things one way or another, but supporting me and loving me as I work through things. Giving me answers when I have questions. Giving me a shoulder to cry on when I’m having a bad day. Directing me to look at things from a different perspective to work through troubles. They speak to me on what they believe and it resonates with me on such a profound level because it just makes so much sense!


If you’ve made it this far, either you are the people this post was written about or you are just drawn to who these people are (which, you should be!). And if you are the people it was written about, you might be in tears now (Stacy, I’m sure you are since you tell me all the time I make you cry.). Sorry, not sorry! I needed to document this turning point in my life.

Josh and Stacy, you are truly disciples of Jesus. You both mean so incredibly much to me.

You are not my friends, you are my family.

Josh – I love you!

Stacy – I love you!

And I love your family, which I feel I can safely call an extension of my own. It just melts my heart to see how excited the girls get when they see me and run and give me lots of hugs (wonder where they get that from?!).

If I were not here tomorrow I am glad to know you will have these words to forever hold. To know that you made a difference in someone’s world. You saved a life – mine.

Dear God.

Is there more I can say to thank You for bringing these beautiful souls into my life? I asked for a message and You sure did deliver. Hand-picked, embellished with love, kindness, generosity, compassion. A special gift from God. And You chose me to be blessed with their presence? How great is Your love!

I pray that You love and protect them. Your love is so evident in the people they are, the things they do and the way they live their lives. You have given me a brother that will take me by my hand and show me how to live a better life and be a follower of Christ. Who doesn’t judge me but fosters my growth.

You have given me someone who has shown me that it is okay to cry. And to do it often! You have given me someone who has taught me to give myself to others. To accept people for who they are. To open my home to strangers. You have given me someone who has taught me the power of a hug, and the difference it can make on someone’s life.

You have given me love. You have given me guidance. You have given me inspiration.

You have blessed me with these people. I only hope that I can be the same blessing to others. I want to change the lives of others as these people have done for me.

I want to make a difference. I want to live a purposeful life. I want be a follower of Jesus and live a life as He did. I want to give all of myself to You.

Amen

With all the love in my heart!

Kyle

*Please feel free to follow my blog if you would like to receive email notifications whenever I post. You can subscribe down below or off to the right of this post. I try to post at least once a week, depending on what is currently going on in my life. Let me know below if you have any comments, questions or concerns. Hope everyone has a blessed day! YOU ARE LOVED!*

Lauren Daigle – Rescue

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you

There is no distance
That cannot be covered
Over and over
You’re not defenseless
I’ll be your shelter
I’ll be your armor

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you
I will never stop marching
To reach you in the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true
I will rescue you

I hear the whisper underneath your breath
I hear you whisper, you have nothing left

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you
I will never stop marching
To reach you in the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true
I will rescue you

Oh, I will rescue you

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