A Night with the Giants

David Tyree, #85 of the New York Giants.

We first met him several years ago when he came to speak at an evangelistic breakfast in Newark -David played for the Giants and that was a BIG deal for our teens and young adult men. We were so thankful for his willingness to use his platform as a pro football player to impact our neighborhood. We partnered occasionally for different ministry events and our friendship with him and his wife, Leilah, started to bud.  We watched him make the AMAZING catch in the 2008 Superbowl, and we listened to his voicemail recording, “You’ve reached David Tyree.  Can’t answer to phone right now. Leave a message. Yes, you saw the catch, but what you didn’t see was that it was the Lord that did it. Give Him the glory”.  We’ve stayed in touch as our two families have grown significantly over the years. On our trek through Jersey we just had to stop by and see them.

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When people in Newark asked us where we went Wednesday night, and our response was “We had dinner at the Tyree’s house”, alot of questions ensued.  One of which was “Is their house really big??”

Yes, there house was big.  Yes, they had nice furniture.  Yes, they had a sweet pool out back.  But it doesn’t take much time with them to quickly realize that their real treasures are in heaven and their hope is in the eternal Kingdom. David said while we were there “All this stuff-its just clutter.  We’re learning that more and more.”

This amazing couple’s start was a rocky one, but once the Lord got a hold of their hearts, God started transforming this family into a covenant one.  One that serves, one that suffers, one that clings to the Hope we have in Jesus-that this earth is not our home.

As we ate dinner, David shared some of his passions-involvement in a small group, helping other couples who were struggling in their marriage, getting money into the hands of people who can use it to make the Gospel known, speaking out to support the institution of marriage and the traditional family unit as the bedrock of a society, pouring into his kids and caring for his wife who is working so hard raising their family.

Leilah Tyree is one of the most amazing women I have ever met.  She breathed encouragement and fortitude into me as she shared her passionate love of the Lord, but also the struggle of relinquishing ALL, including her womb to His service. She’s walking her conviction, as the sixth child in this new line of covenantal children is due sometime this fall.

Last summer, when I was still in the midst of eeking through the pregnant existence I was in (Benjamin was sucking every last ounce of anything out of me) she had just had their fifth child.  She told me of the struggle, the pain, the crying out to God that she did in the hardship and even physical pain of caring for the kids and nursing an infant.  I will never forget what she said to me.  “People in other countries may have to suffer torture, and death to follow Christ, but this is just the suffering God has called me to as my offering to Him.”  How often these words have rang in my mind.  How I have mulled over them as I’ve struggled with my own faith in God’s desire to build our family according to HIS will, not my own.

Their big house is now filled-not with more “clutter”, but with souls.  They “adopted” a struggling nephew so that he could be homeschooled along with the rest of the kids.  Their spare bedroom is inhabited by a cousin, his girlfriend, and their daughter.  Their house is being used for the Kingdom. Their nice furniture has little children climbing on it and sitting upon it for family devotions. It is being used for the Kingdom. David’s influence in the media is being used to bring glory to Christ and proclaim the truth of His Word, no matter what the cost of David’s reputation.  His platform is being used for the Kingdom. Leilah’s physical strength, mental focus, and emotion and spiritual depth are being poured into the five kids plus her nephew as they are homeschooled.  She is being used for the Kingdom.  Her body, including her womb, have been laid on the altar as a living sacrifice and God is blessing them with a first generation covenantal family.  Her womb is being used for the Kingdom. Their family has welcomed house guests into it. The entire family is being used for the Kingdom.

This couple is stepping out in acts of faith that will be a blessing to the generations to come. They are living and breathing what it means to follow Jesus, with Jesus Himself being their daily strength and light.

David doesn’t play for the Giants any more, but works a full-time business job to provide for his growing family, plus he does all the other things required of a man whose home is filled with small people and babies .   He is no longer a New York Giant but he’s a giant of another kind.

This family’s refreshing perspective, dogged clinging to God’s Promises, and their honesty about the deep struggles of life were absolutely invigorating for my faith that night.   Yes, they have a big house.  But their house in heaven will be FAR bigger. Yes, their names are famous because David played pro-ball. But their fame is about making Someone Else famous.  This world thinks they “made it” because David is a famous Super-bowl winning Giant. But David, Leilah, and their covenant kids are giants of another kind.  An eternal kind.  On the team that wins in the game of life and death and eternity.  They are GOD’s giants.

A Whirlwind Tour Up the East Coast

There IS a good reason why I have not blogged in over a month…the reason being a whirlwind tour up the East Coast.  Here’s a little play-by-play on our frantic, but blessed travels -more posts will come relating the incredible things the Lord did and taught us along the way.

June 20 -Danny leaves to lead worship for a camp here in Florida

June 22-The kids and I leave to join him, after having spent a few more coveted days with Jonathan and Maggie before they prepared to return to Southeast Asia.

June 25- Return home, quick laundry and repacking, a tearful evening and goodbye to our beloved “India Iversons”

June 26-12 am, begin 12 hour trek up to Waynesboro, VA to see Chase Grandparents and the Nolls

June 28-trip Pennsylvania to visit my brother Peter at a camp he was working at, then a late night arrival into Newark.  *MORE to come on our sweet time there.

July 1 -11pm leave Newark(after visiting Betsy’s work and apartment in NYC) and head to Massachusetts

July 2-5 -WONDERFUL family reunion at my favorite place in the world, Cape Cod Bay-TONS of people to see and catch up with

July 6, 2am-crash on Betsy’s apartment floor in NYC after 5 hr. drive from Mass., then visit sweet friends throughout New Jersey (4 different stops crammed in 12 hours), pick up Brandon, a kid from Newark, so he can travel around with us for the rest of the summer

July 7-4am load sleeping kids into car to head to Virginia again. Spent the rest of the day letting the kids run off energy.

July 8- manage to turn the supposed 8 hour trip to Atlanta into 10 1/2 hours. (gas, food, potty, and even spanking breaks manage to make an agonizing trip even longer)

July 9- 6am Danny flies to Canada to speak at SERVE camp.  To see a video he made of the week click here

July 10- I trek to a camp outside Atlanta to drop Brandon off, then drive to Birmingham, AL to spend the week with my 86 year old Grandmother.

July 11-  Shocking News- We had a little family break down-kids out of control, overtired, and bickering- Mommy is stressed out and super annoyed.  Grandma starts praying.

July 12-15 Grandma’s wisdom, gentle rebuke, and prayers bring healing and sanity to all members of the family

July 16- Load kids at 4am to pick Brandon up from camp in time, kill time at Walmart in Atlanta and then head to Airport for a sweet reunion with Danny.  Receive the evil eye from airport patrol for kissing too long in the loading zone.

July 17- Meet with church planters to talk strategy, meet with friends that try to convince us to move to Atlanta. (Sorry, Bray, I don’t think its working)

July 18- Drive to Camp Kalaqua in FL for Danny’s last camp.  GOD SHOWS UP IN BIG WAYS.

July 22- 500 on-fire-for-Jesus kids depart camp to go share the Gospel with their friends and neighbors, a tired but satisfied Danny naps on the drive home.

July 22 10pm-Kimberly regains access to the internet  and realizes all the important emails she missed and all the things she has to catch up on.

We can do nothing but PRAISE THE LORD for the safe travels and the blessing of seeing SO MANY beloved friends and family.  God used Danny in mighty ways at the three different camps he spoke/led worship at, and we are so thankful to be able to be his vessels of love and truth. God is good to us beyond what we could ever imagine. He was so faithful to His promise that we had been clinging to in Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to HIM be glory in the church and in Christ throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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