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.

Bidder Sweets- Safe Haven’s First Annual Fundraiser-not exempt from sin’s effect

WE DID IT!! or rather GOD did it…we pulled off Safe Haven’s first formal fundraiser.  After ALOT of work and planning, and then 19 hours of decorating in order to transform the church into a beautiful atmosphere, we hosted our dessert reception and silent auction.  As I ran over to my house to quick get my kids to bed and change before 7:30, i was tempted to crawl into Daniel Josiah’s crib with him…just from sheer exhaustion….but the evening was just beginning. Everything went off beautifully, and we had a good turn out.  David Tyree, from the New York Giants, did a great job speaking, and watching our kids perform their dance was an absolute delight.  

 

But at the same time, i don’t ever remember being so exhausted and short of patience.  The kids that were suppose to only show up for the dance and then leave, were all over the place, and LOUD too.  An evening that i wanted to be so formal was getting invaded by the reality of the kind of behavior that we deal with on a regular basis.  At one point when a group of girls ran and locked themselves in the bathroom when they were about to get scolded by someone, I came up to the door and cried “so help me God if you don’t UNlock this bathroom RIGHT NOW you are going to be in SOO much trouble!!” After. I dealt with the situation I slipped back into the dining area where Danny was giving his speech….”And we are trying to reach and love each one of these absolutely precious kids….”  whelp, if anyone had just witnessed my less than gracious outburst they would have seriously doubted what Danny had just said: A) that we’re loving them and B) that they’re precious….  about 15 minutes later I had the last straw, because I could hear all of the kids yelling and screaming in the youth center which was directly under David Tyree who was speaking to the audience.  I promptly marched down and told them that they all had to leave immediately….then upon getting kicked out, three of the girls, ripped up and dumped out all the of the luminaries that lead up to the entrance….MIND YOU, these were the SAME girls that had so desperately wanted to help during the day and put the very luminaries in place for me. 

 

As the end of the evening was approaching, I was dreading the clean-up, which would be at least another 5 hours of work, but God sent me angels, in the form of random people who immediately started tearing down stuff, cleaning up the kitchen, putting items away…THANK YOU, Nelda, Sean and April, Eric, Cristiana, Adam, and Betsy…you were God-sends.

 

You might ask, where was Danny is his exhausted wife’s time of need?  Well, the reason Danny was not involved in the clean up, was because WHILE David Tyree so graciously came to speak for free, auctioned off his Giants paraphernalia, and then wrote a generous check to Safe Haven, his car was being broken into and his GPS was being stolen. So as David (who has a busted knee, mind you), his wife, his 6 and 3 year old sons, AND his 2 month old girl twins went out to their car, they were rewarded for all their efforts with a smashed in passenger window, and missing expensive items from the vehicle.   Fortunately, they viewed it with “kingdom eyes” and David declared “man, if thats all satan’s got, then we are BLESSED”

 

So our evening was good and bad, blessed and tainted by sin…blessed by the generosity of others, the group effort of putting on such a big event, the beauty of sharing a vision and calling, but tainted by the sin of my own anger and lack of patience, the craziness and disrespect of the kids, and the robbing of a man who came in order to bless and give to this community.