I spent the last several days down in southern Alabama, celebrating the birthday of a friend, and fellowshipping with her and some other cool kids. Since I didn’t get back until noon yesterday, I didn’t make it to Lakeside yesterday.
When my mom got home, she told me about how a brother and sister, both young, came forward during the service to tell the church that they had given their lives to Christ. I had the privilege of teaching both of these children this summer.
The girl is six years old, and is absolutely the sweetest child I’ve ever met. She always has a smile on her face, always wants a hug, and laughs constantly. Within a few days of meeting her, our favorite game was to jump up and down, clapping and laughing, until one of us got tired. Yeah…guess who won that game? Not the teacher. It touched my heart to hear that she had made that decision, and that God was now going to use her for his glory, and use that love and laughter for the kingdom.
I’m going to focus on her brother, however, because of what he in particular has meant to me.
The boy, whose name is Tyler, is, in a lot of ways, similar to his sister. He’s one of the most loving children I’ve ever known. He probably has more love in his heart than anyone else in that church. He’s always wanting to hug you (I guess that runs in the family) and is willing to help you, and always wants to grow and know more about God and about the world. He’s one of the most special boys in this world.
And the world would label him “disabled.” Tyler has trouble learning, and is a bit slower than those in his class. There were times this summer where it certainly wasn’t easy with him, and more than anyone else, he teaches you patience. But I can honestly say it is worth it. He played Jesus in our first Resurrection story skit. And he nailed it. It was perfect, and standing in the corner watching, I had to get the tears out of my eyes before moving. He works so hard to be the best, and wants nothing more than to make his friends and his teachers happy.
Every day, in crafts, he would ask me if his work looked good. I didn’t have to lie to him, it honestly looked great. Sometimes we’d have to help him, but eventually he would get it. In recreation, when he did something well, seeing a smile come across his face made my day.
You see, I wouldn’t label Tyler anything other than special or unique, because that’s what he is. We have so much to learn from him. Love, patience, respect, and how to support your friends, no matter what. As much as I hope I, and the other teachers, taught Tyler this summer….he taught us so much more. I wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t meet him and get to know him this summer, and the same can probably be said for a lot of the kids at the church.
Tyler is so very special to me, but he’s even more special to God. God doesn’t make mistakes. He made Tyler the way he is for a reason. And I think I’ve discovered one of those reasons….to show that nothing, absolutely NOTHING, can stand in the way of God’s love for his children. No disability, no disorder, no sickness, no age, no pain, NOTHING, can stop God from getting to us.
When we have nothing, when we feel lost, when we feel helpless, that’s when God shows up. God loves us, and it is a truth that is simple, simple enough to be understood by someone the world would call “different.” God sees Tyler as different too….but not because of a medical diagnosis. He sees him as different because Tyler is His child, because he created him for a purpose.
We told the kids this summer that God had a plan for their lives, and now, Tyler and his little sister, along with their brother, are going to discover what that is, and I could not be more excited to see what he does in their lives, and in their wonderful parents lives.
I wasn’t able to save myself. I can’t do it. But God can, and he did.
I couldn’t turn myself back around. But God can, and he did.
I can’t change my own life, but God can. And he continues to do that every day.
Tyler can’t save himself, but God can, and he did.
When the world tells Tyler he can’t do something because of what the doctors say, God will be right there telling him “You can….because I can.”
Let us not forget the power of God, and the love he has for us. I’m so very proud of Tyler and his sister for their willingness to give it all up to the one who created them. And God created them just the way he wanted to, for he does not make mistakes. And we know, because of his word, that nothing can stop God from loving his children.
No matter what road this life presents Tyler, he will walk down it, smiling, laughing, knowing, that because God loves him, he has a hope, and he has no reason to do anything but continue being the wonderful, loving boy that he is today.
May his story inspire all of us, and may all the glory go to God.