Thursday, February 14, 2013

That first step of faith on our journey (TylerAnn)

Jeremy and I have been out shopping for purity rings for our kids. As we shop for each of our teens, I can't help but remember the day we gave Tyler Ann her ring. I can't believe how blessed I am with this young lady as my first child. God definitely knew what he was doing when he gave us her first.

It was sixteen years ago that this independent, kicking screaming baby joined our family. From the moment she was born she made it clear she would be a fighter. She was born with three holes in her heart, but she never let that limit her, and over time God healed each and every hole. Funny thing is as he healed those physical holes he also filled her spiritual holes.

She walked early, she talked early. She was an easy baby, slept a lot, and when awake was not too demanding. She watched and learned from her surroundings. She loved everyone who came into her life easily, without judgement. Before we knew it she was making friends every time we left the house, at the park, at the grocery, at church, anywhere we went. She had a heart for the weak and down hearted. She had a compassion for animals and humans alike. Often bring in critters from outside in her pockets. She was a determined child and still is.

As she became old enough to start school, it soon was obvious she had some weaknesses in learning to read. But that never stopped her, in fact, it just made her work harder. She now not only reads, but she teaches others to read too. Dyslexia was not her enemy, but a friend to motivate her to be all she can be.

At a very young age, she started to show an interest in the Bible, and understanding the things of God. She prayed and sought God even as a toddler and preschooler. By the time she was six she knew she wanted to be a part of God's family forever. Then a couple years later, she decided she wanted to make a public statement of faith and be baptised. I was worried she was too young, but the elders of our church did a great job of making sure she understood and was truly ready.

She amazed me as a big sister and friend. She was a a natural nurturer (so not like her mother), and an excellent listener even as a little girl. Often when new foster kids came into our home the first person they connected to was Tyler. They trusted her and confided in her. Even at the age of five, I remember her one time telling the gospel message to a girl at the park. She just loved telling everyone about Jesus, and still does.

When she was nine Tyler attended her cousins Quencinera. After that day she began preparing for hers. She couldn't wait till the day when she would be able to announce to the world and God that she was going to serve God in purity and truth all her life. She wanted everyone to know that to her there was no greater joy than serving God. She began serving him by getting involved in Child Evangelism Fellowship ministry and teaching Back Yard clubs and Good News Clubs. She went on missions trips to teach children about Jesus. And she never stopped reaching out to her family, friends, and even complete strangers with the truth of God's Word.

Finally, the day came for her big party. She looked beautiful in her dress, and she sang beautifully, but the thing that I will never forget is how she glowed with the love of the LORD that day. As she gave her speech stating how she wanted to remain pure before God, and to serve Him always, I thought my heart might exploded from so much pride. AS her dad gave her a ring to be a reminder of God's presence to help her keep her promise of purity, and his and our love for her, I couldn't help but have tears flow down my face.

Now a year later, she is still an amazing example of God's grace and love for us. She is becoming a woman who loves to be in God's Word, learning it, teaching it, obeying it, and sharing it. I pray she will always have a love for God and the things of God. I can honestly say that she is becoming one of my closest and dearest friends.

I am so thankful to God for his gift of Tyler Ann.
correction Tyler Ann is now almost seventeen, not sixteen.