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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.

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.