Friday, April 12, 2013
A Word From My Husband
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Jeff Tyler, Ashley’s husband and the father to the six children you hear so much about on this blog. I’m 33 years old and I currently work as a staff pastor in the city that I was born in, Amsterdam, NY. I also work in a warehouse about 30 hours a week to support my family. Many of you have been reading my wife’s blog this past year, so you know that she is an amazing woman and a gifted writer. I am an avid follower of her writing as well and often find strength and inspiration in her words, even though they are often about me and our family. I will not pretend to be a writer like she is but I do hope to add something with my words today as I contribute to her blog with something personal and from the heart.
As I have thought and even prayed for a word to share with this audience I have thought about the many things that Ashley has shared about our personal journey of faith and trials. Most of you know that she is battling a chronic and painful physical ailment that affects her every day. You may know that after moving from downtown Albany after 5 years of pastoral ministry, we have had to walk through an often dark season here, seemingly filled with more questions than answers for us as to “where God is” in all of this. You know that we’ve had 6 children in the last 6 years and spend a lot of our time juggling diapers and bottles as we drive around in our infamous red 12 passenger van. I’ve worked countless 16 hour days since we moved to Amsterdam between pastoral work, cleaning the building, and then going into my second job at the Walmart Distribution Center. I’ve kissed my wife and kids goodbye at breakfast saying “see you tomorrow morning” many times. In all honesty I have worked some late nights of hard manual labor in the warehouse in tears, later driving home at 2am with my eyes literally crossing from exhaustion. All of this while trying to honestly and sincerely follow the call of God on our lives. We are here because we feel God has asked us to come. These moments can bring you to a real point of breaking. You start having some honest times of prayer with your Heavenly Father. Conversations with God begin to take place that aren’t often uttered from behind a pulpit or in front of a group of people. I have come to know what the silence of God sounds like. It can be one of the hardest things we face- at least it has been for me. These paths that life leads us on are rarely what we envisioned when God put His hand on our lives and put dreams in our hearts.
Yet even having said all that, and thinking about some of the things we have experienced, that is not my focus. I’m not whining or looking for sympathy. If the truth be told, I think my heart is changing in my view of these things. I have no brilliant quote or a cute cliche to add at the end of my lament to tell you that “it all works for the good”. No, these things, when allowed to bring you to your knees before the One who authored your very existence, tend to leave you wanting to say less. I am humbled.
But this isn’t a humbled because of a hard situation or a station in life. This is the humbled that comes because your starting to see that God is bigger than you thought. I am humbled because this Jesus is bigger than the silence. The God who saved me as a 21 year old drug addict and put His grace upon my life is still faithfully guiding me in my today. He’s still calling me to follow Him and though the path seems to have gotten harder, He is still calling. I am humbled because the silence of God will always turn into intimacy with Him. I’m humbled because I strive when I am tested and I complain when its not my will. I’m humbled that He loves me enough to continually bless me in spite of all that. I’m humbled that I need the test.
I’ll close my time with you with this thought- I heard a man of God say once, “Could it be that we are asking God to deliver us from the very things He is using to make us like Him?” I am in awe of the faithfulness of Jesus. His Word is true, His voice is strong, His ways are perfect, and with His help, I will trust Him with all that I have and all that I am.