I’m blessed to work with amazing people – daily I’m inspired by individuals that are living into their gifting and blessing others by it. One of those is my friend, Tyrone, who happens to be the Worship Pastor at the church I work at and attend.
I fell in love with Ty when he came to fill in for a few Sundays (aka: an audition/see how he did/if it was a good fit) many years ago. I was pulling for him from the very beginning and was thrilled when he was hired.
There are many, many things that I love and respect about my friend…but if I knew NOTHING else about him, other than the way he has loved my parents, I would still be his biggest “fan”.
Truth – my parents were not (originally) as thrilled over Ty’s hire. He was a little more “energy” than they were used to and, from their perspective, brought some extra volume to the experience. 🙂 They were “team players”/supportive (and never spoke an unkind word), but the transition was a little rough…so, it was hilarious to me (and yet not surprising) that several months later they were calling him their “son” and making their way to him every Sunday for warm hugs. He also began blowing a kiss and making direct eye contact with them as he started worship every weekend – something that continues to this day during the 9:30am service. They shared some dinners together and my mom became “hostess” to Ty’s mom when she visited from out of town. Basically – they quickly ADORED him and can’t believe they EVER questioned if he was the right person for the job!
Early on my dad could not get Tyrone’s name right…he would say, “Hey – Tell JEROME I said Hi.” or “How is JEROME doing?” or “Why isn’t JEROME leading worship today?”. I would, of course, always correct him, “DAD – it’s TYRONE…NOT JEROME!” but soon it became a joke and years later he would occasionally “slip” just to tease us!
Tyrone held a very special place in my parents’ hearts and they loved when he would just stop by and visit. This would become even more meaningful as my dad’s health kept him from attending church. Tyrone’s home and hospital visits were a huge gift to my parents and to our family. One crazy example of how much my dad respected Ty was one SHOCKING day when we were told, “Do you know what Tyrone told me? He said that Diet Soda is really bad for me…I need to give that up and drink more water! Judy – don’t buy any more soda!” While this new diet plan didn’t last long – the entire family just rolled our eyes over TYRONE telling him this truth – when he hadn’t listened to the rest of the family telling him this for YEARS!
My brother captured this sweet picture of my dad and his friend sitting out by the pool one visit. My dad was “freezing” (poor blood circulation) and Ty lovingly sat in the hot sun just so dad could “warm up”.
Obviously – when it came time for someone to sing at his Memorial service last April, no one else would be considered over his “son” -Ty. The service ended with a peppy (but still a Hymn!) – “I’ll Fly Away”.
Jump ahead to the last few months…
A strange thing happened this year as our grandson turned three. Suddenly I had this gripping fear come over me about if he would grow up and love/know Jesus personally. I knew his parents and family would give him the opportunity to hear about spiritual things, but I just had this “ugh” about “What if he chooses not to believe the truth about Jesus/God’s word?”, or “What if faith is never personal for him?”. I’m not sure if it was just because of different things happening around me – the crazy election that left many (including myself) with concern over our world/the generations to come, or watching people I love walk away from the church/their faith foundation – but whatever it was, I started REALLY praying that God would give me a peace over my grandchildren and trust that they would come, individually, to love Jesus.
I’m so thankful that Tyrone (and our friend Jaquita) helped in putting my fears to rest. Our grandson (often known as #lukethomas) has been in Plano more than typical the last two months and therefore has been in church with us several weeks in a row. He has ALWAYS loved the music (which is not surprising due to his Daddy’s influence in this area) and always asks if he can come in to church just for the worship/music. We always sit right down front and ALWAYS on the “drummer side”! Luke LOVES “Jaquita” (makes me wonder how my silly dad would have messed up HER name?!?) and we often see him “drumming” along with her.
Several weeks ago Jaquita (knowing/seeing Luke’s interest in drums) invited him to come and play on her set between services. To say that he was FREAKING OUT is a huge understatement. Friends gathered to watch him play and we were all impressed with the care he took with the instrument – not banging, but gentle, etc. He actually had great rhythm and everyone made it clear, “This boy needs some drums!” (and Tom and I noted that they needed to be at HIS house…not ours!).
The next week, Jaquita came out before the service and presented Luke with his own set of drum sticks…let’s just say, HE LOVED THEM!
These sweet acts just propelled his enjoyment in worship…I’m often in tears as I stand watching him “drumming” from the second row – eyes focused on Ty & Jaquita and sometimes lifting his little hands in praise. Even as we visited our daughter’s church in Oklahoma, he was totally in to worship and we talked afterwards about the words to the songs and what they meant, etc. He can’t go ANYWHERE without the “Tyrone CD” (our church worship CD) playing in the car and even knows what number he wants to hear, and will announce, “HERE COMES THE BIG PART!” (which means the drums get louder!).
God has made it REALLY clear to me that Luke (even at 3 years old) loves Jesus – and whether he chooses to trust Him at an early age and stay on that path forever (or veers off for a while like his “Lolli”/grandma did)…or if he takes years making that decision…God’s got him. I’m just thankful for friends like Ty and Jaquita that are using their gifts and talents to build into the next generation…and to help this “Lolli” see that I need to chill and trust God with her grandkids!
I wish my dad was here to see this next generation of our family worshipping with Ty. I know he would be very proud of his son for his continued leadership and influence in our family…
…and I also know that he would be buying TWO drum sets for #lukethomas…one in Plano…and one in Oklahoma! 🙂
Thanks, Ty – for being one of my favorite “things”/people and for loving FOUR generations of my family…Dad would be really proud and truly thankful! And keep blowing those kisses at Mom and waving at the rest of us…your “fan club” will always be right down front! 🙂