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Overcoming the Obstacles of Cerebral Palsy (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 16, 2020 2:00 am

Overcoming the Obstacles of Cerebral Palsy (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 16, 2020 2:00 am

Lisa Sexton discusses her experiences with raising her special needs son, Tyler. Lisa and Tyler also share their amazing story of how, with God's help, Tyler has overcome the limitations of his disability to become a physician. (Part 1 of 2)

Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/overcoming-the-obstacles-of-cerebral-palsy-pt1

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Guy on my very father's but he'll have a confessional made it had helped them do an incredible rentable half and in our time. They I will do that.

I wanted the board. He had called me to do this is a passion comment from Lisa Sexton Woodward yesterday on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly I'm John Fuller and the inspirational conversation about overcoming challenges and termination it takes when you have a child specially John. It's a special moment for any couple as they prepare for baby but it can also be a time of concern when there's a diagnosis that indicates special needs, but were going to share a story full of hope today and if you're a parent with a heavy burden about your child stick with this because I think this will really encourage you in the studio we had Lisa Sexton and I would hear her dramatic story of her son Tyler. He's with us as well and had a journey of living with cerebral palsy and all the surgeries and the challenges and the joys along the way they co-authored a book about that journey. It's called no such thing is, can't we do have that here at Focus on the Family.

Let's go ahead and listening to today's episode Focus on the Family Lisa I want to go back. I got a big smile on my face because I know what people are about to hear and I'm smiling and it's come right from the heart, but take us back 27 years when you were newly married. I believe you were married very long you were working on the family yet God does throw surprises and tell us what happened 27 years ago we had we had not planned to start a family. Stout wasn't one of those things. I came home from the doctor and my husband picked me up and twirled me around and have a baby, you know, we were devastated.

We were too young. We didn't have a savings account. We didn't have things set for children so we just weren't ready but of course we needed to get ready because there was a little boy on the way and at 28 weeks Tyler was born and at that time when he was born they wheeled him in to our room in an incubator and they said we are going to take him to the hospital four hours away, and his lungs will collapse when we go up into the helicopter and if he dies in flight let you know right away. I could not hold them. They let me put my hand right there little hole in the safety incubator I was allowed to touch his hand for about 30 seconds. That was it. They whisked him away and he was gone.

Lisa talk about that moment, one of our boys struggled when he was born as well. And there's a lot of fear and there's a lot of apprehension a lot of tears at the time did you have any idea what Tyler was dealing with as a newborn baby boy and what refilling in your heart is mother why you feel one thing he feels helpless and the other thing he feels guilty because you just think like that I did.

I didn't want this baby leave are prepared for this baby.

Maybe I'm not going to be a good mother, maybe at your mind begins to wonder and the devil attacks you right there. I mean you, your faith is kind of crumbled you don't know how to pray. We got a call from the neonatal unit.

A few hours later and they said the doctor told me quote unquote he said he probably will not make it through the night and I will leave the respirator on so his body does not get stiff and you could hold him first and last time before you bury him. That is so blunt and so course that's hard to hear.

And you wonder your voice told as a child. Don't ask why to God and I disagree with that. I have learned to say why now I don't always get my answers but it has allowed me to have relationship with him. I don't necessarily when I'm asking why am saying I need you. I know it's a tough thing for mothers to watch their children goes through something that this little tiny little boy laid up there and I would watch men and women drop to their knees in the neonatal unit that they would lose a child and just stop and you just think, when are we next get it all is that it could happen you and your husband Kevin you were only married a short period of time. At this point you didn't have years of wisdom as a couple is so often when this happens to a young couple to have a child who is born with some difficulty. It can rip the marriage apart.

How did you and Kevin manage that. How did you how did you move forward as a married couple with the weight of caring for this child and all of the facets of that. How did you keep it together. I think first of all, we are both believers. When we got married and I think that's really important because we didn't make a commitment through the good and the rich and all of those things we made a commitment to the bad, the poor and the sick and Kevin is a man of honor and I often say I get a lot of credit.

I got to be the mom sitting by the hospital bed and looking like mother of the year through all 16 surgeries and oh you know how wonderful. What you didn't see is my husband going to work every day and making sure that those hospital bills were paid and that the insurance was covered every night would walk in tired and spend the night at the hospital so I think one way that we really kept our marriage strong and it's not that it hasn't had its ups and downs as we needed each other and held on to each other. You leaned into each other.

We had to we had. We were desperate.

Nobody knew how I felt except for him and he nobody could understand him except for me it was our burden. You moved along over those very difficult months and then it 18 months when Tyler hit that mark you learned some difficult news from the diagnosis. What happens they took a scan of his brain and they called a sentence that your son has cerebral palsy and we said what is it we had no idea what was right and they explained that Tyler would be in a wheelchair. The rest of his life that he would be mentally and physically disabled, and that he was going. He's going to be very very tight's plastic and that he would wear braces he would go through many surgeries and just not to expect a lot from her child when you heard that news for you and Kevin what was that night, like when you got home. What did you talk about as a couple and the I would think that environment you think of your first child, you have all these dreams of what could be and what does that dialogue sound like between husband and wife. I never forget Kevin was working second shift at the time so I took Tyler home by myself and I closed every blind in my house. I closed every curtain and I mourned about today's just cried and what I cried about was I needed to mourn that I lost the normal baby that my life was not going to be a white picket fence with the pretty house and going to the baseball diamond like we had dreamed in Tyler's room. We had basketball and baseball and all those things because my husband is very athletic and my husband wouldn't have this little boy to going put on a baseball team and coach.

Like all downstream of and so I mourned and after those two days. I opened every curtain and I opened my heart and I went out and got Tyler out of his crib and he sat on my lap and I said you know you are going to be the cutest, sweetest, smartest, most darling little boy, cerebral palsy, and I'm to be proud of you and I chose to get up and praise God that day and that boy I'm sorry I'm choked up, but that tone that you said his mom, and I'm sure your husband Kevin as well. What a great environment. Tyler, let's bring you had we been talking about.

You probably little uncomfortable to sit here here all that but man from your earliest memories take us back. What do you recall about your mom and dad in your home and it's just been incredible retell the stories that every time I still can't believe how good God is good and just tell people say no. And God says yes and that's really what it's been in it as a child. I just remember from the beginning, the first under my parents are that every surgery. I knew my mom was always there because her tears would fall my face before and after each surgery will be out and I would be waking up and there she would be in some these difficult times. As I got older. One of things always applaud my parents for them. Thank God every day is that they dared me to dream. There were things that if I want to be about to loosen sure you know.

Do you have the nicest shoes you can do in a minute. Go to run back and forth were to play half-court or you know hey if you want to try something were to try to make that happen and make it as good as we possibly can and enjoy the weekend so they dared me to dream and reach for the moon and that's really what's been impact on me.

The entire binds our life because it's allowed me to say you know what I can do this and I want to work in this world. The minute were and talk about the rest of your life where you're at.

To the right because I think it is an amazing God story of what's happened, but I don't want to come to tip my hand Lisa, let's talk about that moment the title of your book, God blesses the legs and what Tyler's expressing their talk about how you would pray over your boy.

A lot of times we wait, pray it's a family and then Tyler and I had a lot of time in the hospital together alone and when you're in the hospital for 30 days everybody comes running to see the first couple minutes, like oh no, it's a long stay so we had to learn to kind of do things on our own and so we would have prayer times where Tyler really learned at a young age just to talk to the Lord just to it didn't need to be this beautiful elaborate prayer. It didn't need to be this thing where some people are so intimidated to pray and I used to be, and I'm not anymore because I'm talking to my father and Tyler that one thing that I love about prayers. That's the one thing that Tyler learned when we would sit around a table or we would sit down at a family meeting or we would have to potion all-time every morning and have a prayer time, our kids, our daughter Emily and and Tyler. They both learned how to pray and to have a father in heaven that cared and they were able to begin that relationship with them at a young age.

What a great gift and Tyler I'm sure even as a boy. You remember though that perhaps is the most important thing we teach our children is no absolute have a relationship with God and to pray to absolutely and to learn quickly that he does care and that I'm perfect in his sight and said he listens to even the simplest of desires and oh from caring about the wonder does God really care about what's going on today and I guess he really does, from the simplest of how the meeting to go to conversation have to have a whatever it is good as I learned that asking for the simplest things and he's going to answer those prayers and in some ways know, for me it was about Lord can I learn how to clean myself up after use the bathroom without falling off the toilet. There was a small miracle and does answer prayer. So I learned how to to look at the small miracles and ask God for the small things eventually leading to bigger thing we need to paint that picture because people are hearing your voice and they're not able to think about or see what you have to live with every day because of your situation describe for us, especially as a child what was occurring physically Tyler when he was a little guy has legs were very, very skinny and Tyler every morning of his life. He had this little tiny body with no muscle mass.

We would set them on a chair and he would wear these things called Dapo's and they were plastic braces on these tiny little legs would pull up the socks all the way to the knees and would put the braces on from the tip of his toes underneath his feet all the way up to the caps.

I would Velcro him in and we had to buy shoes that were couple sizes too big, so that they fit over the braces and I would put the shoes on and I would tie them up in every morning of his life.

I would squeeze his knees together and I would kiss and I would say God bless those little asked how much pain was there in that regard, describe for us again just physically what you are encountering why I think it's hard to express me nowadays costly pain as a child I would wake up, especially my legs would quiver. Sometimes my knees would give out some days I could go to bed. I would try as I learned how to walk and become more independent.

You have and use a walker and then graduating up.

I would always want try to keep up with the kids so I would say II can do this I can keep up in one try to portray that I am. And you know everybody's handicap mind. The world can see all struggling with something and so that's something I want to realize that the money is physical.

I can do this and be with you as a child I would try to push myself in these ways, and some days could get out of bed the next day used to fall for the six times a day broke a lot of my bones from falling from the knees to the wrist to the fingers from falling heavily to back up and a lot of bruises over the bones and a lot of tears and I walk with them with a gate that throws the hips out the knees touched together, these call me a ping when these come in a variety of different names. As a child I was never picked first for any sport.

I had to show people that being different didn't mean you need to approach me as a kid and so was an interesting component of that but and of course you still in pain. You know to this day. And then of course things of other avenues and things like gutter, my service dog have learned to help but there's always days of pain. Tyler would have physical therapy to remember five days a week because his muscles are so tight that if you notice if you sit down on the floor and you stretch your legs out your toes pointing to the ceiling.

Tyler's toes landlord because he so tight that the muscles just pull his toes like a ballerina lying on like a ballerina all the time.

You can imagine lower half of your body, be in that type pulling on you hundred percent of the time and then you have a therapist doing it the opposite way. Pain you're listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly I'm John Fuller and today our guests are Lisa and Tyler Sexton book that captures this incredible journey sharing with this new title is no such thing is can't.

And of course we have that here at focusing to find the link for that in the episode Tyler, let me take you back to something you said because we all grow up with. I think a degree of a lack of self-confidence, particular boys, you talk about sports when you're not picked help us feel what that was like, I mean being called names and being ridiculed at times. How did you get through that is a sick 710-year-old boy to take those kind of darts and management know it's funny because I member one time I came home from school and I told mom one day I was in our class and was talking to boy that's me about my legs in the sky things and I said you know God.

Maybe this way. I have a disability.

These kind of things and I got to tell about Jesus. I learned in an early age is not about me it's about Jesus told mom I said I know why God had me have CB as I could tell other people about Christ. Ice was that we remember in fourth grade I was out in in the yard with all the kids doing physical education right and so they make us all do jumping jacks and I was doing my jumping jacks and it was up to PE teacher there.

All the sudden I would do my clumsy attempts as they were at least shut out as it kid, you're in fourth grade that's the best you can do quick clowning around.

That was the best that I could do this was your teacher, the substance of teacher you know and so early on I learned how to you know I didn't eloquently know it as best as I do now, but I learned how to that I could let my circumstances define my attitude and so and it really was. What was I was you have a great day and I learned to count my blessings early if I couldn't fall that I couldn't walk but it gets made fun of the way that I'm walking. I wouldn't be walking so I learned, blessings, and there are way too many to count.

And that's really what it is been for me and it's just been incredible.

You're speaking right there to something I'm living presently is apparent. Tyler of a special needs son and around third fourth grade.

He's becoming acutely aware that he's different. And he desperately wants to blend in and he's asked questions like will can God heal me as you have those moments when we could eat what you're talking about is something many of us don't ever get a message very low just there was a time after.

Actually, that moment happened in in the park when they had me do jumping jacks. Roy came home I told my mom I didn't want to be me anymore that I don't do some more. I don't so appalled I don't live in pain. I want to be made fun of, no sudden she digs in my room since know my bed and she starts throwing everything out of my room for my close to my Nintendo overlooked Nintendo even now, let's be honest, and so through everything out and I just started to cry. The one person that I trust more in this world.

Anything else she threw it all she kept saying what can I take with me.

I said I do know she gets her own everything is what had to go with you.

I don't know you've taken everything. No I haven't. My room was bare was nothing on the walls. Just my sheets on the bed literally what can it take is that you've taken everything said no I haven't said I can't take who God made you in the spirit he gave you that I was alive and I was me I was a blessing and it was at that moment is just really been an incredible adventure and I learned early note there's a lot of things I'd rather walk with a limp in Christ ministry in the world.

I've learned that, and it's kept me humble and I've learned when 80% of your backs on a gurney as a child, you learn to trust something greater in Jesus Christ. Is that something greater for me as we talk further only because of Christ. Ice and fronting for so many reasons not Tyler mean you are bringing. It really is exactly what we should all be doing. Whether we can walk normally or not right that Lisa where did you find the wisdom to come up with something like that is a mother to say okay, I've got to draw spiritual truth here. What a brilliant way to tell your little boy what he means in God's eyes were did you find that wisdom you know I am. When you talk about your son, you know I'm no different than anyone else. I am not smarter. I am not wiser. I'm really not that the one thing that I believe with all of my heart and when you say can God heal you. Know that he can God heal me. I believe that in a snap of the finger. God could appeal.

Tyler and his power, but I believe in his wisdom, he chose not to because I wouldn't be who I am today and Tyler wouldn't be who he we wouldn't be the family that we are, we wouldn't be close, we wouldn't be as connected to the Lord.

Sometimes I think we get into legalism instead of relationships and so for me the wisdom was that God didn't help Tyler and that we chose to be able to walk this journey with him as he was sharing the story you were back there in your memory was vivid. I was watching your reaction as he talked about that was that just God saying here's what I want you to do that just happened to me and how did you figure out what it would be good to empty the room right here awful beat doing these things, but you know when Tyler was five years old. His physical therapist who had earned the right to give me advice and to tell me when I was wrong. She was with us for years.

She made a deal with me and she said this little boy walks with the little walker in the walker would kinda go behind him. It was on wheels and Tyler began to walk and he had his braces sign in sheets, at least if I can get him to where he can lean down and pick up an Easter egg will tie a basket to his walker and it is time for you to take him out of a bubble and take him to the park and let him be with normal kids and when you talk about wisdom it wasn't always my wisdom, it was other people praying for us giving me advice telling me encouraging me and so Michelle began to explain to me that he needed to be with kids his own age, he got get him out of the bubble, so sure enough Tyler worked really hard.

You want to cut the Easter egg hunt, so she got great therapy out of famine. You have to remember it took months to be able to do this. It wasn't just one day teaching him.

It was therapy after therapy. So one afternoon we went to North city park and I line my child up with all the others and our daughter Emily was all dressed for Easter and they had matching outfits and the gun went off, and all the kids began to run and there was my little boy hobbling down a beautiful grassy field all by himself way back and I was mad I had sunglasses on and I was angry and I thought this is exactly you people have so much advice for me. You tell me all these things to do, but I'm the one that's going to take this little boy home with no eggs and explained to him why he's different. And I began to journey down that little path and I caught up with Tyler and my eyes were filled with tears and I looked down and I went to tell him how sorry I am.

And he looked at me and Tyler would talk real Duchy when he was little and he said look at all the eggs in my Easter basket and I said my word. How did you get all of those he said oh the kids are running so fast that the eggs are popping out of the basket and I'm thinking about that day in the park. I knelt down and this is what the Holy Spirit told me, without a doubt my mind he said you get this little boy to me and his basket will be full of blessings. So many that you have turned him over to me. It's not about taking them out of a bubble for the kids. It's about taking them out of the bubble so that I can use and I got up and that day in the park and I thought I would do my best to not take this little boy and put them in a bubble and that God had a special plan and purpose for him and I think that's where the wisdom came from where I knew that he had something what Lisa Sexton expressed.

So common for all of us as parents want to be really overprotective of her kids. She and her son Dr. Tyler Sexton will have much more to share next time. This is such a powerful discussion that is helping people and every day here at Focus on the Family. Our goal is to put an arm around you if you're struggling in marriage or parenting, and we have caring Christian counselors who are available to walk through the difficult situation, whatever it may be, and also provide you with resources and biblical guidance.

Thank you for your financial support and your prayer cover as we do ministry here.

If you believe in what we're doing at Focus on the Family. Can you help support us doesn't get done without your prayers, obviously, and your financial support and if you can make a donation today. Your gift will be doubled. Thanks to some friends of the ministry and it's a fun way to simply spur each other on to you and this is a limited time opportunity for your gift to be double so please make a generous contribution today and will say thank you for joining the support team by sending a copy of Lisa and Tyler's book no such thing as can. Our number is 800 K in the work-family or click the link in the episode notes from on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here at Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us today. Plan to be with his next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ


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