Tyler Kaiser: Consuming Love
By Sarah Morris
It only takes a spark to start a roaring fire. And sometimes, it only takes just a moment for a life to be redirected. That spark just needs to be tended to, the flame needs to be fed, as a life is transformed and molded by the One who created it.
So was the case of Tyler Kaiser. Growing up in Bismarck N.D., he was raised Catholic. In his household, being a Christian consisted of going to church on Sundays; other than that, there wasn’t really a lot of thought into the matter. Tyler didn’t even know if he believed in God, and he knew he didn’t like going to church. So, he just kind of went off and did his own thing. Forced to attended church, he really didn’t have a living, growing relationship with Jesus.
But he did find another relationship. His junior year of high school he met a girl. Gorgeous with a great personality, he thought she was almost perfect. The thought that they could have a future together if they were both older even crossed Tyler’s mind. Everything was going well for a while. But, the road started to gradually become slanted, until things actually just went downhill. The relationship ended, and like a typical break up, it was hard but not devastating. He would be okay.
But, there had to be a round two in this match. Tyler and this girl started talking again, and they decided to get back together. Two weeks later, they broke up once again, for the same reasons as before. But this wasn’t the end of the relationship. Two more times they would try dating again, only to have the relationship fall apart. By the last time, Tyler was done.
“And by that time, I was completely destroyed, my heart had enough and I was stressed out all the time and depressed,” Tyler said.
Apart from her, Tyler really didn’t have any friends left. He had put so much in stake into the relationship, and other friendships had fizzled away. Now, he didn’t have really anyone to turn to, and he felt lost. The only other thing that he had previously put his passion in was basketball. But now even that wasn’t enough.
“Basketball was like my life before. My friends and I played every day, and then after we broke up that last time, I quit basketball, which I never would have done in a million years. But I just couldn’t focus on anything else but her, our break up and my life.”
Things just started piling up on him from there. He wasn’t doing too well in school. He felt that no one really loved him, or cared for him. These situations and thoughts brought him down and down into a pit of depression.
“I didn’t really think that I had any value in life, or there was no purpose in life or meaning in life. And I just didn’t have any goals, or passions, or dreams. And my life wasn’t going anywhere; I was just living every day in depression and hopelessness.”
The warmth of life was growing cold and dark, just like the weather outside.
“I remember one time, it was blizzarding out. And, this is right around (the) depression, and you couldn’t see five feet in front of you. But, I just went on a walk, because that is what calms me down. And I didn’t know where I was going, didn’t know where I would end up. Somehow I made it back home, I don’t even know how still. But there was about two feet of snow and I could barely walk and I couldn’t see in front of me at all, but that was just like the place I was at. I was lost already, so it didn’t make any difference for me.”
So, he started to search—search for some kind of meaning, something to fill this empty void in his life. He turned to partying and drinking, and then a brief period of drugs. But nothing was filling him, so he stopped. He then was in despair, believing that he had tried everything, and there was no way he would feel whole again. Suicidal thoughts started to pop up in his mind, and he felt that no one loved him.
It all came to a standstill one night, with just one thought, a spark from a previous conversation. He remembered something from a conversation months before when he was dating that girl. Her parents were having some challenges in their lives, and then they found Jesus, and their lives were turned around for the better.
“And it just was random night that it popped into my head out of nowhere, after not talking to this girl for three or four months,” Tyler said. “And then I was like, okay well I go to church every week, but I don’t know, I don’t think I believe in God. But He is kind of like my last hope and my last chance. I really have nothing else to go to, so I will just start praying and trying it.”
So, he prayed. He didn’t really know how. He tossed in some Hail Marys, trying to remember some prayers from his Catholic upbringing. But, God “didn’t really seem like a Father, but just kind of a Being.” Still, Tyler pursued after God, praying in the morning and at night, and his life began to have meaning once again.
Another night, he was sitting down, flipping through the channels on the TV. As the channels rolled by, he stopped on something that caught his eye—The Bible miniseries. He was intrigued, for there was action and some blood and gore, things that he didn’t expect the Bible to contain. So, he started watching it, making it a point to catch every new episode. He soon found out it was more than the surprising action; the series contained the story of how Jesus loves us all, and why He did what He did.
“I just kept getting to understand more of about who God really was and what He actually did for me. … God’s grace just kept growing in me through that. And once that was done, I was like ‘that was awesome; I actually kind of want to start reading the Bible now.”
Searching around the house for a Bible, he dug up an Old King James version. Getting past the thees and thous, he first would read a few verses, and then dive into chapters. God started revealing Himself through His Word, but He also started showing Himself to Tyler in ways that were unexpected.
In the spring of his junior year at BHS, Tyler was lying on the bed in his room. He was super stressed out, and he felt he couldn’t cope with things anymore. He prayed that if God was truly there, for God to give him peace, because he couldn’t deal with it by himself.
“As soon as I said Amen, I felt three cold dots on the back of my head like fingers touching me, and I passed out—eyes just shut and closed. And then I woke up and there was like insane peace just came over my body, and that is when I knew, ‘holy cow, this isn’t just something, this is real, You’re real, You’re really here.’ That is where it all kind of changed too for me, and I just kept taking it more serious, and God kept talking to me.”
And so, his walk with the Lord really started becoming a journey. Things were going great, but he was missing out on something very important: community.
“I didn’t have any Christian friends at all through that time, all I would do would just go home and read the Bible for like an hour and a half because that is all that I wanted to do,” Tyler said. “God just kept growing in me, and revealing things through His Word to me, and opened my eyes and my heart to understanding to Who He really was and what He really did to me. And even though, like I said that girl left, and I believed that everyone else in my life before that has always left me, He told me He was never going to leave me, that He was always going to be there. And that is really what kept my faith going and I just kept persevering through all of the hard times, knowing that He is never going to leave me and He loves me so much that He is always just going to be there. And that has kind of been a foundation to my faith that way, just His faithfulness.”
He would later come to Evangel around eight months after being saved, joining a Bible Study, meeting new friends and connecting with old acquaintances. His relationship with Jesus is thriving and ever-growing. Tyler now has a passion to do some type of full-time ministry, perhaps something that involves writing or speaking. He just wants to do whatever God wishes him to do.
Tyler felt his life wasn’t really all that promising. He felt like nothing, trash to the world. But all it took was a small spark, a spark of a memory of something said months before, to open his eyes to a God that was always beckoning him with open arms. This spark turned into a flame, and then a blazing fire lit his heart for God in a way that nothing else could. Tyler was searching for something to fill him up; never would he have imagined that what filled him up was always searching for him.