From Kyle Fernandez …
Greetings blog readers! I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about my first experience at the 2017 TSSUS conference in Denver – from my perspective.
First, for those of you who do not know what “TSSUS” is, it’s the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States. For more information on what Turner syndrome is, please refer to the leapingbutterfly.org home page.
For me, the conference was a blessing, but honestly a little strange at times. It was my first time to be around anyone with Turner syndrome, other than my sister who passed away in 2008.
It was unbelievable how many times I saw a mannerism, heard a voice or a laugh that made me think my sister had come back to life.
For most people, many of the characteristics of TS could go unnoticed. For me, someone who shared a bathroom and a wall between bedrooms for 18 years with a sister who had Turner syndrome, there were several times the tiny hairs on the back of my neck would stand up at the conference. Everywhere I looked…everything I heard reminded me of Kellie. It was strange, but a good kind of strange.
Given my new role as the National Development Director for Leaping Butterfly Ministry, I was on a mission at the conference to talk to as many girls and women with Turner and parents of Turner daughters to gain a better understanding of their needs. I got exactly what I was looking for.
I’m still working through those conversations in my head and praying God will use the new-found knowledge to give me a clear path in my role.
One conversation stands out to me more than the others. I was visiting with a girl with Turner and her mom. The girl was probably in her early 20’s. She told me she is also involved in ministry and when I asked her “how so?” she answered, “Oh, I’m JUST a volunteer greeter at the front door of my church on Sundays.” The key word was “JUST”.
Upon further digging on my part about her choice of words, I discovered she felt her role of greeter was insignificant. I did my best to encourage her that her role serves an important purpose. She is the first impression a visitor of her church receives. It doesn’t get much more important than that!
As I told her how important she was, I witnessed her shoulders rotate backwards, her posture changed, and the look on her face completely changed. I saw her entire demeanor change as confidence shined bright in her eyes.
The conversation reminded me a lot of my sister, Kellie.
There were many times I remember Kellie struggling with feelings of insignificance in this world, too.
I imagine it would be a safe bet that most girls and women with Turner often feel overlooked, unimportant, or insignificant because of the more than normal mocking and bullying many of them withstand in their lives. THAT, my friends, is a major ministry opportunity for those of us involved in the Turner community. It is also something that should be a major focus for parents with Turner daughters.
Girls and women with Turner syndrome are NOT insignificant and they are NOT unimportant. They are an absolute miracle from God! I plan to make it my mission every time I am around a girl or woman with TS to look for opportunities to remind them of their immense value in this world.
So, there is no such thing as “JUST” in anything with TS. They are 1 in 2,000 – a VERY select group God hand selected to be angels in the flesh. Their potential and purpose is limitless, BUT many of them need people like you and I to remind them of that!
Kellie wasn’t insignificant! She was the one who put a Texas-sized church crowd together in a large church sanctuary with an overflow spilling into the foyer on a frigid, rainy, ugly Monday morning on March 3rd, 2008, as we honored her “well done” life with a Celebration of Life.
Together, we celebrated her unbelievably important and significant life. Judging by the amount of lives she touched so deeply that day, we saw the incredible impact she made on their lives then and in other lives…still today.
Some of you reading this may know a girl with Turner that you can encourage. Many of you probably don’t know a girl with Turner syndrome; but, there is no doubt, you know people who struggle with low self-esteem.
My prayer is for everyone who reads this will be inspired to go out of their way to encourage others and remind them of who they are in God’s eyes. We are all capable of doing amazing things if we allow God to guide our paths.
National Development Director
Leaping Butterfly Ministry