Sunday morning church and the room reverberates with the sound of modern praise music and the energy of a room full of people in love with Jesus. Some dance, others sing, some kneel or lay on the floor simply experiencing the presence of God. Children are everywhere: running, dancing, coloring, being held and hugged.
We are all in worship. All experiencing the beauty and wonder of the God we love.
And I experience His wonder through the heroes around me. They aren’t the ones you would expect. The people with names or titles, with ministries and missionary experience. These are the little-known, little-thought-of, everyday heroes of our world.
I see the mother who has fostered countless children and kept two of them forever. Who has walked through the most unimaginable pain and physical sacrifice possible to help her child heal. Who holds and rocks and coaches and talks to that child throughout every service every week because her baby needs that extra help, that extra reassurance, those extra comforts. She is a hero – but I do not know if anyone sees her.
I see the mom who has mothered four of her own children and now has four foster children added to the mix. Who spends hours on school paperwork and social services phone calls for each of her foster kids. Who buys them little extras just so that they will feel more like part of the family. Who prays with them, cries with them, and carries their burdens in her own heart. No one can ever pay you enough to do this. I promise you.
I see mothers who have birthed and then also adopted, cross-racially. Whose belly babies and heart babies dance side by side. These are mothers and fathers who continually do the hard work of making a family. They, alongside their kids, process skin color and social identity. They provide mentors and role models outside their own race to make sure their kids unique needs are met. They name the beauty of their children even when it is threatening to their own sense of identity. This, this is beautiful sacrifice.
I see the single mom who adopted the child of a friend who fell on hard times and lacked the maturity and wisdom to parent her own child. This woman had no “call to adopt” she simply found herself housing a child who needed a parent. And with the utmost courage and bravery she stepped up to the task. She has no idea what she is doing. But she loves him so well.
These are the heroes. Look around. Notice them. They are brave and beautiful. Strong and kind. They are the ones who have so much to teach us. More than the pastor up front or the worship leader with the amazing voice or even the missionary to Africa. They can teach us character, the character that comes from persevering in love. Because it’s easy to believe in Love but it is so challenging to practice it as madly, truly and deeply as Family calls us to.
These are the heroes whose radical love inspires my worship of the one true King. And these are only the ones whose stories I know. Imagine how many more heroes stand around us?
I honor you . . . heroes.