We all need heroes. Children desperately need heroes.
When I was growing up I had a lot of heroes to look up to. I've wondered if it was because people were more concerned about their reputations and worked harder at having exemplary lives. Liberals want us to believe that people of my generation were just as wicked. Their unacceptable behavior wasn't publicized because we participated in thousands of cover ups and hypocritical lives. Some liberals are so committed to that belief that they try to re-write history in order to destroy heroes of the 30's - 80's.
Watching heroes of Hollywood, Washington and the sports world go down in flames is not only discouraging but mentally depressing. If you watch too much news and let the deeper message of ruined lives sink into your sub-conscious, you begin to wonder if anyone can live a holy life - a heroes life - a life above reproach.
I remember reading about Billy Sunday and the wonderful evangelist work he was doing. He ran campaigns against liquor and it's demons. One of his best known statements is, "I'm against sin. I'll kick it as long as I've got a foot, and I'll fight it as long as I've got a fist. I'll butt it as long as I've got a head. I'll bite it as long as I've got a tooth. And when I'm old and fistless and footless and toothless, I'll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!"
Now that's a committed and powerful preacher!
I remember reading about George Washington Carver. I still have a paperback book I bought in a book drive when I was about 10. I thought it was wonderful how he turned his life around. He was poor, the son of a slave woman and ultimately an orphan. With a quiet, kind, Christian manor he changed our daily lives with his discoveries. He often quoted from a poem by Edgar A. Guest: "God has equipped you for life, but He lets you decide what you want to be."
All through College I was inspired by the writings of Oswald Chambers in his devotional book "My Utmost for His Highest". I loved the story of Corrie Ten Boom (Holocaust concentration camp survivor) and cried as a friend shared how she met her and listened to her powerful talk about her experiences.
I have many more heroes I could share, but I can hear you all saying..."That's great Debbie, but those are people you would expect to be heroes. Preachers, slaves and Dutchwomen. Actors, politicians and sports people have always been crazy".
Not so fast my friend. I remember getting up before Mom and Dad on Saturday morning to watch Roy Rogers and trigger. Every kid I knew wanted to be a cowboy. We had guns and cowboy/cowgirl outfits. After breakfast and a Roy Rogers episode we would spend the afternoon arresting the bad guys and riding off on a broom stick we called trigger.
Dale Evans married Roy Rogers and led him to Christ. Together they made over 100 episodes together. Their goal was to tell everyone they could about the love of Christ and to create shows with good-natured, non-threatening excitement. They were the most popular cowboy and cowgirl that television has ever known. At news conferences, they would speak about their Christian beliefs even if reporters didn't bring up the subject. At home, Dale told her children, "Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read."
Did you know that Buzz Aldrin the astronaut and second to follow Neil Armstrong and walk on the moon - was a devout Christian? Did you know that each astronaut was allowed to pack a small PPK (Personal Preference Kit) with objects to take to the moon and bring back to earth? After the two astronauts powered down the ship, Buzz Aldrin removed the objects from his PPK and placed them on top of his computer. A little silver cup, a small plastic container of wine, a small piece of bread and a sheet of paper with a Scripture verse written on it. He had saved the bread and wine from a communion service with friends. Aldrin spoke to Houston, "I'd like everyone listening in to pause a moment to contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way." The people at Houston respected his request for radio silence. Aldrin unfolded the tiny sheet of paper. As he took the communion, he read the verse of Scripture: "I am the vine, ye are the branches" (John 15:5). Hummm.....what do you want to bet that's not in a contemporary history book?
There are many heroes even today for Christians to admire. Unfortunately in our society, the ungrateful, selfish, spoiled and determined non-Christian segment is trying to discredit everyone around us.
Do you ever feel like you are the only one left trying to serve God with an unblemished life? We all know that no one is perfect, but if you are doing all you can to be what God wants you to be - it's hard to look around and see others so willing to "accept" their failures. I hate the comment, "Well, I'm only human." It's used as if there is nothing we can do to have better lives. Everyone expects you to fail or make huge mistakes so why not just give in and not worry about it. After all, if we are all doomed to cheat, lie, have affairs, lose our tempers, sin, hurt others and in every other way just be "human" - why try?
Ahh....be we are more than human. We are "the Children of God". And as his Children we have a power to be More than human. We have the power to love the unlovable. We have the power to be kind instead of losing our temper. We have the power to inspire our children to greatness. We have the power to accomplish incredible feats for Him. We have the power to leave this world better than we found it.
Yet.....it does seem there are less and less people willing to try. We are bombarded with negative stories of Brittney Spears, Michael Vick, Marion Jones and countless others in the news. It's hard to continue to believe that people are trying to be good when it seems so many give in to their evil desires.
How can you control that feeling - not only for yourself but for your children? Look for the concentrated light around you. The concentrated light exposes heroes in your everyday life.
Dr. Ken and Maggie Crocker (www.pastorken.com) are my parents. They are also my heroes. My mother has been preaching since she was 8 years old. She is the author of "I don't Need to Understand" a song that has been published internationally and has been the lead song on many Christian albums. My Dad has built three churches, been a missionary pilot, an editor, an artist, a missionary around the world and in Mexico and is a published author.
More importantly, those two teach me on a daily basis that anything is possible with God. They have endured pain, suffering and great disappointment at the hands of friends. They have worked every moment of their adult life and given away most of what they have to others in need. They are separated from family and the things most retired people want and need. Yet they love with all their heart and continue to give what they have. They continue to believe that God loves them and that better days are coming. Heroes? They are the best.
Ron's mother Helen Jansen loves to use her hands for God. She has covered the globe with handmade clothes and quilts. Missionaries love to make a stop in the tiny town of Knoxville, Iowa hoping to be invited for dinner at Helen's house. After dinner she will take a look at the missionaries and will likely say, "What are your needs? Can I make the kids some outfits? Do you need quilts for yourself or your work?" Recently she made over 40 baby quilts for an orphanage in Ecuador. Another mound of quilts went to Jamaica. Every Thursday Helen goes to Teen Challenge. She doesn't lead service or even cook in the kitchen. She quietly goes to a large trailer that houses a quilting machine and she makes queen size quilts to be sold as support for their work.
Jim Cole, a young man out of college - just married to Ashley with hopes of a family and bright future is another hero. He has a degree that could earn him a lot more money. Instead he is a counselor at Haven of Rest. On a daily basis he takes the love of God he has in his heart and transforms that love in such a way that it reaches into the heart of many forgotten people. The drug addict, the alcoholic, the homeless, the unlovable and the desperate. Every day Jim is out there fighting to save a life. Fighting to make a difference. Fighting to say, "I will not accept the philosophy that Satan has won. This life is worthy and I will find a way to reclaim it."
Pat and Sue Mullen have three beautiful grand-daughters, Rebekah, Abigail and Leah. Pat would love to retire, but instead he loves his grand-daughters more. When their mother became ill, Pat and Sue assumed full custody of their grand-daughters. At a time when most people are looking at slowing down, Pat and Sue are going to teacher's conferences, buying band instruments, learning the new styles and making sure that their grand-daughters are loved. Every time I see them I am inspired. Their love and hard work shine to all around them. I think their grandchildren are some of the luckiest children I know.
Pam Rufflin is my hero. She has battled cancer for about 6 years now. In that time she has cultivated a home based business and raised one of the nicest young men I know. Pam is strong. Her husband and son are loved. Her home is beautiful. She is strong in her faith, strong in her commitment, strong in her love for her family and strong in her will to live. Every time I get discouraged I think about the e-mails I've received from her and I thank God that she is my hero.
Jen Browning is one of the finest young women I know. She has had several huge disappointments as well as medical problems. Yet she continues to spread joy wherever she goes. She is one of those people that when she enters a room - "all the lights go on and everyone gets happy". You can't be with her for more than a few minutes without feeling good all over. Jen is working on a new project to administer hope to thousands of women.
My son Ken is a hero. He fights for the person that gets lost in large churches. If he finds out that someone has a talent and they aren't being used, he finds a way to bring them into the spotlight. (www.kenjansenmusic.com) Ken is a people person and finds new ways to spread God's love.
My son Jamie is a hero. Even with massive surgery, 9 screws and a plate in his leg, two pins in his hand and confined to a wheelchair - Jamie attended weddings and took every picture his brides wanted. He hobbled around and made sure that his pain would not cause brides pain on their wedding day. (www.jamiejansenphoto.com)
My daughter Amie is a hero. She has suffered a lot of pain in her life. She has been disappointed by someone who promised to love her forever. Yet she works hard to get on with life. She gives 100% to anything she does. She tenderly sits with severe emotionally disturbed children and encourages them to try. She gives hugs and wipes tears and tells me that "If I can make a difference in just one day of a child's life, I have accomplished something wonderful."
My husband Ron is a hero. He works 60 plus hours a week at a job that has changed drastically from what he contracted for. But he views his position as a way he can support the rest of the family. Ron has many talents and is as creative as the rest of us, but he takes his job as provider very seriously. He is the wind beneath all of our wings. He is the reason the rest of us can go out into the world and do what God has directed us to do. Ron's work like many others is the support for those in the limelight. Without him we would not be able to do what we do.
Heroes are all around us. Heroes are around you waiting to be an inspiration to you and your children. Don't look to TV or social personalities. They may let you down. Look to your family, your church, your community, your teachers. Find heroes that you can trust. Find people that are working hard to make a difference in your life as well as others.
Guess what will happen? When you begin to look in your life for heroes your mental attitude will lift and you will find the future more hopeful. Why?
Because now that your mind is firmly fixed on heroes that you can trust, you will begin to realize that if they can make it - so can you!
God loves you,