Heroes in disguise

By Denae Jones – 

My kids have spent most of their growing up years playing in the woods. When I would go on walks with them, my oldest son Benjamin would always walk in front of me, carrying a long stick. His self-proclaimed job was to get all of the spider webs out of the way so I didn’t walk into them, and bend back any sticker bushes so I didn’t get scratched. He would tell me when there was a tree root sticking out, or a slippery rock in the creek, or a hole that I could trip into. My youngest son Joshua would always be dressed in a super hero costume, and would hold my hand to make sure I didn’t fall. (And to beat up any bad guys.) Even at the ages of four and eight years old, my boys knew the importance of watching out for each other. They had my back. We all have heroes of different shapes and sizes over the course of our lives. In that moment, they were mine.
Every school kid has the assignment somewhere along the line to write about their hero. Most will pick a modern day celebrity or ball player. Some will choose a person in history whose actions changed the world. However, I would challenge anyone to bring it in a little closer. We walk among heroes every day. I had lunch not long ago with a gentleman who fought in Pearl Harbor. He has lived in our town most all of his life and I never knew his story until I took time to listen to it. Some friends of mine have fostered countless numbers of children over the years. Most were babies who came to them drug addicted, broken, and sick, but left their home loved, whole, and healed. There are so many local volunteers who give their time and talent to help in soup kitchens, free stores, and after school programs. Many have quit their jobs to act as nurse, family and friend to a loved one who is in the last stretch of their journey.
There are so many awesome teachers who nurture the child who is never noticed by others. Pastors and friends who show up in our darkest hours. Those people are true heroes.
Sometimes a hero doesn’t have to be a person who will do great things in the eyes of the world. Sometimes a hero is someone who has done mighty deeds to change just one life. Lisa Bevere told a story of her son, who came to her one day for advice. He said something was telling him to go up to a girl at school and talk to her. He had never spoken to her before, so he didn’t want her to think he was flirting or anything like that. Lisa told him to just walk up and say something kind. So the next day, he did. The girl cried. She said she had asked God that morning to put just one person in her path that would at least notice she was there. Just one person to talk to her. Just one person that would lift her up instead of making her feel broken.
Just one person to let her know she was meant to be here. If that didn’t happen, she would take her life that night. She cried because he had saved her with his kindness. Lisa’s son may not have been a hero to the world, but he changed the world for that girl.
Here’s the thing about heroes. Most don’t realize they are heroes at the time. They are simply doing what needs to be done. I’ve had many heroes over the years. None were celebrities. None were world-famous. All changed my life. My family. My mentors. My friends. Even my children. Each are heroes in disguise. Sometimes we just need to know that someone has our back.
Just one moment of your time. Just one smile. Just one kind word. Just one conversation. Just one phone call. Just one simple act of kindness can be all it takes to change a life. And when one life is changed for the better, it breathes new life into our broken world. So today, I challenge you to give it some thought. Who has changed your life? And more importantly, who’s life can you change? Have their back. Be the one who makes the difference.
Have a blessed week, friends!
If you enjoyed this article, look for Denae Jones’ new book! It is a devotional journal titled Love, Joy, Peace. Available at Worthy Publishing, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Christianbook, and Lifeway.