I am pro-hero. Thankfully, the Lord has seen fit to place many heroes in my path. He knows I need lots and lots and yes, lots of guidance. In fact, there are so many upstanding people in my life I’ve had to separate them into categories. That’s right. I’ve grouped my heroes into clusters. It’s a work in process so I’m still working on cool titles. But I’d like to briefly mention four heroes right now.
One title for this group is “Unstatistically speaking.” Each hero has defied the odds and lived a life that, according to statistics, she wasn’t supposed to live. All had a turning point and grabbed hold of the gospel tightly when others in similar circumstances would have let go and run out screaming.
For example, I have a friend who grew up in what appeared to be the perfect family. Her parents attended the temple once a week. But what wasn’t seen is the dirty little secret behind closed doors. Her father developed an addiction to pornography when he was a young man. He never overcame his addiction and it led to contention and abuse within the home. Statistically speaking, my friend should be anti-church and probably anti-God.
Where are they now? Her dad is currently in jail. My friend, however, married in the temple. She is raising her children to live in accordance with the gospel. When others may have become angry – angry at her father, angry at the world, angry at God for allowing bad things to happen – she chose to overcome. There comes a point during a trial when we either turn to God or turn away from Him. She turned to Him. Where would I have turned?
One of the girls in my youth group has taught me this principle. Despite facing many obstacles and challenges, she continually shows up to church. Even when I mess up. In my defense, I’m relatively new to this leader-business stuff. It’s hard work. Everyone loves J-girl though. She’s very patient and kind to the younger girls of the youth group. And one reason that some of them even come is just to see her. Statistically speaking, she shouldn’t attend church regularly.
Where is she now? She continues to come to church. Until she graduates in June, she’s part of our youth group. She attends church almost every Sunday and sometimes she comes by herself. Would I have done that at her age?
I’ve known MM her whole life. MM is the only child of my older sister. She never knew her father. There are lots of number crunches involving children of single parent households. To sum it up, statistically speaking, she should be, well, messed up. According to the numbers, she should be a runaway, on drugs, skipping college, and definitely not active in the church. An angry individual who blames her problems on her mother and her lot in life.
Where is she now? MM is a senior in college and is a Business major. Family is a very important facet of her life. She is her late grandmother’s namesake and very proud of the fact. Her cheerful and positive attitude is a much admired quality and attribute. The gospel is the centerpiece to her life and she not only attends church but also the temple on a regular basis. Would I have chosen to succeed if I were in her shoes?
Marilyn grew up in what we now refer to as a “Part-member/not active” family. Her mother, Tommie, was baptized as a young girl but gave into the vices of a small town. Tommie married at the very young age of 16 and started her family at the tender age of 17 when she gave birth to Marilyn. When Marilyn turned 12, her hometeachers came to visit. As a preteen, she behaved a little flippant and demanded to know how they knew the church was true. Her wise hometeacher, who was also the bishop, challenged her to find out for herself. Marilyn loved a challenge and took him up on it. Once she found out, she never, ever forgot.
She attended church. First, by herself and then she dragged her brothers. But she had one more setback. She married a nonmember. I didn’t even try to compute the odds on this example.
Where is she now? Her husband became a member and they were sealed in the Manti, Utah temple 42 years ago. All her children and grandchildren have testimonies and are active participants in the gospel. When she left this mortal life, we had the comfort of the gospel brought to us by her to see us through. So how does a girl who grew up in a part-member/not active family and married to a nonmember have four children fully planted in the gospel? It shouldn’t have happened. Would I have taken the challenge at such a young age?
I just listed four heroes of mine. Another title could be the “Strong Woman Club.” All of them are strong not just in the gospel but also in character. Each is an example to me and just knowing each one makes me want to be a better person. So, yes. I’m thankful for the heroes in my life.