What is a Hope Hero?

Image of a hand reaching out into the distance to touch something.

“People’s ability to have resiliency through difficult times is directly related to the friends they keep.”—Dr. John Townsend

God uses ordinary people like you and me to be Hope Heroes for people whose hearts are broken with grief.

What is a Hope Hero? Someone willing to put aside personal discomfort to show kindness and compassion to another. In big and small ways, a Hope Hero lends hope and sparks resiliency for a grieving soul. The Holy Spirit is their superpower. He gives a Hope Hero insight, empathy and compassion to companion with the bereaved. Sometimes a Hope Hero will have a brief connection with a griever, and other times it will be long-term. Either way, the echo of impact will be felt and remembered for a lifetime.

How to Be a Hope Hero

Although we’re all imperfect, we can still be influential. Let the pressure to be flawless as a Hope Hero roll off your shoulders. Lean into the immeasurable strength and wisdom God makes available to each one of us. Simply make the choice to be available and responsive. Pay attention to people God puts in your path every day.

Believe me! If you start your day asking God to make you aware of a griever who needs you, He will. But then what? How do you respond?

Do the L.A.P.P. with them:

L- listen   A-acknowledge   P- pray  P- patiently be present

A Hope Hero in Action

My friend, Judy, rides home from work on city transit. She often strikes up conversation with her seatmates. With her caring questions and genuine concern, it doesn’t take long for her to identify if her transit friend is grieving a loss. Judy is a compassionate listener, kindly acknowledges their loss and prays for them in her private time with God. Whether her grieving transit friend shares Judy’s faith or not is irrelevant to her choice to companion with them. In her modest self-evaluation, Judy likely wouldn’t identify herself as a “Hope Hero,” but she most certainly is! Judy is warmly and intentionally sharing Hope with others.

And there’s more.

Judy has repeatedly purchased copies of my book, The Little Black Funeral Dress, for the purpose of giving them away to her grieving friends. Some of the recipients ride with Judy on transit, others are co-workers, relatives and friends. Judy’s generosity with her time, compassion and resources makes her a remarkable Hope Hero.

Evidently, many others have also been giving away my little book. I’m so grateful.

Recycling Pain for God’s Good Purpose

This week I received a tender and touching email from a twenty-three-old bride-to-be I have never met. She was gifted a copy of my book a few weeks ago when her grandfather died very unexpectedly. Her words remind me that it’s possible to share empathy and compassion by simply sharing a book.

This is what she wrote:

“My parents have been divorced my whole life. I had the privilege of having very young grandparents who were always in good health. My grandpa was the father I never had. Losing him so suddenly and so close to my wedding was and still is devastating. Shirley, God has worked in my life through your book. I have gone back and re-read it several times, clinging to those truths you so gracefully wrote. Thank you for speaking boldly but with compassion. I’m grateful that you chose to share your heartbreaking experience to bring comfort and peace to total strangers, like me!”

My heart is overflowing with gratitude as God shows me glimpses—like this one—of how He is recycling my pain for His good purpose.

Many of you have also been giving my book to your grieving friends. Thank you for being a Hope Hero! If the book has helped you or someone you know in any shape or form, I’d love to hear from you. Make no mistake. God gets all the glory.

“Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness.”

Psalm 115:1

As you step into another week, keep your eyes wide open for someone who needs you to be their Hope Hero. Conversely, if you need a Hope Hero as you grieve, boldly ask God to send you one. He is able.

Cheering you on!


Picture of Shirley Thiessen

Shirley Thiessen

Author and speaker helping you bring hope to broken, grieving hearts.