There are just some days that are defining moments in a family’s history. I remember May 29, 1979. I was nineteen years old when I got the phone call from my parents that Jan had been found. She had been missing for almost a week, and the news was not good. The untimely and tragic death of a first cousin, my dad’s sister’s daughter, had left her two young girls Tori and Keeli without parents to raise them. Jan was only twenty-one.

Our family watched as her mom and dad endured a horrific trial that convicted the men who harmed her, and we observed two silent heroes embrace their granddaughters as their own. Through the years, they became part of a unique breed of grandparents who because of circumstances out of their control parented their children’s children. Because of their resolve, I will always believe that however dark or difficult an event, God can use the worst of things to do something remarkable. Just look at Lilly and Maggie, Tori’s two daughters. When I saw them last Saturday at the reunion, it reminded me that God delights in writing His story of restoration and redemption into a family’s history.

Today when I finished speaking in Phoenix, a grandfather pulled me aside and said, “Have you ever thought about speaking to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren?” I said, “Not really. I’m not sure I’m qualified to do that yet. But I would love to tell you the story of Delma and Shirley, because they are proof that it can be done!”

There are a growing number of grandparents in our culture who are shouldering an amazing amount of responsibility to insure a brighter future for their grandchildren and their great grandchildren. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Thank you for being the silent heroes of the next generation.