These four women are not only sisters to one another; they are sisters to countless men and women in the Body of Christ. And they are not only daughters to the father that birthed them. They are daughters to the most High God, the Lord almighty, and this is evidenced with utter clarity in the way they have sacrificed in all these years past. For as their human daddy, Pastor Freddie Hebron, made his passage to be with the Lord just days ago, Milekah, Michelle, Brittani, and Brandi display the sacrificial character of the Lord Himself in the way they have sacrificed nearly two decades of family and daddy time to enable Pastor Freddie to make himself available to the Lord and to a world in need at a level of availability and obedience that is too seldom seen in this day and age.
These four mighty women of God did not spend the time with their daddy on earth the way they undoubtedly desired. They learned to look to their Father in heaven instead, for Pastor Freddie was not available to them in the way he, too, would have desired. For as the Lord called him to minister in three nations on an ongoing basis – Savannah, GA, Haiti, and Dominican Republic – Pastor Freddie did so relentlessly, passionately, in full force, and pretty much 365 days a year. Wherever Pastor Freddie was, he was loving the Lord and serving those in most dire need. Despite his phenomenal love and pride for and in his beloved wife Sister Kim and his beautiful daughters, which was evident beyond description, he simply did not have the time, nor take the time, that he would have wanted – or that his daughters would have wanted.
Their physical space, their home, became home to the homeless. What could have been their family meals became open to anyone in need. Their time that could have been spent on vacations or in front of the television or at the movies did not exist; Pastor Freddie was too busy helping the poorest of the poor, the hungriest of the hungry, the neediest of the needy. And his daughters either served with him, supported him when they were not, and most importantly sacrificed their precious family life to enable him to do what he knew he must do. As though it were not enough for one sister to share her daddy with three other sisters, these four women of God shared their daddy’s attention with an endless stream of people in and out of their father’s church and their own home and the world all around them both near and far.
When they were little, and they could have been sprawled out in a nice-sized family vehicle thanks to their father’s highly successful engineering profession, they were not. Instead, they were jammed into a pickup truck that was far too small for too many people. But their hearts could not be contained in the vehicle, for here, too, they sacrificed. Their father gave up a highly lucrative profession to become a pastor. And though he was offered the chance to keep his job part-time to bring in an extra, generous income, he did not. He obeyed the Lord’s call into full-time ministry. And in over 15 years, he did not have an increase in salary. Nor did his daughters experience a dramatic increase in the luxury of a father’s big income. Here, too, they sacrificed.
For the man that grew up with cardboard in his shoes to keep the cold out and to endure the tough road of an impoverished childhood – not to mention the fierce, fiery, and horrific prejudice from the world of white people that would ultimately be blessed beyond measure through his forgiving, ever-loving heart and mercy granted to him and through him from the Lord Himself – did not hold onto the luxurious life he found in pursuing the “stuff” of this world. He gave up his high income, he gave up his life of luxury, and with it he took away the opportunity for his daughters and wife to grow up with earthly riches.
But just as the Lord’s love poured into the heart of Pastor Freddie through the years, he poured out the Lord’s love into the world around him – and into his wife and daughters. As Sister Kim worked tirelessly to walk by her husband’s side in serving those in the greatest need – including pulling women out of crack houses, taking the homeless into her home, ministering at a youth detention center, providing day care for an endless stream of young ones whose parents could not pay for daycare or simply would not care for their kids, and so very much more – the Lord honored the obedience of this family so dedicated to the Lord by continuing to pour his river of love into and through them. Pastor Freddie numerous times credited his wife Sister Kim with teaching him the true meaning of love. He would tell anyone in earshot that Sister Kim “never met a stranger,” and that the Lord used her to draw him out of a life that would have been somewhat removed from those around him. Instead, through the Lord’s love and mercy, and through his wife’s precious, beautiful heart, Pastor Freddie’s heart was perfected in love – enough with so much overflow that all those who came in contact with him could not help but feel the love of the Lord whether they planned to, expected to, or even desired to. And these four mighty women of God were part of all this – central to all of this. Family. True family. True family with true love. God’s love. The kind of love that goes on forever – and ever.
His daughters did not make it through these years past without cuts and scrapes, hardships, trials, tests, tribulations, and seasons of struggling with walking with the Lord as each and every one of us endures along the way. They lived their lives imperfectly, just as we all do. But they lived at a level of sacrifice that so few of us really get, or perhaps, choose to experience. Did they complain along the way? Did it hurt when their father spent more time in Haiti ministering to his spiritual daughters in the Lord there than he was able to show up for their school events, news about boyfriends, and such? How could it not? Did they groan and murmur along the way? Probably. Don’t we all to an extent? Did his daughters complain when I accidentally seated myself in their usual seats in church behind their mother on their birthday. They did not hesitate to give up their places. Utter obedience. Total sacrifice. They laid down their lives, time and again, breath after breath, day after day, for years upon years.
I can say in all the years I watched his daughters grow up, I did not hear a single complaint. I did not see them grab onto their daddy’s hands and yank him out of yet another pastoral conference. I did not see them beg him to get a “real job” to provide more for the family. I did not see any of this. I saw sacrifice. And despite all the time they sacrificed for the Lord to use their daddy to minister to all of us, they grew up with hearts full of love and service. Did they complain behind closed doors, or beg him to stop and pay them more attention where nobody could see and hear? Who knows. Who cares. In public, they triumphed over the flesh and loved. And loved. And loved. And served. Just like daddy. Just like their Father in heaven. The same heaven where their daddy has just gone to be.
As though this were not all, I have watched them in the days since Pastor Freddie made his passage to be with the Lord. I have seen them online, and I have seen some of them in person. Not a murmur. Not a complaint. Not self-pity because of all they gave up so we could benefit from what the Lord poured through their daddy to minister to all of us in three nations. Instead, I have seen love, I have seen smiles, and I have seen thanksgiving that this was the daddy the Lord gave them.
These are my sisters in the Lord. But they are more. They are role models. I fell so short. I complained when my pastor was too busy to talk to me, too busy to answer my phone calls. I did not think of how his four girls, now women, gave up so much more than I did. They gave up one of the most important pieces of their childhood, and their adulthood. They gave up their alone, private, loads of time with their daddy on earth. They ultimately, whether they knew it all the time or not, gave this sacrifice up for the Lord. As an act of obedience.
And though they will have no more time on earth with their daddy to share a meal with, or their daddy to not share a meal with because he is off in Haiti again or doing a massive distribution of food and clothing to thousands of low-income families in inner city Savannah, I am sure of this. If they take the time to look around them, close to them and far away, in the church and as far away as other nations, they will see the fruit that came through a daddy who truly, unreservedly, undoubtedly, sacrificially, and amazingly, gave every aspect of his life to love and serve the Lord God almighty. They will see the fruit when they look at people like me, and so many others – lives changed by the Lord, and lives changed in part because of the way the Lord used their daddy to minister to so very many. And they will see this. They will see that this fruit did not come through their daddy alone. This labor of love did not just belong to their daddy.
This labor of love also belonged to the four beautiful women of God Pastor Freddie Hebron could not have been more proud to call his daughters. I can only hope, and trust, and believe, and pray, that in these coming days, and weeks, and months, and even years, that they will understand that their sacrifice did not in any way, shape, or form go in vain. People, an endless number of people, literally came into the Kingdom of God, returned to the Kingdom of God, grew up in the Kingdom of God, were called into ministry and walked out into their calling, in part because of the Lord’s love being poured through their daddy – and through the teaching of the Bible he was so gifted in doing.
These four mighty women of God are part of this fruit – because of their sacrifice.
If we would only all remember, daily, that we are called to do the same. In whatever way we are called, we are called. For if we truly love with the love of Jesus Christ, as these four daughters of Pastor Freddie Hebron have done, we will lay down our lives for one another. In the name of Jesus Christ. For the glory of the Lord God almighty.
Joh 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”