I Still Haven't Quite Made The Cheerleading Team

​I tried out for cheerleading two years in a row in high school. I didn’t make it either time. Just thinking about this brings up some long forgotten memories, but that’s for another time (and post) perhaps.
 
However, cheerleading is a hot topic in our house. My daughter put her hat in the cheerleading ring this year and well, we quickly shut that down. The commitment at such a young age for a pre-competitive team was just a bit much for our family right now. Plus, I am slowly coming to the conclusion that how I view cheerleading and how others view cheerleading are not the same.
 
Confession: My marriage isn’t perfect and I am not a perfect wife. I complain more than I should. Sometimes I secretly wish that my children and my husband would wait on me hand and foot (even though I am not secretly wishing that I be thrust out into the workforce). There are days I would rather not get out of bed, but I have to. I talk loud…some may call it yelling…when the people in my house do not respond. I get cranky…more cranky than I care to admit most days. I desperately want things to be perfect and chipper, but some days all it takes is the first two hours of everyone being awake and well, that just sort of doesn’t happen. I am glad I got that off my chest because I don’t want this to come across as an “I know everything and I have it all together” kind of post.
 
So this week, after a confrontation about my not-so-cheerleader-type personality, I prayed this prayer:
Lord, if I am not being affirming in the way you would like, change my heart. Reveal to me specifically what it is that I am doing or not doing. If it’s not my heart that needs to be changed, but someone else’s, please feel free to take care of that. Or, if there is a happy medium that will work better than what we have right now, I am okay with that, too.
After I prayed this prayer, I went to the only other tool that is completely truthful, the Bible. I sought out Proverbs 31:10-31. Here is The Message translation to put things in a little more current language:
 
Hymn to a Good Wife
 
A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!
 
I don’t necessarily feel any better after reading this particular Proverb because I realize just how much work I actually still need to do, and how often I fail. But it also helps me with my dilemma a little, I think.
 
You see, my husband dated a cheerleader in high school and like I said, I didn’t make the team…twice (but he’s with me now and not with her…insert a wink-wink). God never created me to be the typical cheerleader. That hurt then and it still hurts today. As much as I desperately want to be the one who only oozes with kindness and words of affirmation all the time, the words just don’t always come out that way. But as I read this Proverb, I’m thinking that there is no way this woman could always be the “rah-rah only” cheerleader either. She was a doer, a helper, and someone with a purpose and attitude to get business done.   
 
A few years ago, I wrote kind of an open letter to my husband about some issues he was facing. It was titled “Great Men Are Sifted.” These were words the Holy Spirit laid on my heart for him then and these are words I feel led to write now. These words are for us, but I also believe there are others facing similar situations.
 
As much as I am the wife who is cheering my husband on in his race, I am also the wife who is reminding him about the dangers ahead, pushing him to train for his race, keeping him going when he wants to stop, challenging him on his choices because they effect all of us, encouraging him when things are done well, being honest about whether there is something more or different that can be done, and most of all, challenging him to believe in himself, the God he serves and fully relying on the leading of the Holy Spirit above all else. If I only stopped cheering at the “woo-hoo,” I would fail him miserably as his wife (this may not apply in all situations to all people). He may not see it this way, and I know my lack of cheerleading gifts (also known as encouraging….which ranks somewhere in the middle for me when I take a spiritual gift inventory test) bothers him more than I even know, but I hope I make up for it in so many other ways.
 
As I reflected on this yesterday, God fed my Spirit with an overflow of His love in response to this particular hot-topic. 
​Last night, my husband was ordained as a deacon at our church. Now for some of you, this may be no big deal, a no-brainer for the church-goer, or completely foreign to you, but to me, it is God-answered prayer. It has been a whirlwind of a year for my husband in his spiritual life and growth in his Kingdom responsibilities. God knew it all would happen.
 
During a very stressful time in October of 2012, God gave me a message about my husband that he did not want to receive at the time. I wrote it down and I sent this word to a few strong, Christian men who I knew would pray for my husband. I still have that email, their responses, and the original word that God gave me:
​“’As I prayed to God as to what this means, I swear as clear as day the Lord said, ‘I have always wanted him to be a preacher. I gave him the giftedness to be able to speak intelligently and the gift that people like to be around him. I want him to preach his story about wanting more, having it all, but being empty still. This crashing down of his business was a training ground to draw him closer to Me. I had to get him to a point where he had the desire and time to hear Me. He may be walking into persecution as this thing unravels, but I am with him. I will protect him and provide for him.’"
 
I haven't shared this with him yet because I have asked the Lord to speak to him as well (he usually thinks I am crazy when I tell him God wants him to preach and teach...he says he doesn't feel that way at all).
 
As his brothers in Christ, I ask you to pray specifically for him...that He hear God's direction crystal clear. I know you all pray for him and I am so thankful that he has people like you in his life.”
Reading this makes me both laugh out loud and cry for many reasons, but most significantly because my husband is now teaching a Bible Fellowship class, leading men in discipleship groups (with material he is writing), and during the ordination last night (as well as many other recent times), he shared his testimony about how the Lord has worked in his life.
 
This word I got and the subsequent prayers were a little over three years ago. Nothing that has transpired over the last few years has been anything I could have manipulated or caused to happen. It was all God.
 
As I sit here typing this today, I wonder what would have happened on October 16, 2012 had I not hidden this word in my heart, covered it in prayer time and time again, and asked others to join with me in prayer…all the while, my husband never knew about this specific word or that I had specifically asked these men to pray. What if I had been the good cheerleader wife and told my husband everything was great, he was great, life was great…in order to feed his ego…when in all actuality, it wasn’t...and ignored this gentle prompting?
  
I guess I am not a good cheerleader because I know I can always be doing better or doing more. I could always work harder at whatever I am doing. If I allowed myself to think otherwise, I would be lying to myself and that horrible sin of pride would creep in. So I resort to what I know and feel and sometimes forget that everyone has a different love language. I guess that’s what makes humankind so unique. If God had created us all the same, how in the world could we actually help each other and get anything accomplished?
 
As I wrap this up, I am realizing that I still have no words of affirmation in here for my husband. Good grief, I really do have a problem. I saw a book this morning that I think I for sure need to get after all. But, babe, I want you to know, I am very proud of you, for the man, husband and father you are, and I know that this is just the beginning for what God has in store for you. He is not done molding you, shaping you and challenging you to be more, do more, love more, serve more, and most of all, be known as a man after His heart who dances in His presence and is filled with His Spirit. I want only His best for you, and I never want you to second-guess your abilities and your calling.
 
I am blessed to walk this path with you.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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Darlene - January 21st, 2016 at 3:54pm

With Heartfelt Thanks for Sharing........What a blessing you, Scott & your precious family are to so many!

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