My 18-Year-Old Cheerleader

Cheerleaders are often known for their beauty right? They are often renowned for being warm and bubbly, right? And full of encouragement to help the players on a team work hard to achieve victory, right? They often have broad, shining smiles, and they usually work hard to stay in excellent shape, right? Well, little did I know when I stood side by side recently with an 18-year-old girl I met on the beach as we posed for a photograph alongside paralyzed dogs Miss Mercy and Mr. Simeon in their wheelchairs that God had sent me yet another one of His cheerleaders to cheer me along as I work hard to pursue my life’s calling to share the Gospel while ministering the Lord’s love to a world in need. As far as I was concerned, she was just another young person on the beach enjoying the hot July sunshine who was enthralled with the uniqueness of two paralyzed dogs cruising down the beach in their wheelchairs as people so often are when they see them. But God knew that like with so many of my seemingly random meetings with people – particularly people vacationing from out of town – that this wasn’t just a random meeting.

God blessed me with an 18-year-old cheerleader recently
who shines with the light of  Christ.
Here we are pictured with paralyzed dogs Miss Mercy and Mr. Simeon in their wheelchairs
where we met on Hilton Head Island’s Folly Field beach.

Little did I know as the young woman and I crossed paths for just minutes on the beach as I did my usual up and down the beach stroll with the dogs with my heart wide open to opportunities for the Lord to use the dogs to introduce me to people in need of hearing the Gospel, receiving a prayer, hearing a scripture or two or a word of encouragement, that God had plans already in place unbeknownst to either myself or the young woman to place her on His cheer-leading team for me. But it didn’t take me long once she reached out to me via the Internet shortly after our meeting why God would choose her to be on His team – and why He would send her to me. I am always humbled when I go out into the world with a heart to love and serve those in need to see how God sends His kids to do the same with me. Off I go with the desire to be a blessing to others, and He sends others to bless me. Like an 18-year-old cheerleader. Just like a cheerleader on the side of a football field – beauty and all. 

Beauty? This young woman shines with the beauty of Christ. Her smile is broad with His light, she is bubbly with His love, she is warm with His mercy, she is in strong shape because she spent her high school years firmly planted in the Lord and solidly surrounded by fellow followers of Christ to walk alongside her and to mentor her, and she proved herself in a few short e-mails to be strong in the encouragement department. So I shouldn’t have been surprised in my ongoing battle with the enemy trying almost constantly to discourage me and to get me to stop sharing the Gospel, to stop writing, and to stop doing all that I am called to do, when God decided it was time to send me some serious cheer leading.

In a world in dire straits with more people than ever loving and worshiping gods other than the Lord, following paths we are commanded not to follow, doing stuff that goes against God’s very Word, how delightful and refreshing it is to be humbled at 46 years old by God sending me a soon-off-to-college, 18-year-old with a few cheers to help me carry on with the Lord’s calling.

And what a wonderful reminder that something as simple as a smile and loving and kind words of encouragement can be such an inspiration to move forward in the Lord’s work.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 NASB underlining added

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV underlining added

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