Who’s Cheering You On?

I can’t stop thinking about the experience of pushing my daughter out of me. It may have been one of the most enjoyable moments of my life. I know that is not everyone’s experience. Birth stories can come with a lot of heartache and pain. I hold that tenderly with you. When I labored with Julia, because she had a marginal placental cord insertion, the entire NICU was in the room, just in case. The doctor told me to hold my breath (thank God for all that swimming practice) and to push, and then the whole room erupted in cheers when a little bit of Julia’s head appeared. It brought back memories of doing half-marathons when everyone was throwing candy, holding signs, and playing music through the loud speakers, to help us get through the last mile. After all the infertility treatments, this final stretch in the journey to meet our daughter felt especially celebratory.

Encouragement goes a long way.

I’ve been reflecting on how grateful I am for my boss, Ken, and my spouse, Mike, who have cheered me on as I work towards a Master’s degree. I never would have even considered applying for seminary except that Mike told me I would be good at it. Every quarter that I have to register for a new class, my confidence dwindles. I can’t do this. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have the energy. I can’t raise the funds. I’ll never finish. And every quarter Ken and Mike both tell me that I can totally do it, even as a new mom. Deep down, I know I can do it too, but their words help me find that confidence within me a little faster.

Encouragement goes a long way.

The Bible talks about a “great cloud of witnesses” who cheer us on in our journeys of becoming more like Jesus (Hebrews 12:1). We cannot get through life on our own. We cannot become the people God intends us to be by ourselves. It’s amazing to think that there are people who died centuries ago who are with Jesus, in that thin space between the heavenly and earthly dimensions, cheering for us. Every time we grow, every time we take a risk, every time we fail and get back up again, every time we love, every time we trust Jesus just a little bit more, I believe there is so much rejoicing in God’s dimension.

Who in your life is cheering you on? Who are your Ken and Mike and NICU nurses who are rooting for you in your journey towards Christ-likeness? If you don’t have those people, go find them. Sometimes that means inviting people to be your cheerleaders. Ask them to be a voice of encouragement in your life to help you keep going. Sometimes I send an email or a text or call or up some friends and spell it out for them: I need your help right now. Will you encourage me through this?

Who do you need to be a cheerleader for? Is there someone in your life right now who could use a word of encouragement?

Published by K.Aalseth

Kelly J. Aalseth is the Coordinator for Leadership Development for InterVarsity in Greater Los Angeles. She is an author, coach, preacher, and trainer.

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