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Archive for September 17th, 2013

Everyone Needs a Cheerleader

I sat on the edge of the bleacher at the Anderson Rec Center mid morning on Saturday watching 7 year olds in green uniforms do battle with kids in blue uniforms, kicking a ball back and forth, in and out of bounds, around the goal and down the court.  My eyes were glued.  My hands were clasped and I held them tightly to my face, anticipating, waiting for the next big play.  I had my phone next to me to take pictures and a bottle of water readily available should a certain green team member need rehydration.  A week ago I didn’t care about soccer.  A week ago I wasn’t concerned with score boards or shin guards or jerseys.  This weekend I watched the game like my life depended on it.  I sat alone on the bleacher but felt an instant connection with the other parents and family members cheering from the sidelines.  Our common goal brought us together like family.  I slowly loosened up my hands, relaxed a little in my seat, and gave myself permission to join the masses in cheering for the team.  Our team.  The lady behind me repeated over and over “To the goal!  To the goal!” until her accented voice echoed through my head.  Although I wasn’t verbalizing what she was yelling, I focused hard and willed the ball to make its way down to the other side of the court.  I watched my green jerseyed boy out run all the other kids, push hard, uninhibited and unafraid.  Every time he made a good play he would turn around and look in the bleachers and make eye contact with me.  I smiled.  I waved.  I whispered him happy thoughts of how proud I was of the way he was playing.  Every kid had someone in the stand cheering just for them.  I was his cheerleader.

The summer has ended and I am slowly getting my feet wet again with foster care.  I can’t help but be involved.  I think about the faces and the names and the stories of kids I haven’t even met yet.  I know the need is great.  So when I got a call to do a five day respite for a little 7 year old boy I was thrilled.  This was the perfect chance to get plugged back in without over committing myself.  Every kid that has ever stepped foot in my house has been ordained by God.  I believe that with my whole heart.  I prayerfully consider each placement.  I have turned down dozens of opportunities to serve.  I listen and wait for God to say, “This one.”  And when I hear Him speak, I say, “Yes.”  I have had a 5 year old, a 13 year old, an 8 year old, and a 17 year old.  I had my two sweet long term placement kids.  I had the 7 year old this weekend.  Three boys, four girls.   White, Hispanic, black.  Kids that have been abused, neglected, or orphaned.  Quiet ones and ones that wouldn’t stop talking.  And each and every time it has been beautiful.  God has clearly put our paths together for the time I took care of them.  This little boy was no different.  He needed me and I needed him this weekend.  Our lives weaved perfectly together for the time he stayed with me.  I got to see how incredible he is.  He’s really good at Math, loves to learn new things, is incredibly helpful and independent.  He is strong willed but sweet.  He talks a lot but likes to hear my stories too.  He is goofy and affectionate and amazing.

I want every kid that steps foot in my door to know how fearfully and wonderfully made they truly are.  I think when God created each one of these children, He celebrated.  He maybe even threw a party.  He celebrated the things that make them unique and their characteristics that set them apart.  He knew their stories and where they would go.  I believe He celebrated when they took their first breath and I believe with all my heart that God has not stopped cheering for them yet.

So when I watch a kid in a green jersey run down the court, kicking a black and white ball, tripping over his two left feet, I don’t just cheer for the game.  I don’t just long for him to make a goal or for the team to win.  I don’t just want him to show good sportsmanship or block the ball from going in the wrong goal.  I cheer for him.  Because he’s amazing.  And even if I’m the only one who ever does, I want him to know he is worth being cheered for.  All the way to the final Goal.

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