As a little girl, I was a talker, a mover, and a wiggler who was constantly dancing and singing and usually loud. Since my parents couldn’t afford dance classes for me, they put me in cheerleading to help me use up some of my energy.
I cheered for six years of my childhood, up through ninth grade, and I loved it. It fit my cheerful, bubbly personality and brought out my natural encourager.
My experience came in handy once I started working with children’s ministry and youth. I could be animated, cheer them on in games or events, be in front of groups, and project my voice to be heard (an especially helpful skill!).
I didn’t really think much about how those talents would translate into my married life, since there usually isn’t much call for a cheers or stunts during a housewife’s day.
However, I have found that my cheerleader heart has had plenty of opportunity to use its training. As his wife, I have the privilege of being my husband’s main encourager (aside from the Holy Spirit), and whether that’s supporting his endeavors at work, in ministry, or his hobbies, my cheerleading or lack thereof can have a tremendous impact on his success or failure, if only in how he feels about either.
I remember the day early in our marriage when he came home and told me that he felt that God was leading him to run a 5K. Brad was not a runner, nor was he really into many athletics overall. His sport was paintball, but since it is a rather costly game, he didn’t pursue it much in the interest of our budget.
So, when he decided to start training for a race, I was surprised but supportive. If nothing else, it would be good for his health.
Since that day, I have filmed and photographed training runs and finish line crossings at various 5Ks and half-marathons, washed his sweaty running clothes hundreds of times, bundled our babies up to stand along race sidelines for the chance that we’d see him dash by, and given up some of my own options for kid-free time so that he could go for a quick (or hour-long) run.
I don’t do that because I have to, but because I love him, and I’m proud of his accomplishments. I do it because I’ve seen God working in him and growing him, challenging him and strengthening him. He has become healthier and more confident.
For much of our marriage, I was the main encourager, and he was the main achiever. It wasn’t that I didn’t do things. I did various creative things, such as organizing events at work or church, writing and directing church plays, coordinating my nephew’s wedding, and working to improve my photography skills, even doing a few sessions for family and friends.
I would say that the only major, long-term undertakings that I faced were when I was pregnant. As any mamma knows, pregnancy, labor, and delivery are no joke, and both of my pregnancies were a wonderful chance for my hubby’s inner encourager to shine.
He didn’t disappoint. From the first trimester nausea through all the doctor appointments and all the uncomfortable, I’m-done-being-pregnant, sleepless third trimester nights on into both of my laboring-over-night, med-free deliveries, he was a wonderful support.
As it turns out, my hubby is a good cheerleader, too.
So when I first mentioned starting a blog, my husband didn’t laugh. He was all for it. In fact, he got excited. Of course, that wasn’t really about me blogging. He was about to get a chance to nerd out, with my blog as an excuse. He was determined to configure our server to host my site, and he did. (My site is on a server in the next room.)
From my initial researching and planning, he has been right beside me, my biggest encourager, as well as my sounding board and my first proofreader.
My blog has been the first real “my project” for us. It was something I felt called to, just like he felt nudged to run a 5K. (So glad it wasn’t the other way around!) And my cheerleader has been there every step of the way.
Then I announced that I was going to do a 31-day writing challenge. When I told him, Brad was hesitant, a bit worried that it would be too much for me. However, once he saw I had a plan that seemed doable, he was behind me 100 percent.
Initially, my October posting went really well because I had written a few ahead and so as long as I kept writing every other day or so, I stayed on top of it. Any time I added a post to social media, Brad came along at some point in the day to share it, too. He never failed to ask, “How’s your site doing today?” as we kept track of new traffic that the challenge was bringing my way.
Then I had a few days of Josiah not napping well and daily life being more demanding, and suddenly, I was working on posts later and later into the night, just to get them ready for the following morning.
Still, there was my cheerleader, not only encouraging me to keep at it, but picking up my slack around the house so I could write, edit, create graphics, and set up a post. He would take the boys upstairs to play so that I could focus. While I sat typing away at night, I could hear him in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher and putting away dinner.
No matter how late my night, he stayed up with me, to help proofread and just to be with me, even though he would have to get up earlier than I would the next day.
Toward the end of the month, the Write 31 Days group came up with a shirt for members of the group to buy to celebrate finishing the challenge. I showed Brad the options and told him that I would like to get one.
Even though the end of the month might be a little tight financially, my supportive hubby was more than adamant that I should have something to commemorate all the hard work of the past month. So every day I would mentally remind myself to go online to order a shirt…then forget. He asked me once or twice if I had bought my shirt yet, and I would open up the page to order it “in a little bit.”
The second to last day that the shirts would be available, he sent me a text from work:
“Buy your shirt please! LVU!”
Maybe it was partly exhaustion from one-too-many late nights, or just realizing how important it was to him for me to get my shirt, but I seriously teared up when I read his message. A reminder to me, who usually is on top of everything, from my guy, who is usually the one who needs reminded.
So, yeah. I guess we both married cheerleaders, which is awesome because when you’re married, you are a team. You win or lose together. Sometimes you are both on the court; other times one of you is cheering on the other from the sidelines.
No matter which it is, though, facing the struggles is easier with an encourager by your side, and celebrating a victory is so much more fun when you have someone with which to share it.
Go, us, Brad! LVU!
Tell me: Who’s your biggest cheerleader?