The noise level was deafening. The room was mostly dark but for the strobe lights from the stage. The anticipation was so palpable that it pressed in on everyone, causing some to talk incessantly and others to sit, staring. And when the announcement came for the first group on stage, the screams crescendoed as the lights darted around the room.
This was not a Justin Bieber concert. This was another cheer competition.
Having arisen at 4 a.m. to get to the Convention Center with my daughter and granddaughter, I was a little foggy in the brain and yet wired from the overzealous intake of caffeine. Having been through the preparation once before, I knew the hair/makeup/uniform routine. But I had honestly forgotten the incredible energy from the cheer parents as they shouted, screamed and urged their girls on to perfect performances.
And, yes, I was cheering like a madwoman when my granddaughter got on stage.
Three minutes for a performance. Early rising, uncomfortable nights sleeping in hair rollers, sitting perfectly still while mom applies makeup, and waiting for your moment in a very cold downstairs room. And not everyone was able to bring that perfect performance.
But you couldn’t prove that by the parents. They wore shirts proclaiming them to be “Patsy’s Mom” or “Delores’ Grandma” in bling. They wore flip-flops decked out in ribbons the color of their daughter’s gym. They were proud of their daughters. And at the end, when the awards were given and the winners were acknowledged, there wasn’t a parent there that wasn’t beaming, no matter what number their daughter’s team placed in the ranking.
They were their daughters’ fans.
As I watched this (in the midst of my own feelings of pride for Sydney and her performance), I realized how special it was to all these girls to know that their parents believed in them. Knowing the commitment level of competitive cheering, each of those parents had to make sacrifices, had to count the cost. Just showing up to all the practices, participating in fund raisers, providing for practice uniforms, shoes and the real McCoy uniforms for the competitions was an impressive investment of time, money and energy.
Don’t we all want someone to be our biggest and best fan? I want someone too show up for me, no matter what. To encourage me even when I haven’t given it my best shot or I’m not “showing” my best performance. To count the cost, the time, the energy it takes to stay with me through my good times and bad. Someone who is trustworthy enough to always have my back, who is willing to sacrifice for me. I need that kind of fan.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
There is the Creator, and there is creation. If God is for me, nothing else of worth can be against me.
Jesus is my greatest fan. Biggest and best. Because He chooses to love me so well, I can’t disappoint Him.