There are a pair of tiny gold pompoms tied with a blue ribbon in my four-year-old daughter's dress-up bin. Late each night after practicing on the turf at our professional facility, the other cheerleaders and I would scour the yard lines for pieces of tiny gold scraps of plastic that may have escaped so we could leave a clean field for the team to play on. I would then wander back through the weight room, jump in my dented up '99 SUV, and head back home to my family. As the only mom on the team, I earned the affectionate nickname "Mama." It was only fitting that a friend bundled up a bunch of pom scraps and made a custom pair for my daughter.
Often times when someone at church finds out I was a NFL cheerleader, I get an awkward grimace usually followed by a nice, "Oh, cool."
For good reason.
Last November, when I took my baby with me to go vote at the neighborhood polling place, my cheeks flushed red-hot as I looked up and saw my swimsuit spread splayed on the back wall of Joe-next-door's garage. When my oldest daughter sees the scantily-clad women high-kicking in their boots on TV during Sunday's football game, she shouts, "Look, Mommy! It's you!" Though the world tells me I should celebrate being one of 28 women chosen out of over 400 auditioning to dance for the professional team, a root of shame had begun to take hold of my spirit. I wish that I could say, "and then I had a Paul moment, found Jesus, and he turned my life around," but in my case, it was quite the opposite. I already had Jesus.1