“Your test results show that you are pregnant.” When I heard those words, while sitting in my doctor’s office, my heart sank. This couldn’t be true. I am only 18 years old, a senior in high school, and dreamed of going to college, as every other senior expects.
I graduated from college that summer of 2009, five months pregnant. While my friends were all packing up and moving into their dorm rooms in August, I rummaged through the garage sales to pick up everything I could to welcome my soon-to-be son in October. You would think that this major life event – and the uncertainty of where my life was headed – would be my biggest challenge, but it wasn’t.
At that time I went with my family to a relatively small church, the same one in which I was born and raised. We didn’t have many young people as many had moved over the years, so the church was filled with an older generation. It was there that I personally encountered my biggest challenge: the resistance of being pregnant – not just out of wedlock but also at the tender age of 18. I was embarrassed; I was ashamed; and the overwhelming anguish I faced every Sabbath on my way to church and while there was unbearable. It eventually got to the point where I noticed my anxiety slowly kicking in on Friday nights, until I walked out those church doors on Sabbath afternoons. Like clockwork, it forced me to stop going to church for a while. Fortunately for me, I was able to persuade my parents to let us attend another church that had more young children and youth so that both my son and I could find a sense of belonging and community. I thank the Lord every day that we have found that.
I won’t lie and say that I walked into Madison Community Church the first Sabbath with no fear or anxiety that I would be judged, but every ounce of it vanished the moment I was greeted with warm smiles, hugs, and acceptance. No one asked about my backstory, how I became a single teen mom, or treated me like I was an outcast. I felt accepted for who I was, rather than what the church expected of me.
My church members have seen me laugh, cry, struggle, but most of all, thrive. As much as I owe God for all His blessings and my family for their continued support, there is much to be said for a strong, accepting, and encouraging Church family. Ten years later they have supported me through prayer, check-ins, words of encouragement and more. I’ve even had a few letters of recommendation awarding me scholarships and internships throughout my academic education.
I am sharing this mini version of my story to encourage churches to reach out to the single parents – not only in their church but also in their community – who may feel immense embarrassment and embarrassment. But I don’t think we should stop there. As a church member, I have read articles and talked to young people about a common problem within the Adventist Church. It’s no secret that we’re seeing more young people leave than ever. And I’d be lying if I said I don’t understand why that is.
Last May I was blessed enough to graduate with an MBA. Statistically, I should never have gotten my high school diploma, just an MBA. Only 2 percent of teen moms earn a college degree by the time they turn 30. I do not wish to disparage my own dedication and hard work in any way, although I would like to acknowledge the great influence my church family has had on my success. It wasn’t until I read my graduation cards that I really began to see the impact my church family had on my life. The number of Bible verses, words of encouragement, and positive thoughts that filled those cards was heartwarming, though one in particular stood out. It was signed, “We’re here to be your non-stop cheerleaders!”
Non stop cheerleaders. Not “cheerleaders till you’re done” or “cheerleaders till you screw up”, but your “non-stop cheerleaders”. Young people don’t need referees to berate them every time they make a mistake; they need cheerleaders who love them and cheer for them, even after those mistakes are made, and whatever those mistakes may be. Young people need no judgment about what they wear to church, how they wear their hair, or even the music they listen to. They need church members who will accept them with open and loving arms.
Can you imagine where we would be if God told us, “I will love and accept you, but only under certain conditions, or only under this one condition”? What a relief it is to know that God loves and accepts us unconditionally. Zero strings attached. We owe Him nothing for the overwhelming love He shows for the most unworthy of people.
So I ask you this: are you a cheerleader or a referee? Is your congregation a group of cheerleaders or a group of umpires? I leave you with these two quotes that I happened to come across while writing this article:
“What we don’t need in the midst of battle is shame for being human.”
“A word of encouragement during a mistake is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Challenge yourself and your congregation to become cheerleaders, not just for fellow church members, but for those who walk through your church doors, those who struggle to figure out where they belong in this world. It is not our job to change them or make them what we want them to be. Instead, our job is to love and applaud them, and let God do the rest.
Meaghan Yngsdal recently graduated with her MBA and lives near Madison, Wis. She and her son are members of Madison Community Church, where she serves as the community outreach director.
Aerials (without hands cartwheel) Running forward dive (with no other skills connected) Forward handspring + round-off + back handspring(s) + backbending.
What skills does cheerleading require?
In cheerleading, it is best to focus on three areas; flexibility, strength and endurance. Flexibility is necessary when practicing and executing jumps. See the article : Caroline Elizabeth Black. The more flexible a cheerleader is, the higher the jumps will be.
What are 3 important moves in cheerleading? While there are many cheering moves, the most commonly used in a routine are the close, high V, T move, touchdown, and skittle.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a College Cheerleader? Highly competitive teams may require full stunts, rewind, and hand jumping stunts. Some schools are also looking for dancers who can perform a tumbling pass in addition to general skills. Common skills needed in top schools include quadruple pirouette, aerial shot (preferably both sides), advanced turns, and advanced jumps.
What are the basics of cheerleading?
The core movements
- Hips. This one speaks for itself. Read also : New Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Photos!. …
- To clean. A clean is the position in which a cheerleader stands with both feet together and arms pressed firmly against their sides.
- High V. For the High V, both arms are extended at about a 45-degree angle. …
- Low V. …
- Punch. …
- T. …
- Broken T…
What Are Basic Cheerleading Skills? The most important cheerleading skills are cheering, jumping, tumbling, stunting (building pyramids), and dancing. These are the fundamental techniques that make up every facet of cheerleading. To master these skills, it is especially important to own and develop your balance, strength, flexibility and stamina.
What are the 3 main roles in cheer dance? The three main roles in cheerleading are the bases, the flyers, and the spotters. A truly versatile cheerleader will be able to fill any of these roles, even though it’s more common for cheerleaders to focus on just one or two roles.
What are the five elements of cheerleading? Cheerleading routines typically range from one to three minutes and include parts of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting.