I’m a new Christian. I was raised in a crazy Irish-Catholic home, where I thought the athletes praising God for their accomplishments were just going through the steps of good publicity. It wasn’t until moving to Atlanta that my true walk with Christ began. My life didn’t get any easier, but I now am surrounded with a community gifted with a passion to compete and perform for His glory. That’s right, I’m surrounded by athletes, specifically professional cheerleaders, who love Jesus and put God first.
Shocked? Me too. I grew up just as judgmental as most non-cheerleaders may be about the ladies in the Pros. I figured my passion for dancing on a team wouldn’t continue past my Purdue days because I could never hang with those party girls who cheered on the sidelines on Sunday with big hair and sassy dance moves. Man, was I wrong. Early in college I started to see light in the procheer world I’d judged for so long. My coach and mentor at Purdue was a strong baptist woman who cheered for years with Indiana’s Pacemates. That’s when I began to think, if she can dance, represent herself and stand by her religion, I can too.
I ran away from a messy family situation in the Midwest into God’s hands, safe in Atlanta. In the process, I’ve slowly started to let go and understand God has given me, and so many cheerleaders, a passion and a platform to work with in the NFL, AFL, or NBA. I’ve questioned God, been mad at Him, cried out to Him, but I know I feel his love and grace when I perform. God brought me to dance so I could know Him better. The first time I ever prayed out loud with a group was my rookie season with the Georgia Force, selected as captain and looked upon to lead prayer. My teammates saw something in me I didn’t know was there, but that something has grown into a fire that I know must be shared.
Sharing the word and God’s grace and love is what all Christians are supposed to do, right? Well… being all made up and dazzling in tiny rhinestone outfits seems to attract a lot of positive spirit, with some less friendly words mixed in. My mission with Preserve The Light is to connect the community of Christians that are living out the words shared with us in Matthew 5:13-16 while rocking our rhinestones. “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
To all my cheer sisters, my hope is that we will come together in a movement to be the salt and light. Preserve His word and show others His love through our light. For all non-cheerleaders, you’re welcome to join us, too! Follow the blog, keep up with our efforts as they grow in the community. There’s more of us than you think and we can’t wait to meet you!