Written by: Cammie Avers
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph oh daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation…” - Zechariah 9:9
For the past two years, since my husband and I made our cross country move from LA to Dallas, I’ve been helping run a faith based after school program for at risk kids here in our city. Monday through Thursday my precious (and WILD) kiddos race down the hallways after school to come tackle me with hugs. They grab a snack, complain about said snack because it isn’t 100% sugar, and then I spend two hours trying to come up with creative ways to get them to read, do their homework, and to share with them the Good News. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. But woven into every thread of the chaos that makes up my Monday through Thursday 3 to 5, is the truth that God is in love with His children. He loves them, and He wants them to dance, rest, and soak in His crazy love.
This job that started as a plan-B-we-just-moved-and-I-need-a-job decision, has proven to disciple me in more ways than I could ever count. I am in awe of the patience (oh the PATIENCE), the humility, and the grace that God has given me to shepherd these little sheep. I have found that as I love His children supernaturally, I experience the Father heart of God in ways that I’ve never known before.
A few months ago one of my kids, who is especially behind academically, reached a new reading level. This is a big stinking deal, and something he had been working towards for months on end. “Miss Cammie. Miss Cammie! Come here! NOW!” His voice squealed from across the room. He was ecstatic, literally bouncing out of his chair with a joy that his little body couldn’t contain.
However, just as I was about to cartwheel across the room to celebrate with him, I watched his whole demeanor shift. As he looked around the room he began to realize that his shrieks of joy had drawn unwanted attention from his classmates. All these little eyes were now on him, looking to see what all the excitement was about. I watched as fear cast a shadow across his face. Oh, the fear of man. Let’s be honest, I know that look all too well.
All of a sudden his triumph didn’t seem so triumphant anymore. If he celebrated like his heart wanted to, what would his classmates think? If he shared too loudly why he was excited, then the other kids might realize that he had just reached the second grade reading level… as a fourth grader.
Watching it all unfold BROKE. MY. HEART. For I knew how hard he had worked to get here! I knew the hours that he had spent with me doing sight word flash cards when he wanted to be playing games with his friends. I knew the focus that it took for him to trace his fingers below the words on the page, when his learning disability tried to make the letters dance. I knew the amount of times that he had had to pick himself up out of the pit of discouragement to try again, and then again.
There was no doubt about it: This was his victory moment.
My favorite way to celebrate with my kids is to have a “dance party,” meaning, I put a timer on my phone for a minute and then we just go full on Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” mode until the timer goes off. You know… all the awkward dance moves, all the shouting, all the praise, until the full minute is up. Honestly, I think I may enjoy it more than they do.
So, I whispered for him to come meet me outside in the hallway, closed the door to the classroom behind us, and the two of us had a full on DANCE PARTY.
We danced over his past frustrations. We kicked the air and “whisper screamed” his praise. We celebrated every ounce out of those 60 seconds.
It was freeing, and beautiful, and sacred. Because we were made to rejoice.
I don’t know what you’ve been working towards or believing for. I don’t know what mountain you and Jesus are climbing together. I don’t know what it took for you to just get up today, or to click the link to this blog praying for a ray of hope to shine through. But can we just take 60 seconds and celebrate where you are right now? Would you just pause and have a dance party with me? Because even now you are standing in victory.
I know I may not know you or your story, but I do know that if you are reading this blog then you are actively trying to fill yourself up with Jesus. And make no mistake, HE is victory itself.
It’s easy to overlook our little milestones because “in the scheme of things” it’s really not that big of a deal. It’s easy to think you “aren’t there yet” or “it’s nothing” compared to the testimonies you hear at church, or what you see on your Instagram feed. But can I tell you that your Father delights in every little celebratory moment! He wants you to keep your eyes fixed on Him and on the unique story that He is writing for your life. A story with it’s own mountains and valleys. A story not to be compared to anyone else’s. A story laced with endless opportunities to rejoice.
If you are in a season where rejoicing seems impossible…can I challenge you to invite a brother or sister to dance for you? Or would you be brave enough to make your rejoicing a weapon of warfare? Or a beautiful sacrifice of praise?
Because in this moment, we have a Father who desires to invite us into the hallway and have a dance party with us.
My encouragement is that we don’t skip over opportunities to rejoice because we are too busy comparing our breakthrough to someone else’s. As sons and daughters we are commanded to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
We were made to be a people of dance parties, and celebrations, and victory. A people of powerful rejoicing. It’s who we are.
Like what you’ve read, or looking for more information, posts or connection? Give Cammie a follow on instagram at @cammieavers