Made To Thrive : Lieutenant Joseph C. Rocha

 Joseph Christopher Rocha : Made To ThriveOne person can do unbelievable things. All it takes is that one person who’s willing to risk everything to make it happen.” -Sam Childers



Why He was Chosen for Made To Thrive:


Meeting by happenstance in 2009, while visiting Las Vegas with my best friends, I had no idea the impact Joseph would have on my life, my families life and the world as a whole. A humble man of God, Joseph Rocha has waded through the waters of some of this world’s most difficult challenges, receiving his strength from God alone, ultimately carving a new path for thousands of men and women of this country. 


As a leading advocate for the Repeal of, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,”  Joseph was given the honor by the Log Cabin RepublicansWhite & Case Law Firm and The United States Senate, to testify in the Federal Court’s challenge of it’s Constitutionality. Upon it’s repeal, Joseph was then invited back to the bill signing, where he had the pleasure of meeting with President Barack Obama.

In all honesty, I could go on for hours regarding Joseph’s worldly accomplishments. However, what truly makes Joseph unique, and in my eyes, a testament of Christ’s love is the way he treats the people and the world around him. Joseph is one of the most selfless, humble and loving people I have ever met. Having spent numerous “weekend-breakfast-visits” with him while he was completing OCS in Quantico, I was always amazed and humbled, how despite the circumstances he had endured the week before; regardless of any hardship – Joseph was always first and foremost concerned with how I was; how my week had been; how my family was doing. When he would finally begin to talk about his week and the ups and downs of OCS, never once was there talk about giving up, or it being too hard. Rather it was always talk about, how God had shown his face throughout the week; how right when he needed Him most, he could feel God with him;  and how humbled he was to have the opportunity that lay before him.

This former bomb-dog-handler, who is now in his final year of law school, contracted to be a JAG/ lawyer for the Marine Corps is not only a world changer, he was and is, “MADE TO THRIVE!”

**all thoughts and opinions expressed in this writing, are solely those of myself, Casandra Tressler.


Lieutenant Joseph C. Rocha In His Own Words

Favorite Scripture Verses

  • Jeremiah 1:15 : Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the LORD, have spoken! “They will set their thrones at the gates of the city. They will attack its walls and all the other towns of Judah.
  • Job 38:4-7 : “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together. And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
  • Joshua 5:13-15 : “Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

What has been your biggest struggle and how did you see God’s face in it?

The path to to my commissioning as an officer in the Marine Corps. With “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” only recently having been repealed, this 10 year journey from my original enlistment at 18 years old, has come with many professional, personal, and private relationship challenges. Nevertheless, along the decade, small gains reinforced that I was not alone and I would succeed when and how the Lord saw fit. I’ve gained deep patience and trust in Him.

Who are your biggest “heros” or role models?

My little sisters. They are 12 and 17 and there’s nothing they think I can’t do. I’ve spent my life trying to set a good example for them and not prove them wrong.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Most people will never even try, and so many other will give up, but if you are relentless your dream becomes inevitable.




10 Things God Says About Me.

Have you ever seen one of the those kids, that is so bad, you think, MAN THANK GOD that is not my child…

Well, when it comes to the swimming pool, that is my child.

There is something about the water that literally turns my Little Man into a maniac. All he wants to do is PLAY, PLAY, PLAY… and not how little toddlers are supposed to play, but how wild animals play in the open ranges of Africa As I see other moms of toddlers sitting around watching their little ones scoop up water and empty it into buckets on the side of the baby pool or sit beautifully on the stairs, I on the other hand, am narrowly rescuing their unassuming children from my son as he attempts to “pounce” on them like they are a zebra and he is the lion.  I am blocking splashes and flying pool toys hailing from my child’s domain of the pool, as he flops around wildly, going under water and jumping up and down in an attempt to make the biggest splash. At which time, I reluctantly change my hat from “mother” to circus tamer, simply attempting to contain my little monkey. (It’s awful) … (Little side note. We are working on this issue.)

Yesterday,  with the weather as amazing as it was, the pool was packed and my little man was on his A game. (No, I don’t mean good behavior A game.) I mean he was like a wrestling, bull-fighting, shark attacking, tiger preying champion at the pool yesterday. Needless to say, we had to leave early and “Mommy and Little Man” took a much needed stroll to the grocery to “cool off” and “think about our actions.” Frustrated and annoyed that my otherwise, unbelievably well behaved child acts like such a hooligan in the pool, I reached for a carton of eggs and received a little message from God.

No, He wasn’t telling me I have a rotten egg for a son. (Although I am quite certain a few of the other mother’s at the pool may have valid arguments. Haha)  No, quite the contrary. To me, this was a little message, saying nothing more than, “Chill Out Momma. We’re all different. We are all created with our unique blessings, gifts and talents AND we are all created with our own unique struggles. So embrace the blessings. Embrace the talents. Embrace the gifts. And deal with the struggles as they come, but don’t dwell on them. Don’t let them ruin an otherwise beautiful day.”

So I started thinking, of all the things, just at the age of 2, God has blessed my son with. And then I started thinking of all the beautiful things I can say about my son (and truthfully, like any mother, I can list just about 90 million things I love about my son and say about him on a daily basis).  However, then I started thinking, what does God say he loves about my Little Man and what would God say about him right this instant, knowing his actions in the pool? Would God’s list be the same as mine?

What does God say he loves about you? Despite our struggles, our hardships, our annoyances – what is it that He would say about you as a person?

I encourage you, make your own list, “What does God Say About You?“ Then make a list of things God says about your son/daughter/husband/partner… What is it that God loves about that person?

What Are 10 Things God Says about _____________________.


In the meantime, you can check out what I have come up with…

10 Things God says about me.


1. He loves that I am a little bit weird. (just a little bit) He created me this way. He created me in His own unique image.

2. God loves that I am redeemed. He knows my failures. He knows my struggles but He loves me despite of them and has made me whole in Him! (Ephesians 4:24)

3. God says, I am forgiven. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

4. God says, I am an Overcomer. God says, that not only will He never give me anything too big to handle but that with Him, there is NO one that can stand against! “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

5. God says, I am His child. Think about this for a moment. There can be 9,257 people in a room, and I have just as much confidence that the God of the universe, the God who has EVERYTHING,  would point me out in a room, like that of my own mother or father, and say, “Yes, she is my child! I claim her as my OWN!” Talk about feeling accepted! 1 John 3:1

6. God says that I am beautiful. He created me in his own likeness. He knows every hair on my head (and there are a lot).  (Matthew 10:30) I am the apple of His eye. (Psalm 17). His treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

7. God says, He doesn’t care if I … Continue reading

The Crayon Drama : Actively Listening To and Seeking God on a Daily Basis.

When first deciding to enter, “full-time-stay-at-home-mom-status,”  in preparation for my little girl to arrive, I had thought it sounded like a perfect recipe for some increased R&R.  I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. In fact, my normal morning routine of  1- 2 hours backstage in hair and make up is now a mad dash of breakfast making, choo-choo train finding, race car driving, lego stepping (and by the way, have you ever stepped on a lego? It will bring any grown man down to his knees in sheer agony!), book reading, soccer playing, laundry folding, tantrum throwing, floor mopping, vacuum cleaning, diaper changing awesome-ness! But, I’m not going to lie, its exhausting. By the time 8:00am rolls around I am checking the clock like, “Is it NAP time yet?” Not for Littleman, but for me!

This morning was no different, but as we were in the midst of the chaos, I noticed the littleman had gotten some crayons and paper from his craft drawer and had crawled up to the table to color. So taking advantage of every opportunity possible, I prepared myself a cup of Decaf coffee, grabbed my devotional and headed to the balcony for some time with the Lord. Keeping an eye on my son through our screen and sliding glass doors. I watched as he continued to color for about 15 minutes, all the while slowly loosing his crayons as they would roll from the table on to the floor, in the midst of his wild flipping of pages in his, “Airplane “Bird-Bird” Coloring Book.”

As the final crayon rolled to the floor, I watched as he tilted his head sideways and yelled, “Momma! Momma!” Responding, “One Minute Bunny,” laying down my book and setting my coffee aside, I went to stand up (which is no easy task at this point in pregnancy) and walk through the screen door, when I paused, watching him tilt his little head yet again and go, “Momma, Momma…Help. Please.” (Okay call me mean, but I stood there for a minute looking in to see what he was going to do next. He wasn’t in his high chair. I knew exactly what he wanted.  And truthfully, he could easily get down and gather his crayons himself to continue coloring.)

He waited a moment, still not seeing me through the sliding glass doors, hopped down, and frantically began running from room to room, calling, “Momma, Momma! Mommmmmma!” (Okay don’t worry, I live in a city condo, so the time it took him to run through our entire house is like 3.7 seconds). When I walked in through the screen door, he was making his final turn around our hallway and burst into tears, grabbing my leg, and letting out a final, “Momma! Color. Floor.” (for those non-parents out there, that means, “Momma, my crayons are on the floor and now, how can I color?”

He wasn’t aware that I was watching the entire event unfold.

See, he wasn’t aware that I was here the entire time, listening to and watching his every move. I wasn’t ignoring him, nor hiding from him, nor failing to help him.

The first time he cried out for me, I responded. But he wasn’t listening for me.

The second time he cried out for me, I was standing there watching him, waiting, listening through the screen door, but he never lifted his head in my direction to see me. 

As he went racing through the house in search of me, he wasn’t aware that I was never gone, that all he needed to do was look right next to where he had been. 

And as he reached out and grabbed my leg, telling me the “tragedy” that had just unfolded, he wasn’t aware that I had seen, every crayon fall to the floor.

How many times in life are we like my LittleMan was today.

We cry out for help, but we don’t listen for OR to God’s response.

We cry out for help, but we don’t raise our eyes NOR our heads to seek Him.

Feeling lonely, scared, forgotten and abandoned, we frantically run around, in search of God and His hands in our life, only to hear, “My Child. What are you searching for? I am here. The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:16

This week I encourage you to not only spend time studying Gods word on a daily basis but actively listen and seek Him in your daily life. God isn’t some far-out, scary higher being that we go to when there are “issues” to deal with. He is a friend. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to be someone that you spend time with on a daily basis, in good times and bad, so that when there are “issues,” you have unfailing confidence that He is by your side through every step of the way.

Scripture Verses:

Joshua 1:9 : “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Deuteronomy 31:6 :  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your … Continue reading