Truthfully, I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the blessings God has enabled me to achieve throughout my life. However, something happened yesterday that far exceeded any stage I ever competed on, any runway I have ever walked on, any photographer I ever shot with, any gymnastic coach I ever trained with… and any dream I have ever dreamed of.
Okay, now speaking from experience – had someone told me 3 years ago this story, my exact thoughts and words would have been, “Awww. How cute,” I would have smiled and that would have been that. I’ve never been a mushy person (aside from when it came to puppies). I’ve never been one to dish out, the “I love you,” to just anyone, nor was I ever afraid to offer up the “Aw, thank you.” to a, what I believed to be, unwarranted, “I love you” from a beginning relationship. I wasn’t opposed to love nor did I ever take “love” lightly. However, I am not sure that I ever realized how truly profound those three little words spoken, could be.
In the world we live in today, we all have a tendency to be selfish. Unfortunately, it stems from our very own sinful nature. We have a conversation, but most of the time we are “listening” for that pause that allows us to jump in and tell our OWN opinion, or our OWN story. What is it I want to say? We are constantly on the look out on how to better our OWN lives or situations? Our thoughts are often, “Am I loved?” “Am I happy?” “Am I successful?” “Am I being heard?”
As opposed to focusing our energy on, “Do we make those around us feel loved, appreciated, happy, complete,” our thoughts are more often, “Does he/she make me feel loved? Does he/she make me feel happy and appreciated?”
And we do the same with God. Yes, we might thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon our lives. We might thank Him for walking us through troubled times. But so often our main concern is feeling His love for us. We think, “I feel so loved by God right now!” or, “Where is He? I feel like He has turned His back on me…Does He even love me?”
How often do we think about our love for and towards Him? This may sound crazy, but how often do we think about how our love makes God feel?
He longs for a relationship with us. He is our father. He calls us His children.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” 1 John 3:1
Knowing the incredible joy my son brought to me yesterday by uttering those three little words for the first time, I can not even begin to imagine the amount of joy it must bring our Heavenly Father when we finally express our love to Him.
I encourage you, to step back from your daily lives and look around. How is it that you make those around you feel? Do they feel your love, your friendship, your consideration for them? Do you make God know his importance in your life? Does God know how much you love him?
**Side Note: Please do not misunderstand this post to say that uttering, “I love you,” is the only and best way to express love. Had my son been throwing a tantrum or a toy at the moment when he said those three little words, I am not sure their effect would have been so profound. However, I could genuinely feel his love for me as he hugged me. This genuine feeling of love that came with his “I love you,” is the feeling I am referring to that we need to spread to those around us. This genuine feeling of appreciation, acceptance, love and unending gratitude through our words and our actions is the feeling we need to make known to our friends, our family and our God.
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 Republicans, White & 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.
**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.