Semper Fidelis.

faithful / adj. 1. loyal, constant, and steadfast 2. plural n. having a strong belief 3. true to the facts or the original

this word has been on my mind a lot lately. i was looking up pictures of my dad's helicopter he used to fly, and i kept running across these marine corps websites with semper fidelis all over the place. semper fidelis is latin for always faithful, and has been the marine's motto since their inception.

so i started thinking about faithfulness, and how it relates to me specifically and these things came to mind as examples of me being faithful:

towards the end of high school i had a tough decision where to go for college. i applied for several public universities as a back up, but i knew God wanted me to go to a christian college. i remember being adamant about this, and never really wavering when it came to trusting God about where i should go to college. as a reward, i think God made it a very obvious decision when it finally came time to finally choose. and despite all of the griping i did about oklahoma, i would not be half the man i am today if it weren't for the growth that i went through at oc. i look back at my time in oklahoma with nothing but fond memories and praises to God for blessing me more than i deserved.

juaner. i would have never been friends with juaner if we hadn't been stuck in the same apt together. it's sad to say, but at that point in my life i was so close minded when it came to who i should be friends with. i remember praying to God that he give me the patience to deal with the 'frat boy- soccer playing- oregonian- psych major- transfer' that i was going to have to live with. juaner is now one of my best friends, and i thank the Lord constantly for the rock that guided me towards youth ministry. i'm just glad that God rewarded me for being trusting enough to look at juaner through His eyes, and not my own.

speaking of friends, there are three guys that were at my third birthday that i still refer to as my best friends. (i know i have a lot of best friends, most have to have prefaces like college, or new, or back in the day. these guys don't.) our relationships were forged through years of growing up in the church, and despite our distance and the frequency with which we talk, i have no doubt that we will go to our graves as best friends. what a blessing to be rewarded with lifelong friends. this may be a stretch when it comes to faithfulness, but i can't imagine us ever not being friends, and i think that helps remind me of the type of ongoing, forgiving love that God has for us.

my parents. i can honestly say that i never had a doubt about my parent's faithfulness through their twenty five years of marriage so far. it seems like the more they are tested, the stronger they bond to each other and to God. in a world were one in every two marriages end prematurely, it is a huge blessing to know that your parents are both going to be there for you. i hope this doesn't sound too self righteous, but i have had a soft heart lately for the kids of divorced, or a single parent homes. i don't know how they do it, but they manage to make it through life at a disadvantage. God bless them and provide them with the love that they need to survive. going back to my parents though, i feel like i have been rewarded for my parent's faithfulness with a confidence and knowledge of God's love that has always been a guide to me.

my job. i decided halfway through my junior year of college that i wasn't going to be a graphic designer. my grades were terrible that year and i was put on academic probation. i remember praying to God to show me the right thing to do. that summer i was forced to live at home and work and take some online classes to catch up. i was pretty humbled, and i was working landscaping, spending most of my days to myself because i couldn't speak spanish. i was really humbled. but, i spent a lot of my free time hanging out with the two interns we had at woodinville, and realizing that youth ministry was a viable option for me. i told my parents that summer that i would finish up my degree in advertising design, but i would be taking extra youth ministry classes when i could. they were very supportive. actually, they asked me what took me so long to figure it out, they had known all along. anyways, the next summer i did an internship in weatherford ok, where i was offered a job. i turned it down because i knew there would be someone more effective for a small town in the long run. on the way back to school after that summer i spent time with dantheman and lukestrong, and they said i should look into doing a semester at park plaza after i graduated. the second day of school, i met with mr wild at heart himself, and he said he would be proud to have any friend of dantheman's come work at park plaza. he said i could def do a summer there, and could probably stay till i found a job. i stayed there until i felt that i had to go home to take care of mi padre and was blessed by every minute of my time there.

moving back home. i never wanted to be 23 and living at home. i also never wanted mi padre to retire before his 50th birthday. but i knew the right thing to do was to head home and take care of pops until mom had the summer off. i knew right off the bat that God was rewarding me for doing the right thing. that time with my dad was invaluable, and i am increasingly aware of how much i wish i could have held on to that time.

but i had to leave. going back to the job hunt, i was turned down by several churches, that i was sure were 'the one'. i was picky when i was looking for a job, and i didn't want to settle. i felt called to be in southern california doing youth ministry, and i was willing to wait for God to provide with the right place. several things fell apart, and it began to look like no one wanted to hire a youth minister with no experience, no bible degree, and no wife. on the last day of my internship in san diego i received a job offer from simi. talk about having to trust God, oh man. i have to say, though, that i was confident that God would provide me the right place at the right time, and He did.

females. these stories so far have gone in sequential order, but they have also progressed in the amount of faith that it has taken for me to trust that God had everything under His control. when i was in college, i just wanted to be able to have a big group of friends that shared my faith. i had a lot of catching up to do socially, and that's what happened. when i moved to tulsa, i asked God to keep females off of my mind for a year so i could focus on ministry. He did, and almost to the day a year later i met up again with nursegirl. the only thing i place as more important than where i am meant to work, is who i should spend my life with, so i really shouldn't complain and/or doubt that God will once again reward me for my faithfulness. i think this one is way underrated considering the time we live in.

so the question i have for myself now is why should i ever not be faithful to God after He has rewarded me so many times? why isn't faithfulness on the forefront of my mind more often? why has it taken me so long to realize this? what is it that God is doing right now to strengthen my faith?

i know i have left out an obvious example of faithfulness when it comes to mi padre, and that is intentional. i open myself up a lot on my posts, but today i need to keep some things to myself for the time being. perhaps in a few days i can revisit this with a post about my dad, but not today. i hope you understand.

anyways, i hope this has been an encouragement to anyone that has read this. i would love to hear your stories about faithfulness, so feel free to respond. (i know thornton has a few, he better put something up here.)

one love, one heart.


lindsy said...

this was a good post!

mambo said...

Love you Dj! so very much!