“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
Quiet tears streamed down her face as she whispered her goodbye. Not a forever goodbye, but a goodbye for now. On the drive back home she sat in the backseat of his family’s SUV, his gray American Eagle sweatshirt wrapped around her even though it was almost ninety degrees and muggy outside. But it didn’t much matter, she couldn’t feel any temperature anyhow, only a numbness that ran deeper than any Novocain a dentist could offer out.
“You okay?” I texted her, feeling the emptiness around and within her. Not because I was psychic, but because I was her mom and mom’s know.
My phone lit up with a response. “This is harder than I thought,” she replied.
“I know. I’m sorry,” I sent, aching for her and knowing that this was something that I couldn’t make any better. “He will write. And you can write him,” I tried rationalizing, but knowing that it wasn’t the same. Ice cream normally made her (and me) feel better, but even ice cream wouldn’t work with dulling the heartache of sending your high school sweetheart off to Marine boot camp for three months.
We tried to keep her busy – we joined a gym and took classes, we took a mini-vacation, watched movies and television – but we could see through her tough Leo exterior and her crystal blue eyes that she was anxiously waiting in anticipation for a letter – word of any kind that he made it safely. He said he probably wouldn’t write – he wasn’t the writing kind of guy, but Micaela had faith that he would and then it came. Not just one letter, but several – and they continued (and continue) to come. Most are just one page, but filled with words between the words due to pure exhaustion. She savors every word, every letter, and counts down each day until October when he comes home only to go away once more. She’s remained faithful.
One of the ministers of my church would preach a consistent theme – Faithful-Faithful-Faithful. One day as I sat in his office, upset over the health concerns that I was having with my pregnancy with my daughter, Micaela, I should have known what his response would be, but needed to hear him say it – “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalms 91:4). Faithful-Faithful-Faithful.” He told me that I had to rely on others to help me when I forgot how to rely on myself. “Let us help you….let God help you,” he would say.
He went on to give me words of wisdom on how to be faithful, whether faithful to another or faithful to oneself. I wrote them down and through my own trials and tribulations, heartbreaks and sadness, when I need a reminder I go back and read it. I am certain that he wouldn’t mind me sharing his message with you.
“Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others.”
5 Ways to Stay Faithful
- It Takes Work – So many want to make the excuse that it is just too hard, or there isn’t enough time in the day to take care of others, or to self-care. But it is the most difficult moments which test the foundation of who you are and what you want. Do you walk away on the bad days and allow temptation to sneak in – that voice that says that it is just too hard, or do you stand your ground? No excuses. Just do the work.
- Communicate –When things look rough, or are rough, the communication tends to break down. You snap. They snap. And misunderstandings cause ripples which can destroy. Take a few deep breathes and say what you are going to say in your head and then ask yourself if it is worth saying. Is it said with love or anger? Communication is the key to unlocking so many doors. Stop saying ‘I’m fine’ when you aren’t.
- Listen – This often requires so much more than the ears, but picking up on subtle signals within yourself, around you and with others.
- Show It – There is talking and there is talking and doing. Walk your walk and talk your talk. Show the love and the faithfulness. This isn’t about materialistic things, but the simple things go a long way. Like eating well and exercising shows your body that you care. Or washing your partner’s car when you know that they like a clean one. Or doing your child’s or parent’s laundry when you know that they are going through some stress. Or texting or making that phone call to a friend and telling them that you’ve been thinking of them.
- Keep your Promises – No matter what. You say that you are going to do something – do it. And if you can’t for some reason, refer to #2 and communicate why. When you don’t keep promises, hard feelings ensue and a breakdown of relationships with others and yourself begin to happen with the loss of pieces of yourself.
So no matter where your faith lays, have faith in something, but most of all yourself, and define it. Wishy-washy behavior never got anyone anywhere except for feeling miserable in body, mind and spirit. By being faithful to yourself, your commitments and to others you will find that will begin believing again and your confidence will soar.
Faithful-Faithful-Faithful. And Semper Fi.