Each Friday, I share a Friday Feature where I hope to bring a little light and encouragement from other Catholics living out the vocation to married and family life.
I love witnessing how others are following Christ and am constantly inspired by them. My goal with Friday Feature is to bring you a breath of fresh air and some community by sharing their stories.
Enjoy, laugh, be inspired, and pray for all those you see on here. We’re in this together!
If you’re new to the blog, you’ll want to know that Jake is my adorable and amazing husband. He’s a man that works tirelessly for the good of our family and even through some of our hardest moments has remained faithful to the Church, to God, and to me and the boys. He used to be known for his killer beard which we anxiously await the return of once he fulfills his military service. If you want to know more about this stand up guy, check out this post he wrote on the blog a while back and this one about how we met.
Angie (A): Tell us a little bit about you and who you are.
Jake (J): Well, my name is Jake (and no, not from state farm) I’ve been married to my beautiful wife for 7 years and we have 3 of the coolest little boys you could ask for (and one he or she on the way). I am currently serving in the US Coast Guard and it has brought us to very different locations during these last 4 years. I love to play sports, have a beer with some friends, and just sit outside in complete silence.
A: How do you see God using you to build the Kingdom of God in your daily life?
J: Well, building the Kingdom of God now is very different compared to life before the military. Before, I was always in some form on ministry working with people who at least had some kind of desire to know God. Now things are not so much like that. I see myself now playing the part where people see my everyday actions and my choices that I make. I am not so much preaching to people anymore but rather living my life very different than how the world tells me I should live. My life kind of comes together in pieces to the guys I work with as a silent witness. I do not throw my beliefs in their faces but rather as they get to know me, they see more and more of who I am and how God is a part of that.
A: What is the most challenging thing trying to live as a man of God in a secular career field?
J: I am very on my own, especially when it comes to topics about sex. I am very much an oddity that I have 3 kids (+ 1 on the way) and that I am open to having more. So with this, I think it’s just the lack of community that I have in the secular work force. It’s not that the guys I work with are bad people, many of them are great husbands and fathers, but rather that I have no one challenging me at work to grow in holiness.
A: What do you find most difficult about being a father in our world today?
J: The pressure to be the American dad. The guy who brings home a lot of money and works crazy hours to bring home that money. To me, I’d rather work a job that supports my family’s needs and be home with my boys to teach them how to be a man of God, to play with them outside, and to make sure they know that their dad loves them.
A: What has been your most joy-filled memory as a father so far?
J: That’s tough, they happen everyday. Hearing about a Lego creation from my oldest, hearing the middle one tell me one of his crazy stories, or having the youngest come running to the door when I get home screaming with delight (literally screaming, like that sound should not come out of someone his size nor someone who’s human). They all bring me joy.
A: How do you practice mortification of self in marriage?
J: I think this is something that has developed over time and has been a huge area of growth and learning. I have had to learn to not only look at my wants and desires but those of my wife and kids. So sometimes that means not having the coolest new technology, not having a new truck, and choosing to go without TV or cable to watch my favorite sports team on. But these are all sacfrices I gladly make and would make again for the sake of my family.
A: How has marriage helped you learn about mercy and forgiveness?
J: Before marriage, saying I forgave someone or showing mercy to someone who wronged me was easy. I didn’t see that person everyday or didn’t live with that person. However, in marriage I do see that person everyday, so I have had to relearn how to truly forgive my wife if I’m hurt by something. And through this I’ve learned a deeper, more loving way to forgive all those who have hurt me. By truly trying to show mercy to them and not view them as the enemy.
A: Have you ever felt abandoned by God? How did you overcome it?
J: Almost two entire years at one duty station I felt abandoned by God. I went from being constantly involved in ministry and going to daily Mass or regular adoration to being in a complete spiritual desert. It was a very hard time. Overcoming it was not easy. I really had to force my will to love God even when I did not feel Him there with me and had to continue to push myself to try and love Him more and stay on that path.
A: What is one way you relieve stress in a healthy way?
J: I really enjoy silence. I enjoy sitting in my hammock and either reading a book, listening to music or just sitting there in quiet and praying. Also, anytime I can get out to play any sport is a huge stress reliever for me.