I don’t know where to begin this conclusion.
It feels like a daunting task. I am not a naturally gifted, empathetic writer like Levi. I don’t have profound, deep thoughts like Craig.
One thing I know for sure, though, is that my husband is a different person from the nineteen-year-old I met in 1995.
Of course, he would be different in appearance. His hair was as long as mine when I met him. Later, when he proposed, he sported a bleached-out bowl cut. Then it was jet-black. Then highlighted and manicured. I think dreadlocks were the only style I never saw (thank God).
Over the years, one thing has remained the same: his clothing and shoe game. Craig has always been into appearance. He has always picked out my whole wardrobe, and I’ve gotten a talking to on the rare occasions when I’ve tried to venture out and away from his selections. To his credit, though, if my outfit is cute and someone makes a comment, it’s because Craig bought it for me. I’ve come a long way from my roots as the Oregonian girl with no sense of style, thanks to him. Over the last few years, Craig finally settled into a consistent hairstyle. He even added sweatpants to the mix.
I said Craig has changed, but I am not really talking about his appearance.
I am talking about his heart.
After reading through each of these journal entries, you know by now that Craig always has a thought or opinion about…something.
This is how Craig has worked in his life up until now — in his head. I don’t know anyone else whose mind functions the way that his does. If you know him, personally, then chances are you’d say the same.
All of that head chatter breeds both reward and suffering.
Craig has been involved in the non-profit ministry scene since 1998 — the year we were married. This “Go! Go! Go!” man is the only one I’ve ever known. The Craig who buys a gazillion domains. The Craig who offers his time to help other startup ministries succeed. The Craig who takes anyone’s (and everyone’s) phone call at any time — day or night. The Craig who figured out the tech game. The Craig who wants to see everyone’s dreams come true. The Craig who has traveled to almost every state in the US to speak about pornography addiction. The Craig who stays up late to work and gets up early to work. The Craig who moved our family two times to different states for the ministry. The spontaneous Craig. The Craig who knocks things off people’s bucket lists. The Craig who is always seeing a person’s strengths. The Craig who is always pushing people to be better. The confident Craig. The Craig with an amazing sense of humor. The manifestor Craig. The thick-skinned Craig.
He is a man after God’s heart. He is a social butterfly. Intelligent and optimistic. A risk-taker. An incredible friend.
A person whose mind doesn’t turn off.
While each of these qualities is amazing, the wonder can take a sharp turn to exhaustion for those of us who live with him, work for him, and try to do life with him.
If you know Craig — if you’ve experienced some part of this life alongside him — then you know that he is the real deal, and you know that the descriptions above aren’t just “sometimes” qualities…they’re nonstop-all-the-time qualities.
When you allow your intellect to run your life — as opposed to your emotions, your heart, and your body — you exhaust both yourself and the people who love you.
The flipside — the negative to each of Craig’s positives — produced anger and arrogance, criticism and impatience, and a lack of graciousness and compassion. Craig has left others in the dust and exhausted himself in the process. His speed can tire him out at the same time as it crushes others, making relaxation next to impossible and leading him right back to anger for the cycle to repeat itself.
We have been married since 1998. We’ve had our highs, and we’ve had our lows, and somehow, we have managed to stay together. We’ve prayed for the Lord’s leading. We’ve prayed fervently for soft hearts. Craig resolved never to get divorced, and by the grace of God, we haven’t. Both of us have experienced significant heart-changes during the past couple of years. At this point, I am so thankful to be 100% together as we move into whatever comes next — on the same page, hearts beating together, in unison (insert cheesy phrase here).
The changes that I am seeing are reminding me of why I fell in love with Craig way back in 1995. It is nothing short of amazing when — after being married for so long — you can fall in love with someone all over again and experience a rich, deep relationship.
Here are a few of the changes that I love:
- Over the years, Craig has gotten over the fact that Elise is no longer interested in soccer and has tried to understand her deeper passion, instead: dance. He has always wanted her to dance and has paid a hefty price tag to make it possible.
- He has always helped pursue whatever Nolan has wanted to pursue. But this year, he trusted Dave to lead Nolan to his first love: music. He still can be “dadager” but he is excited to play a supporting role with Nolan’s music career instead of leading it.
- He takes time to relax now.
- He hears from (and listens to) the Lord.
- He developed a filter he runs his decisions through (i.e., — he doesn’t say yes to everything anymore).
- He has honed in on what he is good at and what work brings him life.
- He has found forgiveness for himself and his parents.
- He can clearly see when something is off with a person’s demeanor.
- He is at peace. He isn’t so frantic.
- He still has confidence, but it’s in the Lord. He isn’t as arrogant, and his ego is dissolving.
- He is more patient with others.
- He asks for what he needs and is clear about his emotions.
- He is in touch with his body now. He knows what it needs. He knows what he needs, like food, exercise, and a decent night’s sleep.
- He walks slower.
- He has boundaries. He doesn’t just answer every call and work all night long.
- He knows that everything is working together and has stopped using the phrase “it’s weird.”
- He gives great counsel to those who ask him for it.
- I don’t see the anger in him when he expresses emotion.
The best part of all these changes I listed is that they are here to stay. They’re not here today and gone tomorrow.
To anyone reading this: change is possible.
I have seen a marriage — my marriage — and our lives transformed right before my eyes.
I am so thankful that Craig chose to share his “brain” with all of us. It reminds me that this whole project isn’t about his brain at all…it is about his heart.
And his heart is beautiful.