We met 13 years ago... I clearly remember the moment I first met my Craigypoo. :) It was my first day of work at Victory World Church's youth ministry, 212. A new season began for me that day as I got to do what I've wanted to do for so long; full time ministry. I was hired as the administrative assistant for 212, and I loved it!
I had heard of this guy, Craig Obrist... I was told to go to him if I needed videos. He was known as the "video guy" back then. He began working there full time a year before I did as the church's videographer, but he also volunteered in the youth ministry. So, right before my first service at 212 began, I saw him at the sound booth. I heard someone call him, "Craig", so I figured he was "THE Craig Obrist". :) I approached him and this is how our first convo went:
Me: "Hey, are you Craig Obrist?"
Craig: "Yup! That's my name!" (With a flirty smirk on his face.)
Me: (Ok...) "I sent you an email for a video request that we had for 212. Did you get it?"
Craig: "No, I don't check my email." (With a flirty smirk on his face.)
Me: "Um... ok..." (I just walked away.)
I was like, "Who is this guy? I need to report him right away because I can't work with someone like that... giving me a snarky comment like that." Those were my thoughts. :)
He wasn't going to get away without doing our video, so I went to his office the next work day and handed him a printed version of the request form. He couldn't tell me he didn't get the form then, could he? I clearly told him that I left it on his desk and that I expect the video.
I honestly don't remember what that video was! LOL! We had so many and it was so long ago... After some days, I began to see him more around the church office during the week. During those days, Sunday late afternoons were when the youth services were, so after lunch, we began setting up and started prepping for the service. Craig was always there to help with any setup that I needed. He was (and is still) highly technical, so anytime anything technical went wrong, I could depend on him for that. He used to MC every now and then and made everyone laugh like crazy... he just had a big part in our youth group.
See, you have to understand that I didn't know anyone in the youth department. Everyone was new to me.... The people, the job, just everything! So, it was quite a transition in my life. I've changed a lot over the years, but especially back then, it took me awhile to get comfortable with someone, but with Craig, I felt totally comfortable from the moment I met him. I don't know... there was just never a feeling of distance or awkwardness.
As we began spending time doing many things in the church together, we started to get to know one another. He helped me so much in 212 that I became very dependable on him. Soon, he would ask if I'd like to go out with him and his friends for either dinner or to watch a movie or whatnot after service. I remember saying, "NO", for various reasons. Let me tell you... my husband is the most persistent person I know. If he wants it, he will get it. Where there's a will, there's a way with that man. For a few months... I'd say two or three, he continued to ask. And, I continued to say, "NO". I totally don't remember 'til this day, but he insists that I told him that I needed to study or wash my hair. What in the world??? Why would I say that? I never and still don't have "wash my hair" days. And, by that time in my life, I graduated from college, and I clearly remember making a promise to myself that I will never study again after I got my diploma. (That's a story for another blog.) He either made that up in his mind or I really just lied or had no creative ways to give him an excuse.
I guess since asking me out didn't work, he decided to come to work with his hair dyed... BLACK! Like REALLY black! I ran into him in the hallway where many of our co-workers' cubicles were and I couldn't help, but yell, "And WHY did you do THAT?" He nonchalantly said, "Oh, so that I would look more Korean and so that you'll be more attracted to me." I was speechless. I really thought about making a meeting with our pastor to tell him that I think Craig is a womanizer. I was quite embarrassed too since everyone working there heard what he said. I quickly went to the cubicle of a friend and she immediately said, "You know he likes you." I said, "No, no, NO!!!!!!"
Well, one day, he went on a trip with a team from our church to Florida after a hurricane hit there to help the victims. They all parked their cars in the church parking lot and drove the church van down together. Well, I didn't realize that and after service knowing he was gone, I saw his car in the lot. Thinking he was back unexpectedly, I was so excited! As soon as that emotion hit me, I said to myself, "Oh no... I like this guy. OH NO!!!!!!!! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?" But of course, I didn't tell him. ;) My mama always told me that the guy chases the girl, and let me tell you, my mama is always right. :) Well, when I soon learned that he wasn't back yet, I was a bit disappointed. Just a bit... ;)
Not too long after that, I received bad news from the doctor. I had to get a biopsy done. Thank God everything was alright and everything was benign. Whew! During my recovery time after the surgery, the emotions came back again and I realized I missed this guy. I said, "I must really like him... seriously God, what is going on with me?" At this point in my life, I had no interest in marriage. In fact, I vowed to myself that I will never get married. Every marriage I knew of was awful. Every married person I knew of hated it. All I heard was complaints and cynical comments about married life. So.... why? Why go through the trouble of doing it in the first place? Love? I mean, can it seriously be real between a man and a woman? Can anyone show me one good example? And God did... He showed me many examples. The story of how I got to Victory World Church is another story, but I can say that God moved my feet to attend there. I remember going there my very first time all by myself (that's a big deal for me)... I stepped my feet into that church and God told me, "You're home...". Victory World Church is like no other church. Through the ministries and working there, I have been blessed with knowledge and wisdom in a way I never have received before. God became more clear and closer, and I changed in many ways. One of the biggest ways was my thoughts on marriage. The pastors there just didn't preach, they lived it out. They just didn't talk about what a good husband and wife should be like... they showed me. God healed me and for the first time, I had hope that marriage really could be for me too. It was truly a break through.
Something was happening to me spiritually and emotionally. God was doing a lot of thing in me after my feelings got serious about Craig. One afternoon after church, my roommate at the time and I and Craig all went to eat at Sweet Tomatoes. :) He sat across from us and as we were just hanging out, I was in a bad mood. I did not want him to be there. I attacked everything that came out of his mouth and was just really short and rude. Craig and my roommate looked disturbed, but I couldn't help it. I quickly ended the meal time. He left and my roommate and I went grocery shopping. She confronted me and said how rude I was being to him and that I needed to apologize. Now, for my roommate to say that was a big deal! I took her advice... As I was thinking about what was going on and trying to figure out why I was acting that way, God revealed something to me. I was pushing him away because of the fear I had... fear that marriage could happen with this guy. Fear that if it does, that it won't work out. As strong as my feelings were, my fear of failure was even stronger. I was in a war within myself.
I had to go back to church to prep for the youth service. Had some time to think about what my friend had said on the way to church and knew the right thing to do. Craig was there of course to help as he always did... He passed by my office and I stopped him in the hallway. I said, "Hey, I thought about how I acted earlier today, and I just wanted to tell you that I repent to you for the way I acted and for everything I said." He looked stunned. His witty self said, "Apology accepted ONLY if you go out to watch a movie with me and my friends after service." I remember thinking, "Man, this booger got me. Got me real good..." I told him, "OK! So, you forgive me?" He said, "Why yes!"
And ladies and gentlemen, the rest is history. :)
To fill you in a little, at the movies that evening, we watched "The Village", a suspense thriller. I sat next to him and he insists that I held his arm during a scary scene. And for the record, I did NOT. Just sayin'. I think he made that up in his mind too.
The moment I repented to him was the moment God told me that Craig Obrist was going to be my husband. You see, I never used the word, "repent" to anyone when I was sorry. I either just said "I'm sorry" or "I apologize". Repentance is way different... I didn't just say "sorry"... I told him that I will change. As an only child, I've always led a very independent life. Stubborn, but responsible. I didn't need anyone or so I thought. I got my way with things and loved telling people what to do and didn't like the vice versa. As my mom always said that it was going to take quite a man to handle me and who knew the lucky man was going to be Craig Obrist? ;) I always thought I didn't need a man in my life to make it complete or lead me in any way. I had it all figured out. But no, God had other plans... When I repented to him, I heard from the Lord that this man was going to lead me spiritually. I was so at peace... there was not one doubt in my mind. As some tried to talk me out of it, as some criticized and doubted our relationship, I knew. I may be stubborn, but if I hear from the God Almighty, who can be against that?
As the new year approached, our church was getting ready for our annual corporate 21 day fast. Craig told me that he was going to do it to pray for a clear answer about our future. Well, God already gave me an answer, so I fasted for other things. :) I didn't tell him any of that yet. As I watched him commit to this and lose 30 pounds in 21 days, I really couldn't believe all this was happening. After the fast, we shared our feelings to one another. He approached a couple of our accountability folks in our church to tell them what was going on. He then told me that he's going to do something I thought no one ever does anymore. My parents were in Augusta, and he drove down there to ask my parents if he could date me. I was like, "whaaaaaa?" That meant the world to me. For him to honor and respect my parents won him brownie points for life. :)
As you can imagine, they said, "yes" although at that time my parents were hesitant about him and his 'qualifications'. To make the long story short, they grew to love him and trust that he would really take care of me. I write this in the perspective of a parent now and wow... what man would be good enough for my daughters? I know that when we are faced with that in the future, it's not going to be easy, but as the Lord told me who I'm going to marry, I know God will also reveal that to our daughters, and I will trust it.
After he returned from Augusta, he officially asked me to date him in Korean. LOL! Atlanta was having an ice storm that night. A REALLY bad one where it was a ghost town on the roads, but we still went out to Cafe Intermezzo in Dunwoody for our first date driving 30mph on I-85 and I-285. Now you see why we love taking out our clients out to Cafe Intermezzo!
Thank God we survived the road conditions. :) 8 months later, we were engaged and 7 months later, we were married. I know... pretty fast, huh? Hey, when you know, you just know. I like getting things done, and we did!
11 years of marriage, 3 kids, 8 years of business, 4 homes... there are a lot of memories in between all that! Sometimes, I still can't believe I'm where I am in life today. Yes, I really want to pinch myself to see if it's all real. I catch myself wondering how I could possibly have three beautiful children and an incredible husband that loves me. HOW? By God's grace... that's how. It is truly by His grace that I am saved and loved and blessed. Of course... marriage has its trials and struggles, but what in life doesn't? By His grace, we are here still doing life together and happy to do it together. He is my partner in everything we do... I can't imagine my life without this man God has gifted me with. I know that no one will ever love me the way he does. He gets me. We have a long future ahead and I can't wait to see what's in store for our 12th anniversary, 15th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th!!!! It's been quite a ride and I'm ready for what's ahead.
Craig Obrist, thank you for being at the right place at the right time. Thank you for dying your hair black. :) Thank you for not giving up and keep asking me to go to the movies with you. Thank you for forgiving me that day. Thank you for fasting and seeking the Lord prayerfully in your decisions. Thank you for honoring my parents the way you did. Thank you for asking me to marry you. My answer is and always will be "YES!" You're the only dream I've ever had and since it came true, I've been living in a dream. I'm here beside you to support you and to cherish you through whatever life may bring. Happy 11th anniversary! I love you, Craigypoo. :)