I am emotional and have often been led astray by them. I’m grateful for the influence my husband has had on me in this area of my life. He has helped me see that my emotions aren’t bad; they are a gift when informed by the truth of God’s Word.
The Bible is full of emotions–joy, sorrow, jubilation and tumult to name a few. God walks with us through all them and points the way to peace. It is with this confidence in God that I can embrace this day even with tears that are sure to come.
Many of you have prayed with us for our dear friend, Craig Stafford, who collapsed one morning in August. He passed away on Saturday, 33 days later, and leaves behind his faithful wife of 20+ years and four children ages 23 – 14.
Today our church will honor him and comfort his family by hosting his celebration of life service. We are expecting over 500 to attend. Craig loved large so his reach of influence is not surprising. He was skilled at rejoicing with those who rejoice and helping those struggling to be encouraged to take the next step. My Facebook feed has exploded with stories of how this man influenced folks everyday. Here are a few quotes…
“Craig could light up a room like nobody else. His smile infectious, his passion contagious, his heart larger than life.”
“Craig bled hospitality everywhere he was! He’d welcome you with a warm smile that makes you feel at home, give you a compliment to boost your self esteem, all while cooking a batch of bacon for you in the kitchen if he could!”
Craig loved to cook. He served and fed us well for many church-wide events. His gift will be sorely missed, but it is his presence we will miss most. Whenever Craig was in the room you knew it. He put a smile on faces seemingly without effort.
Craig and Rowena had a strong marriage, but not without trials and setbacks. It’s the struggles we go through that wields strength. Although this part of their lives has ended, Craig’s legacy continues beyond death. He has left an indelible mark on future generations through the lives of his four children. He loved well.
A dear friend and blogger said the following to comfort his wife, Rowena…
So today I had a moment…
Initially it was sadness, feeling that I can’t imagine Metro Life Church, can’t imagine life on this earth, without Craig in it. To not see his smile, feel his hugs, hear his laughter…How, Lord?
But then, I felt the Lord showed me something…we’ll see Craig’s smile every week in the faces of your precious children, we’ll hear his laugh in them, feel his hugs through them…though Craig has left us…together you and he gave us a gift, four of them, and through each of them, their father lives on. He is woven into the fabric of who they are and now I am so grateful that you had so many of them! 😘
We love you, Rowena Marie Stafford! We love you and admire you and have so much respect for you…because behind these precious children there is You. Your example, your guidance, your teaching, all of the life that you have poured into them this is what makes them the amazing individuals that each one of them is. They have an unbelievable, godly woman for a Mama. I know their Daddy thought so, too!
I pray his example as a husband and father will help us realize the gift it is to be present in the lives of those we love. May our days be marked with a resolve to love each other well until death parts us.
What a lovely tribute. Thank you for this.
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Thank you, Andrew. Your encouragement is always appreciated and heart felt. ❤️
This hits the nail on the head. I was an amazing morning that swelled into mid afternoon. People even drove and flew from out of state. It was an excellent and truthful tribute to his life, struggles, conquered sin and love for God that is much like how we all live daily. Craig finished well! Rowena’s faith showed us how it is done. God has been glorified! Today was a small taste of what heaven will be like. I personally can’t wait!
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Thank you Paula. It was amazing to be a part. I saw you from across the room but didn’t get to give you and Paul a hug!! Thanks for commenting.
So…this somehow got lost in my emails. I am just reading this now…thank you, Debi! It is always a pleasure to honor this family. Something I know you do well!
Thank you, Roxanne. I, like you, process life through writing, and I had to write about this. Such a precious family and dear friends.