Candace Nassar 

Hello, everyone. Today I have with me Terry Craft. Terry is an associate professional clinical counselor. She is a certified marriage and recovery coach and she holds a master’s in professional counseling from the Townsend Institute. She’s been trained in pastoral marriage, family counseling and leads women’s groups for personal growth as well as for those who have experienced betrayal and personal loss. Terry has dedicated her life to speaking, leading, writing and training others regarding relational and organizational health. She and her husband founded Life Unplugged which partners with couples to provide enrichment, recovery or healing to marriages. She’s also a mother of three, and we’re very privileged to have her with us today. Welcome, Terry. 

Teri Craft 

Oh, thank you so much. The privilege is all mine. I just absolutely adore what you are doing and the impact that you guys are having right now with MomQ. What a huge blessing. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, praise the Lord. He is really blessing it. Just to have you come into my life has been a big blessing. Just so our listeners know, you and I met just recently through who I call my comadre – my son’s mother in law. We have become best friends. And you guys have known each other for years, and she introduced us. 

Teri Craft 

Yes, absolutely. It was so much fun. I’ve been following you for a while and all you guys have been doing, and then we shared a wonderful lunch together in Austin. Loved it, loved it, loved it. 

Candace Nassar 

Yes. It was great to have you here! I know you’ve had a really busy summer. Have you been able to get away and do something fun? 

Teri Craft 

Yes. Well, as you mentioned, I have three beautiful daughters. We have one who’s finishing up high school as a senior this year. We have one as a junior in college and then one that is in her final stages of also becoming a clinical therapist and is expecting. She lives in South Carolina. All of us are in California, and she’s in South Carolina. So we went and visited her which was wonderful. For me and rest, I try to do it weekly, if not daily. So people say – did you get some time to get away? I’m like, well, the times that actually I rested were those little times I took a walk or did some stretching or did some self care. I try to do that more than anything because – as you know and as does any mom with kids – when you go on a vacation, it’s not always a vacation. 

Candace Nassar 

Not at all.

Teri Craft 

Exactly. So, trekking across the United States and wanting to see everything my rest comes in little increments. That’s what works for me. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s great. I actually interviewed someone a few weeks ago who wrote a book called “Impactivity” and in that book she talks about the importance of rest. And she said – just ten minutes. If you can just stop and don’t do anything for ten minutes, that it is so rejuvenating. And that’s exactly what you’re saying. 

Teri Craft 

Yes, absolutely. So for the busy mom envisioning or fantasizing about Bora Bora, you can still create those little moments for yourself! That’s very empowering. Love that. 

Candace Nassar 

Good tip. So you just mentioned that you have three daughters. Tell us a little bit about your husband. Teri Craft 

Gosh, we met in high school. We’ve known each other for so many years and we have just been together. We’ve weathered all kinds of storms – we’ll talk about that a little bit later. But we are best friends. We’re adventurers. We are both very visionary and go-getters. So you put something in front of us and we tend to eat it up. We love finding out and discovering new things about each other through life. And as I said, it hasn’t been easy for us, so we’re constantly learning. James is also a recovery coach and executive coach. He has his master’s in team building and executive leadership and pastoral ministry. We love working and walking alongside other people and we love to do it together. So we have kind of a uniqueness in that we work together so much, we actually have to find ways to separate. It’s like, you go and ride your mountain bike in the hills and I’m going to go and walk on the beach or whatever. So we have to find those times where we actually have some healthy time apart because we’re together so much. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s impressive. To work with your husband and be together that much. You guys definitely must practice what you preach! 

Teri Craft 

Yes. And it doesn’t always work out well. But we have the tools now to navigate it in a timely manner, which – thank God – God gives us good tools. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s awesome. So how long have you been married? 

Teri Craft

31 years in July. On July 11. We always say you get a free slurpee, even though we don’t like slurpees, but it’s free. 

Candace Nassar 

711, of course. Okay, so then that leads us into just talking about this ministry that you founded called Life Unplugged. You founded it in 2015, is that right? 

Teri Craft 

Yes, absolutely. The organization began as a discussion with like-minded couples such as James and myself, who have navigated some journeys of recovery in our own lives. We originally started out by going into schools and working with parents of children of all ages regarding the impact of social media, media, explicit material, pornography and the impact on the developing young mind. It was great. It was wonderful. What we discovered was that the problem really stemmed from just families not really having that strength in terms of their own foundation and that a lot of the issues were because of instability in the home. So we went back and started praying and got some really great people around us. And the Lord just put on our heart to really focus on recovering those individuals, both male and female. In whatever it is that binds them because we can’t help the kids in real profound ways if there is stress in the home. What helps a developing child is when they can model and mirror a healthy relationship with adults. Obviously, a marriage relationship isn’t always perfect. Research shows that good enough parenting and good enough mamas are what develop healthy people, not perfection and not neglect. 

Candace Nassar 

That makes so much sense. How has that gone? How are you guys doing? 

Teri Craft 

It’s great. I mean, we just keep expanding and we have fun in a lot of ways. We work with individuals and couples all over the world because we have online ability to coach and come alongside in terms of recovery. And it doesn’t always have to be recovery. Sometimes it’s just “hey, we’re just not communicating well and we’re having intimacy issues,” so we work through that as well. But now we also do great retreats. We take couples and individuals, male and female, to great locations. We have one that is in Steamboat and we’ve been on the coast of California. We’re also going to be launching in Cabo. These are great opportunities for individuals and couples to get in a transformational environment and use some of the tools that we give them. But then they also get this great connective group of people that they kind of walk along life with. 

Candace Nassar 

Fantastic. 

Teri Craft 

So, yeah, so we’re just having lots of fun. 

Candace Nassar

And it’s making an impact. Matter of fact, my son and his wife went through your program, so I know how impactful it is. 

Teri Craft 

I have to say that it was really amazing to have them part of our cohort. They’re a young couple and they’re in that stage of life where maybe they don’t have all of the hurts, habits and hangups, right? They were just soaking up every tool and listening to the couples that had gone before them. It was just so much fun. We were like, we have to have a young couple at every single intensive. Not that we’re all necessarily all old, but they don’t have kids yet. Just to be able to hear them say or ask questions and put that into practice is so much fun. 

Candace Nassar 

When people are teachable, right? That’s where God wants us to be. I know that you’ve mentioned to me, and it’s even on your website, that you guys had your own struggle and you were able to heal from that. So maybe just tell our listeners a little bit about what that looked like. 

Teri Craft 

I’ll preface it with all of us come into marriage with our own baggage and we don’t always understand it. And getting into those deep waters can take years to understand. Well, my husband came from a pretty abusive background and just struggled for many years with a lot of different things. And one of them was he was using pornography as a way to kind of detach from reality. Almost like a medication tool, and I did not know that this was occurring. So there was some deception for many years. We always kind of struggled a little bit in our relationship in terms of where are these anger cycles coming from? Where is this distance coming from? Where is this disconnect occurring? And I had my own issues, right? We all have them, but we trudged along. Like I said before, we were like “let’s take the world”. So we’re in our ministry at the time and we’re moved forward and just into greater levels of ministry. 

We had three kids at that time, we were senior pastoring, and he ended up stepping into an affair. I didn’t know about it until I knew about it. Until it was exposed. And obviously life came crashing down. I mean, every single fear I have ever had was exposed. And everything that he ever tried to keep the lid on in terms of trying to manage his own chaos came crashing down. But it was the Lord’s kindness in so many ways that helped us. He got us in with really great counselors and some friends, a very few friends, because a lot of people just ditched out at that point. We were that news story on social media and God just repaired and walked us through a season of repair. We committed everything to it, and the Lord restored us to ministry, restored everything in our family differently. He didn’t restore us to where it looked like before, which I’m glad he didn’t. He restored it in a way that was much more profound. 

We do this because we understand. We completely understand what it’s like to walk through that. And people are like, why did you stay? I often get that question. And it’s like, well, I really sat with the Lord, and the Lord asked me to walk a journey alongside, not carrying like I used to, in that codependent place that I used to always be in with my husband. I walked alongside him and I observed his recovery. And to this day, we have a much more flourishing, beautiful, precious relationship than we ever have.

Candace Nassar 

Gosh, that just brings me to tears, because that’s just the most beautiful thing. There is so much involved in how God wants us to just walk through this life. And what he has shown us forgiveness and the restoration, that when you leaned in and you said, okay, Lord, show us how to fix this… he did. And that’s what he’s about – restoration. 

Teri Craft 

Absolutely. 

Candace Nassar 

Well, so beautiful. 

Teri Craft 

I know there might be a listener who’s saying yeah, but that’s not where I’m at. Maybe I’m in an unsafe situation or my spouse isn’t trying. And I can say, then you have to take the steps to get safe and you have to do the thing. I think if God knew that my husband wasn’t going to make those safe choices or honor the covenant that was broken. Or if he wasn’t going to walk through that process of recovery and repenting I think the Lord would have said, honey, you got to go. You’ve got to go. I believe that he would have, and I would have listened. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s good. 

Teri Craft 

But I sit with a lot of women whose miracle is what God does in their healing and what he does in their rebirth in terms of their own heart and life. And either way, I always tell people there’s a miracle for you. 

Candace Nassar 

Got you. 

Teri Craft 

God doesn’t say the miracle is contingent on some transactional thing. He’s like, my miracle is for you, for your heart, for your life. And two broken pieces don’t make a whole. So we have to remember that connection and discipleship with Christ, as well as my emotional health, is the best way to connect in that love and relationship with other people. It’s not like marriage is the only thing I have to focus on. I have to focus on my individual health as well. I mean, tangible evidence in our own relationship was that neither of us were taking much time in our own personal life to really be healthy and make those healthy choices and walk in transparency, honesty and health. And that impacted our relationship, and it impacted our kids. I always tell people it starts with you.

Candace Nassar 

That’s all we can control. And leaning into the Lord. I’m glad you clarified that. Okay, so each week of our podcast in the summer, we’re doing these verses where we’re discussing how the presence of God can get us through the chaos of summer. And we alluded to the chaos of summer a little bit earlier. So the verse this week is short. It’s Exodus chapter 30 verses 3- 15. “Then Moses said to him, if your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” 

Teri Craft 

Wow. Huge wow. I remember saying that verse over and over in my heart many times in my life. It’s a great scripture for your listeners this week. I can only imagine the ways that that’s hitting everyone individually. What that means to me is we’re all going to face struggles. When I was in the midst of my most incredible struggles in my life and reflected on a lot of what I thought I had protected all my life – the image, the big mega pastor’s wife seat I used to sit in, and all of the things that I did to make that plate keep spinning. When you get to the point where you’re in the gutter or you’re at the edge of the river and you know that God wants you to cross over to something new, you get to the point where you realize, I don’t want any of it unless you are with it with me, unless it is you. I think we have to get to that humbling place. And in that place, God is so faithful to just meet us there and get us to the point where he’s like, if you just grab my hand, in a figurative sense, grab my hand, walk in my ways and with me every step, then nothing is impossible. 

But if we choose to not wait for him or to allow him into the reconstruction of our lives when we have been broken, or to even admit that we’re broken, then we find ourselves on the edge of that river, looking at the promised land, and we’re really basically on our own. I can just say for me, that means everything. Lord, if you don’t go with me, this isn’t you. Help me to know that, because I want you. Because I could never have done what I did in terms of working out our recovery – in our marriage or in my own personal life – without him. 

Candace Nassar 

Absolutely. I love that God timed this verse to be my talk with you because it’s so perfect. Teri Craft 

It’s so perfect. I think there’s probably a listener here who feels it a little bit. I work in trauma therapy, I sit with loss every day. And there’s a lot of people, myself included in seasons of my life, where you’re thinking, yeah, I’ve prayed and I prayed and I’ve longed and I’m still waiting. I’m waiting for that answer. And I don’t see the tangible representation of some of the ways that I’m needing to feel you, Lord, in this situation, because of the pain. My encouragement is to take one millisecond at a time, deep breathe through it and allow the Lord to reveal himself to you in all of the ways that he does. I call it a reality circle. Meaning, I take a circle and cut it in half, and it’s like, in every single second of time, there are negatives that happen. There’s hard things, but there’s also these beautiful places that He’s showing up.

Candace Nassar 

Right. 

Teri Craft 

And it’s like, if we can just remember that we can navigate just about anything. Right. When he’s there. Yeah. 

Candace Nassar 

By faith. 

Teri Craft 

By faith. Yeah. 

Candace Nassar 

Gosh, thank you, Terry. So shifting our focus a bit. You kind of already started going there by talking about your counseling, but what are some of the biggest challenges that you see couples go through today when you’re in therapy? 

Teri Craft 

Well, there’s many that we face in our world today. I would say, statistically, it’s always about communication. Communication is always a thing. Communication is what people usually come with. And then we start digging, there’s all these other things underneath the soil of that beautiful tree that’s bearing fruit that doesn’t look right. We have to get down into that soil. I would also say that one of the biggest challenges in today’s society, and probably for a lot of the population that’s going to be listening to this through MomQ, is the distractions. I’m just going to just encourage everyone, you got to learn how to be present. Candance, I remember life without a cell phone. We didn’t have a phone. We didn’t have computers on our arms. And yet I still even struggled with being present in my own reality. And one of my biggest regrets, people ask me, what’s your biggest regret in life? 

And I’m like, well, there’s been a few, of course, but I would say I just wasn’t present with my girls the way I wanted to be. I wasn’t as aware as I could have been when they were younger because I was always thinking about what’s next. And I didn’t even really have a cell phone the way that we do now. I mean, I had a little flip phone. Often I observe moms with young kids, they are on their phone, and their young kids are sitting there talking to them. Of course, it could be a good thing. I’ve got a text for work. I’ve got to answer that email. Or, it could be zoning out on social media. There’s no condemnation here. But if we are present in our lives we can assess how am I feeling? What emotion am I dealing with right now? Is it fear? Is it anxiety? Am I working through something? Because if I can assess that, be present with my own life and work through that with myself, with God, with others, then I can be more present with my kids, and then I can teach them how to be present with themselves and with others. 

So we’re really having a breakdown there. When you talk about a marriage relationship, it’s the same microcosm. If I’m distracted and I’m not paying attention and I’m using all these things to sort of cope,

then I’m not fully present with my spouse. And so my spouse is starting to feel that disconnect. And then again, it moves into communication, it moves into lack of intimacy and all of those other things. But down below is this place where I’m just sort of not present, I guess, is the way that I would say it. And that would be probably the biggest long term vice that we’re starting to see in marriage counseling. It just breeds all kinds of stuff, right? A lot of times for men, they move into things like explicit material, pornography, fantasy, because they’re trying to find some kind of connection. It’s absolutely not an actual connection. But people move into that or find medication in other ways. And so if we can get present with our own lives and present with each other, we really cut off the head of a lot of those negative things that could kind of come up. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s so good. It seems so basic. But you’re so right because we can numb ourselves with all these different things. And sometimes getting present and talking with your spouse can be hard. 

Teri Craft 

Oh, yes. 

Candace Nassar 

Communication, I know in my marriage, communication has always been our biggest struggle. And it’s so easy to hide in the phone or the television or whatever just can numb you. 

Teri Craft 

Yes, absolutely. And you’re right. When we are present, it’s real, it’s vulnerable. But vulnerability is what really leads to greater intimacy. The hierarchy of that is sort of like, if you think of a stack almost like a pyramid, it’s like what is the foundation? Truth is the foundation. So when we have truth in our relationship with even big things and little things, like how I’m feeling, then that will build into safety. And then from that, trust is built like we can face anything together. And then I start to feel, like, vulnerable. I can open up, and when I get vulnerable and I can open up, then intimacy comes out of that. But often times we try to invert that. So we try to start with intimacy and we start yelling at the fruit again, and we’re not getting the intimacy the way we want it to, but we’re forgetting that really the basis of that are those foundational pieces where I have to be present in order to be truthful and create safety and build trust. That’s what presence does. 

But if I’m not building that, then I’m having an inverted situation, and I’m trying to balance intimacy. And it’s wobbling like this back and forth because I have no foundation to stand on. So it’s an easy tweak for anyone listening, try to be present. And if you can’t and you’re really struggling with that, then it might mean that your soil just needs a little bit digging in. That’s where people like us can help. 

Candace Nassar 

Amazing. Such good stuff, Terry. Well, I think these are incredible insights and tips that our listeners can actually take away and begin to put in place. And I just appreciate your vulnerability so much. It’s such a

great story and so encouraging to know. God, he is good. Ultimately, he is good. And I love that you guys have seen that. And then you are able to comfort others in their time of need. 

Teri Craft 

Absolutely. And we always encourage couples. If we can’t help them, someone can. So if someone is struggling and you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and we can help. Our website, livelifeunplugged.org, is a place where some might be able to find help. If they are going – I’m going through a betrayal process, or I know someone who has, or I’m looking for tips on communication, or I’d love to go to an intensive… Check us out. I can encourage and help, but at the end of the day, it’s about walking with a community. So that’s why I love what you’re doing with MomQ. My daughter, who is going to be a new mama, is hopefully going to dive in as well into a group when you guys get one going online. 

Candace Nassar 

Yes, coming up. Coming up. 

Teri Craft 

Great. 

Candace Nassar 

Thank you for the resources. Thank you for your time. And I just, God bless. 

Teri Craft 

Thank you so much. 

Candace Nassar 

All right, bye.

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