Happiness

A Lot Can Change in a Year

With 2015 coming to an end, I was reflecting on my life a year ago, as I’m sure many of you are. And I was talking with my friend Meg about the length of our friendship and how much has changed in six years. It’s a little crazy to think about. I also think it’s really inspiring… in some ways, a year – or six – seems like a really long time, but in other ways in doesn’t. The inspiring part is that it’s never too late to make a change; things may take more time than you want, but in the grand scheme of things, you can really accomplish a lot in a year.

As I’ve been reflecting on 2015, I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude for the one change in my life that has truly changed everything: my relationship with God.

I was raised in a wonderful family where Christ was front and foremost, but as an adult, I turned away from that church and honestly, turned away from God. I was hurting and struggling so much for years, and I didn’t think He was there…why waste so much time with Him, when what I needed was time to try to fix my life?

Last October, I was at a point where I knew I.just.couldn’t.fix.things. Absolutely at my rope’s end, miserable and hurting, I prayed in desperation for God’s help, to let me know He was there, that he cared and to please guide my life.

One small change – one prayer. Everything changed.

I get asked a by long-time blog readers how I’ve been able to find such joy, happiness and contentment…many of you also feel like life just won’t get better, and you’re struggling and hurting too. I have been there. Ohhhh have I been there. It’s awful. My heart hurts for you. And I’ve given answers like “Oh, lots of self reflection.” or “I listen to my gut.” And those are true – I did reflect on what I wanted in life and I do firmly believe in listening to your gut. But the truest and fullest answer is turning back to God is what brought so much joy into my life.

I never would have imagined all God had in store for me. I prayed for help to feel guided and to have strength. He definitely gave me that, but He also gave me so much more than I could have imagined.

He helped me find a house in Charlotte that I needed ASAP; I had to move quickly or I knew I’d never go, and I knew I needed to move for my own personal growth. And then He put me in a house with an amazing landlord who let me break my lease 8 months later without any penalty.

He closed the door when I tried to move out of that house and into an apartment (my neighborhood wasn’t the best)…and I’m so grateful that prayer wasn’t answered because I never would have been able to break a lease in an apartment as easily as I did with my house.

He put AMAZING friends into my life in Charlotte within the first week. I cannot believe what great friendships I formed there in such a short period of time, friends I now can’t imagine life without. (Hilary! Paula! Jeanette! I love you, miss you!)

He helped me find a perfect place for me in Winston to live when I decided to move back, and the timing all lined up perfectly with ending my lease, finding replacement renters, and the availability of my new place.

He brought an amazing man into my life, someone who is absolutely perfect for me; I never would have even been able to verbalize all that I want and need because he has qualities and traits I’d never thought of…but now I know that’s exactly what I need. God knew that. That amazing man has an incredible family, which is such a blessing being so far from my own in Utah.

He gave me a wonderful job that I truly enjoy, with amazing coworkers and a boss who was supportive of me moving not once, but twice.

He has brought so many wonderful friends into my life – in Winston, in Charlotte, across the country, at work, online (Twitter friends are real y’all) – who make life so sweet and so fun. I have an incredible circle of friends, near and far.

Since my plea for His help last October, I’ve actively been working to strengthen my relationship with God. I knew it wasn’t just one prayer and everything was fixed. I knew that I needed to put in effort to develop my relationship with Him: I started going to church again; I’ve started a daily routine of having quiet time in the mornings, reading a daily devotional, spending time in the scriptures and praying; on the many drives back and forth between Winston and Charlotte (and now I do this while cleaning or walking Maizey), I would listen to podcasts from some of my favorite pastors; I have great conversations with a few great friends about being a Christian and what that means to each of us individually. Any relationship takes work to strengthen and improve over time, and that goes for my relationship with God too.

This is still a health blog. But health is more than just working out and eating salads; taking care of emotional/spiritual/mental health in whatever way works for you is just as important as physical health. And while I don’t intend to change the main focus of this blog from health to religion, I wanted to share what I’ve done to improve the non-physical part of my health, and you might see that aspect in the blog a little bit more going forward.

I know life won’t always be amazing – this year has had its own trials. And sometimes I even feel guilty for how happy I am, which is kind of crazy. But one thing I know for sure now is that the trials I’ve gone through over the years have prepared me for where I am now in life; hard things teach us a lot if we let them. And I know going forward, I’d much rather have God in my life when the going gets tough than attempt to go through it alone.

You’ve been a good one 2015. Can’t wait to see what’s in store in 2016.

Newsletter

  • Madison
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    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! It is truly amazing what God can do and change. All of my inner strength is from Him! My husband is a medical student and that involved us moving to Cumberland Gap, TN (AHHH) for a couple of years and then him being long distance for 2 years too. Definitely really hard on our relationship but the ultimate change that we both made to keep things going strong: accepting our situation because God put us here for a reason. 🙂

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Yes, God engineers situations and circumstances for our good, even if we’re not immediately able to see it. Long distance for two years would be so tough! Couples going through med school together are so amazing! I have lots of friends who have been through med school, residency, and fellowship and I’m always impressed at the sacrifices they make. <3 Glad you are able to rely on God through this!

  • Jennifer
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    Thank you for sharing. Your story is an encouragement to me!

  • Erika
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    Thank you for sharing!! It truly is amazing what God can do in our lives. As a new momma, it is a new type of struggle trying to balance everything in my life, but focusing on my relationship with Christ has definitely been a grounding force for me. And I’m so glad that it has been for you, too!! Looking forward to continuing with you on this journey through the new year!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      I’m sure it’s so tough adjusting to so much change as a new mom (CONGRATS!). Glad you’ve found focusing on Christ has helped you! Thanks for your supportive words! xo

  • Megan
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    Big hugs, lady 🙂 Let me know the next time you are in CA – I miss you!!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      I miss you too! It’s been WAY too long! The littlest Ellis soon won’t be so little! Must. meet. him. ASAP.

    • Michelle
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      Megan, you’re still around!! I’m guessing you don’t have a blog anymore. You did a guest post for me a while back. Hope all is well!!

  • Holly
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    I haven’t commented on your blog in a long time. This post brought me so much joy. Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad you’ve found so much happiness. I told you God loved you no matter what! Miss you and hope to see you soon. Xoxo

  • [email protected]
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    Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing – I needed to read this today 🙂

  • Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl
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    It’s so amazing that you can share this here with everyone. I have become much more spiritual and confident that I’d like to raise any future children I’m lucky enough to have in my own family’s faith (Judaism) and also have really come into that place over the past year after ignoring it for a long time. Faith of any kind is an incredible thing.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Totally agree that faith of any kind is an incredible thing! I didn’t grow up around many people who practiced Judaism, but I have a close friend who converted in the past few years. The traditions are beautiful!!

  • Emily
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    Such lovely words from a truly lovely person. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bethany
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    Lots of courage to share such personal feelings. So happy for you and all the good that has come to your life! I always feel God’s love more after the lows, and I love your insights here. We’ve come a long way since our Utah Business Week roommate adventures, huh? Love you!

  • Lauren
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    What an inspiration!!

  • Candace @ The Wheatless Kitchen
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    I love this! I felt the exact same when I started to strengthen my relationship with God a few years ago 🙂

  • Maeve
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    I so appreciated these thoughts. I think it can be challenging to speak publicly about faith because it is so polarizing; thank you for being brave.
    I would love your recommendations for sermon podcasts!

    • Katie
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      I would love for you to share some as well!

      • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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        Hi ladies – I love the podcasts by Francis Chan! My church, The Summit Church, also puts their sermons on iTunes, so I listen to the older sermons too – doesn’t hurt to hear things more than once! Let me know if you have a hard time finding either of those and I’ll try to direct you!

  • Jolynn
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    It’s amazing how a relationship with God can change everything! You have been radiating happiness lately! So happy for you! ??

  • Katie
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    love this post so so much. I really appreciate you sharing your personal story with us…I always have such a respect for being honest! I enjoy reading your posts so much. Over the past few years I really have been getting stronger in my faith as well 🙂 I hope someday in the near future I can have the JOY & Happiness you express on the blog! Don’t get my wrong I’m very thankful for what I do have & my beautiful 2 boys but I def. am looking forward to some new beginnings!! Happy New Year!! 🙂

  • Jane
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    This is so awesome! I appreciate you being honest and sharing this, God is good! Happy New Year 🙂

  • Jenna
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    LOVE this post! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s a great reminder that God really does know what He’s doing, and it’s always what’s best for us, even though we may not realize it. I’ve had a tendency to try to control things myself, or I’ll pray for something forever and then if it finally happens, I get scared and try to stop it, but if it’s God’s will for me, He had a way of making things happen. Life is complicated enough, and I can’t imagine doing it totally alone without a relationship with God. So glad to hear all the great things that have happened to you since strengthening your relationship, too!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Oh yes, I also have a tendency to try to control things myself. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience! xo

  • Chelsea
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    Teri, I’ve never commented before, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for this post! I’ve been going through a tough time myself, and this was a good reminder that things can change quickly, you never know what good things are around the corner, and that it is important to just have faith that things will turn out okay. I’m so happy that you are doing well. Thank you for sharing!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Thanks for commenting Chelsea. I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time; I hope things improve soon. Sending hugs and prayers your way!

  • Kristen
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    Beautiful post.
    2015 was a hard year for me and mine. But it gradually became clear that God’s plan for us was to make some big changes. In December we made a big move and things are really turning around. It’s amazing!

  • Tina Mann
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    I’m so happy for you!

    It’s true that we can learn so much from our hard times, but they are hard! I am thankful for a God who has so perfectly prepared me for my tough things. I wish I could always have the eyes to see His plan and to understand His ways, but I suppose that’s the whole faith thing, right?

    You’ve always been and continue to be one of my very favorite people!

  • Julie
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    Amen! 🙂 Isn’t it amazing & humbling & awe-inspiring when you KNOW God has “spoken” to you & worked in your life? It is such a cool reminder that He is always there. And on another note: don’t feel a bit guilty for being so happy; you deserve it!

  • Lauren
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    beautiful post, teri!

  • Michelle
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    This post literally gave me goosebumps while reading it! I am so incredibly happy for you!! My faith has always been the most important part of my life, so I’m always happy when others find this pure joy as well. 🙂

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Thanks Michelle! I’ve always loved how you’ve tied your faith into your blog. xoxo

      P.S. I think you’re coaching my friend Anna P in SF!! So glad that’s working out!

  • Courtney
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    This makes me SO happy!!! Love you!

  • Jessica C
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    Catching up on posts after the holidays — really enjoyed this one — so thankful for our Savior who is with us always, no matter the circumstances. It’s always amazing to me to reflect back on how He orchestrates our lives for our good, no matter how difficult the process is. So happy that you had such a great year of seeing His goodness! 🙂 Happy 2016!

    PS My sister told me about your blog when we found out we were moving to Winston-Salem earlier this year — it’s encouraged me and given me a lot of fun activity ideas to do around here 🙂 Thanks for writing and sharing!!! 🙂

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Thanks Jessica! I love that phrase you used – “He orchestrates our lives for good, no matter how difficult the process is.” SO true!

      And welcome to Winston! I’m so happy you’re enjoying it here and my blog is helping! Warms my heart to hear that. Let me know if you ever need specific recommendations for anything!

  • Bonnie
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    Long time lurker here! 😉 I didn’t know this was your background, Teri – so neat to hear it! I’ve always wondered what people mean when they say to find happiness they “listen to their gut” or things like that – but to say you’re grounded and connected to Jesus, even when you’re experiencing ups and downs with him – is something real and foundational and solid! I, too, share this faith and joy and it’s neat to read about it on your blog, too! Thanks for sharing and how neat to recap all the ways God has provided for encouraged you over this last year – he sure is faithful! 😀 Cheers to going deeper in 2016!

  • Sam
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    Long time reader here…so glad you found your way back to Him! He is always pulling us back and I am so happy for you. Blessings for 2016 🙂

  • Tracy
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    Thank you for sharing your journey. If you can’t say what has brought you success it is leaving the reader without all the tools they may need as well. I stood at a closed door knocking for too long til I finally practically begged God to take this and I was able to walk away. Open doors are much easier to walk through to make changes in my life!

  • Jennifer
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    Thank you for writing this beautiful encouragement to your readers. It makes me so happy that turning back to God has brought such joy into your life!! How wonderful that our God is truly near to all who call on Him!

  • Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake
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    Love this post! So glad that you have renewed your relationship with God. He truly never leaves us or forsakes us! I couldn’t make it without Him either!