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Teri's Faith Journey and Lessons on Love, Loss, and Resilience

It's been another long work week and am so thankful we made it to the weekend. At night, I find myself repeating certain routines as a way to deal with my loss. I skim through particular chapters of grief-related books, browse through photos and videos of Teri, and reach out to familiar people to catch up, although sometimes I feel jealous knowing they have their loved ones waiting for them after our conversation. Lately, I've been turning to the Bible, catching up on my reading plan I started earlier this year. Additionally, I am trying to plan ahead, filling my 2024 calendar with activities, predominantly endurance races, to keep myself motivated to stay in decent physical shape.


Some of us may feel like its been a while since Teri left us. For me it still feels like yesterday. I am getting into more of an acceptance phase not of the loss, but of feeling misunderstood. She has left behind memories and teachings that will resonate with me forever. I don't want to move on. Every day without her reminds me of the love we shared, the challenges we faced, and the faith that kept us going. As I look back, I remember one particular conversation we had in our second hospital ER visit (2 days after the first visit) so she can get the biopsy done. I want to share this conversation with all of you since it's really what I need to watch earlier this week to remind me that God really is working through this difficult time.


If you have five minutes, please watch this in full before reading the rest of the post:

While there's a lot I'm still grappling with, but her experiences, as seen in the video, remind me of my own struggles now. Let's dive into her paraphrased words and my reflections on them:


The first one was her breakup with Brian

After that breakup, I felt incredibly low, reaching the lowest point in my life. It led me to call out to God, asking Him to show Himself to me. In response, I found a renewed drive to seek help by returning to church, searching for a new job, and attending therapy.

No question that I may have hit an all time new low in life. The times I grew the most in my faith and how I even became a Christian was related to a breakup of a significant other. While I grew up going to church, I really became a Christian after I broke up with my first girlfriend during Sophomore year in College. I'm thankful of this reminder with her previous relationship before she met me.


The second was from Attending Therapy

I realized that love doesn't necessarily come from another person. I always believed that for love to exist, it needed to be reciprocated. However, true love actually requires faith and a belief in our Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally. This realization was so profound that I remember breaking down in my therapist's office. This understanding, coupled with my reconnection to the community, played a significant role in helping me navigate my first bout with cancer.

Another much needed reminder for me. I wish could tell Teri right now that this is easier said than done. Her therapist Katie eventually became our marriage therapist, and helped us navigate some very difficult times before and after we were married. She was amazing, as some of her wisdom and insight still resonates with me today. I will never forget when Terwin finally "graduated" from Katie because we officially moved to California, found a small group ,and had others at church to watch over us. I'm so thankful that even today, I get to see a therapist once a week to help me through everything. If you think you need professional help and want to hear more about my experiences with therapy, please send me a message.


The third pivotal moment was related to marriage and our decision to live in California

Being away from the community I'd built and relied upon was challenging. It wasn’t necessarily the act of marriage but being distanced from my support system. This distance made me realize that I wasn't truly relying on God as I thought. Instead, I was primarily leaning on my community. My identity was more anchored in worldly things rather than in Him. Immersing myself in scripture, particularly following the Bible 365 plan, truly opened my eyes to this. I transitioned from seeking worldly validation to actively seeking God's guidance in my actions and words.

Debates about whether to choose Atlanta or California were frequent between us, a topic I'll cover in in a future post. Initially, I was skeptical about her commitment to completing her one-year Bible reading plan. I recall our conversation over burgers at In-N-Out, where I expressed doubts based on my own experiences of not completing plans I'd embarked on. Despite starting a month late, she completed it on schedule, inspiring not just me but also several others to delve deeper into reading.

If I had to highlight the three most transformative moments that brought me closer to God, it would be these experiences, all connected by challenges and growth. Reflecting on it, my first encounter with cancer was the initial trial after truly knowing Him. I believe God walked me through it, offering support and deliverance. Now, as I face new challenges post my deep dive into the scriptures, I hold onto that faith.

Even though I miss her a lot, thinking about our times together gives me a lot of hope. It reminds me that there's always some good, even when things seem bad. Whether it's reading the Bible, getting support from friends, or just thinking about our moments, I feel her with me. Thanks for being with me on this difficult journey, and I hope we all find the strength in the stories like these that mean a lot to us. Have a great weekend,

Erwin

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Jenny Scott
Jenny Scott
Oct 24, 2023

I loved this post. I loved hearing Teri’s voice, seeing her smile, and listening to her share her heart about her Lord. I loved your question about 3 things that brought her close to the Lord. That question is incredible. This is a good question to ask our life group someday. I loved how insightful Teri was. So clear with her feelings and so good at explaining and expressing her heart. I want to be more like that. I loved hearing you share about the things in your life that drew you closer to the Lord as well. Thank you for sharing this update, Erwin. Loved it

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I was so encouraged by Teri's perspective on these three pivotal milestones in her life, especially her realization that we can experience love without other people. This is such a great reminder that even the love we DO experience through other people is just a reflection of God's love for us!

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Tiffany Wong
Tiffany Wong
Oct 21, 2023

That was a great video. I’m glad you captured those moments. To be able to articulate those thoughts in the midst of a pretty busy and noisy ER… I hope other people were listening and maybe taking what she said to heart as well. Definitely would have been an interesting thing to eavesdrop about in an unlikely place.

She learned so much through those experiences. Each had the potential to destroy her but she sought God and grew stronger and closer to God in the process which is such a beautiful display of God’s power to transform and redeem any circumstance. Love those reminders.

I’m also pretty amazed how her life and the lessons she learned can continue…

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Gretchen Lai
Gretchen Lai
Oct 21, 2023

It’s great you’re taking this time to really learn from Teri and also the life you shared together. You’ll be so much stronger as a person and in your faith as the grief becomes less.

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