Sunday, April 25, 2010

So Long for now, Tessa

I found out yesterday that my precious friend and personal trainer, Tessa Harris, was killed around 11:00 a.m. in a tragic car accident on I-64 around Owingsville, Kentucky, at mile-marker 119. I include the mile marker number because Jason was killed just a few miles down on that same road at around mile-marker 108. I don't know exactly why the news of her death hit me so hard but it most certainly did. I am so devastated because I guess I felt that our relationship still had some miles left to go. She was my fitness trainer at the Vitality Center and for some reason, we had an incredible bond that centered around me whining and her not budging to my pleas for mercy. She was a hardcore chicka who took her job seriously. But the thing I loved most about my time with her was how we could laugh our heads off and the dumbest stuff. She always lost it when I did my dismount off of the big green ball. I was a mess at times and she always had the best time making fun of me. We always lost track of the number of reps I had done because we talked incessantly and assumed the other was counting. I would always guess higher and she would call me out every time. I guess the personal training aspect of her work was why we we had such a personal relationship from day one. I knew that God had strategically placed her in my life for a season. We began to share our "stories" pretty much from the first time we met. I knew she had lost her father to a motorcycle accident when she was in high school. She knew we had lost Jason in a car wreck in 2006 and had remembered him as they were close to the same age. I remember telling her that they would have made a great couple because they were both "extreme" people and would have gotten along fabulously. Based on all that God has done in my life over the past ten years, I knew He expected me to share the real "Him" with her. She and I both shared salvation birthdays at 13 years of age. She revealed to me that she had asked God to comfort her at a difficult time some years before and that she KNEW God had sent her Jessica Baldridge as an answer to that prayer. She connected those dots which gave me peace that she had a relationship with Him. I believed she GOT IT. Her job was to encourage me in my physical training. My job was to encourage her in her spiritual training. I always quoted that 1 Timothy 4:8 verse that said "physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." She didn't necessarily buy it but I always told her to look it up. For about 9 months, I met with her on a fairly regular basis. I didn't want to be obnoxious with my godly advice but I rarely hesitated to speak it. We had numerous discussions about God, His love, and His ways such as the power to pray for your enemies. She did put into practice some of what we talked about and she would be so excited to tell me so the next time we met. I looooved her so much and I looked forward to getting back to the gym and catching up with her while shaping up. When she started a FB account last fall we became friends and stayed in touch that way. The last time I talked to her on the phone, I asked her opinion about the Ab Pro Circle. She wasn't convinced it could do all it boasted but I told her I wanted to try it. I did. But now I want my Tessa back!!! On April 14, she commented on my Facebook "From Russell With Love" photo album and said she missed our times talking together. She told me to come back if I wanted. I still had like 3 or 4 sessions with her that I had paid for so I had full intentions of going back. I had planned to do it soon. But God had other plans. His ways are higher than ours. I trust Him but my heart truly aches. I would have loved to mentor her. I know God will use her death and funeral for His glory. That's how He works. Use it LORD!!! Pour out your Spirit of grace on her family and may they see your love literally surrounding them now. Draw many people through her death. John 11:25-26 says, Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" So Long for now, Tessa.

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