Former NFL star Tommie Harris recently shared how his faith carried him through profound loss.
“I look at a miracle every day when I look in the mirror and see that I’m not in a straitjacket or [have] lost my mind for what I’ve been through,” he told Fox News.
“I’m a walking testimony. God moves every day through me, encourages me, inspires me to help someone else beyond myself.”
When the three-time Pro Bowl player was 28 years old, he married Ashley.
Forty-one days after their wedding on New Year’s Day in 2012, Ashley went to the doctor for a breast reduction in Oklahoma. Even though it’s a pretty routine surgery, Ashley never woke up from the surgery.
Harris got the devastating call as soon as he landed from a flight and rushed to Oklahoma to be with his bride. He kept her on life support for three days until he found out that she had already passed from a brain aneurysm.
“I had to pull a cord at 28 [years old], having millions of dollars, and nothing could help me at that moment,” he told Fox News.
“I lost all purpose for finances, for everything,” he said. “That was the biggest time I believe my faith was tested, and I remember pulling the cord and I told God to let His will be done in my life.”
It was grief like he had never known before, but he said he now relates to others going through a hard time and seeks to be there for them.
“I remember walking in the airport after I lost my wife, and I was about 300 pounds and I was just crying, walking through the airport,” Harris said. “And I wanted someone to hold me, hug me or to notice me.
“But I realized at that moment that everyone was on their own schedules and nothing stops for anyone.”
“So now, because of what I’ve [been] through, when I go to the airport, my head is on a swivel. I’m looking for the slumped-over shoulders,” he added. “I’m looking for the guy that may not look approachable, but I know he needs a hug.”
Sadly it wouldn’t be the last time he was faced with overwhelming grief.
Four years after Ashley’s death, Harris said he met another woman. Through this relationship, he welcomed a daughter.
However four months later, the little girl died in her sleep due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
“I believe that God is speaking to me to show people how valuable life is and at any moment the game can change,” he said.
“My faith had grown more through troubles,” he said. “Your troubles grow you closer to God and the things that are uncomfortable — he dis-ease that is in your life — the uncomfort that is there, God is able to fix all of those things.”
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