Theresa Rowe is a fitness instructor and a speaker, a wonderful woman who’s been through a lot and has an amazing story of God’s grace to tell! After surviving a lot of life’s traumas, she has come out on the brighter side much stronger, and with a heart and zeal to serve God and help women who feel lost in the world. She created the Shaped By Faith Fitness program, and has used it ever since as a platform to not only help women get back in shape, but as an opportunity to share the love and Word of God with struggling women. Follow our conversation below and learn more about this amazing warrior woman of God!
Miranda ~ Hello Theresa! Happy to have you on TBAP today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Theresa: Hi Miranda, thank you so much for this interview opportunity!
I live in Kentucky where the blue grass grows. Actually the grass is a beautiful dark green! My husband, Robin, and I live on a farm with cows and grown grain. Our home sits on 100 acres, and while we are not farmers, peace seems to grow where we live. We have seven children and eleven grandchildren. I have been teaching a smorgasbord of fitness classes for over thirty years, and I love to help people get in shape spiritually and physically. I host a radio show, teach lots of fitness classes, speak at women’s conferences and write a column for the local newspaper. I love to speak into the lives of women and help them discover who they are in Christ. God has molded and shaped me through struggles and hardships, always helping me stand tall in His strength! For instance, I was given up for adoption as a baby, born with a congenital heart defect, three holes in my heart, and had open heart surgery twice repairing the holes. Because of God, I am alive and well, and more than a conqueror in Him. I love sharing what God has done for me through fitness and my faith walk with Him. God is more than just enough; He is more than amazing! I just want to shout from the rooftops how great He truly is!
Miranda ~ What particularly led you into a personal relationship with Jesus? Also, in what way can you say your past has led you to become the better person that you are now?
Theresa: I had just moved back to Kentucky from Omaha, Nebraska, and was teaching fitness classes at a health facility. A lady in my class came up to me after class and said the Lord had instructed her to pray for me. Miranda, I had not been asked this question before, so it made me feel awkward and uncomfortable. I politely told this lady I had to leave to pick up my daughter from pre-school. A few hours later, this same lady showed up at my home. She kept knocking on my door and I did not want to answer. Finally, for fear she would wake up my daughter who was napping, I opened the door. There she stood standing in front of me with a gentle peace radiating from her. She went on to explain that the Lord had specifically told her to pray for me on this particular day. She said that God was going to heal me. Again, I was standing there feeling awkward and undone, but I kept up a strong appearance. As she reached for my hands to pray, I hesitated and stepped back. I didn’t want anyone touching me, and this was becoming too personal for me. Something within me, something greater than me, nudged me forward and we held hands. Miranda, as she touched my hands, something happened that is quite unexplainable, it felt like I was having a heart catheterization all over again. I felt a rush of warmth run through every part of my body, from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. This sensation got my attention. The lady left and I dropped down to my knees and asked God into my heart and changed in an instant. I was 26-years old. Everything about me wanted to soak in the presence of the Lord and know Him intimately.
Miranda ~ Who would you say your heart yearns to help—the broken-hearted, lost etc.? Why do you believe you’ve been called to this particular group of people?
Theresa: My heart yearns for the broken-hearted; those who have had hardships, trials and do not know how to move forward. I yearn to help women who do not know their identity in Christ Jesus. I want to help these women who were once physically fit, but now find themselves out of shape and out of hope. God met me right where I was, while teaching a fitness class many years ago. God pursued me and came knocking on my front door to heal, save and deliver me. I feel God has placed a high calling on my life to help women of all ages with their spiritual and physical health. If God can help me, He can help anyone! God rocked my world and changed my heart forever! I want to pay it forward and help as many women as God will allow.
Miranda ~ You’ve created workout routines that you eventually decided to share with other women. What inspired you to share them with the world?
Theresa: Many years ago, after accepting Jesus into my heart, He immediately gave me a vision. I saw myself sitting in a field of beautiful green grass demonstrating exercises. In the vision, I am flowing through each exercise with God showing me specific scriptures matching the exercise. Miranda, I know there is healing available to people as they move. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ and move towards a healthy lifestyle, God strengthens us in every part of our body. I call this whole person wellness, our spirits and bodies working together to make us healthier, holier, and living life in harmony with God.
Miranda ~ What particularly led you into the ministry of women and, what do you hope to achieve through this ministry?
Theresa: I was a young mother and married at the time to a soldier in the Air Force. We lived at Offutt Air Force base in Omaha, Nebraska. I started attending fitness classes to get myself back in shape and out of the house. At the time my daughter was a year old and we both needed something to do outside of our home. I had gained about 20 pounds since the birth of my daughter and knew I needed to get the weight off. I knew if I lost the weight my energy would increase. Through fitness classes, I met several nice women my own age. Even though I was not a Christian at the time, these friendships helped me with more than fitness. Living in a place so far from home can be very lonely and a little depressing. Attending classes helped me with these things. After becoming a Christian, my own experiences helped me recognize the importance of coming alongside one another, not just to be each other’s workout partner, but to encourage each other in the ways of the Lord. Iron sharpens Iron, so one friend sharpens another. Although I am sort of an introvert by nature, although you would never know this about me if you met me in person, God has helped me step out of my box to develop friendships. These friendships have been my prayer partners, accountability partners, and they have helped develop and shape me as a woman of faith. My hope is that I can reach as many women as possible and help them develop a healthy relationship with Christ through fitness and my own personal journey experiences with God.
Miranda ~ How would you describe your journey so far in this ministry? Was it what you expected and, can you say this journey has drawn you closer to God and made you a better person?
Theresa: This journey has been an incredible ride, for sure. I could not have imagined it any other way. God always exceeds our expectations, and He has allowed this Kentucky girl to do some wonderfully cool things. In the newness of my faith, I wanted and expected to glorify God, but wondered how that looked teaching my fitness classes. But I knew, even as a new Christian, that in each class He would show me how to honor Him. In the beginning I was nervous praying in front of my fitness students, but placing my trust in God was all that was needed, and when I opened my mouth, the words came from my heart. From the moment I was transformed from the old to the new life, an energized new confidence and security rose up in me. It was this holy tenacity that still spurs me on today! In the early days of my ministry I saturated in His Word and this helped me move into my identity in Christ. The fire inside to share Jesus with others still burns red hot within me. Everyone needs hope, everyone needs to be renewed, and everyone needs to know they are loved and valued by God! As you can see, I get excited talking about Jesus, and waiting for God’s timing can be a challenge for me. Naturally, listening and staying obedient to His plan has been the key to expanding Shaped by Faith. But God has given me a good husband, who reminds me to be patient, and let God be God in His timing. God has given me the Shaped by Faith platform as a unique way to reach women. My failures and past mistakes have sharpened and molded me, preparing the way for brighter tomorrows. I know now these failures were steps to greater heights! God has truly shaped me by Faith. Shaped by Faith was created to shape bodies and hearts for His Kingdom purposes.
Miranda ~ Who are the people that have inspired you the most in life and in work, and, in what way have they done so?
Theresa: There is a running family joke about me saying, “If I had a little encouragement I could have been an actress, Olympic athlete, expert equestrian, you name it.” Because I did not experience encouragement as a child, I really value encouragement as an adult. With that said, the people who have stepped out of their comfort zone to speak truth and love into my life, along with those who have seen God’s potential in me, they are really special people. There is a small group of older ladies in our community who meet weekly to pray, read scriptures and praise God. They have been meeting regularly for over 40 years and they inspire me! I want to be like them when I grow up! These ladies are in their eighties and they still travel and do missionary work in other countries. Also, my husband inspires me; He is my greatest fan and strictest critic. He challenges me to be all God has called me to be, nothing less, nothing more, and he encourages me to follow the dreams God has given me.
Miranda ~ What moment in your life (apart from when you gave your life to Christ) can you say changed your life forever? Did anything mind-shifting in particular inspire that moment?
Theresa: My second open heart surgery was transforming in so many ways. Even though I was 44 and an adult, and loved God with all my heart, it was hard to be empathetic to others who had gone through an injury or a surgery. I had always pulled myself up by the bootstraps and saw no reason for them not to do the same. Suck it up people. I remember being back teaching fitness classes a couple of weeks after my first open heart surgery and I wore that memory like a badge of honor and strength. Now it is twenty years later, and while I am in great physical condition, open heart surgery is a challenge on the body. It took twice as long to physically return to teaching classes, and that was teaching my senior students strength training as part of my rehabilitation program. With this surgery, God gave me a greater love and compassion for people going through injuries, surgeries, heart break, and sicknesses. I believe when the surgeon was repairing the three holes in my heart, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were performing their own procedure, adding a greater measure of love into my heart.
Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for—generally/right now?
Theresa: God, my husband, and my family! My health!
Miranda ~ What advice would you give to any person seeking their way and place in life—someone, particularly, a woman wondering what she can offer the world?
Theresa: First, I would encourage her with the words of Jeremiah 29:11, “Do you know that God has great plans for you? They are plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope!” I would remind her she is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that she has been created to do great things for the Lord! I would ask if she has prayed and asked God what He is calling her to do, and if she is taking action steps toward her destiny. I would encourage her to spend time alone with God praying, praising, and seeking His wisdom in her next steps. I would encourage her to not be afraid to step outside of her comfort zone, and take some risks, always moving forward in the strength and in the courage of the Lord! Remember, iron sharpens iron, seek out trustworthy and wise counselors for wisdom on your journey.
I remember a long time ago believing that “I was just a fitness instructor,” until God reminded me, “You have been Shaped by Faith!” With God, nothing offered in His behalf lacks significance.
This or That (The Fun Questions!)
Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Morning, Coffee; and Evenings, Hot Tea! Can I say both?
Dress or Pants? Comfy Blue Jeans 🙂
Boots or Heels? Boots with a heel:)
Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner!!! Salmon, brown rice, veggies!!!
Books or Movies? Books!
Rain or Snow? This is also a hard one, I love wearing my cute rain boots! But, I also love watching the snow falling on our farm!
Gym or Outdoor? Gym, teaching fitness classes!
Leather Jacket or Blazer? Really cute leather jacket with a pop of color!
Thank you, Theresa, for stopping by! Thanks, Miranda, for inviting me!
About Theresa Rowe
Theresa is a nationally certified fitness professional. She has been teaching a smorgasbord of fitness classes for over 30 years, and has taught thousands of people how to use their faith to inspire fitness and their fitness to strengthen their faith.
A former model, she has also had the pleasure of coaching and training several young ladies who have appeared on the covers of Seventeen, ELLE, Mademoiselle, and several other respected magazines in the early eighties.
Theresa holds national certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), AFAA Wave, YMCA Group Fitness, SCW Pilates, SCW Pilates Specialty with Props, YMCA Pilates Mat, SCW Kettle Bell, TABATA Boot Camp, Drums Alive, Drums Alive Golden Beats, YMCA Personal Trainer, Pink Ribbon Program for Post-Operative Breast Cancer Surgery, Pound, YogaFit, SCW Yoga level 1, SCW Yoga level 2, YMCA Pilates.
Theresa is a motivational wellness speaker for various groups, organizations and Ladies Day events. Her column, Shaped by Faith, appears in the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer. Theresa hosts Shape Up, a fitness show for Spectrum cable television, and is the Host of Shaped by Faith a radio show on 1490 WOMI AM and 99.1 FM that is heard throughout western Kentucky. She has produced three faith based fitness DVD’s; Pilates for the Soul, Strength Training for the Seasoned Soul and Pilates Stability Ball. Theresa is an author of Guideposts’ Shaped by Faith, ten secrets to strengthening your body and soul. She has also been a guest on the 700 Club and One Hundred Huntley Street in Canada.
**This interview was exclusive to To Be A Person (TBAP).