Welcome to another segment of “We Are Overcomers”. This week I’m so excited to share Keela’s story. Keela is passionate about missions, writing, laughter, and Jesus. She writes at Wholeheartedly Messy with the sole intent of building God’s kingdom by bringing hope and life to young women and equipping them to do the same for others. When not writing, you can probably either find her on the couch watching Doctor with a bowl of cookie dough ice cream in her hands or telling a bird off for pooping on her car.
But above anything else, Keela is an overcomer! At a very young age she was faced with the traumatic experience of losing her mom to sickness, being emotionally abused by her dad, and falling into depression.
At a time when Keela was surrounded by nothing but darkness, she found hope in Jesus!
Read my full interview with Keela below
Tiarra Brown Osei: Hi, Keela. Thank you so much for being interested in sharing your story on Woman:Redefined. Lets start with some background information. When did you become a Christian? What was the defining moment that caused you to give your life to the Lord?
Keela: Hey, Tiarra. Thank you so much for this opportunity! I gave my life to Christ when I was 9 years old, about 5 months after my mother died. I was messed up and suicidal, longing for something to hope in. A beloved friend told me that I didn’t have to be alone and that God is someone I can always hope in. I desperately latched onto Him, and He gave me a reason to not only survive, but live.
Tiarra Brown Osei: Wow! I love that! Not only did Jesus save you, but He gave you the desire to want to live again. That’s amazing. Tell us a little more about your testimony? How did this traumatic experience draw you closer to the Lord?
Keela: I had a rough family life. My mother was always sick, and I didn’t meet my father until I was seven years old. When I did meet him, I immediately felt uncomfortable around him, like something wasn’t quite right. Later on, I found out that my gut was right — he started yelling at me, insulting me, and verbally abusing me. He scared me to pieces, scared me so much that I was afraid for my life when I was around him. When my mother died, I lost all hope in living. I felt trapped, alone, defeated. I didn’t believe anything would ever be okay again. I was desperate, and in my desperation, God showed up. He loved me and told me that I’m safe in Him, so I gave my life to Him. The situations that I went through as a child taught me that God will protect me, provide for me, strengthen me, and love me. Because He did.
Tiarra Brown Osei: Praise God! What a powerful testimony! How did you gain the courage to forgive your father?
Keela: Forgiving my father took a very long time. I hated him so much for so long, but as God started showing me His love, I started realizing that it would make God happy if I forgave my father. So when I finally decided to forgive him, it was a long process. Everyday I had to wake up and forgive him all over again. Some days it was easy, most days it was difficult. Even now, I struggle, but what keeps me going is remembering that God forgave me for far worse.
Tiarra Brown Osei: I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you. But I love that the more God you fell in love with Jesus, the easier it became for you to forgive your father. How did prayer play a role in your deliverance?
Keela: Prayer was everything to me. In those moments (after I accepted Christ) when I was terrified and miserable and completely alone, prayer was all I had. I prayed that I would survive the weekend with my father and be able to see my family again. I prayed that I would get through the weekend without being injured. I prayed for God to give me an escape from my father (which He did at just the right time!). I prayed for God to give me peace and strength. Talking to God was my only comfort, my only strength, my only hope. And God, in His faithfulness, answered every single one of those prayers. I am alive and well, thriving in the safety of my family, and have never been better!
Tiarra Brown Osei: Praise the Lord! There’s power in prayer. Was there ever a time that you felt like God had forgotten about you?
Keela: Yes. Many times. I’ve cried out to God, screamed at Him, ignored Him, cursed His name. I’ve walked away from Him many times, but you know what? Nothing I find in the world ever satisfies me the way that Christ does. The world leaves me empty every time, and every time my King leads me back to Him, gracefully, mercifully, and lovingly. You can read more about it here.
Tiarra Brown Osei: Glory to God! He’s such a loving Father. What would you say to a young lady who’s dealing with the affects of abuse and abandonment?
Keela: I know that life is hard and you feel lost and alone, and it’s okay to feel that way. But there is hope. Our God always loves and never fails. He will not abandon you, harm you, manipulate you, or stop loving you. He is good, so turn to Him in your pain. Lay it all before Him, and let Him hold you. Hold onto God. Cry out to Him in desperation and OBEY Him. No matter what. He is your healing and your strength, your peace and guidance.
Tiarra Brown Osei: What advice would you give to a parent who’s raising a child who struggles with suicidal thoughts and depression?
Keela: Love her. Don’t belittle her feelings or push her. Go at it with understanding and compassion. But first and foremost, ask God what to do. The sad reality is that if your child really wants to kill herself, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Only God can stop it, so your job is just to obey Him and love your child the way He calls you to. Take her to church, get her moving and doing something she enjoys, make her favorite meals. Most of all, remind her of all the good things she has to live for. Remind her that she has a purpose and is loved.
Tiarra Brown Osei: What does it mean to you to be an overcomer?
Keela: John 16:33 (NLT) says this: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Overcoming the world means that you belong to God and, no matter what happens, He has you. It’s all because of His power and grace, not yours. I am an overcomer because Jesus lives in me and He overcame the world. You are an overcomer because Jesus overcame the world. We are overcomers because He is strong when we are weak.
If you’re someone who’s struggling to overcome the affects of abuse and depression I pray that Keela’s story has encouraged you to believe that IT IS possible to overcome!
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Thanks so much for reading 😊