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“To survive is to train ourselves to get through life without the things we need.”

Growing up I had front row seats to watching my mother & father fight a battle with the devil through drug & alcohol addiction. 
With that lifestyle it’s inevitable that I’ve seen and experienced things that can never be unseen and it’s been a life journey of picking up pieces that I didn’t break.

My father had been sentenced to prison for 10 years when I was a baby. I built my relationship with him through collect calls, letters, and occasional visits through a glass window. On the outside of those prison walls my reality was watching my mother battle with her brokenness, fighting a war with the enemy as she arrived to beat her addiction. She would take me to AA meetings, was in and out of rehab, and I often battled with inconsistency of going back and forth from being in custody with my grandmother while she worked towards getting her life right for my little brothers and I. My mother was the most kind, beautiful inside & out, resilient woman I knew. I watched her pick herself up over and over again as she battled with depression. She never hid the reality of what she was going through from me. I was her #1 cheerleader and had the highest hopes that we all would get through this ugly disease.  
The truth is, my hopes of beating this battle didn’t happen the way I had pictured it. I saw my mother for the last time the day she got out of rehab 11 days before my 13th birthday. As she tried to fight a supernatural warfare, she made the mistake we all commonly make by taking the responsible to fill her voids in the natural. Her overwhelming pain drove her to overdose for the last time. My whole world completely shattered at that moment. 
I lost myself. I felt like I died too. That was my first time knowing what the feeling of defeat felt like. 

As I tried to cope with the gigantic hole of not having my parents around as a teenage girl I was reckless. Looking for love and trying to fill voids in all the wrong places. Allowing the devil to whisper into my ear that I wasn’t loved, wasn’t wanted, & all the above I found myself hanging out with people that reflected that same energy. This resulted to me becoming pregnant at the age of 14 by a man who preyed on my weakness.  

As a student at a catholic school, no one really knew what I was going through behind closed doors, they only saw how I was responding to it. I was kicked out and some of my closest friends parents didn’t want them hanging around me any more. At a time I needed comfort and to experience love and understanding I got the exact opposite. 
Some people suggested I get an abortion, or give my child up for adoption. In my heart I knew and felt that the child growing inside me had a greater purpose and I promised I would never allow this baby to feel abandoned or unloved. So I made the decision to take on the responsibility of giving my child life and show him the unconditional love I needed. God knew my sons purpose for his life before I did and He trusted me (even as a child myself) enough to be apart of that process. 

You see, if my son had not been brought into this earth I know for a fact I would have continued the generational curse of addiction, being in jail or worse. God blessed me with my Why when Jason came into this earth. He showed me that my life is not for me. 
Now I want you to understand this; 
I didn’t have a relationship with God when I was experiencing this. I actually resented Him due to how people in my church & school at the time (who I thought represented Him) were treating me. I thought to myself “if this is how people of God make me feel then I’m good all by myself”. I battled with years and years of depression and anxiety. I just didn’t understand why God was putting me through the fire, crushing me, breaking me down. 

Now fast forward to today nearly 15 years later, by God’s grace and mercy although I went through the fire I don’t smell like smoke. By Looking at me some say they wouldn’t be able to tell all I’ve been through if I hadn’t told them. I’m happily married to an amazing purpose filled man who loves me unconditionally. My son is growing to be an amazing respectful, hard working, young man. My husband and I own and operate a successful barbershop in our city where we offer youth mentorship programs for the past few years. And I now devote my life to being the person I needed when I was younger. You see, although I truly needed the love & guidance of my parents, God showed me how to survive without it at the time. But as he pressed me, He shifted me to showing How to Need Him. He has been teaching me He is the only one who can fill my voids eternally. No more temporary bandaids on my wounds. I’ve found God has a beautiful and interesting way of giving us exactly what we need even if it’s not the way we think we should have it. My parents were wonderful people that were just broken and didn’t know any better. They tried to battle a war that wasn’t theirs to battle therefor they lost. Through that I learned to give my problems to the Lord to fight for me. To look to Him and consistently ask Him for guidance & apply what He says. It’s far from easy and I’m far from perfect. The Bible says the Lord is made perfect through our imperfections. I now have a healthy relationship with struggle understanding that God is training and molding us to become a bigger and better version of ourselves in order to serve his purpose.

---Keila's testimony: About
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