Tell me about yourself, I can’t wait for the audience to know you the way I do, what do you like to do in your free time and what is one of your hobbies?
My name is Keela Craft. I live in Frisco TX… I grew up in a family with one older brother and one younger sister. Out of both of them, I would be considered the “strong one.” I grew up in an amazing family that really understands and is an example of godly intimacy. I grew up on the road. My dad was a business man and an entrepreneur, until 2000 when he established a church in Texas called Elevate Life Church. It took some getting used to as I was only 11 when I became a pastor’s kid. To be honest I didn’t really like it at first. There were a lot of rules and people were always comparing you and watching you. As I got older I decided to attend Oral Roberts University, where I majored in Organizational and Interpersonal Communications. College also was not what I expected… I had a lot of personal growth lessons there about learning to lead myself. I moved to Miami, Florida my senior year and served at a church called Trinity Church, pastored by the Wilkerson family. After I graduated college I moved to Melbourne, Australia where I served at Planetshakers. This was a great experience for me because I grew in ways I never knew were possible. Moving there is actually what helped equip me and prepare me for what God had in my future.
While I was there I served alongside the pastor of their youth group and then learned from the pastors over the Planetshakers college. Little did I know that my exact job when I came home would be to lead the youth and leadership college at Elevate Life Church. I worked in both roles for about 6 years and recently in 2015 I transitioned the student ministry to another pastor. A lot has happened in my life over the last year. I had been with the same man for over 5 years- I had known him since I was 11 and he was 9, we got married in September 2014. Yet at the end of July 2015, while leading a student missions trip- he left. I didn’t know why at first but there were no real issues except that for a few months he had been withdrawn and disappearing randomly. Come to find out- he was having an affair and living a double life- drinking/smoking/partying behind my back for years. I was devastated. I loved my husband and no matter what I fought for him, for God, and for the commitment I made to forever. However, he asked me to not fight for him, he let me know that he would be filing for divorce and that he didn’t want to be with me. That was hard to hear, but I chose to trust God. Through this process, I have learned to be COMPLETELY surrendered- to trust God in the best of times and in the worst moments in life.
I cannot go into detail about everything but up until today even, I can see how God has protected me. How God delivered me from something that wasn’t best for me so He can give me the best in the future. I have never felt alone or lost or like a victim in this huge loss in my life. I have realized that what I lost has actually enabled me to gain more than I ever could and I am actually grateful for it today. I so love God- I think it’s so amazing that He loves us enough to protect us from not having the best. I want God to be able to use all of me! All of my life, my story, my hurts/pain… He can get all the glory and praise for everything!
What are the three things that are most important to you?
1. Following GOD fully in all seasons
2. My Family
3. Adding true value to the Kingdom of God
Do you think it’s important to set goals and dream big dream?
I think that without goals it’s pretty difficult to have a dream that has any kind of direction. Number one your goal should be to in alignment with who God is and what He wants. If you can make your dream happen on your own- you don’t need God. I think it’s important to dream so big that God has to get involved for it to happen… Otherwise it’s not a dream- it’s just a goal.
What is your vision for your future?
My biggest desire is to help others discover how to live a life of purpose directed by God. So many people are simply aware of their potential, but never receive the promises that God already has for them on the other side of their potential.
I want to use every part of my life, my story, any good or bad to give God glory in my life. My hope is that through my pain and anything I have been through… others can find freedom! The enemy wants us to keep things in the dark. He likes them to stay hidden because only he has power there… But when you bring things to the light and let God use all of you, you see that what the enemy means for bad in your life- God uses all our pain for purpose. And the very things that the enemy wanted to destroy us actually sets us up as a weapon for God to defeat the enemy.
So without going into any further detail… I want my life to give God glory and I know every time God gets glorified – the enemy is disempowered.
When did you know you were called to do this?
I have always wanted to be in some kind of role where I was able to help people learn to lead themselves. I NEVER thought I would be a pastor or in ministry and I never thought I would have gone through what I have but God knows what he is doing and wherever life takes me and God brings me- My purpose is not attached to a title/job/position… my purpose rests in God no matter what I am doing or where I am at.
What were the defining moments in your life that helps you realize you’re calling and potential to change the world for the better?
I moved to Australia after college at Oral Roberts University… It was there that I began to understand how God could potentially use me. I had been around and in ministry my whole life, but I had never experienced God the way I did in that season. I think I experienced Him like I did and continue to because I practice the presence of God constantly and ask God to use me.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
My dad. He is the most talented, consistent, faithful, biggest givers, and greatest lovers of people that I have ever heard of. He is a man that is unlike any other… he inspires me to be more, give more, and love more constantly.
Who has influenced you the most and what is the greatest lesson you learned from them?
Once again. My dad. He suffocated to death when he was a baby and was brought back to life… He has been through many tests and trials- yet he is really the most resilient and amazing person I have ever known. He doesn’t just preach it… he lives it. The way he talks/thinks/leads inspires me to be better- to be more.
What does being a beauty queen mean to you?
Well when I think of beauty I think of something that we as individuals cannot create. Beauty comes from the word goodness. I think that anything good comes from God. Many times early in my life I questioned my own beauty on the outside and wondered why I felt that way. I know that the enemy wants us to diminish Gods best creation- he wants us to question ourselves, but what we do not realize is that when we question our self, we question Gods creation and He made NOTHING imperfectly. We are made in Gods image. So that means that when we reject our self we reject God in a way. We are heirs to the kingdom and to all that God has and is… and I know for me- if I can realize that my “goodness” doesn’t come from me, but from God. I can honor who I am and who God made me to be which enables me to live as the royalty that God created us to be.
What inspires you to live with passion every single day?
The understanding that- this life is all that we have. We have one chance on the earth… to not only “get it” but to give God glory in our life. My dad always says that “God determines the day we are born and the day we die- but the dash in-between is our choice.” It’s that dash that matters the most because that’s what proves Gods power and presence or not. We have such a good God though that he gives us a choice to do with it what we will.
I love the word passion because the original meaning for passion at its root is “suffering.” So what are you willing to suffer for or in so that your life can bring salvation/healing/restoration for others. That realization- that all that we go through can grow us and it is always worth it to choose God and His best, is what keeps me to keep moving forward and into all that God has for me.
How do you use that passion to make your dreams come true?
Honestly I think there’s a lot found in doing the small things and being faithful to the little things each day. Really it is the small things, which can seem insignificant that God uses to set you up for the greatest things and moments in your life. I love the scripture listed below because it is the seemingly insignificant that God uses to prove himself in our life.
(1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
What is a quote or saying that you live by?
“Find something worth dying for, and then live for it.” (unknown)
Through the ups and downs of your life what is the greatest lesson that you have learned?
Never let the enemy have ONE moment-one day- or one second of glory in your life. Even when things go wrong… Know that God has a plan to not only make it RIGHT but make it BETTER than you could have ever known or imagined. Keep being faithful, let God have the control and you will find yourself grateful for even the worst seasons because what God creates out of our pain is power for His glory!
What advice would you give the beauty queens reading this interview about following their dreams?
We all have great times in life. We all have hard times in life. Some of you may be in a great time and others in your worst of times. I want to tell you that God is with you. He loves you. He is on your side and He not only wants you to win… He has already gone before you and won the battle in advance! So when you do face hard times in life, know that God is with you- He sees you, he cares about what you are facing and He will never leave you. The enemy wants you to feel like you are alone and no one understands you, that there is no hope for you. Yet the bible it says in…
“To provide for them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
So God will not only bless you through whatever you go through- He will also plant the Lords plans within your life so your life can be like a tree. Something that can feed/shelter/sustain/multiply/and be an example of the goodness and beauty of God no matter what.