Welcome to Be Free Indeed
When the idea of Be Free Indeed first crossed my mind, I knew it was not my idea. It was a late night talk at a holiday Mammoth trip 2015 when my young sweet millennial said, “Auntie Christa, you’re story needs to be on a podcast!” Hmm, well, I don’t know how my family would feel about the world knowing I am a suicide survivor. Monty, and our sons, wholeheartedly agreed that God saved my life October 29, 2013 for such a time as this.
I knew that God had a plan but also I knew that “I” could not do it alone. I immediately began saying “we” and asked God, “Who?” He gave me 12 names of beautiful prayer warrior friends and I asked them to simply pray and ask what God had in mind.
We didn’t begin with a podcast but a live event, October of 2016, where we featured my story, a clinical and pastoral approach to depression and anxiety, as well as a panel with loved ones sharing their experience. But best of all, we had 3 groups for folks to join. We knew building community was imperative.
That’s when GLU was born. Gals Like Us has been meeting in different forms ever since. The heart of Be Free Indeed is finding healing in Jesus from the wounds that keep us in bondage to lies and fears. There are many causes of depression and anxiety and there are different ways to deal with them. Inner Healing is where God has enabled us to experience Freedom. But we have not done it alone. We walk with one another along the path. We hold each other, cry and laugh together. We dig into God’s Word, pray and “do the work” of freedom together. The ministry is expanding to include a Guys Like Us this Spring and we are so grateful for male leaders that are stepping up and joining the team! We are also in prayer for the continued development of a Couples Like Us, a Young Adults group and a Teens group.
Jesus said “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom"- 2 Cor 3:17
and “So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free Indeed." - John 8:36
He did not exclude those with mental illness!
Rather, Jesus said in Luke 4
18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Be Free Indeed is clearly not mine. It is God’s. It is our growing leadership team's, and it can be Yours.
Join us on this road to freedom. You will never be the same!
We See You, We Love You, We Are You!
Meet Our Team
CHRISTA KELSO | Founder
I’m a warrior for freedom. Let me explain. It’s been my joy for almost 3 decades to raise our three sons with a culture of freedom in Christ. Now that they are raised, my passion has turned towards those suffering with depression and anxiety. I have the pleasure of being married to Monty Kelso, President of Slingshot Group and the mother of Conner,Trevor, Bryson and his wife Rachel. And then there is our grandson Captain! I grab as many hours per week as I can with “Mr. wonderful”.
As “empty nesters”, Monty and I love to get away in our vintage airstream trailer to explore the California coast. We first met traveling in a singing group in 1977 and ‘hitting the road” is still what we love to do. However, my favorite place to be in all the world is in the backyard of our 1939 cottage under the massive old mulberry tree. This is where Jesus beckons me to sit with Him, rest my soul and then find the courage to help others fight the bondage that comes with a life robbed by anxiety and depression. Be Free Indeed is a ministry born out of my own story. Today we are convinced more than ever that there is indeed freedom from the captivity. We are here to help you find that freedom!
ANDREA Lundeen | Director of Ministry
I am honored to serve as the Director of Ministry for Be Free Indeed. Little did I know that was the path I was on when I attended the women’s group Gals Like Us early 2017. I didn’t know anyone but I kept coming because I was so interested in learning how freedom can be found from anxiety and depression. The group brought me hope and a new found fellowship that cultivated a strong support system filled with love and encouragement. Two years later, I am experiencing joy, yet life still brings challenges. I can honestly say that what I have learned in this ministry, putting in the work of inner healing with Jesus and investing in relationships have made getting through the hard times not so hard.
Today, I know that my personal journey, my career experience of operational development and management, as well as my education and clinical work in psychology, are integrating to help support the organization. I love collaborating with the leaders and coming along side the women and men we have the pleasure of being with in ministry. Ultimately, beyond my wildest dreams, God is using my story for a purpose greater than myself. I would never guess the toughest times in my life are now seen as strengths to be used to advance God’s kingdom. That is where I have gained tremendous freedom. Will you join us?!
Connie Bragassa | Treasurer
My name is Connie Bragassa, but mostly I’m known as Mama Connie. Being a grandmother like my own was a driving goal in my life. I am a mother of three and grandmother of seven. Many years ago I met Christa Kelso and reconnected with her some 40 years later. It was my great privilege and honor to get to be the California grandma to her 3 boys. That goal has been realized.
But I have many goals. Another is to share my life story and be transparent about some of the lies of Satan I have believed and how my life has been affected. I also want to share the freedom I have found in Jesus and the healing of wounds and heartaches that has occurred.
Two years ago I became aware of inner healing and have experienced joy like I’d never known. Through Be Free Indeed, I am honored to participate in bringing freedom and healing to those in need. I’m still learning to let go of the lies and my past. Letting go is hard but well worth the effort. There is HOPE!
Denise Petrone | Director of Teens & Young Adults
I am a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for all He’s done for me. Having experienced freedom from anxiety through Him, it is my desire to help bring healing to the broken and deliverance to those still captive through experiencing the extraordinary love of our heavenly Father and learning who we truly are in Him.
I am blessed to have been given a second chance at love. I have an amazing husband, we’ve been married 6 years and together we have 8 awesome kids through birth, blending and adoption. Needless to say, it can be pretty crazy, and a lot of fun, around here. When I am not refereeing, or teaching my children how to behave correctly (we can be real right? lol) I enjoy working out (not!), quilting, and sneaking away for coffee with my guy.
What I want most to reach your heart is this- I know what it feels like to live in the darkness, to shake at the thought of leaving your house. I know that you feel alone and that you will never get free. I used to believe that too, but that is a lie. There is hope. Come! Join the community of Be Free Indeed and let’s see what God does. You are loved!