Myeia Willingham has a faith built on generations of prayer warriors
Words by Lindsay Brewer | Images by Blakeney Clouse
Her megawatt smile draws people to her like a magnet. The force grows even stronger by the light in her eyes, which was birthed upon prayers. Myeia Willingham’s rich heritage of faith has shaped her into the woman she is today.
From birth, prayer has had a powerful impact on Myeia’s life. When she was just a baby, a “grandma seizure” caused her to stop breathing. She was airlifted to Children’s Hospital of Alabama where her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother implored the Lord to save her life. “They tell me about all this stuff—how they prayed while I was a baby—and faith starts building there,” Myeia says. “I was told, ‘Pray about it.’ Then, when you see God work things out, that just builds it [faith] even more. I’ve seen God work so much in my life.”
Etched in her memory is May 27, 1993, the day her own faith journey truly began. Just two days after her high school graduation, Myeia donned a hospital gown while many of her classmates ventured on senior trips. She was in need of a corneal transplant. Post-surgery medical personnel urged her to open her eyes and blink. “It was perfect because I opened my eyes and it was the first time I saw my Mama without a contact,” Myeia recalls. “When I said, ‘Mama, I see you,’ we had church in there – speaking in tongues, shouting. It was awesome!”
Terrified prior to her first transplant, Myeia says she approached her second one with confidence because “God’s got this.” This has become her life saying. The presence of God in her life is visible as she reflects on all that she has been through. Surviving the seizure, corneal transplants, and multiple car accidents, Myeia says her faith has emboldened as she realized “Somebody’s been praying for me, and I need to start praying for myself.”
Now Myeia devotedly shares her faith with her own children, C.J. and Maleia. Based on God’s faithfulness in her own life, Myeia can tell her kids “God’s got this” with confidence. She advises them to pray about everything, even the little things like studying for a test. “God orchestrates everything,” she says. “He is always present. I have learned that we try to fix things so much on our own, but when we finally get to that point and we give up, that’s when He shows up and shows out.”
When people see her magnetic smile, it comes from a place of true joy, which she now spreads at T.R. Simmons School, where she works with the child nutrition program in the lunchroom.
Myeia says her main goal when the students come into the lunchroom is to show them love. That love—expressed through her magnetic smile and friendliness—isn’t accidental.
It comes from a deep-seated faith in the One who’s got this. 78