Finding Jesus in Despair
Family History of Drug Abuse. Hopeless Teen. Suicidal Thoughts. Self-Harm.
Invitation to Christ. Salvation. Joy.
“I didn’t know fully what it meant but I know the next day I woke up happy.
I hadn’t woke up happy in 5 years.” - Lori Herrington
One of four children, Lori was raised by a single mom in a family with a history of drug abuse. As a younger child, her family went to an Episcopalian church in New York. Her family moved to California and tried a church there, but they didn’t like it and so her family stopped attending church for a while. When Lori was 10 years old, her mother experienced a demonic attack while working at a hospital. Because of this, her mom wanted to begin going to church again and found a Jehovah’s Witness church for the family to attend.
At 12 years old, Lori began to remember traumatic events that had happened to her when she was 10 years old; she had blocked it out. With this memory constantly on her mind, Lori felt tortured with guilt and shame from 12 years old until she was 17 years old.
Lori says, “Every day I wished for death. I didn’t see living past 18. I felt like I’d eventually do it.” Lori inflicted self-harm to feel the pain and to deal with the memories and feelings. During this time Lori’s brother, whom Lori was very close to, struggled with drug addiction and became involved in witchcraft and satanism. With the additional difficulties, Lori “felt less and less hope”. Everything felt like it was piling up and Lori did not know how to handle it all.
At 17 years old, the Lord intervened. Lori’s aunt invited her to a Power Team Crusade. Lori didn’t know what it was about, but she knew she would see big guys doing cool things, so she went. Lori said, “During the crusade, John Jacobs said, ‘if you need hope’ and he was praying over ‘hexes and vexes’, I felt like he was speaking to me. I just felt like I had to have what he was talking about. I went forward, they took me in another room to talk with me about my decision, and I prayed with them. I didn’t know fully what it meant but I know the next day I woke up happy. I hadn’t felt happy in 5 years.”
Lori began attending her aunt’s church. Her aunt introduced Lori to a couple that helped with the youth group. This couple – Brad and Kathy – became “spiritual parents” to Lori. Brad and Kathy spent time with Lori teaching her about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. Brad and Kathy took Lori ‘under their wing’ and gave her a sense of what family could look like, with a loving example of marriage and taught her for the first time that Lori could choose to do things differently in her life and with her own family. They also taught Lori what it meant to have convictions. Brad and Kathy taught Lori the importance of putting “good things” into your mind through books and music. Lori noticed the books and music she had been reading and listening to were adding to the feelings of hopelessness rather than helping.
Lori says, “I knew I needed hope, but I didn’t understand the need for a Savior. I had accepted hope but didn’t know Jesus yet.”
In college, Lori started listening again to non-Christian focused music and noticed one week that she was feeling depressed and sad all of the time. Lori said, “The Lord opened my eyes, and I realized the reason I was so sad was because of the music I was allowing into my life.”
Feeling convicted, Lori made the decision to go through her things and toss out the old items that would no longer be a part of her life, like the old music tapes she had been holding on to from the past that just “brings you down” and began focusing again on “good things”.
Lori said, “Looking back I can see how God protected me through my years.” Several different people were placed in Lori’s life that helped to show her a new way of thinking. Brad and Kathy played a huge role in mentoring Lori spiritually. A brother’s girlfriend taught Lori that just because someone she cared for was doing something wrong, it did not mean she must also participate in it to feel included. Lori’s best friend taught her if she truly loved someone, she could wait for marriage to share with that person intimately.
“It’s cool to see how God continued to hold me in his hand through all of it.”
Lori wants you to know:
“There is HOPE and it comes from Jesus. If you’re struggling and you don’t feel like you have reason to live, there is HOPE. There is nothing you have ever done that He won’t forgive.”
Verse that helped Lori:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Hymn that helped Lori:
How Great Thou Art
Check out this HOPEcast to hear more from Lori and Mac Herrington:
“We had to change our parenting style” w/ Mac & Lori Herrington | Hello, Hope City! Episode #33 - YouTube
Check out this HOPEcast to hear a HOPE story from their son, Tage Herrington, who competed on American Ninja Warrior:
Hello, Hope City! Episode #23 “Don't Be Ashamed” w/ Tage Herrington - YouTube
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