It is with great pleasure that I get to share with each of you a very dear "IRL" friend of mine: Lori Kennedy! If you aren't yet familiar with Lori and/or with her ministry, trust me, you need to take the time to do so. Lori is an amazing woman and friend. Her love for Jesus and for people is so evident--whether you're just meeting her for the first time or you know her well. I'm elated and delighted and honored to get to walk the journey so close to this incredible person!
Meet Lori Kennedy!
|Photo by Amelia Grace Photography|
“…rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, HOPE.”
Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
Hope. The very essence of the word means life. A life without hope is a life not lived in victory, but a life simply survived. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV) states, “…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him…” Hope is a choice. The choice to live!
When I was younger, life felt very bleak. I was a product of divorce and suffered feelings of abandonment during my childhood. Then, when I was eight, I was molested by a male babysitter who became the first in a string of sexual predators abusing me throughout my teen years. I was living in hopelessness and those that seek to kill, steal and destroy can sense your brokenness and prey upon that desperation for acceptance and love. I could not see past the miserable and pathetic existence that seemed to stretch out endlessly in front of me. The book The Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allender states, “The heart aches, and there is no immediate recourse for relief, except the soul-numbing choice to abandon a sense of being alive. What a terrible choice! If the victim wants to live free of the pain, then she must choose not to be alive.” There were many times during my teenage years that I contemplated suicide. I was living a defeated life; a life without hope.
Christ intersected my life and although some things changed immediately, there were years of wounds, battle scars, and coping mechanisms that drove my lack of trust and self-protectiveness. I still had to LEARN how to live a life of hope. I needed to be taught how to live in expectation that God was going to do great things and that I had a life worth living. I had to trust that God had plans for me. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) speaks to this, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.”
In God’s timing, and when my heart was ready, God led me through a healing process that has allowed me to embrace a hopeful life full of victory and expectation; truly believing those are His plans for me! You see, Romans 5:3-4 (NIV) says, “…rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, HOPE.” I now claim this verse as I have overcome so much to fulfill the destiny that was prepared in advance just for me. It’s taken years of being molded by the Potter’s Hand to truly trust in His character. The hardships I endured as a child now bring glory to Him. Without the agony of my childhood I would not be who I am today; able to specifically give hope to others through the knowledge and conquering of my own wounds and fears. That, in itself, instills continued hope in me!
A little bit about Lori...
Lori has been married to Danny for over 20 years. God has blessed them with two wonderful sons who love the Lord. Lori now serves and worships at First Baptist Church in Woodstock. Lori is also involved in the North Georgia Walk to Emmaus where she serves on their board as well as leads group worship regularly at meetings and retreats. Lori is the Worship Director for the Women's Ministry at First Baptist Church Woodstock as well as Church 4 Chicks. In addition, Lori also leads music on a regular basis for True Identity retreats. She was the worship leader for the 2010 Awaken conference, led worship for Cruise with a Cause in 2011, and taught a break-out session for Women In Worship at the Unlimited Worship Conference hosted by the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Most recently her program, "Overcoming - Fulfilling Your God Given Destiny" has reached as far as Romania. She has been the worship leader at women's retreats and conferences for churches and organizations across the country including Alaska and has been involved in multiple youth events promoting the leadership and purity of our young people. Find Lori and her ministry online at www.lorikennedy.com
You will have the opportunity to hear Lori's story and participate in "Overcoming" on September 13, 2011 at Town Center Community Church, hosted by Church 4 Chicks! For all the details, please click on the picture below: