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When Lori was a freshman in high school her parents got evicted from the house they lived in. Overnight all her worldly possessions were gone except the clothes she had on. The school she attended in Chicago was predominately white and the racism she experienced just added to her fear and insecurity. Over the next 10 years her occasional use of drugs continued to increase and eventually she did whatever she had to in order to support her addiction.

Depressed as the thrill of childbirth wore off, her addiction became more and more unmanageable. Over the next 10 years two more kids would be born, Lori would spend a year in prison, and with each event, depression and guilt would become more and more oppressive. Her lifestyle put her at risk and she endured being raped, but believed in some way it was a penance for her terrible behavior.

The lowest she can remember is realizing all 3 of her children had seen her using, and at that point she got up on her bike and started riding. I fell the first time I started riding my bike and so did Lori. She got kicked out of two treatment facilities for her bad attitude. Not to be stopped, this time she kept moving and landed here at Hope Street in July of 2011.

I asked Lori what were some difficult times she had in her year here at HS. “ when you asked me what I thought about God, it really made me think, why am I not cool with God, but ok with Jesus? You just encouraged me to not worry about what the right or wrong answers were but just be honest. Another time Nancy (staff) told me if I wasn’t interested in participating in more of the groups, I would need to consider moving on. I didn’t like that, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.”

Lori started to learn about forgiveness, apologizing, embracing community and live in these truths. She reestablished relationships with her kids, began to grow up and fulfill her role as a parent and neighbor. Lori has just left HS and moved into an apartment with her 18yr old daughter, Camille who I believe is wise beyond her years. Camille says they are putting the past behind them and moving forward. She never gave up on her mom and is grateful for all HS has done and sees the benefit of both.

While Camille has no pretense of knowing what the future will hold, she also knows that when she looks at where they have been, there is no telling where they may end up but they are going to keep going in the direction they are now for a long time!!

Lori says “I never thought it was possible for someone who lived like me to be a Christ follower, to know God and be selfless instead of selfish, but it is”

Yes it is Lori and you and Camille are a great example to all of us what flourishing can really look like!

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