Strong Women Wednesday – Lori Lawlor
Earlier this year I received a friend request from a woman named Lori. I hadn’t met her before but we had many mutual friends. So, I accepted. I introduced myself and we chatted through messenger. I eventually got to meet my new friend in person at a women’s leadership conference at our church. I’ve heard bits and pieces of her story, but I wanted to know more. Today I’m excited to share Lori’s story with you. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.
KE: Tell me about yourself
LL: I am a very proud mom of 4 grown children. My first grand baby is due in April, so that is super exciting! Their ages are from 29-19. I’m a Youth Leader and a Women’s Bible Study Leader at Fox River Christian Church in Muskego, WI. I am also on the planning committee for the Girls Night Out events there, which we have about 4 events a year. I’ve always had a passion for decorating, especially when there’s glitter involved!! I also have a huge passion for our youth! They are very special to me. I also volunteer at Church whenever we have bands that play at our main location in Waukesha. We help unload or roll t-shirts, it’s always fun. I usually jump at the chance to volunteer whenever I can at Fox River. It’s my 2nd home!
KE: What book are you reading right now?
LL: For the 2nd time now, I am reading Secure In Heart, by Robin Weidner. I bought it a year ago when I was at a Women’s Retreat in Ohio with my mom and sister. It was so good, I read it in 2 days! So, I’m reading it again now! It’s all about why we all are the way we are, starting way back from Adam and Eve, and what they did. It’s so interesting. Makes you think! I highly recommend it!
KE: Do you have a favorite song that has helped you through a tough time?
LL: Last summer, I was going through a rough patch, not wanting to let go of something God was telling me to. You know, when He is trying to close a door, but we try and keep it cracked just a tiny bit…just in case He changes His mind. Well, He didn’t, and now I am really glad He didn’t, it’s Kristian Stanfield’s “My Heart Is Yours”. Whenever it would come on the radio, or they would sing it in church, tears would start a flowing!! My favorite part of it is from an old school hymn we would always sing at my dad’s church when I was little. (My dad was a minister) ‘All to Jesus, I Surrender. All to Him I Freely Give!’ Love it!
KE: How do you define strength, and what does it look like in your life?
LL: Boy can I relate to this! If it wasn’t for God giving me strength, I would have never made it through the past few years. I went on medical leave from my work in April, 2013. Had severe occipital neuralgia migraines. They put 16 screws in my neck. I was only supposed to miss a few months of work, but here, almost 3 years later, I still haven’t returned. I just had a 2nd surgery, but still didn’t help. Disability denied me 6 months early, with no notice. So, I have had no income since June, and still have the original chronic pain. But, my faith is stronger than it has ever been. I know there is a reason for this, God has me. He will always provide for me, and give me the strength when I think I have none left. My strength comes from Him!
KE: As you know, strong faith is the focus of my ministry/website. But, it can be hard to maintain a strong faith when life gets real messy. What do you do to keep your relationship with Jesus as strong as possible?
LL: Being a visual person, faith doesn’t come easily to me. I’ve had to learn to trust in what I can’t see. I’ve started reading my Bible every day, and my Jesus Calling devotional. Learning more about Jesus, what an amazing person He is, that He loved me enough to die on the cross for ME, there’s no way I can’t put my complete trust in Him for whatever I need. I try and look at the positive side to everything. It makes things so much easier. Getting upset or mad at small things, it’s just not worth it. 3 magic words whenever I’m really freaking out, or whatever situation I need immediate help…..”Help Me Jesus!” And He is always there!
KE: Managing a household is hard. Whether you work full-time, stay home, are single, married or have 8 kids; women often feel like they are just surviving each day. What advice would you give to women to help them strengthen their family?
LL: Priorities! families need to be a priority! God always first, then family. Growing up, we always had family dinners at the table. Where did that go? Technology is crazy now, cell phones, iPads, iPods, you know what I mean. We need more face to face time with each other, and not face time on an iPhone! (Unless you’re out of town) ha. Talk to your kids, ask them about their day, make them feel special, more times than not, they just want to feel like they matter! They may not always show it, but they care!
KE: Do you have any stress management tips for us?
LL: Deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth! (Count to 10) Or, a good cry always helps me!
KE: Depending on your definition of strength, “strong body” can mean something different to everyone. What healthy habits do you incorporate into your daily schedule to help keep your body strong?
LL: I used to work out 4 days a week, but since my surgeries, I’m not allowed. There are certain physical therapy exercises I do every day, but still not the same. I try and eat healthy. Stay away from sugar as much as I can. And I drink a lot of water.
KE: What do you feel is the difference between relying on your own strength and relying on God’s strength?
LL: I think I spent the first half of my life trying everything with my own strength, and every once in a while, turning to God for help. Well, now I’m 50, and I think I’ve learned a thing or 2. He is the only perfect being in this world, and He is the author of our lives. So….instead of trying to re-write a chapter of two of my life, without His help, and ending up messing it up anyway, I am now relying on His strength, and His knowledge, and His path for my life. I’m tired of messing things up. I only want God’s will for my life, He has the pen in His hand now for the rest of my story, and I cannot wait to walk the rest of this life journey with Him!
KE: Would you mind sharing something you have struggled with and telling us how you used God’s strength to get you through?
LL: I used to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks when I was younger. I hated to be alone. It was horrible. I was on medication for a while, but soon realized that the fear of the next panic attack was worse than actually getting one. I changed my way of thinking, realizing that no one ever died from a panic attack. What happens at the end of one? It goes away. So, after a while of this thinking, they went away. I prayed a lot too, so God helped me there as well. Anxiety and Panic attacks are not fun. But you can overcome them!
KE: Do you have any tips for us about successful ways to manage your time more effectively?
LL: I will be the first to admit I am not the best at time management. I always get things done that need to get done, I’m just not the most detail oriented person. I do use my memo section on my phone for lists. Small lists, but I do keep a few. I use my calendar on my phone also. That’s about it for me!
KE: Do you have a favorite Bible verse you could share with us and could you explain what it means to you?
LL: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11 I love the words in this verse. It says it all!
KE: If you could share one message with every woman who is willing to listen, what would it be?
LL: Sometimes we women think we can’t be complete on our own. Well guess what, we are never on our own. Instead of looking to the left or right, look UP! He is there, waiting to fill us completely, and will never let us down. It has taken me years to finally get this drilled into my head, but it is now, and it’s so true. Don’t get me wrong, the right man is amazing, but the wrong one….not so much! Just believe in YOU!
KE: Where do you feel like God is leading you next?
LL: Those exact words are in my prayers every single night. I’m usually the impatient one, asking for my future laid out so I can see what I’m doing for the next 10 years, but that hasn’t worked out so well for me. So, I ask Him every night what He wants my next step to be. I am feeling a call to the ministry, just not exactly sure where yet. Not sure if it’s with Women, or Youth. So, for now, I will enjoy my time with both!
KE: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
LL: I’m not back to work quite yet, and not sure what or when I will. I was in business class sales for over 20 years, but we will see where God leads me. My email is email@example.com. Thank you for this opportunity, Kristen!
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lori. Stay tuned next week. I have a few amazing ladies lined up to share their stories with you. If you know of a woman who would be willing to share her story with us please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In His Strength,