The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Lori: Dancing for an Audience of One

By Renelle Richardson
The 700 Club“When I think about jumping and defying gravity like us dancers do, that to me is something that’s so ethereal and so heavenly!”

When I showed up to meet Lori, we quickly realized we had a lot in common, including a love for ballet! 

“It was exciting,” Lori tells The 700 Club. “It was awesome, because dance was everything to me. That’s where I got my identity from, so I just felt on top of the world when I was in dance class.”

Lori also shared a very personal struggle that affects many young women. 

She says, “All I wanted to do was get the best roles, and so I was willing to do anything. So if it required me not eating, so be it.”

At her lowest, Lori shrank to 85 pounds.

“In the dance world, it was exactly where I needed to be, but when I went out into the real world, I felt so disgusting,” she recalls. “I really had a lot of thoughts about wanting to die. That’s what an eating disorder is; essentially it’s a very slow death.”

During her time of despair, Lori sought the help of her aunt and uncle who were Christians.

“I just broke to pieces. But there was something in them that I saw that I wanted so bad. They were going to church, and they were totally joyful. That’s the best way I can describe it. So I remember being jealous of what they had. I just remember thinking, ‘I want that. Whatever you have, I want that.’ That’s when they shared with me that it was Jesus that had stepped into their life, restored their marriage, restored their family, and that He could do that for me. I remember thinking, ‘I need to start over.’ As I became alive in Christ, I also became alive physically. It was awesome! You literally saw, from one day to the next, a different person and this girl had joy!”

But even with this newfound joy, there was a tough road ahead. After high school, Lori planned on living her dreams as a dancer in college, but her parents had other plans…

Lori in Israel“My parents said, ‘No way! You’re not pursuing dance, because you are dying.’ They knew how sick I was, so they drove me to a Christian college… I put up a fight. I told them, ‘You’re forcing me to do this, and I’ll always regret this and be upset with you.’ But that’s not what happened.”

As it turned out, dancing wasn’t even allowed at the Christian college. Instead of focusing on what she couldn’t do, Lori spent her time getting to know the Lord and purposed to feed her spirit and body.

“There were these revival meetings and worship. I just got so plugged in, and I soaked everything in. I was practically a sponge,” Lori says. “For me sacrificing dance was like nothing. All I wanted was to be whole, free and healed. It wasn’t an easy road. There were days when I would be cuddled up in bed, and I wouldn’t want to go to any of the meals. I hated the food but my friends would knock on my door, take my hand, drag me there and pray me through every bite. So amazingly within two months I gained 30 pounds.”

During one of her quiet times, the Lord lead Lori to a verse that she hung on to. It was through a verse that Lori believes God freed her from anorexia.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.” – Jeremiah 31:3-4

“I thought, ‘God, I can dance and be joyful!’ That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to worship Him, and that’s when my freedom came. I believe that’s where I truly overcame this eating disorder.”

But almost immediately after this revelation, a series of new health problems arose…

“First it was a diagnosis of fibromyalgia , which was completely unexplained pain, stiffness in every muscle and joint of my body,” she says. “The next year I was in three car accidents. After that I had ovarian cysts rupturing twice, then kidney stones… just one painful thing after another.”

It seemed as though the moment Lori dedicated her life to dancing for the Lord, her body physically wasn’t able to do it anymore.

When Lori’s class planned a trip to Israel, she learned that a pre-cancerous tumor had formed beneath her ear. Against the advice of her doctor, she went to Israel rather than go for her scheduled surgery.

“’God, is this something You still want me to do? Is this Your time?’ Every time I would go back to Him in prayer, I just knew over and over: ‘This is the time. You will be healed in Israel.’”

She remembered the verse from Jeremiah and hung on to the promise that she would one day dance joyfully. After receiving prayer at the pool of Bethesda, Lori noticed a remarkable difference! 

Lori today“A few weeks later, when I went into surgery, the doctor said that it shrunk two-thirds the size!”

These days, Lori is stronger than she’s ever been, completely healed, and foods like pizza are no longer the enemy!

“I think that my healing is so much deeper than physical,” Lori says. “Because I look in those eyes of that sad girl and now that girl doesn’t come back. I never see her in the mirror. I see an audience of One. I just want to express my love for God and for what He’s done for me.”

Is Lori's struggle familiar to you? Get help with our special pamphlet: Overcoming Eating Disorders

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