Exclusive Interview with Nicole Cleveland
Forgiving the Unspeakable
My Father Killed My Mother
Recently I met a woman by the name of Lori McKenney. Little did I know she would be such a fireball for the Lord.
From the time she picked up the mic, I knew there was a story to be told. You see, when some people are changed they walk it, they talk it. That’s Lori.
Lori has been through many trials in her 40 something years she’s been on this earth. But forgiveness seems to be at the center of it all.
My prayer is that you see God through her testimony
In this interview we talk about how she forgave her father for killing her mother
while she was outside playing. If you have unforgiveness in your heart may I encourage you to let it go?
BAM: I believe what you have to say, people need to hear. I have been blessed to hear a little bit about your testimony and I came out to your book release party. Congratulations on your new book “Transformations”.
Lori: Thank you very much.
BAM: I know you are excited about it.
Lori: Yes, absolutely. The phones are still going. I’m so excited.
BAM: That’s such a blessing. Now your testimony has a lot of forgiveness wrapped up, tied up, and tangled up in it. You have had to forgive family members, friends, and the people closest to you. I really want you to talk about forgiveness and how you had to forgive your father, because that touches the core.
Lori: Yes, first I want to say that it was definitely God that did it because there was no way what my father did I would have ever imagined that I would have to forgiven him. As a young child, I didn’t have a childhood like most children did. I had to come home to my grandmother and my dad shooting back and forth because they didn’t like each other. It consisted of sometimes bullets and sometimes axes. But praise be to God I never got hit.
I remember we came home and my dad made me go outside and I was on punishment. That’s how I really knew that my dad premeditated murder. He made me go outside and my mother used to be a prostitute. You could look out the back door and see where my mother was. My dad used to make me go over and get her. But this one particular evening, he went over to get her. My grandmother told him she wasn’t there. He made me go outside. So when my mother came in the house my dad took a double barrel shot gun and killed her.
A lot of anger, bitterness, and rage sat in me. I began to hit the streets. I became a run away, living in woods and in and out of foster homes and in and out of the system. Always fighting. My life just spiraled down. Then I began to get in other relationships with people that was the same way. Fighting and anger and bitterness set in. How I forgave my dad was a process with time. I kept going to God because I didn’t want to keep holding this. I couldn’t be around him for 2 minutes. We would have cook outs and I wouldn’t go to cook outs. Even if I got the muscle to go see him I couldn’t be around him. I gave myself a time limit. I could be around him 2 minutes and that’s it. Anger would always set in. One particular evening the Lord really dealt with me and asked me to forgive. It took some time, but I made a decision that I was not going to allow this situation to hold me hostage anymore. I couldn’t go further in my life, in my ministry, with my kids. It held me in captivity for years.
BAM: Right, now let’s back up a little bit Lori. Now, you talked about your Father and grandmother shooting back and forth with actual guns at each other. Then you also talked about your mother being a prostitute. So you haven’t had a healthy upbringing or childhood. Then after your father killed your mother you had to make a decision within yourself and decide to forgive him because it was holding you hostage.
Lori: Absolutely. I think the most powerful thing was, I tried to go on with life pushing that aside, but it would always come up. I had to make a decision. The only way to go on with life and this won’t haunt me any more, I had to forgive. I started reading scriptures on forgiving. I didn’t want to want to forgive. I could justify why I didn’t have to forgive him. Because I would go to school and see other mothers there and I was angry that my mother wasn’t there. When a girl goes through the growing up things, I felt like I was deprived because if I had my mother there I would have got the things that most girls should have gotten.
BAM: And you blamed your father.
Lori: And I blamed him. I blamed him for everything. You know… just girlfriend things. When I would go to the mall and go to places and the enemy kept rewinding. He would make sure I saw things that had to do with mother and daughter. In whatever situation. Those things held me captive. It made me depressed. Depression went to suicide. I tried to kill myself. I began to start reading the word and crying out to God. Fasting and praying. But only when I made a choice to release this and to forgive. My life has never been the same. If I would have known that I could have went on and released that a long time ago verses me going through all that turmoil.
BAM: Tell me what was the time span that it took for you to forgive. From the time he killed your mother, and I’m so sorry for that… It’s such a terrible loss and the time that you forgave him. What was the time frame, how many years?
Lori: I’m 46 now; it’s going on 4 years that I forgave him. It took me a long time.
BAM: A long time. Wow!
Lori: A long time and the reason it took so long was that I could justify why I didn’t need to forgive him. I knew he did his time in jail which was a year, but he didn’t do my time.
BAM: 1 year
Lori: 1 year. The purpose of 1 year is because at my grandmother’s house there were always murders down there, so this was just another murder. So my thing was they released him for a year, but in my mind he was going to not be released until he died, in my spirit.
BAM: Isn’t that something though? I don’t believe you are alone. A lot of us, most of us, have certain things we forgive people for, but there are some things that are justified, in our minds, they are justified that you’ve crossed the line. That just can not be forgiven. When God said it’s forgiven, it’s forgiven.
BAM: He was not the only one you had to forgive. You had to go through domestic violence, you were abused physically. Is that correct?
Lori: That’s correct. I went into a marriage that I stayed in for 20 years. This man beat me; he burned my hair, told me not to cry while he snatched my hair out, and had multiple affairs with family members. I had to forgive family members who had been with my husband and even people that went to school with me that had been with my ex-husband and it had gotten so bad to the point that God was still dealing with me but he wouldn’t let me get revenge. So I became angry with God because his word was saying something different than what I wanted to do. Yet I knew that in order to be released I had to forgive but my ex-husband –he sliced my face.
Lori: When he sliced my face, I’m like ok God, you are showing me the scripture of ;”forgive them for they know not what they do”, but God why is it that people keep doing bad things to me and you keep telling me to forgive. I got to a point where I got angry with the Lord because revenge set it. When revenge set in and it got so strong and you stack everything up that has gone on against you, it kind of makes you torn between the word and the reality of what happened to you.
BAM: How did you forgive your ex-husband?
Lori: That took another process of time because I had to get out of the relationship. Once I got out of the relationship, I had to forgive him for the multiple affairs, I had to forgive him for having affairs with my family members, and then I had to forgive the family members for doing that to me and then what he did to me physically. That took a lot of counseling, a lot of me talking it out, people told me to pray about it, pray about it, fast about it. I didn’t have a chance, I kept it all in and I became explosive. But when I got to a point where I had to do it again, I had to make a choice. And how I made a choice was I remember reading a passage, it was something I was reading in a magazine and it let me know that God didn’t cause me to be abused. When I said ,God has not caused me to be abused then I made up my mind that if God has not caused me to be abused, then God doesn’t want me to sit around suicidal, he doesn’t want me to sit around with unforgiveness, then I had to do it again. I had to make a choice. I’m telling you it was not an easy choice to make. Here I go again; I wanted to justify these things that happened to me. But the minute I said God, you take this. I know what they did to me was not my fault. I stopped blaming myself, it went away.
BAM: I think a lot of times people blame themselves. They feel as though it’s my fault that this it happened to me. I must have done something wrong. Especially when it happens over and over and over again. It seems like it’s a cycle.
But Lori I want you to talk to the people that are listening right now that may be in a situation where they can’t forgive and they’ve held this thing and they’ve been hurt and they’ve held it in their heart and they won’t let it go. They are being held hostage. What advice would you give them right now?
Lori: One of the main things that I would give them that helped me get delivered was a picture in my mind of a warden. A warden has the right to release a person or has a right to give a person a life sentence. I do prison ministry so I remembered that. I was thinking in my mind when I go in with the people that had done wrong, they were sorry for what they had done, but they had to do the sentence. I became compassionate for them, even thought they said they were sorry for what they did, they still had to do the life sentence or years they had. I’m not a warden within myself. I became a warden. One of the things that will have you is you have to remember number one – it’s not your fault. Number two – in order for God to release you of the things you’ve done wrong to people, you have to in exchange release the wrongs that people have done to you.
BAM: That’s good.
Lori: That is one of my biggest things, I didn’t want to allow the things that happen to me in life to hold me in captivity. Where I couldn’t enjoy life. You will not enjoy life if you have unforgiveness. You will always stay sorrow and you will always be bitter. Depression will always come to you. When I made a choice, I want to live. I don’t want to live in the past. You have to make a choice. I can’t keep living in the past. I have to rid of the past and go forward. But only when you make a choice. When you make a choice, I’m telling you, you will live again.
BAM: I think it goes back to the childhood prayer that we learned in kindergarten. Forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass again us. We can’t be forgiven unless we have forgiven others. It’s so important. I’m so glad you touched on that.
Let’s talk about that book. Tell me why you wrote Transformations Lori.
Lori: Transformation is defiantly about my testimony. It defiantly talks about the heart of it being forgiveness as a matter of fact. I did the four stages of a butterfly. The metamorphose process. What it is is that we got to stop fighting the process and let God transform our life. The egg stage is the things that God calls us to. What his purpose is for you in life. That’s the egg stage. The caterpillar looks ugly. They want to kick it because they don’t think it has a purpose. That’s what most people think about our lives. It has no purpose and because it has no purpose they speak negative about it. Sometimes we even speak negative about our own dreams and goals. So that’s how I dealt with the caterpillar. Then we go to the cocoon stage. The cocoon state, you know it hangs on a string and it’s brown. It looks dried up and ugly like there is no life in it. Sometimes the things we go through in life are so hard and so heartbroken. It has so much anger and pain that God can’t get the glory out of it. What that cocoon stage is when God begins to close you up and he begins to speak to you, he begins to heal you and tell you based on the word of God. Jeremiah 29:11 “the things that I have for you are good and not evil. There is an expected end.” The part I love the most is the caterpillar, how the caterpillar always get his color in the trials and what he went through. So everything I went through in life is how I became a butterfly because I got my colors through my bruises. I got my colors through my sorrow. Never knew to this day that it was making me into a beautiful butterfly. So I explain in the book that the metamorphose process is all apart of God’s plan. He said there is an expected end.
BAM: That’s right and you talk about how many believers have a hard time excepting that transformation is apart of God’s plan for their lives. You also talk about how we accept address changes, income changes, management changes, even physical appearance changes, but we have a hard time accepting that change from that simple nature to that of a wholly people. I think it’s so important.
Lori: Yes and I think that everybody agrees that we need a change, but only a few are willing to change.
BAM: True, now tell us how to get your book.
BAM: Tell us about Life Saving King Ministries What exactly is that?
Lori: Life Saving King Ministries is the ministry that God has birthed out. That particular ministry is a world wide ministry. It’s what I do with my books and CD’s. It’s mainly conferences of teaching people to transform their life. We’ll be doing seminars out of that on how God wants to transform your heart, your mind. It’s a world wide ministry. We also have LSK ministry this is where we teach people from city to city that there is a book inside of them. Teach them how to start with the book, on napkins, on paper and teach you how to put it together and help you all the way until the day you print.
BAM: That is wonderful. Well you know what Lori, I thank God that we were able to meet and that you were able to join us today and talk about forgiveness, the butterfly stage and your book Transformations. So thank you so much for joining us today.
Lori: Thank you for the opportunity.
BAM: You’re welcome
Visit Lori’s site here for more information on her book.