Episode 13: Lori Vober and Following Christ through Difficult Times

This week on Everyday Discipleship Every Day we talk with Lori Vober, a writer, speaker, stroke survivor, and adoptive mom of three, who shares her very personal story with us and what God has taught her through it. Her book Uncomplicated brings us back to some vital principles and values for being a faithful disciple today.

Transcript/Show Notes:

Terrie (00:37):

Welcome to Everyday Discipleship Every Day, where we discuss discipleship in the 21st century, guided by biblical discipleship, a Christian worldview and individual needs while focusing on discipling our children as well. I’m your host, Terrie Hellard-Brown, and I’ve been releasing my discipleship book on my blog chapter by chapter, and you are welcome to check that out and download it and use it, and you can find it on TerrieHellardBrown.com. Today we have a special guest, Lori Vober is our guest today, and she has a wonderful testimony of how God has used her life and changed her life in the unexpected things that came along the way in her life, but what I love about her story is it’s a story of perseverance, of making choices to follow Christ and to keep a positive outlook in spite of difficult times, and I think you’ll be blessed as she shares her story.

Terrie (01:36):

I think you’ll be encouraged, and I think you’ll be challenged as you walk in your walk with Christ and face challenges along the way and have to make the choices. I know that Bonhoeffer said, you know, they can do whatever they want to be. They can take my home away, they can take away my family. They can never take away my choice. I have the choice to choose how I respond to my situation, and that’s something that Lori has also learned in her life, and so join the conversation now and listen in to her wonderful testimony and what God is doing in her life. Today, we have a special guest with us, Lori Vober, and I’m so excited for you to hear her story and her testimony of God’s work in her life. And she’s going to tell us about her book as well. Lori, thank you for joining us today.

Lori (02:24):

Oh, thank you so much, Terrie, for having me on. I’m so excited to share my journey with you.

Terrie (02:29):

Well, let’s start with your testimony. Tell us what happened and how God has used that in your life.

Lori (02:35):

Oh, yes, absolutely. So I became a Christian in my senior year of high school. I grew up in different churches, but really took hold of my faith and accepted God as my personal savior in high school. And I am so extremely glad I had that faith journey because going into my marriage, I married a Christian man. We lived in Minnesota and just shy of our fifth year wedding anniversary. I suffered a massive stroke. I had just transitioned my career from corporate America. I worked for the airline industry and had just made the transition to our church. We were trying to start our family and had not yet been successful, and I decided to take a step back in hopes that less travel, less stress would help us with that family planning, and instead, God had other plans and His plan was to save my life. There’s two types of strokes. One is a blood clot and the other is a hemorrhoid stroke, and I had the hemorrhoid stroke, which is like a brain bleed, and I am, you know, so grateful for that job change because really it saved my life 17 days in a drug induced coma and paralyzed on the left side when I woke up. I’m just grateful to be alive today.

Terrie (03:49):

That’s amazing. So, wow. 29 years old. That’s just unbelievable. So how did you, when you did wake up, I’m sure there was many months of recuperating, and tell us a little bit about that journey and what God brought you through and what He taught you through that.

Lori (04:07):

Oh, absolutely. So I was in the hospital for two months and at the beginning there, you know, I don’t think I really recognized what the journey was going to look like. I like to exercise a lot, so I think God protected me emotionally along the way, and I’m so grateful for that. You know, God does a great job protecting us, and I am, I’m truly grateful because I really felt like, okay, if I just keep exercising and persevering, I’m going to make a full recovery, and He gave me two traits prior to my stroke. He gave me several traits, but two very important ones. One was a positive attitude and the other was perseverance, and those have really carried me through my journey along with my faith, and so I just thought, okay, if I can just keep exercising and keep persevering, certainly, you know, this is just going to be temporary.

Lori (04:59):

So I was in the hospital for two months, went home to my parents’ house in a wheelchair, and my husband also worked for the airline industry, and it was soon after September 11th. So unfortunately two months after hospital discharge, he was laid off, but that brought us to Arizona, which in turn was another miracle because we got us out of the snow of Minnesota, and so we, we left Minnesota. So six months total after the stroke, we were off from Minnesota to Arizona, so it was just a really crazy time of transition, but soon after we got to Arizona, I started having seizures, so that was medical challenge number two that I started having seizures from the stroke, but I found an amazing stroke recovery center in Phoenix, and I just threw myself into stroke recovery, and it was a fallacy to think that I was going to make a full recovery.

Lori (05:58):

If you saw me in person today, you would see I still have a disability. I’m extremely independent. I drive, I became an adoptive mom of three, eight years post-stroke, but I do still have a disability and God has used that to form my journey, to give me the faith and dependence on Him that I have today and to help people that I really would not have even known how to help before. So I am so incredibly grateful for many, many things in my life, and I continue to learn and grow in this journey every single day.

Terrie (06:33):

That’s amazing, and I do think that is such an evidence or a testimony to God’s grace that I’ve heard it so many times, people who go through these very difficult times and life altering, unexpected things. They see God’s hand in it and they thank Him for it. I mean, even we’ve talked to people who are persecuted in their faith and they thank God for where He’s taking them. And I just, that’s foreign to a lot of us who especially live in the United States because we don’t struggle with a lot of that kind of stuff, the persecution or difficulties that other people in other countries do, and I’m always amazed at God’s grace as He carries us through whatever our challenges are, and all of us have had the twists and turns and unexpected things happen in life that, you know, it didn’t turn out like we thought it would, but some have it better and some have it harder, and I just am amazed at the testimony He gives those who have walked through the difficulties. So I, I love that. And through that, He has had you write a book, it’s a devotional book, is that correct?

Lori (07:43):

Actually, it’s probably more in line with the Christian living.

Terrie (07:46):

Okay, and you’re writing a devotional book?

Lori (07:49):

I’m writing a devotional. Yes. So I felt like there were so many things that I didn’t say in the first one that I’m writing a 52 week devotional now. So yes, and I think so many times when we write it, I’m so glad I wrote that first book, but there was so many things I wasn’t ready and I didn’t even acknowledge that I had no idea I was missing. So now I’m writing a 52 week devotional to cover the things that I didn’t, didn’t even acknowledge in the first book. So…

Terrie (08:16):

Wow. Okay. Well, tell us about your first book.

Lori (08:19):

Yes, yes. So my first book is called Choices: When You’re Faced with a Challenge, What Choice Will You Make? Because I think, and I’m so grateful that God gave me that title because I use choices all the time. because You know, no matter what age we’re at, you know, from the time we’re born till the time we die, we will be faced with challenges this side of Heaven, but it’s the choice we make with those challenges that change everything. And so many people, I believe, get stuck because they think, oh my goodness, I’ve gone through this horrendous trial now I’m stuck. No, you’re never without a choice, you always have a choice within your reaction of the circumstances you’re in. The challenges are going to come, the hard trials are going to come, but you always have a choice. And so I’m so grateful for that title.

Lori (09:06):

And so the book is about challenges we’ve been through, but also the blessings that have come from those and the choices we’ve made about the medical and the adoption. So I’ve talked throughout the book about, about both and why I’m writing the devotional is there’s so much I didn’t realize I wasn’t vulnerable about, I didn’t cover. And so much I think was protection from God that He realized I wasn’t ready, and He’s revealed since then, and just some that now that our kids are older and we are now empty nesters, I’ve healed from, and it’s time to, now that I’m past that, it’s time to use what I’ve learned to encourage others through this next book.

Terrie (09:49):

That’s great. Well, I’m excited to read the next book. That’ll be so wonderful. I’ve written devotional books and I know a 52 week one that’s tough to write such a long book.

Lori (10:00):

Oh, but there’s so much to be said, and I’m so grateful that God’s given me this perspective and you know, He’s really shown me every challenge is an opportunity, and really, as long as we can remember that, you know, the things we go through are all really part of His master plan, and I think that that’s so important because it helps us to remember the challenges and the hard trials are part of a big purpose, and, you know, so many times when we go through devastating things, you know, and there are devastating things we all go through you know, mine was the stroke and the epilepsy. That, and the disability is very frustrating to me on many times. I’m not as positive as I want to be, but you know, you just keep going. And I, you know, people have cancer, they have diabetes, they have other diseases that affect them, and you just have that, that choice that you have to make.

Lori (10:58):

But it’s not for lack of faith. We read in the Bible all the time that the people that are cured just by touching the hem of Jesus’s garment, and so that brings you to the point of is it my faith that’s not strong enough that hasn’t given me that miracle? No. It’s just that God’s given you other miracles, and if He had chosen to heal me, I wouldn’t have the story that I have today. So you have to be thankful for the miracles that He has given you and recognize that He heals you in the way that He chooses to heal you.

Terrie (11:30):

That is so good. That is such a good word. Because there are those who think they, they just beat themselves up. They think they’ve, if they have a baby with a birth defect, they think they’ve done something wrong, and if they are dealing with something that God is not healing, they, when we can get to the point where we can see like you have, that there are blessings along the way, He’s healing us in other ways. I had a friend who had a heart condition in college. She was a good friend of mine. And we said, can we pray for your healing? And she said, you can. People have, and I believe God could heal me, but she said, but He heals me every day that I take another breath that I keep living. And she’s like, He has healed me of my expectations, of my fears, and all that came along with that, that she really felt healed, even though physically she still had to deal with that heart condition. And she’s still alive today and doing great, and we’ve been back in touch again. And I just love that. But I know that she wasn’t, she wasn’t expected to live when she was born. They, the name they gave her was the two uncles who were in the waiting room, and so her name is Billy Ray because they, the doctors said she wouldn’t live one day and now she’s, I won’t say how old we are, but we’re up there.

Lori (12:50):

Oh wow. That’s- what a testimony, huh?

Terrie (12:53):

Yeah. She’s had a great testimony. So I love that. You know, and what I always remind people is God says, we need the faith the size of a mustard seed, and we can do anything. You know, we can, anything He wants us wants to happen will happen. We can move mountains. We can see healings, we can cast out demons, whatever he wants us to do. We don’t have to have much faith. It’s not our faith that does it. It’s His ability. And what I love about that story where He’s telling them, you know, all you need is the faith of a mustard seed, which they obviously didn’t have at that moment. He still did the healing. He still delivered the child who had the demon. He still calmed the sea. You know, He still did those things even though the disciples didn’t show much faith.

Terrie (13:39):

And He’s like, where is your faith? And so if I feel like if He wants to heal us, if He wants to change situations, He can and He will, but He is, like you said, there’s a bigger picture, and we are, as His followers, as His disciples, we are walking in His footsteps and where He leads us, regardless of where that takes us, and yes, you know, I’ve talked on here before about my children and three of the four have autism, and it’s, it’s mild autism. They are high functioning. They do great. But I prayed for years for God to heal, especially my older son. I just felt like, I don’t know why I prayed for my daughter too. My younger son, he’s doing great, but the older two were diagnosed as teenagers. They didn’t have the benefit of intervention accommodations and all those things because they were misdiagnosed for years.

Lori (14:34):

Oh, I’m so sorry.

Terrie (14:36):

Yeah. So I prayed for God to heal them, and He in my heart said, no, I have a purpose for them just the way they are, and I had a pastor one day who said, you know, your children are not a mistake, and I mean, you want to talk about tears, I’m just like blubbering, because no one had ever said that to me. It’s like everyone acted like we had done something wrong or, you know, there was something defective in us that God would allow this to happen, and just to have that perspective, that God’s plan is perfect and He knows what He’s doing, and we have a hard time with that because we want things to be the way we want them to be, and I think your message is so needed.

Lori (15:23):

Oh, thank you. Thank you. Well, you know, we, we don’t ask for these things. I mean, we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t ask for, for any of us to be put in this position. But when we are, it goes back to that choice. How are you going to react? And you know, I am so grateful that he gave me the faith. He did. He gave me the support system of a wonderful spouse, and my husband grew up with a mom who was diagnosed with cancer early in his childhood. She battled most of his life. She passed away a month before we met, and I say now that when I moved from Oklahoma to Minnesota and met him there, and I say now that that move was God’s orchestrated and for him to, you know, bring me my godly spouse because my spouse grew up his entire life watching his dad take care of his mom.

Lori (16:14):

And we had no idea that one day he would have to take care of me in that same way, but I believe that he was groomed to have that same compassionate skill needed to take care of me. And, you know, it hasn’t always been easy, but I can be a handful. And I’m sure he would sometimes wish I would just, you know, settle down and, you know, not want to share my message and not want to push as hard as I do, and I am so grateful for his support and who he is and, and what he’s done for me, and I know that comes because of who God made him to be and the background he is, and not all spouses would have supported me the way he has. So God has an amazing plan even when we don’t understand it. And that’s one thing He’s taught me is when we don’t understand, it’s okay. We don’t have to.

Terrie (17:03):

That’s good. Yeah. That’s true. I love that. Well, tell us a little bit about your adoption story. I know I have people who listen and watch this podcast who have either adopted or in the process of adopting or would like to. So tell us about that.

Lori (17:20):

I would be happy to. In fact, one of my goals is to start a adoption blog, a part of my website. So I encourage your audience to stay tuned. It’s part of my wishlist to start a stroke survivor blog and a adoption blog to help others with what my journey really looked like. I think many times we aren’t willing to be as vulnerable because it’s just a journey. And we want, we want other people to think that everything’s great. And you know what? Life’s hard. You know, it’s just no matter what we go through, and it’s not that we’re trying to be mean about anything, it’s just life. And kids come with trauma, kids come with issues. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re biologically or adoption or foster kids all come with their own sets of rules and expectations no matter how they come.

Lori (18:13):

And we came, we adopted at ages 6, 8, and 10, so they were a little older. They came from Columbia, South America, and it was a journey in itself when we first chose to adopt our children. We were supposed to be in country for six to eight weeks, and we were there for 16 weeks, so it was, it was an amazing adventure. We took classes here in Arizona at a community college to learn Spanish before we went over there so we could be prepared and communicate with our children and how we were at an adoption hotel during our time there so that we could have support while we were there. And so they put us in the biggest room in the hotel that they could find so that we could all be together, and they had a little table outside our room.

Lori (18:59):

So I remember at night when we put the kids to bed, my husband and I would go sit outside at, at our little table and I would have a hot chocolate and we would, that would be our time to communicate back home and do our blogging and things and also figure out what were we doing and how were we going to survive the next day. Because we had just adopted three kids and we really didn’t know what we were doing, but we were trying to act during daylight hours, like we knew what we were doing and not let onto them that we had no clue of what we were doing, and the staff would come and talk to us, and we would try and converse, and I remember they would leave and my husband and I would look at each other and say, do you have a clue of what they just said to us?

Lori (19:43):

Because it was all in Spanish, and he would say no, and I would say no, and we would be like, this is a disaster in the making because we’re in a country, we understand about 10% of what’s being said to us. We’re trying to parent children that we don’t know what we’re doing. And so, you know, but God gives you whatever you need every step of the way. And I tell my kids now, I remember telling them while I was raising them, you did not come with an instruction manual, and so I’m probably screwing so many things up, so please bear with me, and I tell them now that I probably screwed many things up, but you gave me so many insights of things that I wouldn’t have known. And then when we went through the pandemic, you know, and I look at the mental challenge and the mental state of our society.

Lori (20:38):

Because my kids did go through quite a bit mentally and mental challenges that I didn’t anticipate. I would not have understood what our society and our world looks like as a whole, probably as clearly had I not adopted and had the children that I had. So I had just looked at every difficult situation as an opportunity because otherwise we tend to find ourself in a very comfortable bubble where we tend to never put ourselves out there in uncomfortable situations. But when we adopt, you know, for those of you that are in the adoption situation, you already understand you are going to be in situations that are unknown. And for those of you that may be considering adoption or you’re in the waiting process, just know that there are so many expectations that aren’t going to be met. So my biggest thing is if I could go back, I would throw out the expectations and parent with less.

Lori (21:40):

Because love doesn’t conquer all and the kids are going to be who the kids are, but the best we could do is love, support, nurture and give them the seeds of faith that we had, and then send them on their way and know that we gave them the very best background that we could, and then hope that they can have the best life that they can here as adults, and then as parents, no matter how you they come to you, that’s all you can do as parents is to continue to pray for them, love them with boundaries, and support them, and knowing that you gave them the best start that you could.

Terrie (22:23):

Yeah, and like you said, the expectations, whether you have them or adopt them, you always think you know what you’re getting into, but you never do come around the corner.

Lori (22:36):

And that is me, marriage too, though, right? I mean, we all go

Terrie (22:40):

Yeah, that’s true.

Lori (22:41):

Our marriage is having these expectations of what it’s going to be, and we plan the wedding and we plan the honeymoon, and then we get into the actual marriage and it’s like, whoa, this is what a marriage is like, right? So I mean, it’s the same thing. It’s just, by the time we get into the parenting, we’ve forgotten what it was like to do the marriage and the honeymoon and the, and the marriage. So yeah, it’s the same steps, right?

Terrie (23:08):

Yeah. Dave and I joke, because we said after we got married, we’re like, what did we do? What have we done? We knew we’d made the right choice, but again, we were like, oh my goodness, what have we done?

Lori (23:22):

Yes. It’s part of the life journey. Right? But if we knew everything up front, how many mistakes would we not make? Because we would never jump in. If God gave us the whole plan from the beginning, we would not jump in. I know I wouldn’t.

Terrie (23:41):

Yeah. That would be, and you know, the Bible tells us to count the cost and we do the best we can. We count the cost to the best of our ability, just like we do the marriage vows, but we never know what’s really going to happen, and it really comes down to are we committed? You know, do we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? And so then just like in marriage, love is an action. Love is a decision. Love is a commitment, and with our children for sure. That is also true, and I think our whole walk with God, that’s what it is. We’re following Him because we have no other choice. We can’t, you can’t leave someone you love that much and say, oh, this is too hard. I’m walking away, and you know, that’s what it is to be His disciple, to follow Him. It’s our breath, it’s our life, and we can’t walk away from it no matter how hard it gets.

Lori (24:33):

And I think our focus, I don’t know if you feel this way, but I think our focus changes as we age, the things that we want in our life that as we get a little older, our focus just changes, our priorities change. Not that God’s not important to us when we’re younger, but we just see things differently.

Terrie (24:51):

Oh yeah. You, I know we’ve been in ministry for over 30 years and when we first started ministry, what we thought about God was so different than what we think. Now. We’ve, we went into missions and we thought we had faith. We thought we knew what living by faith meant until we were on the mission field, and then we really learned more about what that means, you know, and then coming back here, we thought, well, we’ll be back home. It is so much harder to transition back to your own culture because people don’t expect you to not understand what they’re talking about. You know, you’re from here. It’s your language, it’s your culture, and yet you’ve been out of it so long, you don’t even know what they’re talking about sometimes.

Lori (25:36):

I know, it’s hard.

Terrie (25:37):

It’s really weird. It really is.

Lori (25:39):

I get it, it’s hard.

Terrie (25:41):

And then our, you know, your- the thing with missions and that kind of thing, and I’m sure your children experience this, you are part of two cultures and yet you’re different from both cultures. TCK, third culture kids, my husband and my kids, were all third culture kids. I’m the only one who isn’t, and I guess I’m an adult third culture adult, but you’re never quite satisfied. You miss where you came from. You miss where you’re, when you’re away from home, you miss home, you know, and you never quite fit exactly. In any culture. And so it’s just a very different weird kind of life. I love it. And my kids agree they wouldn’t change a thing. They love having grown up overseas, but it is different for them. And my, my younger two especially are so culturally Chinese more than they are American at times. And I joke with my daughter all the time. I say you’re so Chinese. Because she just reacts to everything. She sees everything from that cultural perspective, and it’s just a subtle thing, but it’s just the way she handles things, the way she does things, even the way she cooks. She’s just more Chinese. It’s so funny.

Lori (26:54):

Do you think your kids will go back? Is that part of their plan?

Terrie (26:59):

Well, I know my two younger ones hope to, my two older ones hope to visit. With TCKs you have two opposite spectrums. They either stay put and hardly ever move to another place. They may travel, but they don’t, they don’t move a lot or they never settle down. And so my husband is one of those who just never settle down till now he’s, we’re old enough now that we’re like ready to go, okay, we can settle down now, but our whole marriage, if he didn’t get to go somewhere, do a mission trip, fly somewhere every few months or every year, he just felt antsy. And his brothers both settled and hardly moved. And they’ve just been like his younger brother. He has lived in the same city his entire marriage. And they have lived in the same house. Most of that.

Terrie (27:48):

They built a house early on and they’re still in that house, and then his mother-in-law’s across the street and his daughter’s across the street. And they’re all just right there, and that’s just, he’s happy as he can be. Now, they travel for their vacations. They’ll go to other countries, you know, and other places for, for vacation, but as far as living, he has never moved much at all. And his older brother’s kind of been the same way. But Dave is, he’s the get about kind of TCK. And so my daughter, my younger daughter this last year, she had saved up. She’d been working three jobs like crazy, saving her money. because She’s very frugal, and then she took a year off and she went to Asia for several months. Then she came home for Christmas and then she went to Europe for about a month and a half, maybe two months. Then she came back, she’s here now, but she’s getting ready to leave Friday, and she goes to Hawaii, then Australia, then New Zealand, and then back to Taiwan to see a friend she grew up with. They haven’t seen each other for like 15 years. They’re going to meet in Taiwan and hang out, and then I think she’s coming back and starting to work again. She’s about, spent all her money.

Lori (28:57):

Oh my goodness. That is incredible.

Terrie (28:59):

Yeah. But she just loves traveling and she’s traveled a lot of that by herself, which made her mother very nervous.

Lori (29:07):

Oh, did you, worry?

Terrie (29:09):

I try not to, I pray a lot, but I did get onto her once because she was staying in a hostel that I didn’t feel was safe with the way she was describing it, and she did switch to a different room because she was in a room with a bunch of guys, and I was just like, get out of there. I will pay for you to go to a hotel, and she’s like, no, no, no, I don’t feel safe in a hotel. I’ll go to a different hostel. So she got in one where there were more girls and, ah, oh goodness. And she’s a daredevil, you know, she’s the jump out of the airplane, dive to the bottom of the ocean type of kid, and so she keeps me nervous most of the time.

Lori (29:47):

Wow. That is incredible.

Terrie (29:50):

Yeah, she’s amazing. Well, they all are. And my younger one, I don’t know if he’ll move overseas, but I don’t think he’ll ever stay put. He strikes me as the kind of kid he is going to be traveling and he learns languages really quickly, and so I think he will travel and learn every language he can. He’s got a brain that just amazes me. I said he picks up languages, like I pick up socks off the floor. I mean, he just learns them so quickly. God has just gifted him with that kind of brain, and so I don’t know what he’ll do, but I’m sure he won’t be just sitting in one place.

Lori (30:29):

Did you travel a lot when you were overseas and that’s how they learned to love to travel?

Terrie (30:35):

Yeah, we did. We did a lot of mission trips and like we actually took a group from Taiwan to Venezuela, and my husband did missions in China and, and then we went to the Philippines and Hong Kong. You know, we didn’t travel a lot because we were missionaries and didn’t have a lot of money, but when God opened the door, we certainly did what we could, and then just every time we would go back, you’re traveling through countries to go back and forth and they’ve just learned to love people and cultures and travel. And my daughter, especially the younger daughter, she loves trying new foods. The ones with autism, that is not a thing. Autistic kids like, they don’t like to be adventurous with food, but she does, she likes, you can’t stump her with anything. You can’t make it too hot. You can’t make it too weird. She’s going to try it.

Lori (31:26):

That’s awesome.

Terrie (31:27):

That’s who she is. So she’s just like her dad. They’re both that way, so it’s been an adventure and it’s been a blessing, but it’s also been a challenge, and she was actually a teacher in Myanmar for a while, and she had to leave, she had to flee the country. When Covid hit, they, you know, she lost her job. And so she needed to get out of the country and everything was shut down because of Covid, and God just opened a door. She had had several flights canceled, and she thought she was just going to be, have to stay in Myanmar through Covid, and they, she wouldn’t have been able to get medical care or anything, so it would’ve been very frightening, but anyway, suddenly the door opened for her to go through Thailand and get home. She couldn’t stay in Thailand more than 24 hours, or they wouldn’t let her come through her ticket.

Terrie (32:16):

Her layover was 23 hours, and it was amazing. And she said it was so weird because you look at the, the display and there’s one flight, it’s not like a whole bunch of flights. So she got out, got home, and then right after that is when the coup happened, and her neighborhood was devastated. They just destroyed her neighborhood. She most likely would’ve been killed. So it just was God’s providence that He helped her get out. And she’s still grieving the loss of so many who didn’t get out that she knew, and it’s just a really hard situation. Even now, it’s still, they want her to come back. She wants to go back, but it is just not safe yet. But I know that God has put that country on her heart, and if the Lord ever opens the door again for her, I’m sure she’ll go through it to go back there. And that’s just who she is. So I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that she will grab it with both hands and run for it.

Lori (33:20):

Oh, that’s incredible.

Terrie (33:22):

Yeah, she’s, she’s amazing. But I’m sorry we didn’t, I didn’t mean to get off on my story. I want to talk about your story.

Lori (33:29):

Oh, you’re fine. You’re fine. No, that’s wonderful though. I’m glad your kids had that. That’s important.

Terrie (33:36):

Yeah. So with your children coming to the states and they’re having to learn the new language, and you’ve never been parents before and you’ve suddenly got three children, what is, what is that like?

Lori (33:49):

That was a challenge. Honestly, it was a challenge from the get go, but again, like I said, blessings along the way. I mean, I look back and we wouldn’t have had that otherwise. So we did find out in 2022, I had a full hysterectomy. We found out I had, I was pre-diagnosed ovarian cancer. Thankfully it was a benign cyst. So I’m thankful for that. So I’m cancer free, but through my hysterectomy, we did find out I would never have been able to have our own kids. We made the choice to adopt because we thought at the time that we had been just struggling with infertility because of stress, and then with epilepsy and the disability, it would be a safer route to do adoption. So that was our reasoning for adoption. We had always been, since the day we were married, and actually prior to our marriage, my husband had always been very involved in compassionate international.

Lori (34:44):

So we had always had four kids that we had supported through our entire marriage. So that’s what led us to an international adoption. And so, you know, looking at that and then finding out that I really would never have been probably successful and conceiving really changed the picture of, okay, God, you really did have a plan, and I think, you know, had I not had the stroke, we probably would’ve found that out you know, along the way. We just had not gotten to that step of finding out about the infertility before the stroke happened, and, you know, God hasn’t, He had, goes back to our original conversation of He just has this amazing plan in place. You know, I think part of my journey has been a little bit of grieving and having to heal through not being able to have our own biological kids.

Lori (35:39):

Because although our adopted children, our adopted children have been our children, there still is a grieving part of not being able to have your own biological children and go through that process, and so when I recently took on a service dog he kind of became my baby that I never had. And so God’s like, okay, here’s your baby that you, you never had, and I’m going to show you why having a child would’ve been so complicated. And so as I was chasing his name’s Maverick, he was, we got him at six months old, he’s a German Shepherd mix, and as I was chasing him around the house to put on his vest and do everything one handed, I’m like, okay, God, I get it. Now, if this had been a real baby, I could have done that, but it would’ve been really, really challenging.

Lori (36:29):

Had I tried to do everything I needed to do one handed and had you allowed me to conceive. So, you know, He has a miraculous plan. And so I am just so grateful He gave us the opportunity to adopt. He gave us the opportunity to raise three kids, and actually our kids have two brothers and sisters that we reunited after they were back in the States, and they, they were part of our family too. And so we got ’em together every summer and every Christmas. So we technically had three, but five, there were five. And so, you know, there were so many experiences that had we conceived, I wouldn’t have experience, and so you have to just be grateful for everything, and you have to be grateful for the challenges. You have to be grateful for the blessings, and I started several years ago on the Word of the Year that people pick, and I had not done that before, but if you’re in the audience and you haven’t done that, I encourage you to consider that because I started that picking a word and picking a Bible verse to go along with it, and I tell you, it really helps my focus to have that one year, my word was purpose, and God showed me my purpose was so much different than what I thought it was going to be last year. It was gratitude and to have that gratitude in all things, and the good and the hard is something so important for us as Christians to have. And this year my word is intentional, and that’s being intentional about everything. And again, it just gives you a focus that you might not already have. And so I think being an adoptive parent puts you in a very special place because it gives you the opportunity to parent that.

Lori (38:19):

I think my kids all the time for giving me the opportunity to be their mom and had that experience, but also gave them the opportunity to have the love and support that they might not ever have gotten, and they don’t really understand and appreciate and recognize that fully at this point. Yet, even though they’re newly adults, they still don’t get that yet completely, but they will one day I think, and they don’t understand, you know, the full spectrum of what their life could have looked like without us having adopted them, but many times we don’t really, even as adults, we don’t understand the full spectrum of what God’s done for us. You know? And I don’t think we will, you know, one of my favorite songs is What If by Matthew West? And because it all about legacy.

Lori (39:13):

And I think about that all the time, really, what am I doing that’s going to leave the very best legacy? Because at the end of the day, it’s not really about my happiness and what’s going to make me content on, on Earth. You know, as Christians, what we really need to be aiming for is the day we meet our creator and we’re face to face with Him. And He gives us those words of good job, faithful servant. I mean, that’s what our aim needs to be. Our aim really needs to be what can we do better and better day in and day out that we’ve left, that we can leave no stone unturned here on earth as our very best legacy, and that when we take our last breath and we’re finally with our creator, that we hear those words, and when we have that perspective, it just changes everything.

Terrie (40:04):

Amen. That’s such a good word. Gosh, thank you. Thank you for all you’re sharing with us. I appreciate you coming on today and just sharing so openly about all the things that have happened in your life and how God has used those. I think it encourages us all to realize God has a plan, God has a purpose, and our lives can glorify His name, make His name known, if we will just submit and realize He has a plan. Thank you. I appreciate your words and we’ll check out your book choices and how can, if people want to have you come speak, how can they find you?

Lori (40:42):

Yes. Best way is to jump on my website. It’s at www.LoriVober.com, and I would encourage you to please jump on because I’m constantly updating things. I’m going to have a stroke survivor blog coming on soon. Hope to have an adoption blog. All my books are on there. You can book me for speaking. My future goal is to have a podcast for stroke survivors. So if you know of someone that has gone through a recent challenge, a medical challenge or a stroke, please have them reach out to me. I would more be more than happy to connect with them. That really is my passion, both adoption and stroke and medical challenges to connect with others and help them based on what I’ve learned.

Terrie (41:27):

Okay, wonderful. And that will all be in the show notes so people can click right over to your website from there. So, well, thank you again for joining us today. I really appreciate that.

Lori (41:38):

Oh, I appreciate it so much. Thank you for your time. And thank you for listening.

Terrie (41:42):

We’re so glad you joined us today, and I hope you are blessed by Lori’s story and our crazy conversation together. We’re both very happy moms. God has brought us to that place in different ways, but He has brought us where He is, brought us, and we just hope our lives glorify Him, and I know that’s probably your prayer as well, that whatever God takes us through, that His name is glorified, that we make His name known among the nations. Our prayer is that we can obey Jesus’ command to make disciples as we reach and equip this generation of believers to reach and equip the next generation of believers with everyday discipleship every day.

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