Our stories are His story.
For Lorena Jauregui, the road to healing was a long journey, filled with bumps, bruises and more than 2,000 miles. After a lifetime of running from shame and self-loathing, 2018 was a turning point in her story…
Born in Chicago to hardworking, Mexican parents, Lorena was the first girl after three boys, with two other girls following. Her parents believed that providing a future for their kids meant working long hours away from home.
“We would hardly see them,” Lorena says. “My siblings and I grew up depending on one another for emotional support, advice and guidance.”
Lorena and her siblings got used to riding the bus to and from school by themselves, and school quickly became a safe haven for Lorena. She dreaded going home, for it was there that Lorena found herself sexually abused by one of her brothers’ friends on a daily basis. Verbal threats and emotional abuse kept her silent.
At the time, Lorena did not have a relationship with God. Her parents would go to church randomly and infrequently, and she would occasionally go with them.
“I knew how to pray repetitive prayers and follow along with the priest for an hour. I had no true relationship with God,” she says. “I just had questions: ‘Why me? What did I do to deserve this?’ ‘Why doesn’t anyone protect me?’ ‘Why do I have to live through this misery every day?'” To combat the feelings of shame and loneliness, Lorena retreated inwards. She put up walls, closed herself off, and hid from everyone.
A short while later, Lorena’s family moved to a different neighborhood and she finally found freedom from her abuser. She held her secret deep inside, however, all the way until high school. It was then, after a volatile argument with her mother and years of holding tight to the trauma, that it bubbled to the surface.
Her mother and brothers, heartbroken and caught completely off guard by Lorena’s accounts of the abuse, agreed to her request not to tell her father. Lorena was ready to move on and find healing.
After graduating from high school, she packed her bags, left home and moved across the country to California. As she immersed herself in school studying architecture, she also continued to deal with depression and loneliness.
“As a result of my childhood, I only turned to myself for emotional support,” Lorena says. “I only trusted myself because I saw no worth in who I was. In this vast world, I felt no one understood where I was coming from and what I had lived through.”
Then, her story changed.
After stepping through the doors of Hillside, Lorena felt something – she felt different. She knew God was pulling her in a direction she needed to go, and after joining a Rooted group this fall, finally found a group of women that she had been searching for.“God showed me my worth through these women,” Lorena says. “As soon as I heard the first testimony, I knew I had finally found my place in this world. I found more than just friends – I found a family for the emotional support that I have lacked my entire life.”
After 10 weeks of Rooted, Lorena says she no longer sees herself as worthless, broken or damaged. But rather, she knows she is beautiful, healed, loved and protected.
“Eventually, I began to see the misery of my childhood as a blessing. God was always there,” she says. “He pulled me out of those circumstances and taught me what it is to be the daughter of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He constantly reminds me that I am worth no less than the rest of His children. I was made in His image and I AM LOVED.”“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
We are never alone. Through every low valley and in every celebratory high, God is there with us every step of the way. The beauty in all of our stories comes from knowing that our stories are all part of His greater story. God has created each and every one of us with a unique purpose, and when we step into life with Him, we get to celebrate entering into His work here on earth!
We continue to hear more and more stories of redemption and transformation coming out of our student ministries, support groups, baptisms, and Rooted. And while we celebrate all God is doing here at Hillside, we know there are still so many that need to hear about the hope and love of Christ.
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When you give, you sow into the Kingdom-work that is happening here in our church, in our cities and through our ministry partners around the world. As we approach the end of the year and you plan your year-end giving, would you consider stepping out in faith and giving back what God has graciously blessed you with into the ministry of Hillside?
Whether it’s a consistent gift of $50 or $5,000, or moving into giving with generosity, abundance or even sacrificially - we know God will stretch every dollar for our good and His glory!Give Now