Yá’át’ééh (Hello),

Grand Falls on the Navajo Reservation

My name is Lanora and I am half Anglo and half Navajo from the Grand Falls area on the Navajo Reservation. This is where my Mother is from and my Father is from New York. I am born for Terrance Key who is anglo and Lillie Cody from The Red Bottom People Clan and Cliff Dwellers People Clan. I am the oldest of five children. Our home was broken in many ways with alcohol abuse, infidelity, divorce and other abuses. Christ was not the center of our home and for much of our childhood we did not all live together. We grew up with some Native traditional influences mostly from our Grandpa who was a Medicine Man. Through our parents and boarding school there were Christian faith influences throughout our upbringing. God does deserve the praise for our parents and two siblings of mine who are professing believers and live in working out their faith.

My Native ethnicity is not something I grew up being proud of from the ways I felt rejected by my own people. Being treated differently by my own tribe continued my struggle to embrace that I am Native American. I believed that being half-blooded Navajo was not enough. In many ways I rejected the Native parts of me, including family members and anything that reminded me of where I came from and who I truly was.

At age seven and six, one of my sisters and I were sent to school, by our parents, about two hours away from home. It was a Christian boarding school off of the reservation. We saw our family two to four times a month or spoke to them over the phone. When our two youngest siblings were old enough, they joined us for school too. We had three church services a week and scheduled revivals. During one of the Sunday morning services I found myself, at seven years old, overwhelmed with the calming presence of Jesus and His realness as a man, who was caring, loving and who wanted to protect me. I knew that He could be trusted, He was safe and He truly loved me. I accepted Him into my life as my Savior and accepted His forgiveness all of my wrongs. I was at the boarding school for ten years. Looking back, I only wish that I had been shown, not only told, how to live the life of a believer, an everyday Christ follower.

Teenagers at boarding school–Lanora and Geri

I became pretty good at looking the part in front others and was convinced that if I was not feeling joy or happiness then something was wrong, that I had messed up again with sin, and that I needed to be saved over and over again. For the majority of my life I have been defeated with depression that clouded my feelings, choked my words and deadened my desires to live. My days were gloomy with the hopelessness that change was not meant for a sinner like me, especially one who could not keep the very salvation Jesus kept giving to me. In my mind God became reluctant to save me again and again and the shame that heaped over me each time grew greater. I believed that I was powerless to overcome my spiral of self-defeat and would continue to be incompetent to achieve anything good in my lifetime.

So, on the inside I was a wreck of confusion and deceived by many lies. My lack of trust in people kept me from sharing my true heartaches and thoughts with others, especially with other Christians. My relationships with others strongly impacted my view of God and He became ridiculing, unkindly judgmental, untrustworthy, distant, cold and uncaring. Knowing that He was real was a rare doubt of mine, yet I could not understand or believe His true character. It was time for my life to change and for my starving soul to be fed and transformed by the power and truth of God’s Word with the Holy Spirit’s help. God arranged for me to attend Preview days at Indian Bible College (IBC). Even though I do not remember the steps in how I got there, as soon as I entered the chapel, there was no doubt that I was right where God wanted me to be as He flooded my world in that moment with his peace.

IBC Freshman, ethnic day during Spirit Week
1st IBC Mentor Coreen

It was only until my late twenties when I was mentored for the first time as a Freshman at IBC that I began to grasp that the Father God, Who I did not believe was caring or thoughtful of me, actually took joy in my very existence and that I am His beloved creation. I grew to grasp the truthful understanding of Who God is and learned to understand the purpose of my own life. He has proven Himself to me and now helps me to fight the doubts and attacks from the enemy. As I have grown to admire God through his beautiful creation whether great or small, I have discovered the preciseness and detailed thoughtfulness of my Creator God in the ways He has designed our world in massive and microscopic detail. I marvel even more at my husband and our children because God’s goodness and uniqueness shines through His most beloved creation…us! I am so grateful for my husband Luckie, our son Camron and our daughter Madison. We get to share our lives with so many within our blood family, our spiritual family and with those we serve with at Indian Bible College.

My bestie and me – Sarah Koppen and I became close friends and she became a mentor of mine, too

My understanding of Who God is, knowing that He stays true to His character has changed my understanding of what life can be like. I have experienced joy in adversity and thankfulness during grief, yet only possible through the Holy Spirit. God has shown me that confession, repentance and forgiveness are powerful works of the Spirit and bring freedom and healing as an everyday follower of Jesus Christ. I do not want to live any other way. He keeps saving me from the real enemy, Satan. Jesus helps me to see beyond the harm done by Satan through humans and get to the place of forgiveness. I recognize that my direct relationship with God is fully personal and so it directly impacts my relationships with the people in my life. I am humbled to be living, more often than before, within His design of my making which brings my soul fulfillment. Thank you for taking time to read a bit of my story as I shared how I believe that God has always been a part of it, but what a wonder to actually see His works being worked out before my eyes!