“Our goal is transformational change,” stated Theresa Klacman, who leads the Homes for Families ministry on the Marshall Ranch.
“I was a single mom with four children, and Satan made me believe the lie that I couldn’t make it. Now I know that God’s power is greater than any other thing, and with His help I CAN and I AM making it. God has a plan. He never leaves us completely alone. And He had this place (Marshall Ranch) prepared to help me turn my life around,” shared one of our resident mothers.
At Homes for Families, the goal is deep inner healing. This begins with developing a personal relationship with God. Afterwards come the changes in thought-life, as truth replaces the lies they have believed. Then gradually the behaviors begin to change. Love is the primary tool. Resident Coordinators live in the home with the residents and draws heavily on God’s unconditional, inexhaustible love as they work with each lady. In addition they participate in focused Bible studies and relationship-healing topics like Boundaries, Making Peace with Your Past, that integrate Biblical truth with practical guidance on how to handle life differently. Therapy by a licensed Christian counselor is also available. All living expenses are provided without charge so that residents can focus on inner healing, learning new skills like conflict resolution, and repairing relationships with their children. The younger children are cared for on campus, while the older ones ride the bus to the Goliad Independent School District.
During Phase I, some of the toughest life lessons that they must learn is the discipline of getting up early every morning for prayer and devotions, getting breakfast, being on time, and getting along with several other mothers and their children in the same house! They take turns with kitchen duties, cleaning, etc. Naturally, at first they revert to the primary coping skill they have seen and used in the past to respond to stress and offense—ANGER! It is a slow process to learn there is a better way. As they grow, they begin to teach their children by responding to them with love and patience as they discipline and guide them.
As they progress to Phase II, they earn more privileges like two weekend passes per month, and a small weekly allowance to learn about budgeting and saving as they prepare for life after Homes for Families. They also begin a period of removing obstacles for success when they graduate from this program. As they tackle these hindrances, they must overcome the memories and the fear of past failures. The staff is constantly encouraging them, teaching them to have faith and trust God.
This fall has been a season of celebrations for several ladies as they conquer those fears and overcome obstacles for their future success. Two of our ladies studied, took the driving test, and received their driver’s license. One young mom had legal charges to address from her past. Prayerfully she wrote a letter to the court, confronting the charges with a positive report of the changes that had taken place in her life. Hallelujah around the table when the court dismissed the charges and wished her the best on her future life! Future success requires more education. Two of our ladies begin college and another will achieve a high school diploma in May, 2019. Transportation is needed in order to get a job or enroll in college, and we are grateful for a recent donation of a van for one of our ladies. She had a small car, which she then generously donated to her co-resident. With each success their confidence and their faith in God is strengthened.
Recovery and rebuilding a life is not an easy road, as you can imagine. Setbacks at first are common, and some give up and leave. The door at Home for Families is always open to them, however, when they are ready to begin again on this journey.
As they achieve the goals required, they are able to move into Phase III, where they begin independent living. To make that move, they must be within two weeks of enrollment in a college or technical school, or employment. They move to another house on campus, but now there are fewer rules. They begin to take care of their own expenses and manage their own budget. Homes for Families provides a case manager and continues some financial support on an individual basis, especially when they are getting an education. After four to six months of living on campus and managing their lives successfully during Phase III, they can move off campus, either locally or closer to their families or to better opportunities for employment.
We rejoice with each success—a driver’s license, a high school diploma, a job, or a car. But our greatest joy comes from the transformational changes we witness. ”Now I know that God’s power is greater than any other thing, and with His help I CAN and I AM making it,” Felissia shared. She went on to explain, “When I was awarded custody of my children, we had a lot of damage to repair. The older ones especially were so angry because of my past behaviors. So we cried a lot together, and I asked their forgiveness and we prayed, and little by little love began to grow in place of the anger! Now, they also know Jesus, and understand that He is the One who made their mommy change!”
All the sacrifices, all the long hours, the investments of time and resources are counted as nothing in comparison to the overwhelming joy experienced by the staff when transformational change in the heart of a mother reaches all the way into the heart of her children.