Breaking Chains: Estefania’s Journey to Intimacy with Christ

IN THE DEPTHS OF ESTEFANIA’S HEART, a deep desire for freedom from a cycle of challenges and setbacks rang loudly. Her path, woven with threads of desperation, resilience and faith, is evidence of the life-changing power of God’s redemption. As Estefania shares her journey, God’s grace is evident in her words, painting a vibrant portrait of transformation.

Estefania, a devoted mother of three, found herself trapped in a life of codependency and failure. The struggle originated from a deep-rooted fear – fear of being alone and the burden of living up to other people’s expectations. Juggling between family homes, she struggled to find a balance between the demands of her time. Throughout these challenges, her resilient children, ages 10, 9 and 8, stood by her side as they navigated the shifting dynamics. In the midst of it all, Estefania yearned for a transformed life anchored in a deep connection with God, a vision that would drive her and her family to genuine change.

Growing up Catholic, intimacy with God had eluded her. She had explored various Christian denominations in a search for truth. As a self-proclaimed “nerd” who loves to learn, Estefania enrolled in classes at SA Hope Center, where she discovered a STCH Ministries Faith & Finances class.

It was during these classes that she met her mentor, Stephanie, a connection that would prove to be life-changing. Shortly after completing the Faith & Finances class, Stephanie invited Estefania to join her in the “Experiencing God” Bible study. It was during this study that Estefania found the deep connection and intimacy with God she had sought for years.

As their relationship developed, Estefania shared with Stephanie her exhaustion and desperation to leave her current life behind and break free from the cycle of failure. She expressed an openness and willingness to surrender to God’s plan, ready to follow wherever He might lead. After prayerful consideration, Stephanie introduced her to Homes for Families, and without hesitation, Estefania exclaimed, “Yes! Let’s do it!” She did not need to hear anything more.

In a whirlwind span of three weeks, Estefania navigated the application process and secured her place at Homes for Families. However, the decision to depart from the familiar and leave her parents’ home was met with disbelief and skepticism from her family. They questioned her abrupt decision, voicing concerns about safety and stability. “My parents said, ‘I don’t know…this is out of this world. This isn’t you!’ I replied, ‘Exactly! That’s the whole point! It’s not me. And I want to do it differently!’”

Undeterred, Estefania faced her family’s apprehensions, offering reassurance that she and her children would be fine, viewing this as an opportunity for real change. With that, she ensured her family’s well-being by securing their finances and left for Homes for Families, where she discovered a sanctuary of freedom and growth. Estefania found the structured routine of Homes for Families as a source of freedom, offering relief from the constant demands of her time without the guilt she often felt when saying no to others. It has taught her time management and how to build a stable household for her children while also providing space to focus on healing and restoration.

Reflecting on her time at Homes for Families, Estefania noticed big changes within herself and her children. The family dynamic shifted, with everyone experiencing growth – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Engaging in on-campus fitness classes, Estefania discovered newfound strength and confidence. She now takes the time to understand her feelings instead of bottling them up. This practice has given her better control over her emotions, not allowing them to dictate her reactions. Spiritually, her relationship with God has strengthened, fostering a deeper trust in Him and finding comfort in His guidance.

Estefania’s children have also seen a transformation in their lives. Her son, Lederson, diagnosed a few years ago with ADHD, has learned to manage his emotions. Her oldest daughter, Isabella, has been growing in her faith with confidence, while her youngest daughter, Graciella, is now able to embrace her God-given talents such as singing worship music in front of others. Estefania is learning to trust God on how to navigate through the challenges of parenting preadolescents, something she previously had difficulty finding time to do. One Bible verse that Estefania often shares with her children, and one that has rung loudly in her own heart, is Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Estefania’s extended family, witnessing the positive changes during visits home, became curious about the transformations they saw. They expressed their surprise to Estefania, sharing they did not expect her “big, sudden change” to make such a meaningful difference in her and her children’s lives. They said, “We are so proud of you, and we’re excited about what’s to come. We are cheering you on!”

Her brother noticed a change in Estefania as well. “The first time I saw my brother after coming to Homes for Families, he said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I really like it and want to know more.’”

Healing is unfolding within her entire family, with her dad discovering a newfound calmness and her mom working through co-dependency. Estefania has been a source of encouragement throughout their journeys. While the healing process can be challenging, the enemy’s attacks often intensify as individuals walk in obedience to God’s will. Estefania’s mother, facing these intense attacks, finds comfort in her daughter’s own healing and restoration at Homes for Families. Estefania reassures her mom with confidence in God’s faithfulness, saying, “Jesus is helping you through this. He is interceding for you. You don’t have to worry. Just go to Him and share your heart.”

The family’s collective transformation is a testament to God’s grace. “That’s where we’re at in our family right now. We’re healing together while I’m gone, going through this program. We are going through the changes together. Every time I go back, they amaze me.”

Looking ahead to life after Homes for Families, Estefania hopes to give back to her community. She dreams of using her Spanish language skills to bridge the gap for Spanish-speaking people new to America. She is also contemplating a return to medicine to become a nurse’s assistant and eventually wants to pursue her vision of supporting and guiding homeless people, creating a space like Homes for Families.

For Estefania, freedom was found in the seemingly rigid format of Homes for Families. She discovered joy in obedience, likening it to a parent guiding their child away from harmful influences. Just as Christianity is often misunderstood as restrictive, Estefania found that true freedom emerged from aligning with God’s will.

This is part of her advice to other moms who may be considering coming to Homes for Families. Estefania emphasizes the need for a genuine commitment to change, urging mothers to approach the program with a willingness to surrender to the process. The key lies in letting go of selfish desires and embracing obedience, paving the way for healing and transformation. This, in turn, leads to joy and fulfillment.

In Estefania’s journey, the threads of God’s redemption weave a story of hope, resilience and limitless possibilities when one embraces the call to change. Her story invites us to reflect on our paths, encouraging us to surrender to God’s healing, restoration and transformation. As she moves forward, Estefania brings the hope of breaking generational curses and shining God’s light in the world.