Their Stories: Guadalupe (Lupita) Alvarez

I came to My Safe Harbor after my search for assistance and resources had been frustratingly unproductive. I tried a number of centers and they did have classes and resources, but I always felt needy when I went. A friend recommended that I try My Safe Harbor and I figured I had nothing to lose, so I went. The biggest difference? The people at MSH worry about you like you are part of their family – not just because it’s their job. I found help that was not just for today or tomorrow, but for the rest of my life.

My first thoughts about getting involved were that I wasn’t a very good mother and if I got involved, it would help my girls. The more I came, the more I found little tips and clues and tools to do just that. But I also began to hear about The Strong Families Institute and to wonder if that would even be better for my family…who wouldn’t want a stronger family? I signed up expecting to learn even more.

At the very first class I remember being so impressed. They were both firm and respectful.  They made expectations so clear and I found out quickly that SFI was going to be about ME! It would help my girls, but this was about me and what I needed to do – I was going to have to change!

As we went through topics week to week I went home with tools and practice projects that really worked. I could feel the stress levels going down and down and down. Things as simple as making a plan or real tools for parenting or forcing myself to think about myself and what I wanted – these things really made sense. I found out I am not fragile and weak. I can be strong, I can be successful, I can be the woman I want to be if I’m willing to do the work.

The thing that probably helped me the most was getting back into a relationship with God. I had let that part of my life get crowded out by all the busyness and frustrations that were a part of every day. The series on Spiritual Formation helped me realize that missing piece and I decided to get serious about my faith again.I don’t get anxious anymore. Even on difficult days, I know that God will give me strength and patience and together we can handle whatever comes.

You know all the scraps of wood that float around on the water when a boat has been destroyed?  My Safe Harbor was like my piece of wood in the ocean that gave me something to hang on to until help arrived; my refuge from the storm. Help did arrive and now I feel safe and supported. I want to keep learning and growing and helping others. I’m so grateful to the people who have invested in me. I know I have much to offer even as I keep growing and who knows who God will use me to help now. I am convinced that helping others also still helps me!