Back My Story: Elena Chavez
August 15th, 2012
Story written by Alexandria Fisher
Elena Chavez is that girl. You know, the girl that other women always wish they could be. Tall. Beautiful. Musically talented. A prime candidate for America’s Next Top Model or American Idol.
But, unlike her looks, Elena’s story isn’t picture-perfect. Her story is like all of ours, one of great pain and even greater redemption. She said, “God put me through a season of being stripped of everything. I was Job. I had nothing.”
Elena grew up in a divided home; her mother was a Christian, but her father had not yet accepted Christ. This caused a lot of tension at church and in her family.
In turn, Elena was confused about Christ’s message of love and mercy—especially when members of her church didn’t treat her father with kindness. In spite of her confusion, Elena kept seeking the Truth and God’s will for her life.
“I hated everything about church, but I didn’t realize it,” she said. “I had an intern spitefully tell me once that my salvation was in question. I always thought I must be doing something wrong.”
Elena, like many young people, didn’t really understand what Jesus meant to the world. “I was aware of Jesus, but I didn’t like Him. I had seen so much pain inflicted in misrepresentation of His name,” she said.
During this time, Elena saw four of her classmates pass away. One particular friend, who tragically died in an accident her senior year, was Elena’s inspiration.
“I wanted to pursue music, because people’s lives were too fragile, and I knew singing would be my way of reaching many people in a deeper level for Christ,” she said.
About two years ago, Elena got the chance of a lifetime. A Christian music producer asked her to move to Nashville and be part of a new band. The producer promised her they’d be like a family, but instead they ended up only doing one show and didn’t take off as the producer had promised.
“I just kept hardening my heart so I wouldn’t be weak,” she said. “I couldn’t be weak and survive.”
One bright spot in this move to Nashville was a couple that Elena lived with and came to love. Robert and Mary were the first functioning couple she’d ever seen, and Elena began to learn about honest, open, Christ-filled marriages by watching their example.
Unfortunately, Robert died suddenly only 6 weeks after Elena moved in with them. She said, “ I called 9-1-1 and did CPR for 20 minutes. He was dead before the ambulance came. The Lord fueled me that day, [as I was] standing between Mary and her husband.”
Elena spent the next several months focusing on Mary and helping her through her period of mourning. Elena walked through this unexpected loss and once again, felt her heart harden towards Christ, the Church, and people that claimed to be Christ-followers.
“I started running, like three times a day. Because if I wasn’t running, I was just sitting and I couldn’t escape,” she said. “So, I ran to be strong. I ran to survive.”
It was around this time that a friend of hers asked her to attend Kairos at Brentwood Baptist. “It was during one of the prayer times. Pastor Mike told us to get comfortable and he said, ‘Now we are going to confront what you don’t want to confront’ and I just lost it,” she said.
From that moment on, Elena claims that God started healing her and using Kairos OnCampus (OC) and the young adults she has met in that ministry to help her regain her trust in the Church.
Now, Elena says God is opening her life to job skills she didn’t know she had.
“I work for Pretty in Pink, a Christian based cancer clinic…” she said. “I get to talk to women who have been broken but are still laughing. They are genuinely joyful and…sparkling, regardless [of the pain]!”
When asked if she thinks music is a part of her future, she nods, “If I had become an established musician when I was so wanting it to work, it would have been this puppet version of me. Now, I can find my voice and be who God intends me to be…I know the Lord is calling me to something bigger, but I’m not ready for it yet.”
Elena recently went on a mission trip to Israel with others from Brentwood Baptist.
“I was watching these people at the Wailing Wall, they were crying out for the Messiah…God spoke to me and said, ‘I’m going to free you now. Look, I brought you all the way to my Holy Land to get your attention,’” she said.
Elena quickly pulls out her Bible and starts flipping through the pages. “I had read Hosea [2:14-16] before, but it never really meant anything to me before then."
But then I will lead her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
Elena finishes reading and looks up from her Bible. She is free.