Three years ago, Anna experienced a tremendous loss when her baby boy passed away at just 3 days old. Now, with just a month to go in her pregnancy, Anna is feeling blessed to be preparing for her new son surrounded by love and support from the women at the Lighthouse.
“I have a big ol’ smile on my face just thinking about it,” said Anna. “I know I’m meant to be a mom, and God has blessed me with another boy.”
Anna is from the San Fernando Valley, but came to live with her aunt in Oxnard at 14. “I wasn’t doing well in school—I wasn’t good at it and I didn’t end up graduating. I got into drugs in high school and started meeting people on the streets, people I had no business hanging out with.”
Anna has spent the last 10-or-so years on the streets, staying with friends, or living in an RV. “I was homeless, not at all stable, and using drugs off and on—much more ‘on’—for this whole time.”
Now 31, Anna came to the shelter in March “kicking and screaming,” she said. “I had been here years before and never took it seriously. My friend brought me here after saying I couldn’t stay with her anymore. I respected her boundaries and knew I needed to leave, but I didn’t want to come here.”
After four months at the shelter, Anna felt very differently, and instead of leaving, joined the Lighthouse’s women’s Life Recovery Program, a 10-month commitment. “The Lord just immediately started blessing me,” she said. “Good things started happening for me as soon as I started doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m doing this for my baby.”
It was a surprise to Anna when she learned, just a couple weeks into her stay at the shelter, that she was pregnant. “Everyone has been helping me so much,” she said. “I’ve been checking so many things off my list. I’ve never been responsible or organized in my whole life. I’ve never raised a baby. I’ve never been a single mother. I know I couldn’t do this without the help of this program.”
Her boy, who she will name Aaric, is due Oct. 18. As the date approaches, Anna said being surrounded by the women at the Lighthouse has been a blessing. “I have so many questions that they can answer,” she said. “There is so much support and love here. The women here can’t wait to see the baby.
I knew the shelter wasn’t enough for me. I needed this program. I know I’m just not there yet. This is my home
now, for the next 10 months at least, and it’s so nice to know I don’t have to worry about anything. I’ll be here, and that’s OK. It’s scary out there. This structure, it’s what I need.”
Anna’s aunt is a Lighthouse graduate and is so proud of her niece for entering the program. “She is glad that I’m taking the help and is so happy for me,” Anna said. “It’s been a big weight off her shoulders.”
Anna is considering going back to school. “When you’re doing bad, in bad relationships, doing drugs, everything is always on hold,” she said. “You always think you’ll get your stuff together at some point, but it’s something you just don’t do—focus on yourself and your goals. I take responsibility for that. But now, I have some catching up to do. I have time to think about myself and my son and what my intentions for our lives are.”
Anna’s relationship with God has also grown. “Even when my son passed, I trusted in God and knew he was there,” she said. “I know that no matter what, He has my whole life planned out. I have faith in Him and I have a relationship with Him. But now I’m taking time to focus on it.
“In my bunk at night, I’ve started reading the Bible—really studying it. That’s what I do each night before I go to bed. My bookmark is still in Genesis, but I’m making my way. It’s a great feeling knowing that He is always there.”