Victoria sees God moving mountains in her life

Victoria, 34, was raised by her grandparents in Oxnard. She was one of five children born into a well-known family in the community. “I wanted to get away from here as soon as I could,” she said. “I always just wanted to be with the bad crowd.”

A year after she graduated high school, in 2004, Victoria’s oldest daughter was born. She had another in 2007. “I was trying to be a part of that fast money,” said Victoria, who completed some college and was the office manager for her family’s company for 10 years. “My addiction was money. The more I made, the better mom I was. I was hustling all the time.”

Victoria quit that mentality for a bit, she said, and got married in 2010. They had a daughter and then a son in 2013. The next year, tragedy struck when Victoria’s husband died in a crash after a high-speed police chase. His truck flipped on their street, and Victoria was on the scene before his wheels stopped spinning. What she experienced that night still affects her to this day. “Everything fell apart,” she said. “I ended up with PTSD. I was really broken and I went into a deep depression. That’s when the numbing kicked in.”

For the next year, Victoria struggled. “I was lost,” she said. “My heart was ripped out. My kids were hurting and in pain and I was numbing myself with drugs. Anytime I’d see them cry, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring their dad back, and as a mom, all you want to do is make your kids feel better.”

Victoria ended up in jail, and her children were taken from her. When she was released, she did all the work and got them back. She also found out she was pregnant with her youngest daughter in 2016. “Everything was great. I was sober, I had all my kids together—we had our own house and a car. I was taking college classes, and working from home.”

But in December 2017, Victoria was hit with major depression, which she now believes was post-partum depression. “It hit me really bad,” she said. “I relapsed. I left my home. I ran away and became homeless with my children.”

She asked for help from family members, but kept her baby with her. But the next year, Victoria was arrested for fraud for cashing checks that didn’t belong to her. “They took her,” Victoria said of her baby. “I was done. I did everything they asked me. I tested clean every time. I went into an outpatient treatment center. I threw myself into church. I was praying to God, ‘Please, pull me through this.’”

Victoria went to jail for her fraud charge and said she finally surrendered. “I went in there and read the bible every day. I prayed for my kids. Then my mom came to see me in jail. I hadn’t talked to her in person in two years. She was praying for me the whole time, but she never came in, ever. She said, ‘Victoria, you need to get your life together. You’re too smart for this. Fix yourself. Get right with God.’”

The day after she was released, Victoria went to the Lighthouse. “I was so scared,” she said. “But after three days, I dropped to my knees. I prayed, ‘Thank you, God. I see you moving.’ I had been so blind.

“My kids want a relationship with me now. They say, ‘My mommy is different now. My mommy loves us.’ My daughter said, ‘She’s always been a good mom, she just wasn’t able to stand still.’ I just thought, ‘Look at you, God, talking to me through my kids.’ He wants us to be still.”

Victoria said she’s grateful. “I see God moving mountains. I open the bible, and the Lord is speaking to me. This place is for restoration. It restores your soul, your mind, your life—and it’s all because of Jesus.”

Victoria graduated in June. She’s interested in returning to school and studying urban ministries. “I want to go out to prisons and minister to the lost, and to those who feel they’re unworthy. When you get a felony, you don’t feel like you have a place in the world anymore. You can’t get a job, they take your kids, you’re shunned by society. I have testimony to share about the grace of God and how good he is. I know that’s my reason for all of this hurt and pain.”