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Susan is planning to ‘take God with her’

Susan was first in the program in 2003. When she needed help again 20 years later, she knew where to go.

Susan was first in the program in 2003. When she needed help again
20 years later, she knew where to go.

In 2003, Susan and her then-9-year-old daughter, Paula, were thrilled with the opportunity to move in with Susan’s son in Oxnard. Susan loved that she would be closer to her older children, and she was excited to explore an area she’d never been before. However, shortly after relocating, her son’s landlord told them they could no longer stay with him.

Susan recalls being terrified. She was in a new area she did not know, knew very few people, and had a young daughter. Susan went to the police department to find resources. They gave her a voucher to stay in a hotel for the night and directed her to the Lighthouse. Two days later, Susan and Paula were safe and settled there.

“I remember being so scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I came here and the same day, the Lighthouse took me in. That doesn’t always happen. I was blessed,” recalled Susan. Because of the resources and life skills Susan learned at the Lighthouse, she gained employment and found an apartment.

Unfortunately, in 2023, after 11 years working up to a supervisor position at the Hilton, Susan lost her job. It was a major financial blow. “I was devastated,” Susan said. “I started reverting to old thoughts and fears. I couldn’t be homeless again. I didn’t want to be a burden to my family.”

But this time, Susan knew what to do. Susan returned to the Lighthouse’s emergency shelter in July 2023, entering the women’s Life Recovery Program in August. “I am very thankful for everything that we have here, whether it’s the classes, food, clothing, comfort--it’s all from the Lord. I feel home again.”

Susan is doing things differently this time around. “This time, I was more comfortable, more at home. I got closer to these women and opened myself up more than I did previously,” Susan said. “I put up walls sometimes, but I trust these women. I love serving them. My favorite part is cooking for them.

“I’m really learning from the Bible. When I first came, I didn’t know what the Lord was about, I didn’t understand. I understand now. That’s the best part, learning from the Bible. That’s one of my regrets from the first time I was here, I didn’t take God with me when I left. Now, He’s with me wherever I go.”

Susan is graduating this month. She’s hoping to stay at the Lighthouse as a ministry resident and help in the kitchen, and she’s excited to reunite with her children and grandkids.

For now, Susan is trusting God. “Wherever the Lord wants me, that’s where I’ll be.”

Susan encourages those who are struggling to come to the Lighthouse. “I know what you’re going through. Give yourself a chance. The Lord will help you no matter what. This place is good.”

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