After 20 years and four children together, Claudia’s marriage ended in divorce. Her family, who Claudia describes as “very religious,” did not approve of the marriage dissolution. And while it was her husband who filed, Claudia had been working up the courage to leave after years of abuse.
“I was living with a very violent person,” Claudia said. “He was emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive. My family doesn’t understand how hard it is to stay in an abusive relationship.”
Claudia’s husband took up with another woman, and had her move into their home and Claudia move out. “He didn’t let me work during our marriage—he didn’t let me do much,” she said. “He was the one working and paying the bills, so I had to leave. But I had nowhere to go.”
Over the last several years, Claudia has slept at bus stops, in parks, and in the back of a Walmart warehouse, where they store merchandise. A couple family members have allowed her to stay with them during periods of time, but it was always chaotic.
“My sister was the only one willing to help me, but she has her own drug issues,” Claudia said. “She also does a lot of screaming and yelling at her son, and that was hard for me.”
Claudia got a referral to the Mission’s women’s services last year, and came when the offerings were limited to shelter. “I don’t think I was ready yet,” she said. “I still thought I could get my life together on my own. My cousin offered me a place to stay, so I took it, but that didn’t work out.”
She returned and learned there was now a Life Recovery Program. “I love how this program is being run,” Claudia said. “It’s helping me be a lot closer to God, and to make the right decisions for a better future. I want to be independent, and more positive, and follow through with my plans.
“I’m hoping God helps me and guides me so I can take the right path this time. I want to complete this program and become somebody better than who I am, and I know God is going to help me.”
Claudia is feeling reconnected to the Lord. “I was getting distant from God,” she said. “I felt like I wasn’t following his guidance. Now I am being shown the way to honor God, love Him, and always seek His help for everything. I know God wants the best for me. I’ve wanted to do things my way, but now I know I need Him.”
Claudia is considering going to school to become a nurse if “God gives me the strength and the steps to do it,” she said. “I’m feeling more secure in myself and with God. I know I’m worth something. I can do good in this world and help others who have been through my situation.”