Not her grace, but God’s
Alex struggled in a pit of despair as she first connected to The Salvation Army Oil City Worship and Service Center’s Pathway of Hope (POH) program. She was fed up, overworked, bitter, and full of resentment.
“I didn’t know what to do and I was just in over my head,” she said. “Some people literally need a Pathway of Hope to see that they matter.”
Alex, 28, is a mom of three boys who has a habit of taking everything on herself, working two jobs to make ends meet as her husband is unemployed. She desperately needed a support system and tools to take a step back, manage her stress more effectively, and prioritize budgeting to gain control of her life.
A pathway of hope
The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program helps families in need to balance expenses by paying some essential bills for clients in crisis situations. The program is also designed to emphasize the ultimate desired outcome—financial security and self-sufficiency. POH provides one-on-one counseling, initiates goal-setting and tracking, and offers budget guidance, referrals, and access to a network of community resources. In these ways, POH opens opportunities for people to gain financial stability and independence—exactly what Alex and her family needed to regain their footing.
She began to set and achieve family goals with her husband, Justin, and their children. Six years ago, Alex’s father had given them a house, which needed a long list of repairs. POH provided a new washing machine for the family when theirs broke, and emergency plumbing and sewage repairs—even as Alex did her best to take it all on her own.
“[The program] really gave me that hope to not fall back into despair,” Alex said.
Major Laura Duesenberry has given Alex spiritual counsel, while Molly Minman, Pathway of Hope director, provided Alex with the support she needed. Minman said that Alex is the hardest working person she’s ever met.
On the road to reality
“Molly helped me to pull myself back to reality,” Alex said. “We set real, achievable goals. The first one we accomplished was getting my son enrolled in a good, structured cyber school. He has a 94 percent average right now, and just got his third report card of all As and Bs. I couldn’t be happier.”
Other goals she has been working to achieve include renovating a bedroom for her son, which is now in process; maintaining financial stability through budgeting, planning, and paying off debts; and getting her husband the support needed to find and maintain employment.
“I was spinning in circles inside of my own head, trying to take all of this on, and I couldn’t be who my family needed me to be at all,” she said.
Molly related to Alex as a mom who is simply trying to balance work, home, and life as a wife.
“I have never seen someone take on so much. I think for everything she has going on, she handles everything with grace,” Molly said with tears in her eyes. “She is so capable, and I immediately knew she had gone through so much. It seemed like she was in survival mode, and now I feel like, in the past year and a half, she has gained a lot of confidence. I am so proud of the progress she has made.”
A journey with God
Alex was quick to respond. “It’s not my grace, it’s God’s grace. I just really believe that. That is my motivation and I credit my progress to Him.”
Pathway of Hope has empowered Alex with the hope she needs to persevere through life’s challenges.
“It’s a drive I have now to move forward, knowing we are capable of moving forward, and that we have what we need to move forward—we just have to use it, to be productive,” Alex said.
She remains grateful to both the Salvation Army’s donors and staff who have been a blessing in her life.
“The Salvation Army has literally clothed me, fed me, encouraged me, and inspired me—every good thing you can think of—grown my faith, grown me as a person—period,” she said.
by Stephanie Rex