When discussing my biography, it is impossible to separate myself as I am today from my faith, and it is impossible to separate my faith from my past and my disabilities.
By the time I was able to sit I was diagnosed with hearing loss, and by my late 20’s I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and for this reason I have known disability and adversity my entire life. Life with disability has been a great source of pain and frustration, but it has also been a source of faith and growth.
I have experienced a lot of pain and disappointment as a result of living with disabilities. As a child I experienced rejection and bullying from my peers, and plenty of adults in my life. I was continually barraged with messages of being less than worthy, which I eventually began to believe and internalize into how I saw myself, which then led to struggles with depression and anxiety during my adolescent years and early adulthood.
Over time I came to withdraw from the world out of fear and pain, and I eventually began to convince myself that it was not the world rejecting me, but rather I was rejecting the world. I came to hate the world because of the pain I experienced, but even more I hated God. I had grown up in a Christian family and my parents taught me about how God had created me, and I came to believe that if God really existed then He was a capricious and cruel God because that meant he had made me in order that I would suffer. In the end I found myself desperately seeking ways to numb the pain of depression and anxiety, turning to alcohol and prescription drug abuse.
For a period, I even struggled with thoughts of suicide and almost killed myself because of the pain. What broke me out of this period of my life was the experience of losing a friend to suicide when I was in my early 20’s. This friend had everything I had ever wanted, and yet because of his own mental health issues he was blind to the good in his own life. When I realized that someone could be so blinded by their internal pain, perhaps I was blinded to what was good in my own life, and so I vowed to turn my back on who I had been up until that point. From that moment on I struggled to choose to focus on the good and reject the negative in my life.
My life did not magically get easier. I still experienced struggles as I tried to move forward with my life. While I no longer rejected the world or God, I was unwilling to trust anyone, or even God for that matter. In the end God used my developing blindness to force me to confront this distrust head on. It is hard to be fully self-sufficient as a blind person in a rural community. I was forced to accept the goodwill of others as I tried to simply get around my community.
When I was first diagnosed with RP, I was almost done with my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, this shocking news that I was going blind on top of being hearing-impaired already led to a year of emotional struggles before I was able to pull myself back together again and complete my degree. After completing my degree, I moved in with my parents in Washington State in order to save financially while looking for work as an engineer. After three years of professional rejection I finally accepted that no one wanted the liability of a blind engineer and had to rethink what I was going to do with myself.
My church at this time was an amazing source of support for me after I moved to that community in 2015. I credit the people of that church for much of my healing, as it was through those people that I have finally begun to experience genuine unconditional love and acceptance in my life. Furthermore, through the generosity and acceptance of that community, I was able to begin learning to trust God more fully. Through these experiences and others, I finally fully surrendered my life to Jesus in October 2017.
Since the day of my surrender, Jesus has worked wonders in my heart and life. He has helped me to recognize that everything I have experienced was to serve His purpose (Romans 8:28). Where there was pain and bitterness is now His love (Psalm 9:1). I believe that He has brought me here for a very specific reason. I am convinced that His purpose is to use me, and my past, in the lives of others as I serve Him and them as a counselor.
I have only been a believer for a few years now. Before this time, I deluded myself into thinking that I was a believer, but I had not fully surrendered to Jesus. I was trying to follow God by half measures, I was not fully surrendering to His will in my life. When I realized my desperate need for His presence in ALL of my life, and His desire for ALL of me, I finally took that last great, terrifying, step and gave all of myself to Jesus, telling Him that He can have all of me if only He would save me from myself.
Ever since this time, I have been able to fully experience His presence in my life. Every day is an opportunity for Jesus to work in my life. Every time He comes through for me I feel as though I can trust Him more. This is new for me, as I have struggled with trust for most of my life. While I will be the first to admit that I am still growing in my walk with Him, I know now that He will not abandon me.
I am always trying to find ways to give back to Jesus for his love and grace in my life. I do this by trying to find ways to help others. This has proven challenging for me as I am blind and hearing impaired, but God has helped me to find ways to serve regardless. I have been involved with the men’s ministry at my church where I helped with the discipleship program. I have also been involved with the Celebrate Recovery 12-step program which my church hosted. I was also involved with the Pacific Northwest Christian Surfers ministry, where the members act as examples of the love of Christ to the greater community of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.
I started school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist at Regent University, August 2018. Because my blindness makes it more difficult to read and write I was forced to swallow my pride and attend part time. I moved back to Utah after getting married August, 2021 in order to complete my internship at the Ogden Center for Change. During my time at Ogden Center for Change, I focused on couple’s counseling while using aspects of Attachment Theory and Sound House Theory. I also worked with Individuals using aspects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, and Existential Therapy. Finally, I graduated June 2022, and am now working with Grace and Peace Christian Counseling. I am excited to work with my clients and help any who may cross my path to the best of my ability.
I enjoy working with couples using Attachment Theory through Emotionally Focused Therapy and Emotion Focused Therapy, as well as aspects of Sound House Theory from the Gottman Method while: emphasizing patterns of interaction and conflict, encouraging more effective communications, and aiding in the development of greater relational closeness. I also have a passion for working with persons and families struggling with disabilities as well as anyone else dealing with existential struggles through the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, mindfulness techniques, and some existential approaches while encouraging personal growth and development.