At New Vision Counseling our mission is to help you discover what better looks like for you and equip you with the tools to create it. We accomplish this through cutting edge counseling techniques guided by biblical principles.
Shawn & Tanda’s Marital Journey
If you’re like me, life has been really hard and you have spent much of it looking for validation and love in the wrong places. If so, then my story just might be your story too. My wife Tanda and I both come from broken homes. My mom ran away to California when she turned 18 and got pregnant. She was afraid and didn’t know what else to do so she moved across the country to live with her family. Armed with only a high school diploma and a newborn this was a rough start for both of us. I grew up with my mom always having 2-3 jobs and my dad was never a part of my life. She was gone so much that I was forced to figure out much of life on my own. My three most prevalent memories from childhood are being hot, thirsty and painfully lonely. Hot and thirsty because we lived in Florida and our air conditioner was set on 84.
Starting in the 3rd grade I developed the belief that if I could find a girlfriend that would solve most if not all of my problems. I thought if I could just convince someone who was attractive to love me life would be great. I believed a relationship was the cure to loneliness, insecurity and low self-esteem. I may have never said this out loud, but I believed the ultimate solution was marriage because someone was choosing me for life. I believed that once I married, I could conquer the world. Like many singles, I though married people went through life on cloud nine feeling loved, valued, and full of self-esteem.
My wife’s mom left her dad when she was 7 years old. And as a consequence of the divorce her dad lost his job as a pastor. After that, life went downhill for her fast. She was now in charge of her two younger siblings as her mom focused on her new life and career.
Tanda was left to figure out much of life on her own without anyone ever explaining what really happened to her parents and the life that she once loved. She kept her feelings inside and lived life as it was without really thinking that she could change herself or her circumstances.
We both accepted Christ at an early age but neither of us really lived for Him consistently until college. A year before I met my wife Tanda, I had suffered an agonizing break up and decided to take a year off from dating. My year of no dating was filled with pain and questioning my ability to hear God. And I was afraid that I would never meet anyone as amazing as my x-girlfriend again.
Little did I know that a year before we met, Tanda had left all her friends and life of sin behind and moved in with her dad. She recalls needing to get away because she was trapped in a bad relationship and wanted to live for God. This was her leaving Egypt and the life of bondage behind.
Almost to the day of when my commitment to not date was up, I felt God say I could date again. That very night I met my wife Tanda at a singles Bible Study called Day Three. And as corny as that may sound, that’s exactly how it played out. A year of painful struggle and choosing God in the midst of heartbreak and then I met the real girl of my dreams. However, when we first met I had no idea she would become my forever girl.
I had a progressive sense of peace that God was calling me to marry her as I discovered how much she loved God and people . I thought “Finally, God brought me someone beautiful, amazing and who loves Him as much as me! Now, here is the wild part of our journey. I rarely share this detail because it’s our journey and I DO NOT recommend it for others. Within the span of three months of meeting Tanda I confessed my love for her, asked her to marry me, and then married her. Now you know why I don’t recommend this path. I previously followed a belief that I needed to go through all four seasons with someone so I could know them in all the rhythms of life!
Upon reflection, we both agree that we likely would not have married if we had waited. There was so much conflict and drama with her family when we first married that if we were not bound by the marital covenant, we doubt we would have made it to the altar.
During the first part of our marriage, I thought 80% of the problems were because of her family and the issues they passed onto her. After all, I was a trained marriage counselor who had read countless books on marriage and relationships so the issues couldn’t have been with me…right?
I was so wrong. I think I apologized to Tanda for a year straight for blaming her. What I didn’t realize about myself is that I set very hard boundaries and was mostly intolerant to any family and friend drama. I would confront her family on their behavior with very little tact and things would escalate. At one-point the conflict with her family on both sides was so intense that we spent Thanksgiving at a Golden Corral to enjoy a holiday of peace.
To compound these trials even more, I had a car wreck a year before we met. My car was totaled and so was I. I went from being fit my whole life to living in constant and severe pain. From then on I was under the care of doctors and invested tens of thousands in experimental treatments and medications to alleviate the pain. I was trying to survive and Tanda lived in fear that we or I would not make it.
How We Made It
God’s saving grace was our church Life Group, my Mom, Godly counsel and several books. They all pointed us back to Him and His plan for our marriage and lives. I remember saying to my Mom (who is also my hero) that being married felt like death. She wisely responded, “That’s because it is…you’re dying to self [so Christ can love Tanda through you].”
You see, at our lowest points we sought God separately and together. At our highest points we praised and thanked God individually and together. God has been the foundation and glue that our marriage has been built on and kept together by. We are both fighters. And the story of our marriage is one of spiritual warfare fighting for God’s best for our family. It is one of breaking generational curses that have imprisoned those who have gone before us. It is not a life of ease or luxury. Our journey has been filled with both joy and pain simultaneously.
I share our pain because I know that is where you may be at now and you are desperately searching for hope. Hope that you can change. Hope that God can restore your marriage. And I want to say with confidence, “There IS hope for you.”
Where We are Today
You may be wondering where we are at today. Or you may be praying for us and hoping we are in counseling. Rest assured that we both have gone to counseling and coaching and will continue as needed throughout life. And the great news is that we are both closer to God today and much healthier in the ways we resolve conflict and love people. We are quick to apologize and ask forgiveness for wrongs no matter who is around. And setting boundaries with tact and kindness has also become one of my highest skill sets to live and teach others how to execute.
Today we love her family and enjoy a great relationship with all of them. I no longer place my expectations on them but allow them to teach me. I allow their behaviors and words to educate me on how close they need to be to myself and our family without taking offense. We call these healthy boundaries. Today her mom consistently showers me with loving words full of gratitude and her dad is one of my close brothers who I can count on.
God has blessed us with two amazing kids; Berklee and Hayden. They have been the sunshine that has warmed our lives and marriage since their births. We love being parents and the parenting journey has unified us even more. We both knew that when we had children it was go time for our marriage and the way we approached life. We even felt God calling Tanda to quit her job to homeschool our kids. Which I thought was crazy and weird when she first asked me what I though about homeschooling.
Neither one of us wanted our kids to suffer through childhood like we did. So, we committed to God and each other to raise them His way. We assimilated the good attributes from both of our families and worked to break free from the rest. I came from high structure and she came from complete chaos. I thought we should constantly seek out ways to improve and better ourselves. She didn’t think change was possible. I was the unstoppable force and she was the immovable object. Because of this we enjoyed many times of “passionate fellowship” over what is best for our two little blessings. One thing we both wanted was God’s best for our kids. Therefore, no matter how much we disagreed, seeking Him has always brought us back together.
If you ask me what the best thing I have ever accomplished or what the best thing about my life is I will give the same answer. My family is what I am most proud of and they bring me the highest joy this side of heaven (God remains #1). The fulfillment I thought marriage would bring came through a path of extreme adversity. A path that was filled with unexpected joys and pains. And the biggest surprise is how much joy and unity our kids have brought to our family.
Where we are Today
Tanda and I have a flourishing marriage that we work on daily. Our sustained success comes from our daily time with God, the people in our lives, and the books and podcasts we read and listen to. Surrounding ourselves with great people and resources who are going for God’s best is vital to living an amazing life. We lead a life group weekly and continue to dream about what God will do in the future. We don’t believe in retirement, because we plan to continue pursuing the Lord together until we see Him face to face. We believe in the coming years as our kids age out, we will speak together at seminars more often, write books, host more podcasts and continue to share the hope of God’s love through the transforming power of counseling at New Vision Counseling. Our goal is for God to use our story to inspire and set others free. Free to live out of God’s identity and to maximize their gifts and opportunities in their family and calling.
History Of New Vision Counseling & Consulting
I began college as a business major but quickly discovered that just making money wasn’t my passion. At the time I was taking a psychology class and found it fascinating. I later realized I liked it so much because it gave me hope to overcome my low self-esteem and loneliness. When I discovered that with guided effort I could improve my life and help others do the same I changed my major from business to psychology (counseling).
Fast forward 4 years. New Vision Counseling began as a dream God gave me driving home from a 24 hour day as a counselor at Tulsa Boys Home. I was exhausted from dealing with violent and rebellious teenagers. Struggling to work in a toxic environment and questioning my calling to be a counselor I cried out to God. At that point, I didn’t know how much more I could take.
On that drive home God placed two Scriptures on my heart; Isaiah 61:1-3 (God anointed Jesus to set the captives free) and Proverbs 29:18 (without a vision my people perish). From these two scriptures God validated my calling and New Vision Counseling was born. At that time I knew God was calling me to create a place of hope. More than a counseling agency, New Vision Counseling was created to become a beacon of light where people from all walks of life would experience real transformation. Our clients would not just learn techniques but would become the new creation God created them to be. If you are reading this, I know that you are wondering if there is hope for you. Right now the opportunity to experience this kind of transformation personally is just a click away.
More About Shawn
My journey started with a 19 year old single mom who was uneducated and very poor. And like many of you I grew up feeling like I didn’t fit in, was terribly lonely, and didn’t know I could make my life better. I was overwhelmingly self-conscious and constantly concerned about what others thought of me. My mom worked 2-3 jobs at a time just to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. I remember at one point we lived in a 400 sq foot duplex. My aunt and uncle lived in the living room and we lived in the bedroom. This was a snapshot of my life as a child.
Thankfully, my uneducated single mother modeled great tenacity and perseverance. She worked her way up from being a waitress to retiring as a vice president of a bank. Her faithfulness to God and love for me empowered me to press through adversity and pursue my dreams. She taught me to never quit and to trust God in all circumstances.
New Vision Counseling & Consulting Today
Today New Vision has grown from just me to a team of amazing counselors who love God and love people. We are diverse in our training and personalities but share the same vision. The vision that we can help you discover what better looks like for you and then equip you with the tools to create it. We do this through cutting edge counseling techniques guided by Biblical principles. When you come to New Vision you will soon discover that you are more than another face in the crowd. We see you as amazing and want to help you to discover just how uniquely gifted and valuable you are. Contact us today to start your journey towards what better looks like for you.
We are guided by our 7 core values:
We believe that faith expresses itself in action and we share our faith through the work we do. Our faith in Jesus Christ as the one and only Son of God and Savior of the world and our lives impacts everything we do. Our belief in how he loves people guides how we care for and counsel the people we serve.
We bring excitement filled with hope to those we love and those we serve. Our passion to transform lives is contagious. We believe God created us to celebrate each other and the life that He gave us.
We work together to unleash the potential of every person to achieve extraordinary results. We build authentic relationships and seek ways to serve and support each other. We fight for the highest good of our clients and each other.
- Growth-“Make it better”
We are intentional about continually growing into the next best version of ourselves. We are on a quest to learn and surround ourselves with incredible people and resources to become the amazing person God destined us to be. We believe that when we are God’s best we can give God’s best.
We always bring our best. Excellence honors God and those we serve. As ambassadors for Christ, we hold ourselves to the highest standards in the way we love and treat each other and our clients.
We do the right thing according to God’s word. Period. We believe in living an authentic life where we are the same person in private that we are in public.
We believe honest feedback creates a culture of continuous growth where everyone wins. Honest feedback is our love language and we want to be loved. We don’t just accept it we seek it out.