By Cristina Galvan
Lizbeth Gutierrez does not let her disabilities get in the way. She uses her faith to stay strong and help others.
Twenty-two-year-old Gutierrez was born with cerebral palsy. Growing up, one of the hardest things she had to endure was being told by others that she could not do certain things, because she has a disability.
This constant put down led Gutierrez to fall into a depression that lasted about a year and a half. During her depression, Gutierrez lost interest in school, did not want to eat or go out of her room. “I started to live my own world,” Gutierrez said.
She would stay in her room and watch television. Watching television and movies made Gutierrez wish she could be another person, since she would see how characters led happy lives without problems. Gutierrez even considered taking her own life. She said she used to think, “What is the point of living if there is a lot of people around me telling me I can not do things?”
Her depression ended when she found God and realized that she had a purpose in life. She realized that God made her that way for a reason and that she was perfect in his eyes. “God. He is the one that took me out of that depression,” Gutierrez said.
Once she found God, she started going to church, confessing and started taking Holy Communion. “Before my conversion I was a person who used to think, ‘Oh yeah, I am not like everyone else,’” said Gutierrez.
Having faith changed her. Before, she would concentrate on things that would not make her happy. “God made me see we are all the same,” Gutierrez said.
Her faith made Gutierrez see that she could create a difference with what she has. Gutierrez is in youth groups, active in her church and community, a counselor, gives speeches about her life and also an anti-abortion advocate. “I want to be a person to help others understand that life is precious and beautiful,” Gutierrez said.
She goes to youth groups where she gives her testimony on how God changed her life. She shows others that there is a solution for everything and that with a positive attitude and faith, problems could be conquered. For Gutierrez, the most rewarding thing about being a motivational speaker is seeing the impact that she could have on others. She said, “I could see how people change their lives.”
Even though sometimes the change is not instantly noticeable, she said that sometimes she gets a call a few days later or a year later from people telling her how her story changed their lives. After watching a film on abortion, Gutierrez decided to do something.
On weekends she goes to clinics with a group where they pray and give out flyers advocating against abortion to people who are walking by. “The word pro-life to me means love. We all have to care for those kids and mothers who are in danger everyday,” Gutierrez said.
She said that she helps give unborn babies who are killed a voice. “If I would have decided to take my life away, I would not be able to defend their lives,” Gutierrez said.
Currently, Gutierrez is working on a book. “I am writing a book about my experiences, challenges and how I was able to take out all the obstacles that I have been through. I was motivated to write the book because I had a moment of my life in darkness,” Gutierrez said.
There was a time in her life when she thought that life was not worth living and that she was only here to suffer. Gutierrez said she wants people to understand that challenges and obstacles are part of your life and that, “Everything is going to be good if you have confidence and a positive life.”
She plans on transferring to either the University of California Los Angeles or the University of Southern California, where she plans to pursue a degree in communications. “This career is very important to me, because I want to make a difference,” Gutierrez said.
She also said, “I certainly think that if I do not make a big difference, I will at least make a small one.” Marilyn Ladd is Gutierrez’s fitness teacher and she said that Gutierrez is “always looking at the positive.”
“She does not let her (disability) stop her from writing a book, and it does not stop her from influencing others to make the best of life,” Ladd said.