A New Decade
~written by Abby Kittle
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.” Job 22:21-30 NIV
The 2010’s were wild to say the least. Towards the beginning of the decade, I was not a happy camper. Though not much was going wrong in my life, I viewed it as the worst life anyone could live. My perspective on everything good, bad, and indifferent lacked purpose. Nothing in my life meant anything. For two years, I lived this life with no intention to look up. As my high school career was nearing its end, I desired to go to college. My relationship with God was nearly non-existent, but I still wanted to attend a Christian college. Originally, my plan was to become a music teacher, so I pursued that. As many high school seniors do, I started visiting universities. Two colleges were on my radar. One was Cedarville University and the other was Spring Arbor University. The first one I visited was really nice, but they didn’t fully accept me into the music program. So, then I visited Spring Arbor. All day, I complained. “Why do I have to do this?” And, “This place seems too strict.” All of these negative thoughts entered my mind simultaneously. I wonder if the evil one was attempting to sabotage all that God would do there. But, obviously, he failed immensely. I tried to talk my way out of going there, but God was leading me there. No mistake about it.
The first day at SAU was totally different from anything I had experienced in high school. My freshmen roommate was an angel on foot. She treated me like Jesus would have and I was taken aback each day we spent time together. My heart slowly, but surely began to change. There was one problem, though. I hated being in the music major. All of my life, music was a huge part of my existence and my passion for it was rapidly decreasing. I had to do something different. But, what? I was so unsure. I knew I liked kids, and wanted to work with them, but I didn’t know which avenue to take. My roommate asked me if she could gather some people to pray for me. I wasn’t really a Christ follower yet, so I said yes, but I didn’t realize just how powerful that could be. As I walked outside of the student center on a Saturday afternoon, I instantly felt peace. About 10 people were sitting around the oak tree just waiting for me. That was one of the few times in my life when I felt that loved by my peers. As they began to pray, incredible love and peace overtook me to the point of tears. I could not explain away what was happening to me. God was moving. Then, as I prayed to God on my own, He touched my heart and I decided to follow Him. The decade then began to look up.
As I journeyed through my time at Spring Arbor, one thing was certain. God could use people to touch my life. All of the people I met there were used by Jesus in some way to show that He cared for me. One specific person I met my freshman year really changed my life for the better. His name is Josh. Ever since that first year, he has always been there waiting to pray for me, laugh with me, and cry with me. He is also like an angel on foot. God sure has a funny way of showing that He cares for me, and Him bringing this friend into my life was one of them. I remember the first few years of our friendship, we were in a class together. He would always ask me how I was and what I was up to. Those simple acts of kindness have stuck with me all these years and I could not be more grateful for this man of God. We are still great friends today.
Of course, not everyone I’ve met this decade has been as friendly. During the school year of 2014–2015, I experienced emotional abuse. I had not really a clue just how bad it could get, so I kind of brushed it off to the side as this person abused me mentally and emotionally. By the end of the school year, we decided to work together and room together. After a few days of that, I understood just how rough the abuse was. On a whim, I chose to leave that job and go home. I had to cut all ties with this person and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. But, through all of this, I found out who my real friends are. They encouraged me to keep going, though the situation seemed hopeless. I eventually got through that summer and began the next school year.
I traveled to another country that decade, and it was a blast. Cambodia was a place that I miss terribly and I want to go back to at some point in my life, if given the opportunity. It was a place of joy, peace, love, and every good thing. I really felt God’s presence there. He is greatly working there and I absolutely loved it. After I arrived home, getting used to daily life in America was difficult, but I eventually did. I ended up getting really sick in March with a parasite. I had to withdraw from my classes and retake them later in college. This was an enormous burden, but with God, I learned how to fix my eyes on Him even through the toughest of circumstances.
My health has been an up and down roller coaster the last half of the 2010’s, and it made completing college incredibly difficult, but in June of 2018, I wrote the last line of my last paper. I was so relieved and filled with joy that I made it. Then, I received my diploma in August. My happiness level was off the charts! I did it! Thanks be to God!
Life post-college has not been the easiest. Being in and out of jobs, while my health went up and down was not easy, but I have realized how much God has worked in my life. He has also spoken to me through others during this season. I have also been struggling with an addiction from my past and trying to recover from it. 2019, the last year of the 2010’s, was a really rough year for that in particular, but God has been showing me the root cause of this issue. Getting to the root causes have been healing me from the inside out. I’m so grateful for this healing and that I’m on the road to recovery.
I want to thank some people. Thank you to my family. Thank you for supporting me all of my life and caring for me. I love you all.
Thank you to this group of people: Josh, Ben, and Luke. This group has been like a second family to me. They have loved me unconditionally, celebrated with me, and encouraged me when I needed a prop up. Thank you guys so, so much. Brothers, I love you and I’m praying for you guys daily.
Thank you to my friends from SAU. There are too many to list, but I just want to say I could not be at this point without you. I am indebted to you all for your positive words, actions, and all of the hugs you all have given to me. Thank you for being there for me in college and out of it. I love all of you very much.
Lastly, thank you to Erica who asked me if I wanted to publish an article. This would not be in here without her!
As 2020 and the new decade began, I didn’t know what to expect. It was an insane year, but God grew me in every area. Now that 2021 is in full swing, I hope to be a light to all of you like you all have been for me. I will remember to look up. You can look up too. God is waiting for you!” Click here to check out my blog, and click here to buy my books. I can be reached by email at email@example.com.