Today, Abbie speaks to us about great books speaking to her, her name’s tie to Scripture, and her dream to be a lit professor.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born and raised in a small town in Western New York. I am an only child, so I am pretty close to my parents. I went to public school from Pre-K to sixth grade and was homeschooled from seventh grade through my senior year of high school. Both my parents instilled in me a love for reading, books, and the pursuit of knowledge.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Recently, the Lord has been highlighting Psalm 46 for me. The entire Psalm is so encouraging, but I have found the opening lines (verses 1–2) especially reassuring: “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not be afraid.” There is a lot of devastation occurring in the world right now, making it very easy to become discouraged and woeful. However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to continually put our trust in Christ. Over and over, time and again, His Word resounds with reassurance. We do not need to live in fear “though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil” (2–3).
“There is a lot of devastation occurring in the world right now, making it very easy to become discouraged and woeful. However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to continually put our trust in Christ.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: There are a few different areas in my life where I believe God is calling me to grow. One of the biggest areas of growth is in trusting that He will provide for me. He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides. God never changes (see Hebrews 13:8). If He provided for his people in ancient times, He will certainly provide for His people today.
Profession/Mission: I am currently a college student. Right now, I am a distance learning student, but when I get on campus, I plan on officially declaring my major and minor. I plan on majoring in Literature and minoring in Journalism. I have wanted to be a teacher for years, and as of right now, I believe I would like to become a lit professor. Ultimately, I want to do what God has called me to do. If He has not ordained me to be a professor, then I will not be a professor. I am very fortunate to have godly professors who have encouraged me to discover and pursue the call of God on my life, even before I have arrived on campus.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? God’s Goodness in the Life of an Unworthy Vessel
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I was blessed to grow up in a Christian household. I remember getting saved at a young age. My Sunday School had presented the Gospel to us, and not long afterwards my mom also talked to me about Jesus’ death and resurrection. She asked me if I wanted to invite Jesus into my heart. I said yes, and she led me in the prayer of salvation. I look back on that moment and remember feeling a sense of warmth and being surrounded by twinkling lights.
How would you describe Jesus? Jesus is the lover of my soul. His love is so unfathomable. He had access to all the beauty and treasures of heaven, yet He surrendered to the Father’s will to reconcile us to God the Father. Jesus not only became a human being, but He also died a criminal’s death (and a “cursed death” at that, see Galatians 3:13). How wonderful, how marvelous is this lowly and meek Prince, who gave up everything to make us righteous children of God.
“His love is so unfathomable. He had access to all the beauty and treasures of heaven, yet He surrendered to the Father’s will to reconcile us to God the Father.”
How has your relationship with Him changed you? My relationship with Christ has changed how I treat and view others. I am pretty impatient person, and I can get angry and hurt easily. My relationship with Christ challenges me to view others the way He views them—people made in His image, in desperate need of His love. One of the other areas of spiritual growth in my life right now is Christ’s call to forgive others. As Christians, we must forgive the inexcusable. After all, isn’t that exactly what Jesus did for us? It is very difficult to forgive after being hurt or experiencing injustice, yet we are told with no caveats or exceptions, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14–15). Sobering words indeed.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? The darkest time in my life was probably when I was in fifth grade. I left the elementary school I had been going to for years and was placed in a class with kids from other schools in our school district (elementary schools in our area went to fourth grade and then for fifth and sixth grade all the kids from the various elementary schools were lumped together in an “intermediate” school). I had a pretty sheltered and sterile childhood. Fifth grade came around and changed that. I was in a class with sixteen boys and eight girls, and I only kind of knew two of my classmates. I felt scared and alone.
The kids in my fifth grade class were pretty worldly, and looking back I think I can safely say my childhood innocence was shattered during fifth grade. I desperately wanted to fit in and be accepted, so I started acting like my peers. I would say mean things about others and pretend I was joking, I would use crude language, and treat others with disrespect. I knew what I was doing was wrong and hated my actions. I wish I could say I stopped acting this way once I realized what I was doing, but sadly I didn’t. I kept on acting like the people of the world. I would come home every day for the first three months of school and cry. During this season, I still believed in Jesus, but I did not represent Him well. I felt separated from Him because of my actions. It was after this negative experience that my parents decided after sixth grade they would pull me out of public school. I am so glad they did. Though at times difficult and challenging, my homeschooling experience helped me grow both spiritually and academically. Looking back on my fifth grade experience, I have learned many lessons. While it was challenging, upon reflection I see the faithfulness and sovereignty of God.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading (or rather, listening) to Crime and Punishment by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The book asks some very profound questions about morality. Is murder ever justifiable? How can mental illness impact an individual and the people around him? These are just two of the questions raised in the book. It’s a fascinating work. I’d highly recommend it. I’ve been listening to an audio recording on YouTube (you can listen along here).
Top three essentials: My Bible, coffee, and sweatpants.
How did God speak to you recently? God has really been speaking to me recently through a book by Lana Vawser. The book is entitled, I Hear the Lord Say New Era: Be Prepared, Positioned, and Propelled Into God’s Prophetic Timeline. This book is so on point for a lot of things I have been going through the past couple of years. I recently read a portion of the book that deals with fear, and it was so good. Also, a book that has been a huge comfort to my hear is Rosebuds: Blossoming in Your Single Season by British author, Devona Fayana. Both Lana (@lana_vawser_ministries) and Devona’s (@devonafayana) Instagrams are also super encouraging.
Hobby: I feel like I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while now, but with school there just has not been a lot of time to focus on creating a blog. Hopefully, this summer I’ll be able to make that my hobby. I also enjoy baking and watching old movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood and British TV shows.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Staying in the Word, praying, and worshiping.
Favorite person in scripture? Ooh, there are so many people I love in the Bible. Jesus is obviously on the top of the list, but after that I would have to say Abigail. My name is the diminutive form of Abigail. While I am not technically an Abigail, I have to admit one of the reasons I love her is because of our similar name. I think Abigail is one of the most underrated female leaders of Scripture. Her servant heart is truly Christ-like. She is an incredibly impressive woman. If you haven’t read her story before, definitely check out 1 Samuel 25.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? When people look at me, I want them to see God’s encouragement and love.
How do you engage with your community? Right now, my community is mainly my college community. Because I’m a distance learning student, it has been challenging at times to connect with others. However, I am so thankful for social media and the art of letter writing. I have two wonderful pen pals at the moment. I am so thankful for their kindness, sweetness, and light.
Favorite holiday? Probably Christmas and then Thanksgiving.
A goal you have? I have a few goals this year. There are two main ones. One is to start the blog I mentioned earlier. The other main goal is to become more consistent in when and how much time I spend with the Lord. I would like to start my days with Jesus and not my phone.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Whenever one of us is going to go out in the world, say to a job (or when I was younger, to school) my mom will say, “May the Lord bless you, and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26).
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I read my Young Women for America (YWA) coordinator Deanna’s interview, and she wants to ask, “Why bugs?” I second that question.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The Gospel. I want to show others the love and light of Jesus. I am also interested in politics. I am an ambassador for YWA, which raises awareness about many pressing social issues. A few of the issues on YWA’s platform I am most passionate about would have to be abortion, Israeli sovereignty, and school choice. I think it is safe to say abortion is the biggest moral issue in our culture today, or at least one of the biggest. As Christians, we have a spiritual and moral duty to Israel, and I want the us as the body of Christ to become more educated about the spiritual importance of Israel. I personally benefited from school choice, and I want other children and families to benefit from it as well.
What does your morning routine consist of? My morning routine is pretty non-existent right now. Another one of my goals is to create a more consistent morning routine. I kind of just do what I need to do (make my bed, eat breakfast, etc.) when I want to. I would like my mornings to be more structured and organized, and that is something I am trying to work on.
What is on your nightstand? A lamp that belonged to either my great-grandmother or my grandmother on top of some books, a tissue box, a water bottle (normally), and a set of Bible verses on pretty cards given to me by one of my aforementioned pen pals as a birthday gift.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is believing and trusting in Jesus Christ, who came to this earth to cleanse us of sin and make us right with and before God the Father.
For more Abbie:
Until next time, keep witnessing!