Age: 24 // Favourite Food: Steak // Dream Job: Yet to be decided // Current Season: Newlywed, youth pastoring alongside my husband, recent college graduate, beginning first “big girl” job… // Met Jesus: at 17 years old, on a Sunday morning in church // Favourite Verse: Isaiah 43:18-19- “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” // Instagram: @patsykittrell
As a senior in high school, anticipating graduating and beginning college, I was sure that I would attend out of state. I had never even considered any local college in my search over the past year. I applied to six schools, all out of state, and when I gained admittance into my first pick, I was so elated I cried as I broke into celebratory laughter and exclamation with my mom. The school was a large research university and provided a highly regarded program for the area of study that I was interested.
As my senior year progressed, I finally ended an on-again-off-again 2.5 year relationship with a boy I had dated through much of my high school career. At this point in time, I re-committed my relationship with Jesus and was fully committed to not only recognizing Jesus as my Savior, but also, allowing Him to be Lord over my life, and in every area of it.
As summer progressed and the time neared for me to make my big move, I began seeing the reality of the choice to attend college out of state in a new light. After a little research, I realized the local church I would want to join would be about a forty-five minute drive from my University. While this was not the major issue, other factors weighed in on my mind. Not only had I only recently re-committed my relationship with Jesus, but I felt a stirring and calling to remain planted in my local church at home, and to not uproot myself from the valuable relationships and accountability I had established.
After making lists to measure pros and cons, talking to my parents and my church leaders, praying to God, and after countless tears and passionate conversations with my parents, I realized that only I could make the decision of whether to go or to stay.
I remember when I timorously told my dad that I had had a change of heart and would be staying home, he sternly looked at me and said, “Patsy, I will never think that you’ve made the right decision about this. You are throwing away an opportunity.” –The truth is, my decision made no sense in the natural. I was out on a limb, trusting God with what would come of this decision I believed He was leading me in.
About six years later, I can now see more reasons than what I was even aware of at the time, for what I believe, drove the decision I carefully made as an 18 year old that would change how the course of my life and the lives around me would be chartered.
While my undergraduate college career was no walk in the park, I truly believe that I learned more at a community college, as well as the Christian university from which I graduated, and perhaps more so from the obstacles I’ve had to overcome along the way, than I would have otherwise. Not only have I just graduated a few weekends ago from Regent University, which has been such a phenomenal fit for myself, but also, it is through the University as well as a church connection that I have been able to land a perfectly suited job in the school’s Marketing Department. I am excitedly beginning in just a few weeks.
Moreover, I believe my staying at home to pursue my education, has impacted my parents’ marriage in a way that perhaps I will not fully recognize the benefit of until I get to Heaven. My individual relationships with my parents have never been stronger, and more importantly, their individual relationships with Jesus have evolved and grown. I am also coming up on nearly a year of marriage to my best friend, who is one of our church’s youth pastors on staff.
I get the feeling that I am entering upon a new season in which God will call me to trust Him in new ways that are unfamiliar to me. I am so grateful that God calls us to trust Him from what may seem as minor details, to bigger, weightier decisions. I am more in love with my God now than ever, and I reckon that is in part, because I have learned to trust Him and have experienced the beginning of His faithfulness outworked in my life and others’.