My Appalachia

Hello! My name is Kaitlin White. I am twenty-three years old, and I am from Louisa, Kentucky. I lived there my entire life until I began attending the University of Kentucky for an undergraduate degree in Animal Sciences. I now live in Lexington with my husband and we are expecting our baby girl, Amelia, at the end of August! 

I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian, as I had a love for animals and a desire to be impressive. I was driven by the fact that no one that had every graduated from my county’s only high school had ever become a veterinarian before. I thought that I could be the first and somehow the best. I ended up receiving a full academic scholarship from UK, which only fueled my self-centeredness. I was a big fish in a small pond; everyone knew me and knew I would accomplish big things. 

Once I got to UK, I wasn’t a big fish anymore; I was a miniscule one. I wasn’t the smartest one in the room (and maybe I never was, but I at least thought I was in high school). I had to work hard to do well in my classes, which hadn’t been an issue before. I was surrounded by students who had already been parts of research projects, overseas academic trips, creating service organizations, etc. My self-esteem plummeted, as my identity has been centered on my intelligence and success in academics.

It was there that Jesus found me. Broken, having panic attacks over homework, and feeling worthless, He led me to Himself. I had started attending a ministry on campus and I heard the Gospel: that even though I do bad things and that I screw up, God sent His Son to take the punishment on the cross that I deserved. He defeated death and rose from the grave, proving He was who He had said He was. I came into a relationship with God through Christ when I realized that this gift of salvation and eternity with Him didn’t have a GPA requirement; it didn’t have anything to do with what I could achieve or not achieve. He offers the free gift of salvation to the world because He has paid for the sins of the world through an excruciating death on a cross, and all I had to do is admit I was a sinner, believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that He rose from the grave, and ask Him to come into my life and change me. I will never be at a point where I am so bad that I am beyond the reach of God’s grace, and I will never be so good that I am beyond the need of God’s grace.

As a senior in college I realized the Lord had called me into ministry, not veterinary medicine. I wasn’t destined to be impressive to my hometown and leave a legacy like that. I expected many people to be disappointed or surprised by the decision I’d made to abandon the dream I’d had since I was young that I told literally every adult about that would listen to me. But my hometown is still proud of me. Because they realized long before I did that it’s not about being impressive or having your name on a plaque in the school for years to come; it’s all about where God has called you and if you’re being obedient to Him. 

I am now working in ministry as the Preschool Ministry Director at Center Point Church of Lexington, where I hope to instill that same knowledge that Appalachia emanates into the kids I have the privilege of working with.