Abbigayle Keown points to God’s purpose through trials

Column
September 25, 2020
“Mask”-verade
September 25, 2020

Abbigayle Keown points to God’s purpose through trials

Abbigayle will complete her sophomore year this semester. Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

Despite eye surgeries, severe asthma and a myriad of mystery medical problems, Abbigayle Keown, a sophomore special education major, does not let her physical struggles stop her from sharing how good her God is.

Keown grew up legally blind from glaucoma and cataracts and has had about twenty eye surgeries, the most recent of which was in 2019. Her latest unrelated medical surgery was two days before the beginning of this fall semester, scheduled so that it would not overlap with school.

Even though she faces many medical obstacles, Keown testifies how God has used them for His good. “He’s put people in my life who have vision issues that I can impact and touch their life in ways that someone who doesn’t have vision issues can’t understand…,” she said.

At the age of 8, Keown received Christ as her Savior. When she was 14, she began spending regular time in the Word and cultivating a deeper relationship with the Lord.

Around that time, she and her dad experienced a car accident in a parking lot, something they never would have expected. Keown received a shoulder injury, and her dad suffered a traumatic brain injury and an eye injury. “My life changed in an instant,” Keown said.

She questioned how God could use the situation for good. “God, I know you use everything for good, but what are you going to do?” she asked. It took about six months for her to see the goodness of God at work.

God used the accident to open doors for Keown to receive funds from the Commission for the Blind. “So, I’m provided with the technology that we wouldn’t have explored had we not been in the car accident,” Keown said. During that time, God placed different people in Keown’s life to encourage her and help her through the hard time.

Because of her experience, Keown has been able to share her story with a friend who was in a car accident. “God is with you,” she told the person. “He’ll give you the strength.”

Keown’s brother attended BJU several years before her, but she wanted to make her own college decision. The Commission for the Blind has a program called Successful Transitions that allowed Keown to experience different colleges.

“I ended up at BJU because of the people, the environment, the truth, truly wanting to get to know God better,” she said. Keown also chose BJU because of the academic programs and accommodations the University provided. All the pieces fit together in God’s timing.

She found that BJU was willing to help in whatever ways were necessary to help her succeed. Professors must be creative in their reformatting of tests to allow it to go through an auditory program for Keown. Keown knows they are not just providing accommodations, but they genuinely want to help.

Keown is studying special education because she wants to help kids overcome their struggles and to not give up. She believes that they can succeed at what God wants them to do if they are given the right tools. “If you’re given the right resources, you can do this,” Keown said. “It may not be exactly what your plan is, or you may get used in a greater way.”