Monday, February 22, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Allie Gibbs

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to a sweet dear friend of mine, Mrs. Allie Gibbs. Allie and I met our freshman year at UGA at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Our paths have crossed many times over the years since then. After graduating in 2010, we both went into missions positions which included raising support and living in new places, and we were prayer partners through it all! She is an incredibly passionate individual with an amazingly devoted heart that is solely for the name of Jesus to be made known. She is a newlywed just like me; she and her hubby Aaron were married just one week after Rory and I! You will be so encouraged by her wit and sweet heart. 

Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

My name is Allison Renee Gibbs. I am the little sister of John Vernon & Ross, Georgia-grown daughter of Lynn and Wendell, the stepdaughter of Allan Frank, and big sister to about a zillion college girls, whom I treasure deeply. I am a 2010 UGA grad who is passionate about nonprofits, church planting, optimism, and art.  My weeks are composed of hip hop classes with my mega hot sister-in-law, my Eno, yard work, hanging out with my dog Rain as much as possible, and a 22 year long obsession with interior design. One day I'll be as cool as @amberfillerup, my Instagram idol. Please don't ever ask me to play a game of Monopoly.

 15 months ago I fell in love with Aaron Jake Gibbs, the most respected man I know; 6 months later we were engaged. 2 and ½ months later we were married. 2 ½ months later we were surprised to discover that we are pregnant with our first baby! We are delighted to report that we will meet him or her around July 13th of this year (!!!!!)! I like to imagine that Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and I are the three best friends that ever were. All I want to do is strap my baby to my chest, hold my husband’s hand, and go tell the world about how much Jesus rocks.

How did you come to know the Lord?

As a little girl in the church, I believed that Jesus came solely to save us from our circumstances, namely to heal broken families, like my own. I took refuge in the church and became a youth leader who attended innumerable mission trips and events. As my family’s circumstances improved and I forged a hopeful future for myself, I assumed I was healed, although I had only been trusting Christ with my circumstances, not my heart. I spent my college days actively sharing with others how Jesus could free them yet I spent my nights seeking satisfaction in partying and guys. I felt extremely empty. It wasn’t until my senior year of college, however, that I began to realize that Jesus came to save me from myself. It was then that I was made whole and Jesus became more than a glorious humanitarian. I began to see him as the one who rescued my soul, not just my family.

What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?

I cannot remember a season when I didn’t worship the idea of being a rescuer. Jack London’s “Ashes than dust” soliloquy was my mantra. Forgetting the supremacy of Christ as our true Savior, I’ve always imagined myself as someone they’ll write books about - rescuing women from slavery in the middle east, adopting every orphaned child I meet, dressed in colorful clothing, friends with the Dali Lama… a true ‘woman of influence.’ My friends Hannah, Darby, Marie and I often joked that we would rather die than live a humdrum life of suburbia and a monotonous 9-5…. as if Christ, too, scoffed at the mundane.

And yet here I am, totally unraveled over the past 2 and a half years, and realizing for the first time the value of, what my husband calls, “embracing insignificance”... of worshiping Jesus, not myself, day-by-day. I no longer work for a fruitful campus ministry in the heart of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, spend my summers in China illegally sharing the Gospel, nor am I still fighting tooth-and-nail for injustice in the foster care system. For this season, I’ve had to step away from working with kids I deeply love and had to stop directing a gymnastics program for inner city girls. Instead, since December of 2013, the Lord has called me to be faithful servant in finance and agriculture at The University of Georgia. I could not think of a more random job.

On many, many, many days I hate the job and daydream about a life of creativity and adventure. And then I remember that I am Christ's, not my own, and it is a joy to go wherever He sends me. I could probably convince my husband to hop on a plane and leave our jobs for something more glamorous .... But I feel strongly that He is sovereign in bringing us here, now.

Right now to be a ‘Woman of Influence’ means praying faithfully for my coworkers and neighbors, sharing Christ in authenticity and vulnerability, and inviting them to our dinner table... into my life as I wrestle imperfectly to follow Jesus. It means letting others watch me sin, repent, and be transformed by the Gospel. It means that my discipleship group of 10 college seniors has dwindled to 2 but I don’t care. It means dragging these girls  on prayer walks with me around the neighborhood to pray for our neighbors, to basketball games where Aaron coaches and plays that we may embark on awkward conversations with parents and siblings. It means making friends with our cousins’ college girlfriends so I can pursue them as Christ pursues His people. It means handing over a large, uncomfortable portion of our income to those that are advancing the Kingdom in our city and beyond. It means being a beacon of peace, encouragement, and laughter for my husband, even when he’s being selfish or the whole house smells like fart. It means investing in our church, not tomorrow, but today. It means setting our roots in Athens, GA and not believing the grass is greener on some other battlefield.

First and foremost, to be a “Woman of Influence” means a fierce commitment to growing in intimacy with Jesus. It means that wherever my roots may fall I must be quick to ensure that they are growing deeper and deeper in Christ … and I’ll let Him worry about who is watching and the fruit that is produced.

What do you love about the Classic City: Athens, GA?

I love the colors: The graffiti in train depots. The murals outside famous restaurants. The sunsets over the Broad River or in Watkinsville pastures. The metallic greens and blues as they race past at Twilight (an annual bike race downtown). The fire-engine red which frames the Georgia Theater and dusty greeny-browns on the Morton Theater’s columns. The luxurious ebony of Terrapin beer. The pale pinks, and yellows and chocolate browns of kids playing on playgrounds throughout the city. The twinkling yellow-whites of Christmas lights on Clayton Street. Neon chunks of hair peeping beneath college girls’ ponytails, specs of silver reflecting the sunlight on their noses. I love the unnatural orange of mac and cheese at the Grit and the deep evergreens of collards at Last Resort. The blackened feet of notorious barefoot townies and the white of Weaver D’s teeth.

What is your favorite verse?

(As a giant stampede of soldiers run at Jehoshaphat to attack, He declares to the Lord) “I don’t know what to do but my eyes are on you. “ - 2 Chronicles 2:12

What is one truth you want others to cling to?

Palms up, sister. Literally. Put your knuckles on your knees and your palms up. The spiritual surrender will follow this physical posture. --------- You own nothing you hold. Receive what He gives you, even if it’s unexpected. A life of walking with the Holy Spirit is a continual posture of “palms up.” Listening and receiving and surrendering.

And last but not least: coffee or Tea?

Iced coffee :)

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