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Approaching Winter

September 24, 2013

DSC_0817Dear Friends,

Winter is beginning to set in on our city.  Time for warm coats, mittens, lighting fires and thinking of soups, stews, and foods that bring comfort, occupies our home.  Britt surprised me with an electric blanket and now it is shared with the kids who love to read their books snuggled up before bedtime.  I wonder where did those long, bright summer evenings go?  Why is there a surge in church meetings and activities when it is nicer to be indoors rather than face the cold?

DSC_1328Facing winter, whether that brings dread or happy prospects, is necessary for brightness and newness to occur.  The counseling room is busy with many dreading the dark memories and coldness of their broken relationships.  Last week I experienced the swirling emotions of one client wanting to live but also wanting to die.  Death seemed more appealing.  As their therapist, who cares deeply, I needed to ‘fight’ to hold out the possibility of a future, the hope of a slightly better, but not perfect, tomorrow, the joy in releasing the grip of pain and guilt and receiving life.  God offers so much more than what we can imagine.  Even in the darkness, He is there.  Safe.  Constant.  Forgiving. Real.

DSC_0616I have often wondered: how can Britt and I keep our own lives protected when we regularly face the darkness and weariness of the souls we serve? When we share stories from the Mission, many ask the same question.  We returned from the States in July with an assurance that we are in exactly the right place for now.  There is great hope when we believe that this season offers new journeys to take.  We also believe that God is enough to deal with our shortcomings and failings.  Not surprisingly, it did not take long for that hope and certainty to be tested, as the Mission has experienced some difficult times this past few months.  But I believe that, in the midst of uncertainty, we trust God and hold out for God’s Grace in how we live, interact with others and be.  It is all Grace.

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As a family, the girls have settled well into new school years –  Emily now 1st Grade (P.3), Ellie now 3rd Grade ( P.5).  Emily asked on Sunday night how many hours would it be till she saw Miss Haire?  The answer of ’14 hours’ was received with an “Aah, I wish it was 14 minutes”.  It is safe to say she has the sweetest teacher in the school and dearly loved by our little Goldilocks.DSC_1286

Ellie won a place on the Philharmonic Choir in Belfast.  Along with 80 other 8-9 year olds she is learning to enjoy music in a fun and creative way.  It is wonderful to see her growing in confidence.  Big conversations about heaven and “why, oh why, does God allow suffering” has swirled around in her head.  Ellie recently described the difference between Belfast and Orlando. In her eyes: Orlando was spacious, wide roads, bright and colorful with happy people; Belfast was grey with dark pictures on walls, flags and sad looking people.  I ached a little at her honest thoughts but used it as a moment to rejoice in the fact that she perceives life well.  The girls are growing up stepping between different cultures, and it is “kind of okay”.  As you can see, Ellie is an intriguing and sensitive 9 year old, who still dreams of having a dog. Maybe next birthday.DSC_1283

Jake turns two on 1st October and can already answer “do you love, Emily?” questions, with a “I love Ellie” statements.  It’s probably because Emily torments him more by dragging him away from dangerous objects like fires, stairs and her toys.  You can safely say he is adored by both girls.  He is happy and joy and fun on multi levels.  We are grateful to parent them.

In November I have decided to attend a three day training offered by a former professor from Atlanta on couple therapy.  It will be held in London and will be my first time away alone for years.  Excited to receive the training.  Not too happy about leaving them all.  Sad, I know.

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As we are uncertain about future holiday plans in the States, Britt’s mum will fly over for 12 days in November.  She is a welcomed and loved gift to us all. So we light the fire, find our boots and trust that this new season will be one off hearts turned to find warmth and wholeness in Christ.

May we all seek to know Him a little bit better this winter.

In Christ,

Britt, Ally, Ellie, Emily and Jake.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Hollie permalink
    September 24, 2013 10:58 pm

    Thank you Ally for sharing your hubby with mine this past weekend. He filled my hubby’s heart in a way that only a true friend can.

  2. Pamela Glenn permalink
    September 25, 2013 7:58 am

    What a joy to read those lovely reflections Ally!!! And the pictures of those gorgeous little children!!! Blessed!! Xxx

  3. Candie Whitney permalink
    September 26, 2013 1:13 pm

    Very reflective on your ministry Ally.You are raising wonderfully aware children. Know that we pray for the Gilmore family and the ministry that you and Britt are sharing with the mission. Hugs!

  4. October 9, 2013 1:06 am

    So good to hear from you and to enjoy the delightful pictures of the kids. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as you deal with both the joys and challenges of ministry.

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