About Me

About Me

Born in Rome, Georgia and raised in Atlanta, I grew up in a family that was self-consciously Bible believing and Christian.   When we moved to Pebble Beach, California for my 9th and 10th grade years of high school, I began to take ownership of my faith.  Upon our return to Atlanta, my intellectual faith was challenged but met sufficiently for that season of life.

In college, I experienced my first “dark night of the soul” where as much as I wanted God to exist as I had always believed, for the first time, He seemed absent.  It is always through these times of intensely isolating soul doubt and darkness that God’s reality ultimately is proven the most tangible for me.  He burns away the false images of Him that I have clung to and replaces those with something far better.  He removes the tiny man made images of Him that I am so prone to reduce Him into and enlarges my view and trust in Him.  This cycle repeated itself most memorably at one time in seminary and again after the birth of my second child.  It was this latter moment in time when for the first time in my life, I began to see my true need for a redeemer rather than simply a club membership card.  It will happen over and over again, I can only hope, until I meet Him face to face.

I married Terrell Gilbert in June of 1998.  In March of 2003 Ellie was born and we were surprised by how content we were to be parents of just one child.  She was enough and we were delighted with her.  A dancer and artist and a compassionate soul for such a tiny person, she leads me in untold ways.  After visiting a Doctors Without Borders exhibit in Piedmont Park where we walked through a model of a refugee camp and learned how they are cared for, Ellie asked when we would have to leave our home.  Though we tried to assure her it would likely never happen, her heart for the homeless and orphans was exposed at only age 3.   In 2005 her little brother Chad was born and was a party from the moment he emerged.  A lover of humor and dancing, he is a sensitive and creative artist and full fledged aggressive boy in one precious package.  While able to punch his big sister in the face in one moment, he tenderly protects his new baby sister in another and then can be overheard praising his big sister in deep conversations with her or other friends in the next.  He is passionate and full of life and fills our house with energy.  In November of 2009, with much pushing from our children, we began the process of adopting our third child from Uganda.  Inspired by the very notion of our faith, that “the adopted adopt”, we moved through what proved to be far more arduous and lengthy process than we anticipated.  In March of 2011 we were introduced to our third child, Martha Kwagala (the last name chosen by the babies’ home and means “love”), and in August of 2011 we finally met her face to face.  We spent four life changing weeks in Uganda in the process to bring her home and in November of 2011 she officially became Martha Jane Gilbert.

Having attended only competitive private schools from pre-school through high school graduation, I grew up in a very type A, achievement oriented culture.  I have always been surrounded by affluent, over educated, well connected people, even though I myself have never really fit that description.  Our family now lives in a neglected area of the city, a few miles from the heart of downtown Atlanta.  We are the only white family visible to our surrounding neighbors, a curiosity but also, hopefully, an increasingly equal participant in the struggles and strength of this once vibrant neighborhood.  We hope to see renewal here rather than transition – improvement with justice that benefits the long time residents as much as it may attract the newcomers.

This is the context in and from which I am growing to believe in my great need for a redeemer and the great way in which He meets that need at every twist and turn in my hours, days and life.