Ally Christianson, LCSW

Hear Me Roar

PY HMR0521

May 2021 Issue
Photography by Nancy J. Reynolds Photography 

Ally Christianson, LCSW
Founding Director,
Hope 1312 Collective
Brunswick, GA

How did Hope 1312 Collective get its name?

Proverbs 13:12 says: “When hope is deferred it makes hearts sick.” This had been my experience serving children in hard places in and around the child welfare system. The lack of change and healing in those I was serving was making my heart sick, as well, but the verse continues: “but when longings are fulfilled there is a tree of life.” This spoke to me about all that could be if the resources of the church and community were connected with the actual needs of children in hard places. Trajectory shifts, broken generational cycles and hope fulfilled were still possible, and so our collective efforts were launched!

When did you first know you wanted to help children?

As a child, though I had a beautiful life from the surface, I often found myself feeling hopeless and voiceless. This experience connected me with other hurting children at a pretty young age, and God granted me perspective that I wouldn’t trade for anything!

Have you ever taken a giant leap of faith?

My life with Jesus has been such an amazing adventure—not easy, but always an adventure! While I can’t think of a specific leap of faith, I would say that allowing Jesus to be my healer and provider each day has been the greatest challenge, but He hasn’t failed me yet. I know the best is yet to come!

What three words inspire you, and why?

Hope: The hope I’ve experienced through Jesus has changed my life and given me purpose and passion from my pain.
Neuroplasticity: The ability of our brains to rewire themselves and heal offers such evidence to me of God’s plan for redemption.
Sale: I love finding a good deal and getting to stretch our resources. My friends laugh about my passion for Big Lots, Tuesday Morning and a good thrift/consignment sale!

What are some of your dreams you share with your children?

I always pray for them to have a crazy adventure following Jesus. I want my baby girl to always love the image she sees in the mirror and know that God made her just right. I pray that my son will love people and find joy as easily as his daddy. They know I can’t wait to take them to some of my favorite places in the world—The San Blas Islands of Panama and Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. I want them to have to make a special trip home when they’re older to see me in an over-the-top musical, or clogging at a festival!   

What brought you to Coastal Georgia?

My husband, Michael, and I met serving as camp counselors on the Epworth Leadership Team for Camp Connect in 2004. That summer we met Jay Hanson, who later invited Michael to come be a part of The Chapel. We were engaged at the time, so following my college graduation, I moved here to start our life together! Almost 15 years later it remains an honor to be a part of this community and serve with Jay at The Chapel.

What song are you most likely to pick to sing at karaoke?

This is tricky. I have pretty incredible lyrical dance moves that pair well with Toni Braxton hits, but also enjoy a Will Smith duet with Michael.

What is your best memory of last year?

We have some generous friends who let us borrow their boat during the quarantine.  Hours on the water with nowhere to be was pretty sweet. It gave us the chance to process all that was going on in the world and the heartache in our community. The marsh views always seem to call me Higher.

I always feel better when...

I’m camping, have a Wake Up dirty chai, or get to plan a fun surprise for someone I love!

What is the most random thing in your purse right now?

Three pairs of oversized cheap sunglasses; I believe in changing it up and not taking myself too seriously.

I’m Roaring about...

The incredible opportunity our community has to re-write the story of child welfare and offer children in hard places HOPE!

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