Monday, March 7, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Elissa Ewald

Today I am very excited to introduce to a friend I've known for quite some time. Although she is one year younger than me, we attended the same school from middle school to college. We were in orchestra class together- both content to sit in the second violins section because first violins were to much dang work. In college we were involved in the same campus ministry, and then there was that one time she asked me to go to Kenya with her on less than a week's notice, and I said yes. She's a gem. :) Seriously, though- Elissa loves people well. She still sends mix tapes via snail mail; she's a gifted photographer-all those wedding and engagement pictures I throw up on this blog every 2 seconds-her work. Her heart is pure, kind, and selfless, and everyone needs one of her in their life. So without further adieu, I give you my sweet friend, Elissa Ewald.

Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
My name is Elissa Beth Maria Ewald. I have two middle names which has always made filling out forms on standardized tests a bit more challenging. I am a daughter of the most high God, and learning more about what that looks like every day. Most days it feels like a lot like running to my father with tears and scratched up knees, but I’m hoping it’s beautiful, too. I love doing life with people, particularly if it involves impromptu dancing and/or singing. Or food. I love good food and the power it has to bring people together. I am drawn to people’s stories, and love getting to be a part of telling and sharing in how God is telling His story in the lives of people today. I love turner classic movies and card games and puns.
How did you come to know the Lord?
I grew up in the church, but can honestly say that for the majority of my childhood only went because of my love for General Tsu’s chicken. If you didn’t go to church, you didn’t get to go out to eat, and since I grew up in a huge family, going out to eat was a rare treat you never wanted to miss. I decided I wanted Christ to be my savior in middle school, but didn’t know or really care what it looked like to be a follower of Jesus until the end of high school and my freshman year in college. God began to draw me in, and it has been a crazy adventure ever since.
What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?
Oh goodness. I’m pretty sure I don’t do this most days, but I think it means living out of who God made you to be in whatever circumstances he has placed you for the time being. I think it means trusting Him enough to be fulling invested and present in the life He is unfolding before you and resisting the urge to cling too tightly or want the gifts more than the giver.

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your job?
Right now I work at a church, in a job that I wasn’t looking for, but God stepped in and opened up an opportunity. I get to work with and for a community of people learning what it means to love, most days imperfectly, and are pursuing God and each other in the mess that life brings. I’ve seen God bring healing and freedom into my life and the lives of those around me, and seen people fight for God’s glory in relationships and their families, repent, and choose love in seemingly impossible circumstances. Even on the hardest days, I know that doing the hard work of pursuing God in community with believers has to be part of what Jesus meant when he talked about bringing God’s kingdom to earth.
What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?
My favorite has always been Hebrews 10:23…”Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?
What I’ve been clinging to lately is that the most true thing about me is that I am loved, more than I can ever understand or imagine, by my Father in heaven.
And last but not least: coffee or tea?
In the words of Lorelei Gilmore: Coffee, coffee, coffee. :)

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