“6 Questions with…” is an opportunity for women and girls everywhere to share something about their passions and lives. (It’s also a fantastic excuse for me to be really nosey and learn more about the incredible women I admire.)
This week I’m putting Ellissa Baird in the hot seat. Ellissa is part of a large family who have managed to cultivate an amazing following on Instagram. I first came across the Bairds via GirlDefined (run by two of Ellissa’s sisters) but it was an interview on the GD YouTube with Ellissa about singleness and mission that made me sit up. Here was a single girl who admitted to struggling with a lot of the same problems as me when it came to people. Since then I have followed Ellissa on Instagram and when she said yes to appearing on Finding Chaya, I was so happy to share her with you guys. But I’m going to stop sounding like such a fan girl right now and let Ellissa introduce herself…
1)Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you come from. Paint a picture of yourself.
I am a 6’0 foot tall, middle child of 8, born and raised Texas girl. I love early morning sunrises and good cups of light roast coffee. I love reading old books and listening to French instrumental music. I love running and hiking and camping in the great outdoors. I think match making my friends might be my hobby… I love hosting parties and helping people connect and have fun! A relationship with God has radically transformed my life and set me on mission for Him and His people!
2) On your Instagram, particularly in the Stories, you have talked a lot about being an introvert and shy/having low confidence. How did you realise that you had this introverted aspect to your character, particularly coming from a family that appear to be very extroverted from their online presence.
Wow… such a fantastic question! Haha, and yes, my family is SUPER out going and loud and crazy! So not to sound too cliché but beginning a relationship with God, getting into His word and understanding His bigger purpose for my life changed EVERYTHING! God radically changed the desires of my heart over time. I started to actually want to build deeper relationships with people, lead Bible studies, meet up with girls one-on-one, etc. I also reached out to an older Godly woman that was a really strong communicator and asked if she would basically mentor me in my social skills and communication skills. It made all the difference for me!
3) You’ve been raised as a Christian within a Christian family. Coming from a similar background, I’m often asked if I would be a Christian without that upbringing. How would you answer people who ask whether you would have your faith without a “religious” upbringing?
Hmm that’s a tough question. I wouldn’t be me at all if I didn’t grow up in this family. Naturally the people who raise you and who you spend every waking moment with are going to influence who you become. I personally think that God doesn’t need a “religious” family to save anyone! It’s the work of the Holy Spirt drawing people to Him and the sharing of the Gospel by Believers. God chose to give me Christian parents that raised me in a Christian home and shared the Gospel with me when I was young. I consider that a huge privilege and blessing and I will be forever grateful to them for their faithfulness.
4) You describe yourself as an advocate for orphans and you talked about your heart for mission on GirlDefined. Here in the UK, Home for Good is also raising the profile of fostering and adoption within the Church. What advice would you give to Christians who want to work with orphans and vulnerable children, both in their local area/country and overseas?
That’s sounds like an amazing organization! I would say start with prayer. Ask God to open your eyes to opportunities or to bring new opportunities your way. This is something that is so clearly on God’s heart! All throughout scripture we are commanded over and over again to care for orphans, the unloved, etc. Do some research. See if there are organizations in your town that you could volunteer with. If you are looking for somewhere oversees there are so many amazing organizations that have awesome opportunities for groups or individuals. I’ve served with an organization called Bring Me Hope – they work with orphans in China – and I have I had an incredible experience with them. The last thing I would say is get educated on orphans, foster care, vulnerable/at risk kiddos. It’s easy to romanticize and glamorize serving orphans. Loving vulnerable, orphaned, maybe abused kiddos is NOT for the faint of heart or for the self focused! It’s all about laying down your expectations and loving like Jesus loves!
5) Finding Chaya has a two-fold mission of enabling women to live a full life (John 10:10) and to be ready to take up arms in the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). How do you live this out in your day-to-day life?
Whew. Haha that’s a big question. The best way I know to take up arms is with the Word of God. Starting my day in God’s word and on my knees is the best way I know to fight the battles in this life. Also, surrounding myself with Godly community has been essential to my own walk with Christ. We were never meant to fight alone! Also – just to keep it real – I mess up, make mistakes and sin regularly. I am not perfect! My goal when I fail is to turn to Christ fast! Don’t wait, don’t let guilt and shame build up in your heart. Confess it, remember God’s promises and move on! Serving others – church, work, family – has been (overtime, haha) such a huge blessing in my life. Getting my eyes off myself helps me see the real battles God wants me to fight for!
6) You absolutely adore your coffee. As I’m a tea and infusions fan who knows very little about the art of good coffee, can you explain how you would make the perfect coffee and the best way to savour/enjoy it.
This is the best question. Haha! Tea is wonderful too. I love ginger tea. Okay, so my perfect cup of coffee… I would start with a freshly roasted, whole bean, light roast coffee (I love the Coffee Manufactory brand), grind it up and then my preferred brewing method is an Aeropress. Now, I like doing something a little different after it’s done brewing. I’ll take my brewed coffee, pour it into my blender add 1 tbsp of coconut oil and blend it up! Talk about creamy and delicious. Boom! Pour it in my favorite mug and find a cozy corner to read!
P.S. Ellissa is also launching a new course, Thrive Together. If you are stateside (or are a British night owl) and struggle with social anxieties or communication problems, check it out. Ellissa will be diving in to God’s truth on this and why we don’t need to let them hold us back anymore.