She is Loved: Anissa


I am 30 years old and the mom to two fur babies, Piper and Aadi. I am an Adoption Social Worker for a Christian agency in Virginia Beach and I work with families to help them prepare for the journey of adoption. I absolutely love my job and the amazing support that I get from my coworkers. I am a member of a small church in Suffolk but also attend small groups and services at Wave Church in Virginia Beach. I have been shown more grace in my life than anyone ever deserved and I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for everyday that I get to experience this amazing life that He has placed me in.

What do you love about yourself?

I love that I am a confusing combination of personalities.  When anyone asks me about myself I often list completely opposing things! I am smart, nerdy, analytical, a planner, a list maker but I am also spontaneous, outgoing, chatty, goofy, and LOVE to laugh at myself. God has made me into a pretty great version of me and all of the experiences that I have had in my life have shaped who He wanted me to turn out as. Like everyone else, I am a work in progress, but I have no doubt that anything that He has planned for me in the future will result in more growth and change. I have been through some deep valleys emotionally and physically in the last 5 years of my life but through those deep, dark times He has shown me that He is ALWAYS by my side and has increased my faith 1,000 times over. One of the hard times of my life literally caused me to turn my life over to Him so it is all worth it to know that I have a loving God who will put me back together when I fall apart.

What is/are your biggest fear(s)? What’s your greatest struggle?

My biggest struggle is my self image and accepting myself. I was in a long term emotionally abusive relationship and it really took its toll on the way that I see myself. I can only describe it as a fun house mirror. Some days to look in the mirror and I see the woman that God created; tough, smart, beautiful, and caring. Other days the view is warped and twisted; I’m too fat, my hair won’t do what I want it to do, I’ve disappointed someone, I’ve fallen behind, or I’ve said the wrong thing. This struggle is back and forth, sometimes I get a bunch of good days strung together and some days it seems so overwhelming that I want to shut out the world. But in each of those days I have to find something positive to look for and my day perks up. I look for the positive or, at the very least, I look for the humor in the situation. I am getting better about turning things over to God but sometimes it’s hard and I am stubborn; I just want to be a big baby and complain.  But, every time that I do turn it over to God the negativity gets shorter and becomes more manageable. In the words of a friend, I choose to “be more awesome”. I choose what my outlook is and I control how long I feel stuck in the mental traps of the Enemy.

What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?

I once heard a woman talk about her experience as a child that has really stuck with me. She said that when she and her siblings were children, their mother would go to parent teacher conferences at school and only ask the teachers one question, “Are my children kind to their classmates?” This was the only question that her mother cared about because if you aren’t kind to others then what is the point of life? You can teach a child to study more, to be more focused, to get better grades but perfection isn’t what we are called to do in this life. This story has frequently replayed in my mind as something that we so often take for granted. I want to be remembered for how I make others feel when I am around them. Do I use my words for positivity or for discouragement? Do I lift others up or tear them down? Do I make them feel heard or do I just wait for my chance to talk? Do I give them the benefit of the doubt or do I jump to conclusions and judge them? Through many tests in life, I have learned that I am honestly a very positive person. Even when things look bleak I look for a silver lining and I hope that ability means that I show people hope and kindness in the hours of their lives when there seems to be no light around them. I hope that I show the love of Christ through my life choices.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I stepped out on faith and lived overseas for 5 months. I was sitting in church one Sunday and felt the strongest urge I had ever felt in my life to go on a mission trip overseas. I had only been a Christian for about 9 months and the idea of leaving everything that I had at the time was completely insane. Through support and wise counsel, I decided to step out on faith and move to Thailand. It was an experience that I would not trade for anything. It tested my sanity, my faith, my resilience, and taught me more about myself than I ever could have learned staying in my comfortable little bubble at home.


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5 thoughts on “She is Loved: Anissa

  1. Wow! Beautifully written, compellingly insightful and inspirational, and fabulous photos of my beautiful and awesome neice!

  2. I had the privilege of working with this beautiful young women, it is amazing to see how you have grown spiritually and as a women. This “She is Loved” is wonderful, your words and photo’s are remarkable. To your two fur babies Piper & Aadi who I was always thrilled to see and pet, a special “hello” and yes I still have that stray you found and brought into my life “Roxy” she is my best companion and I don’t know what my home would be like without my furrier friend! Best wishes and much success to you Anissa.

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