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Our Big News Part 1

Our Big News Part 1

Hi!  It’s me, Payton.  I hope you’ll pull up a chair and pretend we’re having this conversation over some really good coffee.  I’ve contemplated sharing this story a million times and I truly believe it is because Satan doesn’t want it to be told.  The reason I have been so hesitant to share is because I truly want myself to be removed from this story completely.  I am not the hero of this story.  So here is my prayer: through this story, you will see and hear the grace and abundant love of Jesus poured out over an undeserving soul.  Period.  Nothing else, nothing more.  Deal?

 

The Pink Elephant in the Room 

So let’s just talk about the pink elephant in the room (I think that’s the saying?).  I will not be returning to teaching next school year.  I have been called to Casual Friday full time.  Whew.  It seemed real when I signed those resignation papers, but now it feels official.  Before you stop reading, I need you to hear the whole story because that is where the beauty is- the journey to that decision.  Might I add, one of the most difficult and emotional decisions I have ever made.  If you have ever heard me talk about my babies or the wonderful school I teach at, then you know my passion for teaching and being exactly where I’m at.

The Journey

Back in early March, I started back Prayer Walks for my business as the weather started to become prettier.  If you’re not familiar with prayer walks, its basically just a 5 minute walk outside praying intentionally for Casual Friday.  Well, one day, my prayer just came out, “Lord, if You need me to quit teaching and go full time with Casual Friday, will you please make that so clear to me?” Talk about intercessions.  I know Jesus intercedes for us, but for it to just come right out of my mouth unconsciously was earth shattering for me.  I began to pray this prayer on every prayer walk from then out.  Not telling anyone- I’m the type that I must be sure before ever uttering a word.  Shortly after, my husband randomly stopped in the middle of conversation one night and said, “I believe it is time for you to think about going full time with your business”.  Cue all the tears and the spilling of how the Lord had already been talking to me through my prayer walks.  I begged for his prayers as I said, “I just don’t think I’m ready to leave teaching; I absolutely love it.”

The prayer walks continued.  The bargaining and pleading with God about how I thought I could continue to do both well continued.  I was fairly certain in my heart that I knew what I had to do, but I just had to be sure.  A phone call with several friends asking- how in the world do you know you hear God telling you what you need to do?!  Why can’t he just write me a letter?!  And this response was earth shattering (praise the Lord for truth-spitting friends, even if they are all the way in Texas ;))- “If He wrote you a letter, You would be robbed of the joy of exercising faith and being obedient.  Faith wouldn’t exist if it were all written out for you.”  Drop the mic there.

Then came sermons about using our talents to truly grow the kingdom.  Were we trying to use a butter knife to unscrew a light socket when we were given an actual screwdriver? And calls to action of being called to “deeper waters”.  There were multiple instances where I felt like it was me and the Lord over some good coffee.  Another instance was the retelling of the rich young ruler who had done everything he thought was possible and Jesus told him to go sell all his possessions and follow me.  I truly felt like Jesus was saying, “go sell all you know and are good at and follow me”.  Another instance was through a devotion when it so beautifully depicted Noah’s story.  Noah didn’t have all the details.  He probably was perceived as absolutely crazy for building a ginormous boat when others didn’t even know the great flood was coming.  But he obeyed.  He kept building.  Even with his lack of details.  He trusted God and think about where we would be without Noah’s obedience?!  Mind blowing, right?!

Now, here’s where the crazy part starts.  If all of that wasn’t enough, He sealed the deal for me in the checkout line at TJMaxx.  I could say that God works in mysterious places or it might just be that I am found there a little too often.  We will just go with both. 😉 My heart was super tender at this point.  The Lord had truly been working on me.  I had a day out by myself and I was found scavenging in the checkout section of TJMaxx when I got to the notebook section.  I was sorting through them when I found a light pink and gold notebook (Casual Friday brand colors) in the very back that said “His Will. His Way. My Faith. Jeremiah 29:11”.  Jeremiah 29:11 was the verse that I had been clinging to in this season.  And it was just as if I heard God’s voice right out loud right there in the TJMaxx checkout line- “Payton, are you going to be obedient and trust me?”  So here I am, standing there with this notebook in one hand gripping my cart in the other with giant tears rolling down my face whispering “YES, LORD”.

The rest is history.  We would be here all day if I shared all of the small details of God’s hand in this decision from the actual day that I told my administration to the present day.  Honestly, it makes absolutely no worldly sense, but perfect sense all at the same time.  A complete step out on faith.  Satan has been burning my trails ever since- I’d be lying if I didn’t include that.  BUT my God is greater and if this story isn’t just the most beautiful depiction of His love and protection and guidance for His children then I don’t know what is.

Thank you so much for following my journey.  The Lord is just getting started here and I can’t wait to see where He takes it.  I’ll be sharing part 2 of what the Lord is doing in our life so soon so stay tuned.

All the love,

Payton

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Leave The Water Jar Collective

 

🌟BIG ANNOUNCEMENT🌟
Girls I have tears of joy and excitement streaming! I’m so excited to announce the beginning of a big heart project! Introducing to you all Leave The Water Jar Collective! 🙌🏼😭🙌🏼

This collective will be a series of stories shared by some of the most God-fearing, Jesus loving women I know. Their stories aren’t anything alike, but they all have the same Rescuer. They will be sharing right here on this page so make sure you have all notifications on because our first post is up TOMORROW!

Where’s the name from?! It’s from the story of the woman at the well in John 4. She brings the water jar to draw water but finds the Living Water- Jesus. And she leaves the water jar behind to go and tell about her encounter with Him. The Word tells us that others believed in Him because of her testimony and they later returned to tell her that they had experienced Him for themselves. There’s the shortened version, but we can’t wait to share it all and how we arrived here! Our deepest desire is to share our stories for our sisters to find Him and experience Him for themselves.

We have SO MUCH planned and we’re so excited to see this community connect and love on each other on another level. Please share with your friends! I promise they aren’t going to want to miss this. This is only the beginning, friends! 💕

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Leave The Water Jar Collective – Bethany’s story

 

Hey girls! First off, I’m just so thankful and honored to even be here sharing my heart with you.

I’m Bethany and I live in Elizabethtown, Ky. I’m 24 years old and I’ve been married to my hubby for a little over one year and we (mainly my husband) recently just remodeled our first home! We both graduated from WKU in December 2017 and I will be graduating with my Masters in Human Resources this May. I currently work in HR for a company in Elizabethtown that I absolutely love. I also run a small business with Plunder Design. I am a 2 on the Enneagram and just really love connecting with people and very much value the loved ones in my life. You will most likely catch me drinking an Ale 8 with a @casualfriday headband on.
Now that I’ve shared all of the pretty highlights, let me share the real stuff with you. 😜

I came to Christ almost 4 years ago and let me just say that my life looked very different before I really sought after Jesus. I had prayed prayers before and I knew a few bible stories, but there was no real relationship and my hope was not in Jesus.
I didn’t really know who I was, I hid behind every sin, I valued material items more than anything else, I lived to “make a name for myself”, and I was crippled with fear; I lived a pretty exhausting life with empty promises.

Before sharing this next part of my story, I want to preface by saying that by no means did I have a terrible childhood. I’m convinced that my mother is one of the most loving mothers on this side of heaven. She quite literally did everything she could to give me everything she could while I was growing up, even if that meant working a second job after her normal teaching job. It wasn’t until my adult years that I learned she was trying to overcompensate for brokenness within my family. My father has struggled with alcoholism and a few other things that come with that, for as long as I can remember. It’s just a really hard and disappointing relational dynamic for my whole family. He loves us, we know that. But he’s sick. Well, sometimes it can be easy to feel like God isn’t moving under messy circumstances..

I used to think that this was just a glimpse of what my own family would look like one day. About halfway through my college years, the Lord gave me a mentor and great friend. Her name is Natalie. She and I had relatable stories and wow, did God use that. She had a similar situation with her earthly father but she now had a precious family and her husband loved her like I’ve never seen. One day I was sitting on her barstool eating my lunch and she looked at me and firmly spoke the words, “Bethany. There is a man who has already rewrote your story and his name is JESUS! I should bring you peace and joy knowing that your children will have that earthly relationship with their father because you will make a choice. But even better, you have a father in Heaven who is a perfect father..” And I just weeped. But I almost didn’t believe her. Why wouldn’t that just be my story in my marriage?

Because we have a God who loves us and so dearly wants the best for us. I may not have a wonderful father-daughter relationship, but I have a father in heaven who loves me more than I could have ever imagine. And God gave me a husband who I know will be an amazing father (God-willing we are blessed with children one day). Jesus REWROTE MY STORY.

God very literally edited history so that we could live an abundant life with Him. It’s so evident to me that He is the author of my story. I now live confidently knowing that I was made in God’s image, for love, by love, and in love, and that I am who He made me to be. Do I still slip up or lack confidence in certain areas at times? You bet. More often than I’d like to admit. I even wondered if I am worthy enough to be sharing here. But here’s the thing, this has nothing to do with me but EVERYRHING to do with Him and how He has moved in my life. And He can do the same for you.

Like Jesus did for the woman at the well, He turned my shame from my past into hope of my future in Him. And for that, I am forever grateful.
My prayer is that this resonates with even just one of you. Cannot wait to chat with you soon! -Bethany

#Rewrittenforhisglory

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Leave The Water Jar Collective – Kacey’s Story

 

Hey ladies! My name is Kacey Quinn. I just turned 33 years old, live in Bowling Green, KY and I’m a full time artist! More importantly, I’m a wife and a mother of three girls. My heart is so full. I have Jesus and I’ve believed in Him since I was a child. I’ve never known life without believing in Jesus, honestly. I’ve gone through some very dark seasons, but I’ve always held onto my belief, even when it was just hanging by a thread. But lately, God has shaken up this small version of belief in my life and created an enemy-defeating faith and trust that He IS in control. In the midst of trying to orchestrate things myself, trying to be the Holy Spirit to people, trying to manipulate situations so they go the way I envision they should… right smack dab in the middle of completely losing my grip of all of it at once …. He called me.

He used His faithful servant, Payton to get my attention since I was ignoring him in many other other areas. She told me about this plan that God had clearly placed in her heart and my name was in this plan. I felt SO unqualified, so unworthy, but God called me to it. He gave her MY name. In a crazy faith that I’ve never been able to muster up by myself, I said yes.

God has shown me over and over and over, ever since, that the ministry of my life and the ministry that He is calling me to share with His people is centered around these words… Keep. Planting. Seeds. In dozens of different ways, over the last couple months, He has said to me “You keep planting seeds. Stop attempting to do My job of weeding and pruning and being the source of water and just keep planting seeds for My Kingdom. Stop trying to do all the things you CAN’T do in people’s hearts and were never intended or created to do, so that you can be still, look up and see the harvest. So that you can enjoy it. It IS coming.”

I am so absolutely humbled to be chosen by God for this. To think that He would use a control freak, a wife and mom whose anger and anxiety has ruled her life for so many years, who had given up on prayer or even thinking God would do anything about the things she managed to mumble a prayer about, and He would turn that MESS of a broken woman into a testimony that encourages His people to seek Him??? Just wow. To think that He chose me to be a part of His orchestrated plan that will cause the enemy to FLEE from tormenting even one of His beloved children, is just so amazing to me. With these broken pieces of my story, He has turned my faithless prayers into daily surrender, faithful expectation that He WILL keep His promises, and unexplainable answers to prayers.

We are praying in the Spirit of the Living God that lives will be transformed, renewed and turned upside down for the Kingdom because of our testimonies. That people would believe just from hearing our testimonies. That people would believe because of YOUR testimonies. Be still. Look to Him. Surrender your deepest fears, the people you love, the situations you have no ability to control to HIM. Lay it all down and just keep planting seeds, y’all. 🌱

I look so forward to hearing your testimonies and seeing them take off in ways that are exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ask or think. In what areas can you keep planting seeds for the Kingdom and just allow God to do the rest? What are the things that ONLY He can do?

#KeepPlantingSeeds

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Leave The Water Jar Collective – Teri’s Story

 

Hi ladies! My name is Teri. I am 33 years young and a mommy of 2 amazing kiddos and 1 pup. This fall, my hubby and I will celebrate our TEN year anniversary!🥳 I live just outside of Nashville and work full time in property management. Some of my favorite things are: coffee, donuts, family time, game nights, coffee, church, thunderstorms, true crime documentaries, and did I mention coffee? 😁 I’m so glad you are a part of this community. Can we chat?

I know that it’s not unrealistic in a community this large to believe that a lot of you are hurting. Really, deeply, hurting and may even think you cannot come out of it…That maybe God has forgotten you, that your pain will always exist, and that there is no hope. In the not so distant past, I hurt that way. I experienced a loss that no mother should ever have to endure. I miscarried our first child, and it completely wrecked me. I doubted God and His plan. I thought terrible things of people who were happily pregnant and growing their families… Yep, for a time- I wanted nothing to do with women, even my friends, who were pregnant. Avoided them as often as I could. Very Christian of me, right? I was just hurting, and it was how I thought I was coping. I confronted God with the “whys”. Why did I have to go through this? Why does SHE get to have a healthy pregnancy? My loss impacted my entire world and for a time, I believed that I would never be whole again. In that season, I was very weak in my faith. I was y’all. I didn’t want God to bother me. I tried to push Him away and fill my plate with anything else to keep me busy. But God.

In the middle of my deepest hurt, God pulled me out. He reminded me that His grace alone, was ENOUGH. In the middle of my grief, Jesus was enough. How good is God to give us a grace so glorious that pulls us out of deep, dark valleys. Even when we hurt, even when we deliberately push Him away, even when the loss is so unbearable we think there will never be a way to recover, God so graciously reminds us of the only hope we truly have, and that is Jesus. Jesus is enough. Sister, I don’t know why you’re hurting. I don’t know the losses you have experienced. But I do know that Jesus is our Shepherd and we shall lack nothing. He provides. He sustains. He brings us peace and joy, and He IS faithful. I’m not saying the road will be pretty or easy, but I do want you to know that God’s glorious grace is abundant and sufficient to get you through. Please let us know how we can be praying for you. 💕#GraceSoGlorious

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Leave The Water Jar Collective – Emily’s Story

 

Hi ladies! My name is Emily Fox. I am 26 years old. A few random facts to help us connect. I am married to Kody Fox, and we have a big lab puppy 🐶 I am a high school English and math teacher in Princeton, KY, and I absolutely love it! I am a youth pastor’s wife and love girl’s and women’s ministry. In my free time, you can find me reading, playing board games, or spoiling my two nieces.

I grew up as a PK (pastor’s kid) and God saved me as a young teenager. God saves us to share His love, and I am so thankful He has given me the honor to share through this ministry.

We all experience mountains and valleys in this life, and God is always faithful in using both. In the last two years, it has seemed I was stuck in the valley. I had just gotten married ,started teaching at a new school, and my husband started into full time ministry. It was supposed all be so exciting but instead I was facing ANXIETY, and it felt like I couldn’t get through a day without anxiety and panic attacks. Everywhere I went I felt it, and I felt so stuck. I have had days where I questioned what God was doing and asked when He would be healing me from the anxiety. I felt defeated and like Satan was winning.

BUT GOD….. He used His Word and people speaking Truth over me to remind me that HE IS VICTORIOUS no matter if we are on the mountain top or in the valley. I write this today not saying that I am free from anxiety, but to remind you that even in the midst of the valley and struggle God still has the victory. In this season of life, the Lord has taught me what it means to pray. I have spent many moments knelt before Him and weeping. I have felt His presence in still, small moments. I am reminded to not let Satan’s lies and whispers take over my thoughts. God’s Word is needed every day to overcome the attacks of the enemy.

So whatever you might be facing, you don’t have to be through it to have victory. Seek the Lord daily, even when it is hard, to be reminded of the victory you have because of what Christ did for us.

I would love to hear how God has been reminding you of His victory even in the midst of the trials of life.

#HeisVictorious

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Leave The Water Jar Collective – Hannah Jo’s Story

 

Hey y’all! It’s so so nice to meet you!! My name is Hannah Jo. I am 27 years old. I’m married to my best friend and we have three of the most beautiful little girls this side of Heaven. My favorite show is The Office, I love Reese cups, coffee, Bible journaling and worship music. There are few things I love more than a porch swing and if you drive through the teeny town of Caneyville, Kentucky when it’s even the least bit warm out-that’s likely where you’ll find me in fuzzy socks and Bible in hand. There’s something so calming to my soul about reading the Word on a porch swing. Ok, ok, enough about me, let’s talk about HIM! 🙌🏼

First of all, I just want to say how honored and humbled I am to even have been asked to be included in this collective. I have read the stories of these amazing women who have gone before me and I’m sitting here like, “wow, these women are about to be realll underwhelmed when they get to know ole Hannah Bear.” (That’s what my husband calls me 😉) But, the beauty in that is that God calls us to what HE wants for us, not what we want for ourselves. He calls us to those things that stretch us and pull us outside of our comfort zones. I don’t know about you, but I often hear this whisper that says, “no one can relate to you” or “you’re wasting your time sharing anything-there are so many more people with more powerful stories than yours. Sit down. “ I sometimes feel like the story I have and what I say isn’t what people need to hear..sister, let me stop right here and just remind you- satan is a LIAR. The Bible tells us in Revelation that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and not sharing our testimonies, right? WRONG. Sister, we are called to share! That’s how we overcome and that’s exactly why satan tries to whisper to us that we aren’t worthy, our stories are less than, and no one cares anyway. Listen to me again, it. is. a. lie.

God has really been working on my heart since the new year about being intentional. This word has just been burned into the depths of my heart and my brain and I can’t seem to move past it. I spent most of 2019 in a state of total distraction. And because of that, it was a hard year for me and even my whole household. I was a distracted wife, mother, sister, friend, daughter-you name it. But most importantly, I was a distracted Christian. A lesson I have learned the hard way is that when you’re distracted, you let your guard down without even realizing it. That’s when the enemy invades and you’re so distracted, that you don’t even notice that he’s got you totally bound and blindfolded before you even know what happened. How scary is that?! I didn’t recognize what I was doing in the moment, and allowing these distractions to cloud my mind caused me to slip into a state of depression and anxiety that I’ve never known before. I am generally a pretty outgoing and happy person, I tend to always see the bright side of things. The last six months have been some of the hardest I’ve walked my whole life, and as you get to know me on this journey-you’ll eventually learn the weight of that statement. I became so numb in my feelings that I just shut down. I didn’t talk to my husband, my children, my best friend…I just kind of kept to myself because I was allowing satan to distract me. I was allowing him to speak into me that if I didn’t tell anyone about it, it wasn’t real and it would just go away. I plastered on a big fake smile and kept on trucking in public-but inside I really felt like I was losing my mind. The more I tried to ignore and push away how I was feeling, the more I felt like I was drowning, and the more I felt like I was drowning, the more impossible it felt like I would ever “pull myself out of this.” I decided this was just my life now and unintentionally “embraced” it for a season. Just to reiterate- SATAN IS A LIAR.

I finally broke down after several heartbreaking conversations with my husband (who, as a result of all this had been left carrying 100% of the load in our home) and decided to see a doctor. I want to point out, these conversations with him were not him fussing at me, questioning why I wasn’t doing anything in a harsh way, or even putting me down. He was heartbroken and honestly scared. He felt like he’d lost his wife, and to be honest-I didn’t even recognize myself at this point. I got started on some medicine and within a week, started finally feeling a little better. I still didn’t feel like myself-but I felt like reallllyyyy far away, I could see a glimmer of light at the end of a tunnel.

Fast forward 6-8 weeks, I’d stayed on my medicine and just continued to feel better and better! Our church does a corporate fast together every January for 21 days. We meet every night at 6 and pray together over prayer cards filled out by people in the church. I never “left the church” or lost my faith during this dark season, but I didn’t stay in the Word and I didn’t pray much at all. I knew I needed to-but that meant having to dig myself out of this pit I was in and I just couldn’t do it. I was all consumed with distraction-theres that word again. During the second or third night of the fast, the song “we need a move” was playing and I remember standing there with my eyes closed and I was praying a half hearted prayer (I’m just being real with you guys). In my mind, I could see how far I’d come in even just the last few weeks, I thanked God for allowing my medicine to be such a help to me-but it was like God spoke to my heart and said, “you’re wearing a band-aid. You need healing.” Then, I heard the line of the song that says, “miracles happen when you move, healing is coming in this room” and I knew that not only did He need to move, I did! I went to the altar and absolutely broke before God. My Pastor’s wife came and prayed with me and when she put her hands on me, she immediately started calling out everything I had been battling-complacency, numbness, heaviness-everything. Mind you, I hadn’t talk to her about anything. When I said earlier that I stopped talking to everyone around me-I meant it. I knew then that the Lord was dealing with my heart and that He was delivering me from this valley I felt so stuck in. I’m still a work in progress, but I am intentionally seeking His face daily. I am intentionally reminding satan daily that I am not bound by his lies and that I belong to the Lord. I have wondered, “God, why me? Why have I walked this out the last six months?” I was reminded when I heard this line of a song run through my mind, “You take what the enemy meant for evil and You turn it for good.” Satans plan was to completely snuff me out, but God had a bigger plan (as He always does) and has now turned something I never thought I would tell anyone about or ever get out of, into an opportunity for me to share of His grace, healing and redemption.

I am so thankful that God allowed me to began this new year in a completely different place and state of mind than I left the old year; y’all, He’s so faithful. I share this tip of my iceberg with you to remind you to be diligent. Be intentional. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Lean into Him, diligently and intentionally seek His face and His will for your life.

He has reminded me, as He has time after time, that I was planted right here for such a time as this. I can’t wait to continue to share with you what God has brought me from and how His timing is so perfect. #ForSuchATimeAsThis

Until next time,
Hannah Jo 💕

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