Leave The Water Jar Collective – Hannah Jo’s StoryPayton Flener
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 💕