Jerry and I met Paige Clayton nearly fifteen years ago when she moved to Nashville to work as the Director of Adult Live Events for LifeWay. Since then, we’ve worked closely with her to curate conferences for women. I’ve watched her, along with her team, host gatherings with upwards of 20K women from different denominations, races, backgrounds and geographical locations by fostering event spaces where Jesus is exalted and community is cultivated. At this point, we’ve clocked more mileage around the United States than I can even count and we’ve had a blast while doing it – laughing together, serving together and ALWAYS finding good food to eat wherever in the world we go!
Today, Paige continues to work at LifeWay and is also currently a counselor at a wonderful nonprofit faith-based counseling center called Lantern Lane Farm in Mt. Juliet, TN. They operate on a sliding scale so anyone can afford counseling that desperately needs it. It is a sweet, peaceful place with horses, donkeys, and miniature horses who all assist in the therapeutic work. So many lives have been transformed through their work. If you would like to learn more about Lantern Lane Farm or make a donation, you may visit their website here!
I’m so glad to be able to introduce you to my sister and friend today. Indeed, she’s more like family than she is a colleague. You’ll love getting to know Paige, and you’ll glean from her wisdom! Enjoy this conversation and before you go, please leave a comment of encouragement for her below!
- If you could describe this season of your life in one word, what word would it be? Why?
And not just because of the pandemic and all of the changes it has brought. The Lord started nudging me about a career shift He wanted me to make even before the pandemic. So when major change came this past March, I realized why He did that. He is always out ahead. I completed my Masters in professional counseling in January and have started counseling more in the evenings. I am still blessed to work with the Women’s events at LifeWay. I love that I get to work with both large groups of women in LifeWay’s events and also one-on-one with women in counseling. There is so much anxiety and depression among women right now and I’m thankful to be a part of two professions that help to alleviate that.
- In terms of your career, before you knew you would be _______________, you almost . . .
Before I knew I would be leading events and counseling, I was almost a bank teller.
The first “real job” I applied for out of college was to be a bank teller. I was a communications grad and prior to this time, had only been a camp counselor or a waitress. The very wise hiring manager told me he did not think that was the best fit for me. I imagined myself going to “teller camp” and handing out suckers to children in the drive-thru line, but God had other plans. Initially, I was devastated to not get this job. In hindsight, I doubt my bank drawer ever would have balanced out since math is not my thing. God led me to work that I never would have dreamed of that incorporated a better use of my skill set.
- In what ways do you ensure that your career path serves the purposes of God and encourages His people?
Follow, follow, follow, God!! I have learned to inquire of the Lord as the Biblical figures (i.e. Joshua) did or did not do in the Old Testament. I did not start out that way, but as I use the hindsight to see several key shifts the Lord has done in my life and career to literally move me, I have learned to inquire of Him and wait for His answer and His leading. He really does have a path He wants you to take. He has a way, and I want to be walking in it. He is so specific. Due to this, I can always pray more and more to be in His presence and fight the onslaught of distractions our world offers today. I have no encouragement to offer my team or my counseling clients if I haven’t been in touch with God. I ask Him daily to help me implement strategies for my clients because He surely has them. I heard someone say recently that the need is the calling and that is so true in my experience. We can let the need’s God puts in front of us guide us to where He wants us to pour our life out for others.
- Fill in the blank. I am not a very _____________ person.
I am not a very good cook or a cook of any kind really.
My sister and I joke that we were never properly taught to cook. It’s not our fault. Our mom is a fantastic woman, mother, and just a downright saint in the body of Christ. But creative cooking or baking was not her thing. I can pull something together if I have to, but I have no instincts in the kitchen. None. Even when I got my first “meal in a box” type shipment with photos and step-by-step instructions, I still struggled and it took me forever. It was painful and the end result did NOT look like the pictures they provided.
I make a mean bowl of guacamole, chicken, and chili, but that’s about it. I’m thankful to have close friends in my neighborhood who are incredible cooks, and I am the clean up girl. And, due to the pandemic, my takeout ordering skills have really sharpened!!
- Name your biggest strength and your biggest weakness? How has each served you as you’ve fulfilled your purpose?
One of my biggest strengths is being able to operate on the fly without much preparation. I can pivot or dig deep in most situations to accomplish a task with very little notice. If asked to share a word or pray in a meeting on late notice, I’m your girl. If there is a last-minute project to be done quickly, pass it to me. I work better under pressure. This has helped me in my Masters program, in management at LifeWay, and in the counseling office.
Specifically in counseling, I have to listen intently but also react and counsel in the moment based on what I am hearing from my client. I have to think of what to ask next or which way to take a counseling session. This gift, however, allows me to tend toward procrastination when I do have time for prep. I might have a big thing coming up where I need to be prepared, but because I don’t require a lot of prep, I will wait until the last minute and underestimate the need for research or communication to my team about what is needed in advance. So, procrastination is one of my weaknesses.
- When is the last time you laughed so hard that it hurt?
My sister and my niece were in town recently. I prayed we would laugh because we needed it and we DID. We had my sister (the shortest of us with the shortest arms) climb up on a ladder to hang lights around the back deck and we got so tickled we all almost wet our pants. We called it shorty girl DIY. It just hit us as hilarious. We almost couldn’t get our shortest helper down from the ladder.
- What has been the most difficult season in your life? How did you get through it?
The most difficult season of my adult life was the slow end of my marriage and my ultimate divorce. I was married 11 years and was separated a year and a half.
How did you get through it?
The powerful love and presence of God the Father. My earthly father died when I was 30. That was such a hard season too, but not having my wonderful Dad there during my separation and divorce was heart wrenching. And God the Father came down to more than fill that void. He came into the midst of my life with such a healing, comforting presence. It is hard to describe now. He knew I needed fatherly care and wisdom and He delivered that.
He took me out to a spacious place to heal and hold me, to make me feel safe when I was afraid. When I became separated from my husband, he provided the sweetest little farmhouse in the country with a stream with a big turtle in it and a horse farm next door where I could watch the horses run. I had a front porch swing and the neighbor’s dog would come climb up in the swing with me and we would swing and watch the horses and listen to the stream. There was a sweet family next door and the kids would visit me. God’s presence was so thick with me as I wrestled over what to do about my marriage. I have never experienced anything like it before or since. I could cry now just remembering it and it was almost 18 years ago. He is a Father to the fatherless, a husband to the husbandless, and His mercy was heavy on me. It changed me forever and I will follow Him anywhere. (Here is a blog post I wrote about my divorce in 2016 in you would like to read it.)
- If this were your last year on earth, what would you want to spend your time doing?
What a great question!
I would have more urgency to tell my family members and neighbors more about Jesus and how His mercy and kindness and gentleness saved me when I was so very lost. I’d want to see all of them again and visit and tell them how very good He is and that part of that goodness is having them in my life. I would say all the things I want to say to my people. I would write letters to my nieces about how wonderful and beautiful they are. I would travel to places I have always wanted to see and sing and write songs and give money away.
- If you could make three wishes and there were no limitations on what you could request, what would you wish for?
For there to be no more disease, death, or hatred or poverty or abuse in our world. But, that will take Jesus’ return. So come quickly Lord Jesus!
Secondly, I would ask for a good godly husband to live out my days with; preferably one that can cook and loves the outdoors. My life and my singleness are so full. God has provided for me in so many ways I do not deserve, but a fun companion to grow old with is a longing of mine.
Thirdly, for my family members, that they would receive peace through healing of anxiety that haunts so many of them and that all of them would come to know the powerhouse and transformational love of Christ. Many of them already do but many have not experienced His overwhelming grace.
- If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
Know who you are and what you really want before you get married. This is HUGE. Hold on to God’s hand and let Him lead your life plan. You don’t have to figure it all out at 22. My life turned out so differently than I thought it would right out of college. God really does set out the plans and if we walk closely with Him, we won’t miss it.
*These blog interviews are designed only to be fun, informative and introductory. GB Ministries has varying levels of familiarity with each participant so their presence here does not equal our endorsement of or full alignment with theological doctrine or political perspective.