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building a community to reach a community

Grace Women Living With Mission – Paula Claytore!

This month we’d like to look into the life of Paula Claytore here at GFC and find out what following Jesus – as a woman – looks like for her. It is true that Jesus offers to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness – saving us from a future eternally separated from Him as His enemy. This is all by faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by our good works so that we can’t brag about it. But being released from a fear of dying isn’t all Jesus offers, He offers us His very life to dwell inside of us with power and a position of purpose and influence in His Kingdom work that gives us a joy in living! Here at GFC we call this living with mission - as we build a community to reach a community! Praying we encounter Christ and experience transformation, not merely learn information, let us stir one another up in our faith to follow Him yielding our energy, time, talents and whole heart…

Good morning, Paula, thanks for being willing to share where God is working in your life and what it looks like for you to follow Him and live with mission as His disciple daughter!

Paula, how long have you been at GFC? Approximately 13 years

Are you married? Do you have children? What occupies the majority of your time in the week? Married 37 years to Dale Claytore. We have 2 grown children; Loretta, 36 (married & lives in Ohio) and Jeremy 31 (single and lives in California) and five grandchildren (all Loretta's; she was a math major at UT and learned how to multiply. :) )

When did you place your trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation? Spring 1974 at a Christian Conference I attended with my "future husband". Little did I know that my future husband (a Christian) had been praying to God not to let our relationship develop further since I wasn't a Christian and he knew the scripture and how it encourages us to be "equally yoked". Isn't God perfect? I was saved, and the rest of history as they say :)

Did you know at that time what it meant to “follow Jesus” as His disciple-daughter? Not as fully as I do today. I was very excited; I KNEW it was real and that Jesus lived in me and I wanted to follow Him but over the years, that love & knowledge of Jesus Christ grew and grew.

As you’ve grown as a woman, how has your view of following Jesus as a woman changed, if at all? It's so much deeper and richer, broader and wider. I realize my relationship with Jesus is THE most important relationship and to be the kind of wife, mother and co-worker I need to be, I needed to "stand firm" with Christ; not easy for every day but He's wonderful to "pick me up and start over again"!

What circumstances or people were instrumental in your growth as a Jesus-following woman? We spent 20 years in the Marine Corp traveling and moving to many places. Wives of Marines are a "resilient" group so we networked and supported each other. I've had some good role models like the Holy Spirit in Dale's grandmother, friends at work and today, some great, great Christian co-workers. I am blessed that most all my staff are believers and support each other.

Paula, working in a fast-paced career, how does your relationship with Christ “show up” in your life at the workplace? Put another way, does the love and direction He gives you daily have an impact on the way you “do work”? Christ is always there; some days, it's not as apparent only because that "curtain of sin" comes into play on my part. I have a great mission field working at Mountain States with almost 9,000 team members; you don't have to be abroad on the mission field or part of the church staff only to minister and be ministered to; there are many parts to the body and this part planted me with a great group of folks to work with and minister to and with. God's love and direction is always there; I just need to "dial in"! :)

With a husband, children, grandchildren and a full-time job – you have plenty of opportunities to use your influence as God’s daughter. But you find ways in our local church as well…what does that look like for you this season? It is a terrific season! There were many years that I was moving with Dale, consumed with raising our children (often alone while Dale was deployed) and the church was there to help us. Now it's my time, given we have grown children, to serve in our church. Our motto, "if it's possible, always say yes to serving" (being careful not to overload, but to seek God's direction on where He wants me) we do. God doesn't want me to be stressed out trying to do too much; He just wants my heart and to serve where He dictates.

We’ve been talking a lot about using our influence as God’s daughters this year, with other women – encouraging and nudging them along to know Christ and follow Him with their lives. Do you ever find it challenging to build relationships with other women? You know, I don't. God blessed me with the ability to realize I need to meet women wherever they are and all women have such different backgrounds and experiences but at the end of the day, "We Are Women" and serve a Lord that unites us.

What are you praying God will do for and through you as you open yourself up to relationships? That He will put a burden on my heart to engage where He leads; I am active in several areas at Grace including the women's ministry and have tried to be found faithful in whatever He calls me to do. My motto is "go where God calls me and where there's a need" yet remember, God gave me a brain to balance all of this and sometimes, it's just okay to say, "I can't" when called. I struggle just like every other woman.

If you could say something to a woman out there who works in the marketplace…who may feel isolated…how would you encourage her? Pray that God will reveal a Christian woman to you that will come along side her and lift her up, minister to her soul and create a bond that can be multiplied with others. me! I'm happy to engage! :)

Paula, thank you for your friendship to me, and for opening your heart up today for our women to savor and from it gain courage! You are a woman of wisdom and we praise God for you!

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