Better late than never, right? My offices were closed for the last 2 weeks of December and we just "re-opened" on Monday, though Allison is still in Tennessee visiting some of her family there. I'm sure many of you are trying to adjust to being back to work, school and a regular schedule after the holidays, as well.
2015 was a busy year, and I am grateful for the Lord's blessings in allowing me to minister in over 80 different churches/events spanning SC, NC, TN, GA, FL, OH, PA, TX and KY. Each and every place was a privilege in which to serve, and for each pastor, minister of music, and women's ministry director, I am deeply grateful for their invitation to come be a part of their church's ministry.
As we face a new year yet again, this will be a first for me in many, many years. When Jennifer Dale, who had served as my Schedule Coordinator for over 7 years decided that with baby #5 on the way, she would no longer be working, I truly hated to see her go. But I felt in my heart that it was a season of change. So for a few months Kelly Congel came on board, but it became clear that as a single mom, she needed full-time employment and her time ended after a few months here at Jordan Ministries. So I stepped out in faith in a completely different direction and felt the Father nudging me to try taking over the scheduling part of my ministry, and simply hire a personal assistant to help me with details such as contracts, promotional materials, billing, the newsletter, and other office responsibilities. Allison Hodge has proven to be just the right person for the job.
And yet I have to be completely honest with you and tell you that about this time every year, I fight panic. Yes, I struggle with literal panic, when I look at my concert/speaking calendar and see so many blank spaces, and wonder once again if the Lord is closing the door after over 28 years of full-time ministry. As a single mom for the last 18 years, providing for my family on faith has been a constant lesson on faith. And yet when He called me to make a commitment as a junior in high school to full-time Christian service, it has been a walk of faith from day one. And so I look back at the Scripture that He led me to base this ministry on when it was first founded officially in 1989, Hebrews 12:28, "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."
My heart's cry for this ministry and for myself is that I would grow to be more like Him, less of me, and in the process, offer an acceptable service, a life of worship, that honors Him. On and off of a ministry platform. As a mother, sister, daughter, friend, music teacher, woman of God. New Year's resolutions? Oh, you know, the usual...lose the same few pounds, seek the Lord more earnestly, spend more time in His Word and in prayer, choose joy...but when it comes down to it, they are not resolutions for yet another new year, but for a life fully surrendered to Him. For the last 28 years, I am certain that every single place He has allowed me to sing and speak was a divine appointment. And He already knows what those are for 2016. My job is to seek Him with my whole heart, and trust Him to take care of the rest. He is our faithful Provider. May our lives be a reflection of the One Who lives within us, and that He would live through us, and in the process, be honored. He is worthy.
On the Home Front:
December is always such a busy month for us all. I shared 11 Christmas concerts throughout the holiday season, and then had the last 2 weeks of the month off. My delightful piano and voice students presented a beautiful Christmas recital for their families, friends, and the residents at The Heritage at Lowman Home and it has become one of the highlights of my holiday celebrations. I was so proud of each and every one of them. I am blessed to teach 22 students this year, and we had 18 of them able to participate.
I had a ministry trip that took me to Lexington, KY, about 3 1/2 hours from Hopkinsville, KY where one of my dearest friends lives. What a precious gift it was for Yvette Eastham and her daughter Meredith to make the drive, spend the night with me in my hotel, and then enjoy brunch and Christmas shopping together while I was there. You know you have a good friend when they will do that! We had not seen each other in almost 3 years, but when best friends that are like family get together, it seems like no time at all has passed. That truly was one of the best Christmas gifts I could have ever asked for.
On the 15th we welcomed a precious new little one into our family, my sister-in-law/brother-in-law's daughter Page Ruth Bryan, named after her great-grandmother. Oh how tickled I am to have a niece! There will be tutus, ruffles, bows, and princess outfits for sure in her future. Of course I couldn't leave Birkes out, her big brother, so we had a special play date here at Aunt Dawn's to give mommy, daddy and baby a little rest.
Hannah graduated with honors from Clemson University on the 17th with a Bachelor of Science in Animal and Veterinary Sciences/Equine Business, and it was a very special day as family and friends celebrated this huge accomplishment in her life. I am so proud of my remarkable daughter. She will continue to live in Clemson, working full-time at The Village Bakery & Cafe, serving on the worship teams of Seacoast Church Greenville and Newspring Church Powdersville, while also becoming certified to be a therapeutic riding instructor at Clemson before she and Clayton are married on May 15th and move to Charleston, SC where he will be attending MUSC Dental School after his May graduation.
My precious friend Sharon (Cone) treated me to a ticket to see the Getty's Christmas concert at the Township Auditorium in Columbia along with her family, also one of the best gifts I could ask for. Time with a dear sister-friend spending the evening in celebration of Christmas and worshipping our Savior.
Hannah and Clayton were a part of Newspring Church Powdersville SC's worship team for the Christmas services on the 23rd and 24th. I drove up to Tryon, NC to celebrate Christmas with my brother Robert, wife Elizabeth and my nephew James Michael Christmas Day, stopped in Greenville to meet my college roommate/lifelong friend Julie (Caldwell) to exchange hugs and Christmas gifts, and then headed to Newspring for the 2 services that evening to hear Hannah and Clayton.
Then Hannah, Blue and I made our way back to Columbia where she was home for almost a week. We had such a sweet time together...staying up late, sleeping in, having a home-cooked breakfast every morning, going to movies, doing wedding planning, even going shopping and finding my mother-of-the-bride dress, thanks to my Aunt Sue who joined us and blessed me with it. Christmas was very different being the first year we did not have Ross home with us, but Hannah and I had a wonderful celebration together. I was thankful to be able to Facetime with Ross and Brianna on Christmas Day, and then again when he surprised Brianna by taking her to Steamboat Springs, CO for a ski trip as her Christmas present. While we were sweating in almost 80 degree weather here in SC, they literally were enjoying a white Christmas, the first one my son has ever had! They are both working full-time in Denver and loving living there, especially the snow. That is my boy! It was a Christmas season full of family, friends, celebration, rest, joy and laughter.
Ministry at a Glance:
December is always my favorite month to sing, as singing Christmas music is such a celebration! On 12/1 I was with the ladies of Memorial Chapel in Bishopville, SC for their women's Christmas dinner, then 12/3 it was on to McDonough, GA with Glen Haven Baptist Church's beautiful Annual Ladies' Christmas Tea where 680 women came together to celebrate Jesus. One of my favorite Women's Ministry Directors is their very own Gwen Creasman, who so sweetly said she reads every single one of my newsletters and prays for me and my family. So I pulled out my phone and we took a selfie right there at our table, and I promised her she would be in the newsletter. There you go, Gwen! Love you, sister.
12/4 I was with the delightful seniors of First Baptist Church in Matthews, NC for their Senior Adult Christmas Banquet, and loved getting to serve with my friend/Senior Adult Pastor Ron Gregory and his wife Paula, along with my 2nd cousins Paul and Marilyn Smith.12/6 I was blessed to celebrate Homecoming at Highway Pentecostal Holiness Church in Elgin, SC that morning, then at Antioch Baptist Church in Camden, SC that evening.
On to the Blue Grass 12/11-13 where I shared 3 Christmas concerts for the Lexington District of the United Methodist Church, Christ United Methodist Church and Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church, reconnecting with a former Carowinds fellow employee and his family, James Williams.
The final Christmas concert for the year was in town at First Baptist Church in West Columbia, SC where my friend Charlton Bozard serves as Associate Pastor/Music and Senior Adult Ministry. My voice student MaCayla Ratcliffe's father is on staff as the Student Minister, and I invited her to sing the song she had sung in our studio recital the previous week, "Mary Did, You Know?" What an extra treat it was for all who came out that night as we wrapped up the Christmas season celebrations.
January is traditionally much slower for me as far as my travel schedule, and I was blessed to be with the ladies of Clarendon Baptist Church in Alcolu, SC on Monday, January 4th. I will be sharing a concert on January 31st at Pinewood Baptist Church in Pinewood, SC at 6:30 p.m.
Would you pray as we are working toward scheduling the rest of 2016?
Concert Calendar Update:
TO SCHEDULE ME:
I have the Sundays in January (except for 1/31 pm) and February (except for 2/28 am) available, and would be delighted to come share a concert, lead worship, or share my story simply on a love-offering basis. Does your church have an upcoming Valentine's event? Email me at email@example.com or call (803)772-7747. Although my life story can be seen in a Netflix movie ("Victim of Beauty"), Forensic Files ("Last Will"), or on the Billy Graham Crusade Classics telecast, I am simply a southern girl who loves Jesus, family, laughter, the beach, sushi and Zumba. But I am passionate when it comes to sharing a word of hope to the hopeless and encouragement to the weary. For more information, please visit my website at www.dawnsmithjordan.com. I would love to come to your church in 2016!
Funnies From the Road:
-12/3: McDonough, GA, I had a horrible sinus infection, had just been to the doctor the day before and gotten antibiotics and steroids. After the concert that night, a woman told me that she didn't even sound that good without a sinus infection and steroids!
-12/4: A 4 1/2 hour drive from McDonough, GA to Matthews, NC took over 6 1/2...started out taking 1 hour to go 3 miles due to an accident. Not a great way to start a long trip. There were 2 more traffic jams, and as if that were not enough, I then found myself behind a police escort of an OVERSIED LOAD for MILES AND MILES. Going 55 in a 65! Traffic jam #4 in Spartanburg, SC traveling 25 miles an hour on I-85 for 1 hour. Traffic jam #5 in Charlotte traveling 10 miles an hour 5 miles away from the church. At .3 miles from the church, even my GPS had had enough and died! The event started at 6:00 p.m., and I arrived at 5:55, changed clothes in the bathroom, handing the sound man my CD after talking through the sound needs over cell phones while driving, and started singing at 6:30! Yes, it is the glamorous life I lead.
-12/11: Lexington, KY, I walked out to my rental car in the parking lot of the Asbury Inn at the beautiful Asbury Theological Seminary. I opened the trunk only to hear a man's voice say, "Hello???" Much to my dismay, I had accidentally opened the trunk of someone else's car, another white SUV-looking vehicle right beside mine that looked very much like mine, with a couple sitting in the front seat. So I went around to the passenger's side to apologize, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but the lovely face of Ellen Stamps, with whom I had shared a ministry platform a few years ago. I love unexpected visits like this. Being the former traveling companion to Corrie ten Boom, author and speaker, I love this woman. She and her sweet husband Bob were also staying at the Inn while in town for a speaking engagement. So the impromptu reconnection was a precious surprise. That evening I was already running late, only to find the address I had for the venue I was to sing was not correct in my information. Once again, a U-turn and an abbreviated sound-check!
All in all, I spend a LOT of time in my car, either lost or late, and I have learned that there is not a thing I can do about any of it but keep trying to get to my destination. Somtimes there is a lot of "recalculating" and plentiful u-turns. Worrying or stressing over what I cannot change accomplishes absolutely nothing. And so it is in those times I have learned to pray, trust the Lord to get me there in time, which He has ALWAYS done, even when it has meant changing clothes in the back of a church van from the airport to the church with strangers driving me! All the little delays, hick-ups and interruptions are just a part of the journey, friend, but ultimately we know He will get us to our final destination! So keep truckin' along.
After Christmas Sale through the end of January - BOGO - buy one Christmas CD "Your Presence for Christmas", get 1 FREE. Buy 5, get 5 FREE! However many you buy, you will receive an additional copy FREE. How about get your Christmas shopping/stocking stuffers done NOW and then you won't have to worry about them when Christmas sneaks up on you again next year?!
That's TWO CD's for only $15 (A savings of $5)
Or 5 CD's for only $75! (A savings of $75!)
Your Presence For Christmas (2014)
1. Let it Snow!
2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
3. Jesus, What a Wonderful Child
4. Your Presence for Christmas
5. Winter Wonderland
6. Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart
7. Christmas Time is Here
8. Mr. Santa
9. Grown-Up Christmas List
10. I Bought You a Plastic Star
11. Frosty the Snowman-Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (guitar solo)
12. Silent Night
13. Bethlehem Morning
Dawn's Blog Amazing Grace Notes
My new blog is entitled "Amazing Grace Notes," and I would love to invite you to join me at http://dawnsmithjordan.blogspot.com/
for regular updates.
As you are prayerfully consider giving a special year-end gift, remember all gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, Jordan Ministries is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Make your donation to Jordan Ministries, and mail them to P.O. Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063. Thank you for partnering with us through your financial gifts and prayers.
The Mailing Address is:
Dawn Smith Jordan Ministries, PO Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest!
Sunday, January 31
Pinewood Baptist Church
Sunday, February 28
Mount Hermon Baptist Church
Baptist Women's Day
Saturday, March 19
Research Triangle Park Community Church
Sunday, March 20
Research Triangle Park Community Church
Sunday Morning Service
Tuesday, March 22
First Baptist Church
Follow Dawn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
A Note from Allison
I love the Christmas season...the lights, the shopping, the food, music, parties, smells, trees, presents, I love it all! Christmas has always been such a magical time to me, but it has never been so much fun until I had kids of my own. Watching them experience Christmas from their child minds has caused me to enjoy the small pleasures that I so often look over and miss. And can I just tell you how much fun I had buying their presents and keeping those a secret. I was so ready for them to open their gifts this year, that I almost let them do it early just so I could see the joy. Driving around to see Christmas lights, decorating the tree, even putting window clings on the back door; they soaked it all in and just enjoyed it. I learned to be ok with watching Polar Express on repeat, and drink hot chocolate every time. I slowed down and took time to be lazy and enjoy my kids. My parents gave the girls a power wheels Jeep, Frozen edition of course, and when we were putting it together Christmas Eve in the garage I felt like a kid myself, all giddy with anticipation. And as much as my kids loved the Jeep, they were just as excited about the $1 slinky or the candy.