Earlier this summer I found myself sitting in a public library, in-between the morning and evening services of a church that was hosting me for the day out of town. I had gotten up early, driven there, shared music and a message that morning, was to be back that night for a full concert, and then drive the 1.5 hours home afterward. It would be a long day, and I was struggling, if I may be so honest. I was feeling a bit lonely, finding it not so restful there as if I were at home or even in a hotel room, reading my book while trying to pass the time until the evening service. The pastor and several sweet church members had taken me out to lunch and we had a wonderful time together. But being that it was a small town, there weren't that many options, no Starbucks or a mall. And I couldn't exactly close my eyes and stretch out in the middle of the library. I came close to feeling that sense of woe is me, I'm ashamed to admit (I know, ridiculous, but I am being honest here.) After all, it was air-conditioned, the chair in which I sat quite comfortable, and very friendly staff worked quietly nearby.
A few weeks later I received this email: "Hi Dawn. My 2 daughters and I attended your concert at (and she named the church) a couple of weeks ago. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed and appreciated your performance. Your words and songs truly touched my heart. As I said before the concert, I don't think God does things by chance and there was a reason you came into the library that afternoon and I recognized you. I needed to be there that night. I have listened to your CD and the tears continue to flow. Thank you very much for your ministry."
How humbled I felt weeks later to realize the Lord had me right where He wanted me, and I would have surely missed this blessing had I been anywhere else. As the dear sister and I spoke for a few simple minutes after she recognized me, she said she had wanted to come to the concert after seeing the posters all over town, but wasn't sure she would get off work in time to go home, get her girls, and come back. And then to my delight I saw her, tears streaming down her face through much of the service. I was so glad to be able to speak to her and meet her daughters afterward. Little did I realize that this was a divine appointment. The very place that I felt less than thrilled about being, fighting wishing to be elsewhere, was clearly right where the Lord had me, for a very specific purpose. Though I saw myself all alone in a public library on a Sunday afternoon, missing my family, friends, and my home, her email made me realize that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, on that very day, at that very time.
Would a nap have been nice instead? You know it would. But looking back, I would not trade anything for that afternoon spent in an upright chair, reading, and praying for the Lord to use my ministry that night in the lives of those that came. Little did I realize He was already using me, by simply placing me in, of all places, a library. He didn't have to, and He certainly did not need me. But He allowed me the privilege of being a vessel through which He poured hope and encouragement into the life of one precious woman that day. Stop and think about that for a moment. He allowed me to receive such an unexpected gift in a most unlikely place.
And so my word of encouragement to you today? Wherever you are, you are there because that is where the Father has placed you, for such a time as this. His purposes are being worked out in your life and in the lives of those with whom you interact. Sometimes we will get to see why, and most of the time, we won't. People have said to me often after 30 years of being in this ministry that I should write a book about all of the stories from the road. Maybe one day I will. That is for the Lord to determine. But for now, I pray that my vision will be much broader than the obvious circumstances in which I find myself, and choose to believe, even if I never see it, that He has me right where He wants me, and He is working it all out for good and for His glory. Kingdom purposes, as one of my dearest friends reminds me often, are being established in the midst of the mundane, my friends.
Proverbs 16:3-4 says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for His own ends." And then verse 9, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." I'm grateful that when the Lord impressed on my heart many years ago now that Proverbs 3:5-6 would be my life Scripture, He has continued to prove Himself to be faithful.
"Trust in the Lord with all your hear and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Where are you today? In a job that you love? A job that you loathe? Are you feeling lost, out of place, somewhat uncomfortable? Do you feel stuck, like you are spinning your wheels? Maybe there is a relationship that is causing you distress...a diagnosis you didn't ask for...a storm that was never forecast that is raging all around you. In circumstances that you would never have chosen? Oh, fellow sojourner, I have been there more times than I care to count. And yet, those very circumstances were exactly where my Sovereign Father had me, and you are exactly where He has you, too. I don't know the reason for that precious sister's tears that day, but I know the One that does. He is a God who sees, and He sees you right where you are. You are not alone, and you are not forgotten. Trust Him for that today. He will be found faithful. Not because I say so, but because He says so.
Ministry at a Glance:
September 28th marked the one-year anniversary of Allison Hodge working as Jordan Ministries' Administrative Assistant. The time has literally flown by, and oh how I love this precious young woman. She is such an asset and joy to this ministry, and to me personally. As we continue to adjust as the Lord leads in this new season of ministry, she is willing and happy to flex accordingly, as well. She will be taking on a few more responsibilities in the area of Administrative Assistant/Schedule Coordinator, and I am so thankful for her servant's heart and excellence in doing her job. Allison's job responsibilities in serving alongside me in running this ministry are creating and publishing the monthly newsletter, handling all contracts, paperwork, and promotions of ministry events, email communications with hosts, updating the website calendar and Facebook page, billing, and now scheduling. I could not do all of this without her and am so grateful to have her gift of organization in helping things run so smoothly. And the big news is...she and hubby are expecting baby #3!!! It is going to be an exciting year, for certain!
On September 8, I was honored to speak at the Moriah Baptist Association Senior Adult Luncheon. The event was held at New Hope Baptist Church in Lancaster, SC. It was such a sweet time with the seasoned saints of God sharing in their wisdom and laughter. I saw my great uncle Jim Hunnicutt's wife Carolyn there too.
On September 15-17, I was privileged to return to New York City to do some voiceovers for the upcoming ABC program on which my family's story will be featured, "I Witness." It was a pleasure to reconnect with Paul Jarrett, executive producer, and work with Mike at Final Frame Studios, and then take in the city once again. Though I had been on top of the Empire State Building several times, I had not yet been to Top of the Rock, on top of Rockefeller Center. What a glorious view! As you can see, the Empire State Building is in the background. It was quite sobering to come home on Friday afternoon, and then see the news of the explosions in the very part of town I had just been the very next day. We never know what a day will hold, but I am grateful to know Who holds all of my days in the palm of His hands. The air date will be sometime in January 2017, and we will be sure and let you know the specific date once it is announced.
In October I am honored to have been asked to write a feature article for the brand new, premiering edition of She Magazine of the Midlands! The theme for this issue is Survivors, and in my article, I have shared how, with my faith in Jesus and support of some pretty amazing sisterfriends, I, too, am a survivor. You can find out more information about how to get your copy by going to shemagazine.com. In November (3rd), I am delighted to have been asked to be the keynote speaker for She Magazine's Annual Extraordinary Women Event at Francis Marion University's Performing Arts Center in Florence, SC.
In September, my car hit a milestone… Yep, it reached 200,000 miles. I definitely can put some miles on a car, and my 2006 Ford Freestyle is paid for, holding up well, and continues to get me from one place to the next!
Fall is my absolute favorite season of all. As we welcomed the first day last month here in SC, though it does not feel like it just yet, I am already enjoying all things pumpkins, spice, and everything nice. This fall/Christmas season, I am scheduled to be in New York, NY, Winnsboro, SC, Mullins, SC, Indian Trail, NC, Gaston, SC, Conway, SC, Florence, SC, Boiling Springs, SC. Matthews, NC, Greenville, SC, and Columbia, SC, with several other ministry events in the works. Check out my schedule and come join me!
**And if your church is planning a special service, holiday event, Christmas concert, or women's conference or retreat, I'd love to come.** (We are scheduling well into the fall of 2017.) For more information, please visit my website. http://dawnsmithjordan.com/schedule.php
On The Home Front:
September held a very special secret that I could hardly contain! After being in Denver for one year, Ross and Brianna decided they missed their families and wanted to come home for a week's vacation and surprise their families. I was in on the surprise helping book airline tickets, picking them up, and setting up the surprises. What fun! We pulled it off! Oh how precious the time was with them here staying with me, just being together, talking, eating, eating some more, endless games of Scattergories and ping pong. Did this mama's heart so good. Ross had gained about 15 pounds since I had visited them in July and is doing so much better, praise God. Thank you for your continued prayers for him. Even Cookie was so happy to see his brother, he was grinning! They were so funny, requesting all of their favorite southern dishes that Colorado does not have...of course I made 4 entire batches of cookie dough (yes, that equals 96 cookies in one week!), all his home-cooked favorites, and made sure we made it to Rush's, Lizard's Thicket, Zaxby's, AND Bojangles, with of course sweet tea! We showed up at Ross's grandparents' house and Ross was able to meet his newest cousin Page for the first time, and even dressed up as Spiderman for his cousin Birkes who watches a childhood video of Ross as Spiderman every single time he comes over to see me. They showed up at Brianna's grandparents' house, surprised Brianna's family, and at Ross's Dad and stepmom's house. Everyone was completely surprised which made it all the more exciting! We met Brianna's family at one of my favorites, Shealy's in Batesburg, and on their final night here, Brianna's family and my Aunt Sue came over and we gave them a going-away-again party, and my aunt even surprised them with a special cake. When the clock went off at 4:45 a.m. to get up to take them to the airport for their 6:30 a.m. flight back to Denver, it was hard getting up for many reasons, and I miss them so much again. However, I treasure the week they were here, and loved every second of the time the Father blessed us to share. Can't wait til I return to Denver, hopefully in January or February to take in a little snow and skiing.
Hannah and Clayton continue to be happy newlyweds, enjoying their 2 Husky children in Charleston. I am loving my darling daughter's new "do" that she just got this week. I surely miss them, but am so grateful for smart phones and facetime.
Happy 3rd wedding anniversary to my brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Elizabeth on October 11th. I am looking forward to going to visit them the 2nd weekend this month, enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway in their beautiful state of NC, have a "date" with my nephew James Michael, and attend Robert's Autumn Advertising Auction on Saturday, October 8th. For more information on his auction, go to www.tracksideauction.com, and better yet, join us on October 8th at Trackside Auction in Landrum, SC, beginning at 12:00 noon.
I have settled into teaching 33 delightful piano/voice students in my home this year, and am loving it. Megan Zelling is one that I have now taught for 10 years, as she came to me as a 1st grade homeschool student. This month she had her 6th brain surgery, to finally remove a brain tumor and cyst that has plagued her for years. Every single week, without fail, when she walks into my home for her lesson, I ask her how she is. And without fail, her response is always, "Blessed!" The day before she left for her out-of-state surgery, I asked her the same, and her response this time was, "Blessed and holding onto Jesus!" Oh, friends, that we would all be to a point in our lives where, no matter what we are facing, we see life such as she does. I was so thankful to get to visit her at her home with her parents this week and see how well she is doing in person. She is, for the first time, tumor-free, glory to God, and a true miracle! She is ready to get back to her music, and I am so grateful that she can and will very soon.
Let me hear from you and update me on you and yours, how we can pray for you, or share any exciting news you may have on your own home front. As Philippians 1:3 says, "I thank my God every time I remember you."
Funnies From the Road:
"Well, that's what's her name is isn't it?" a gentleman said before I walked by him on my way to the platform about to give a concert. Yes, I can hear you.
As I was helping people at my product table at a concert this month, we were a little ways outside of town. I finally said to one of the ladies whose credit card would not go through for me, "You know you're in the country when you have to go outside twice to get your Square credit card reader to work!" And then I proceeded out into the parking lot, for the second time, so her charge would go through.
The Everything Deal: $125 for one of EVERYTHING Dawn has (a savings of $20)! One-stop Christmas shopping right here, and something for everyone in your family and friends list! Click here to purchase this set
Includes Dawn's 2 books:
Grace So Amazing
Thus Far...a Book About Life, Love, Loss and the Lessons Along the Way
3 Speaking CD's
Christmas With You
Your Presence for Christmas
No One Like You
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 considering becoming a monthly partner, or sending a one time gift to Jordan Ministries 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.
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest!
Sunday, October 2
Washington Street Baptist
Sunday, October 16
Zion Southern Methodist Church
Saturday, October 22
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Indian Trail, NC
Sunday, October 23
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Indian Trail, NC
Sunday School hour 9:30 a.m. (speaking/singing)
Special Music Service 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, October 30
Christian Fellowship Baptist Church
Follow Dawn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
A Note from Allison
As I am writing this, on September 28, 2016, I am celebrating my 1 year work anniversary with Dawn and Jordan Ministries. This job has been an answer to prayers that I prayed for 4 years, and a testimony of God's faithfulness and love for me. In August of 2011, at 7 months pregnant I was able to fulfill my lifelong desire of becoming a stay at home mom. In an effort to stay busy but also help our household financially I enrolled in a medical terminology class to hopefully start myself on the path of doing medical transcription from home. Only to discover, after many many hours of studying and writing flash cards, that medical transcription is a rapidly dying field and my class was basically worthless. So...the prayers began, the very specific prayers. Asking God for exactly what our family needed and what would work for us. So I prayed, for 4 years I prayed. During that time I also started cleaning houses, got pregnant and delivered #2, Hannah. The Lord provided just enough to keep me busy and make the extra money but not be overwhelmed, and it was such a blessing. And then last year through a series of events, Dawn reached out to me through a mutual friend, and the rest is history. Here I sit a year later marveling at how faithful God is. He met every request I had plus some, and provided the exact perfect job that fit our needs and family situation to allow me to fulfill my most important job of mom. In all my prayers it never occurred to me to pray for this job to be in a Christian atmosphere/work place (I'm a little ashamed to say that), but just like Ephesians 3:20 says God will do exceedingly, abundantly all that we can ask or imagine. Working for Dawn and this ministry has been such a blessing to myself and my family, and her being who she is, is just the cherry on top! Here's to many many more years together!