Happy November! I am grateful for the blessing you are in my life.
On Sunday night I received this Facebook message from someone who follows my ministry page a little after 8:00 p.m., "I could use some prayers tonight. This mom is hurting. My heart is breaking for my daughter."
I had driven 3 hours to the mountains of NC Friday evening, spoken Saturday for a women's event, spoken Sunday morning for a worship service, gone to lunch, driven 3 hours back home, unloaded the car, unpacked, walked the dog, had just gotten into my pjs, heated up some leftover pizza, and settled down on my couch and started watching a Hallmark movie.
It had been a wonderful weekend of ministry and fellowship, in a sweet church, with precious people. But I was spent. Give-out. I am always humbled that people write me to request prayer, even those I don't even know, but if I may be honest, Sunday night I was done. I was tired. And my first thought when I read this message (please don't judge me) was, "THIS mom could use some prayer, too."
We ALL have battles that others know nothing about. And we ALL need the grace of God in our lives. Even those of us who serve in ministry. Sometimes I get the feeling that people see those of us who are ministers, Christian speakers, singers, pastors, etc. as having it all together. But be assured, we do not. We are just like the rest of us, daily seeking the sustaining grace of God to stand firm in the midst of our own battles and heartaches. While social media makes us available 24/7, sometimes we need to take a breath. And so I wrote this precious mom back the next morning, and as I told her that I had prayed for her, I thanked God for those who pray for me faithfully.
The old Twila Paris song came to mind that night, "They don't know that I go runnin' home when I fall down. They don't know Who picks me up when no one is around. I drop my sword and cry for just a while. Cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child." You see, I too have heartaches and heartbreaks, and I need prayer, just like that mom. Just like you. We are all in this thing called life together and we need each other.
As I was in Austin, TX October 10th-16th, I had so much fun reconnecting with some precious friends. We ate Tex-Mex, fried chicken, shopped, stayed up late, laughed. I worked on my 14th album with my record company exec/producer Phillip Sandifer (founder of Urgent Media), who I have now known for 25 years. He and his wife Rene are dear friends of mine, and I always love going to record not only for the creative process and extension of my ministry, but for the sweet refreshment of staying in their lovely home, sitting at the table drinking coffee, sharing hearts, catching up on kids, ministry, life. What a treasure friendship is. It is like cold water to a hot, tired, thirsty soul.
Sunday night before flying home Monday I was privileged to share a concert in Phillip's church where he serves as the Media Arts & Worship Pastor. Two of the dearest people I know came that night, as they live about a half hour away. Johnny and Debbie Sorrell served in my home church of Lexington Baptist Church in Lexington, SC when my sister Shari and I were in the youth group. Johnny was our Minister of Music & Youth, and Debbie was our church pianist. But they were so much more than that. Johnny also worked with Shari and me with individual voice lessons, and Debbie was our piano teacher. I remember "Monday Night Madness" in their home during the summers where we would have weekly pizza, swimming and Bible study. They poured into our lives so generously.
Oh how the tears of joy flowed as I wrapped my arms around them. We realized that night that we have known each other for 40 years! And for 40 years, they have continued to pour into my life, even as the Lord moved them away and back to Texas. They faithfully pray for me, for my children, for my ministry. They continue to invest in my life even though I am far from being one of their youth anymore. I was reminded when I saw them how the Lord even orchestrated for them to just "happen" to be in SC when my precious sister had been murdered, and they were so gracious to sing for her funeral. Only the Lord does such precious things like that. They have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on my life, and for them, I am deeply grateful. I could not do what I do without people just like them, who faithfully lift me up to the Father.
What about you? Who are the people in your life for whom you can thank God this Thanksgiving season? There are too many to count for me. Friends, sisterfriends, family, neighbors, people with whom we work...all are in yours and my life because the Father has placed them there. Blessings. Relationships. Little glimpses of heaven. Let's commit to pray for one another. "We are family" as Sister Sledge sings!
Precious friends, Paul wrote in Phillippians 1:3-11, "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."
Happy, blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours,
Ministry at a Glance:
This past month of ministry was amazing and I am so grateful for each opportunity the Lord allowed. Thank you to each church that hosted me. The month started off at the Sister Circle Girlfriend's Getaway in North Charleston, SC. I then flew to Austin, TX for a week to record my new CD as well as sing at The Lakeway Church for both their morning and evening service that Sunday. I came home and headed straight into another ladies event at Good Hope Baptist Church in Saluda, SC. Then on to the Church at Sandhurst in Florence, SC and West Florence Baptist Church in Florence, SC the next morning. The final weekend of the month was at Elkin Valley Baptist Church in Elkin, NC for both Saturday's ladies' holiday event and Sunday morning. Beautiful women's ministry events and church concerts filled the month, seeing the hand of God at work, and being with dear brothers and sisters. I am humbled and grateful. To God be all glory for all He does.
Christmas Concert Opportunity:
I have 4 Sundays open this year to come and share my "Your Presence for Christmas" concert with your church/community. November 19, 26, December 3, and 17 are available. I don't have a set fee, and am glad to come on a love offering basis. Message me if your church is interested. I would love to come and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with you!
**"Timeless Hymns II" Available for Pre-Order Now**
I'm excited to make my new upcoming project with Urgent Records "Timeless Hymns II" available to you for pre-order now! The song list includes:
1. Great is Thy Faithfulness
2. It is Well With My Soul
3. How Great Thou Art
4. Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
5. This is My Father's World
6. Jesus Loves Me/Oh How He Loves You and Me
7. I Have Decided to Follow Jesus/Wherever He Leads I'll Go
8. Just as I Am
9. Were You There?
10. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
11. I'll Fly Away/When We All Get to Heaven
I am excited to tell you that this is the first time I played all of the piano parts on an album, getting back to my roots of singing and playing back in the day when there were no CD accompaniment tracks, or even tapes for that matter! I am making this pre-order available to those of you on my e-newsletter list first, and hope they will be ready just in time for Christmas. You could go ahead and get some of your Christmas shopping done now. Phillip is busy working on adding the rest of the instrumentation, and all that producing requires.
Here's how to order: please mail your check payable to Jordan Ministries for $15.00 (per CD) plus $3.00 S&H (for orders over 5, please add an additional $3.00) to P.O. Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063.
I am happy to personalize them for you if you would like once they arrive, so be sure and let me know the names of the recipients if this is something you want me to do. Thanks in advance for your support of my ministry. I can hardly wait for you to hear the finished product. So many of these hymns laid the foundation of my faith today, and I hope and pray they are an encouragement to you in your own faith journey as you sing and worship along with me.
On the Homefront:
A collage of pictures shows precious moments for which I am thankful in October...Cookie and I taking a road trip to Charleston, getting to see Hannah lead worship at Newspring Charleston...the SC state fair with my beloved Aunt Sue...taking in a Mandisa concert with dear sisterfriends...Ross's darling girlfriend Brianna being in SC for a family wedding and me getting to wrap my arms around her...dinner with a friend...new photos being taken by a darling little sister in Christ and amazing photographer (more info. to follow in next month's newsletter)...fur babies happy to have me home for a little while...students in Halloween costumes for their lessons. The day to day life moments treasured. Share some of yours with me.
On the Road Again:
Saturday, November 4th
Five Forks Baptist
Sunday, November 5th
Five Forks Baptist
Friday, November 10th
Temple Baptist Church
Ladies' Holiday Extravaganza
Monday-Wednesday, November 13th - 15th
Community Church at Tellico Village
Wednesday, November 29th
Maysville Baptist Church
A Note from Allison
The month of October brings the beginning of the holiday season...and I LOVE it!!! I mostly love seeing the joy of this time through my kids' eyes. We've had a lot of changes in our family this year, adding a 3rd kid, Abby (my oldest) starting Kindergarten and Hannah (my middle one) starting preschool. Life with 3 kids just means a lot of busyness. And a lot of times I get so wrapped up in the list of "to-do's" that I lose the joy and fun of this phase of life. I have been earnestly praying and asking God to restore that joy to me and help me to "chill out" on the things that don't matter. Sure it's annoying that the bathroom floor is soaked after baths, but it's just water. Or the pile of toys that I have to walk over, but just push them to the playroom floor and deal with it later. Maybe even the extra 5 min of having to load and unload kids when they want to run errands with me because they just want to spend that time with mama. So during this holiday season I am challenging myself to truly let their joy be contagious. I want to have fun this year. And when they ask if we can go to the playground in our neighborhood, I say sure! I'll ignore the work I have to do, the laundry to fold, dishes to put away, toys to pick up, and on and on and we go and play and have fun. And then when we get home, they get to help me do all those things. ;) I hope you have a Joyous November as you prepare for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season.