Recently after a ladies' night out event at which I had been asked to share my story and sing, a woman came over to my table and said, "You did not tell the whole story. I don't think you told the whole story." She clearly seemed upset, and I wasn't sure how to interpret why she would say such a thing, so I asked her to clarify for me what she meant. She replied, "You didn't tell about all the tears that you cried." I spent a few minutes sharing my heart with her, asking the Lord to help me explain to her why I shared my story the way that I do.
As I drove home that night, I pondered what she said for most of the drive back to Columbia, and this realization struck me: I don't talk about the tears I cried, yes the many, many tears my family and I shed going through the years of various heartaches, tragedy, and pain. But there is a reason I no longer mention those tears. It's because they don't even cross my mind today. I just don't go there. That is not my focus anymore. The Lord has wiped them all dry. When I am called upon to share my story that is laced with tragedy, yes, today it is a story of triumph. Not tragedy. I am walking in victory. And when the Lord brings you through the hard days, your focus is forever changed.
As my favorite hymn says, "Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come, tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home!" The good news is that we have already come through them because of His sufficient grace. THROUGH. No longer in them, but on the other side.
Psalm 16:11 says, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
In the presence of the Lord, there is FULLNESS of joy. I am living a joy-filled life, friends, because of Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us. With you. With me. One day there will be a time where we will never cry again. As I had set out that evening to encourage the ladies with this good news, my heart was deeply grieved that this precious, obviously struggling sister had completely missed the point of the message. But I hope and pray that one day she will be walking in the Truth of God's Word in her own life. We press on in joy and we do so because we no longer remember the tears as the Lord has turned our sorrow into joy.
Psalm 30:11 says, "You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy."
Friend, be encouraged today that even if you are in the middle of a storm, the Savior of the world is writing your story. He came to this earth because He loves you and me so much that He sought out relationship with us.
As we say "Merry Christmas" to each person we encounter over the month of December, we are sharing the very name of Christ, our hope, our joy. The word merry literally means "giving pleasure, delightful, full of gaiety or high spirits, mirthful." So what we are literally saying is that we are delighted to share Christ at Christmastime. Because of Him, it will never be a "happy holiday" for me, but always a very Merry Christmas.
Revelation 21:4 tells us, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or morning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
That is a message of hope for you and me today! Hallelujah, glory to God! May the Prince of Peace reign and rule in your hearts and homes this blessed holiday season.
Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Oh friend, I choose joy!
Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine,
Ministry at a Glance:
Please note: Our offices will be closed for the Christmas holidays December 18-January 2.
This past month I was delighted to kick off the holiday season by sharing in my first Christmas concerts, my favorite season of singing! I started the month the weekend of the 4th and 5th at Five Forks Baptist in Simpsonville, SC where I ministered at their beautiful Ladies' Soiree, A Night of Elegance on Saturday night and then stayed over for their Sunday morning service. The next weekend on the 10th I was back in Simpsonville, SC at Temple Baptist Church ministering at their lovely Ladies' Annual Holiday Extravaganza where they had the largest crowd in the history of this event. Monday, the 13th I headed to the Community Church at Tellico Village in Crandall, GA's 3-day ladies retreat in the beautiful Georgia mountains at Cohutta Springs Conference Center. I closed out the month this past Wednesday, the 29th at Maysville Baptist Church in Maysville, GA for their first ever ladies' holiday event, and oh what a precious time it was. Thank you to each and every church that has welcomed me into your sanctuaries and hearts over the past month, and year. It is because of you that I am blessed with this ministry to which the Lord called me. I am looking forward to several events at the beginning of December and then taking the rest of the month to rest and enjoy the holy holiday season.
**"Timeless Hymns II" Update**
I'm excited to make my new upcoming project with Urgent Records "Timeless Hymns II" available to you for pre-order now! Release date March 2018. 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.
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.
Funnies from the Road:
As I was enjoying a lovely evening in a church in upstate South Carolina last month, a beautiful ladies' holiday event, sitting at a lovely decorated table, the lady seated at the table beside mine said, "I am so excited you are here, and was so hoping you would be clogging tonight. Are you going to clog?"
I immediately laughed out loud, as she clearly had a case of mistaken identity. Sherry Thrift Bradshaw, Miss SC and 1st-runner-up to Miss America in 1985 clogged for her talent. I sang. I then couldn't help myself and immediately texted Sherry to tell her the funny story. She texted back for me to tell that lady she definitely did not want her to sing! We have been mistaken for each other over the years, as she crowned me Miss SC, she is a petite 5'1'' blonde, I am 5'2" and blonde. But the thing that we do share is our love for Jesus! What a good laugh we all enjoyed that evening.
On the Homefront:
This is my favorite time of year. Fall. Thanksgiving. Christmas. The colors, the sights, sounds, smells, decorations, festivities. Cookie and I were so blessed to share Thanksgiving at my brother's home in NC with his family. Hannah and Clayton were in Asheville, NC spending the holiday with Clayton's family, and Ross and Brianna stayed in Denver. I am beyond excited to be flying to Denver (thanks to my frequent flyer miles) to spend Christmas with them, and then have Hannah and Clayton here a few days after Christmas. Robert, Elizabeth, James Michael and I are looking forward to going snow tubing together to celebrate. I love time with family. It is the greatest gift to my heart, quality time with the ones I love. Zoey is thoroughly enjoying her favorite time of year, wreaking havoc yet again on my Christmas tree!
My delightful music students will be presenting two Christmas recitals on the 14th and 17th, the 1st one at a local assisted living facility and the 2nd at a local Hospice house. Tis the season to give, and the best gift I think any of us can give is ourselves. As we gather together with our loves ones and friends, may we exude the joy of our Savior to them.
Allison and I ran our first race together with about 10 other friends, the 4-mile Sleigh Bell Trot Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. This was my 5th race, ya'll! The woman who said she would never run. We hoped running this race would cancel out all the food we ate over Thanksgiving! We had a great time seeing Saluda Shoals' Park's Holiday Lights on the River as we made our way through the park. (Well, we had more fun before and eating after the race, but we did complete the race, and got our t-shirts and medals to prove it!)
On the Road Again:
Tuesday, December 5th
Mountain Hill Community Church
Tuesday, December 5th
Poplar Springs Baptist Church
Ladies' Christmas Banquet
Thursday, December 7th
Spring Valley Baptist Church
Senior Adult Christmas Banquet
Friday, December 8th
Lexington Baptist Church
Senior Adult Christmas Banquet
A Note from Allison
As another year comes to a close, and a new one is on the horizon, what a wonderful time of reflection we have before us. I'm not big on "New Years resolutions," as I feel like anytime is a good time to make a change in your life. But I do view January as a fresh start and a time to look back over the past year. A year ago we had just found out baby #3 was a boy, now we have an almost 8 month old who is days away from crawling around. A year ago Abby was learning how to write her lower case letters, now she is reading. It's very cliché but "what a difference a year can make." Where were you a year ago? Maybe a situation has gotten better, or a valley has gotten darker? A new home, new baby, new job, ended a bad relationship, quit an addiction, picked up a bad habit? Maybe you gained weight, maybe you lost some. But where will you be in a year, where will I be? So rather than make a promise to myself or yourself of something that probably won't last any longer than February, let's reflect over the past year and look forward in anticipation of where another year will bring us. And maybe you do make some changes, even if they start in June. ;)