Family. The people that you were born into are the ones who we immediately think of when we hear or say the word family. Moms, dads, siblings, spouses, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children, grandchildren. Precious gifts from God. But oftentimes our family is extended beyond those with whom we are blood relatives to those that we have chosen as family. My family is somewhat small compared to most. But oh how precious they are to me.
I'm so grateful that my brother Robert is not just my brother, but he is one of my very best, dearest friends. I am so glad we are so close. We know that we are there for each other. Always. No matter what. His wife Elizabeth is an added blessing to me, and I cherish the sweet friendship we have developed over the last few years. James Michael, my nephew, is a bonus, and I always delight in getting to see him. Hannah and Ross are my beloved children, and I consider them the greatest gift in my life apart from Jesus. And now my love for them is extended to Hannah's husband Clayton, and Ross's beloved Brianna. These are my "people," and I love them. Deeply. Fiercely. Since the passing of my sister years ago, and then my mom several years ago, I have come to cherish that bond that family has. It is rare and it is to be treasured.
Over the years, my "family" has extended to include such precious friends that are like family to me. Every Friday night that I am not on the road in ministry, I look forward to meeting some of them out for dinner, a tradition I hold near and dear. I look forward to that time. I love that one of my best friends' mom calls me her "bonus daughter." There are girlfriends that my children call "aunt," and whose children also call me their "aunt." Some live nearby, some across state lines. But one thing is for certain. We love each other fiercely and I know I can call upon and count on them. They are the family members I have chosen who have chosen me in return.
Then there is the family of God. I grew up in a small Southern Baptist Church in the little town of Lexington, SC where we would join hands across the aisles in our sanctuary and sing, "I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God!" In a church in Charlotte, NC recently where I was serving as their singer/speaker, the hosting pastor's wife Laura came in grinning, ran over to me, wrapped her arms around me and said, "Welcome home!"
You see, I had been there a few years ago, and we had instantly bonded, as often happens in the ministry to which the Lord has called me. Three years ago when we first met, it was an instant connection...we were facing very similar circumstances as moms and we committed to pray for one another. When she wrapped her arms around me this time, it was a hug like a family member who hadn't seen you in a while would give. And then she handed me the most precious surprise...a cold pack to go of her delicious homemade strawberry jam. That's what family would do.
Oh how rich my life is because of my family, friends that are like family, and the family of God.
As I thought of Billy Graham's home-going, I wondered how MANY people greeted him that had sat under his preaching, and were there because of His faithfulness to the call God had placed on his life. He is home. And friends and family, can you even begin to imagine that family reunion? One day those of us who are in Christ will. In the meantime, how grateful I am for you, for your friendship, prayers, and support as I carry the message of the Gospel to the places God has called me to serve.
As the Sister Sledge song says, "We are family!" I hope and pray that these few moments we spend together each month are an encouragement to you. Your notes, emails, and social media messages surely are to me, and I thank you. Hebrews 3:13 says, "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today." And so for today, sweet family, be encouraged. You are not alone in this thing called life, whether your family is big or small. We are a part of a great big family, the family of God.
I love you, and thank God for you,
Ministry at a Glance: The Reverend Billy Graham is home, reunited with his beloved Ruth, and he has seen Jesus face to face. The Savior he so loved and spent his life preaching to this world. He was 99. How humbled I feel to have been a part of his ministry. Well done, good and faithful servant. May we live our lives in such a way to hear those words as well when our days on earth are done.
What an incredible opportunity it was for me to have been invited to share my story and sing “Amazing Grace” at the 1987 SC Billy Graham Crusade, which continues to air regularly on the Billy Graham Crusade Classics Telecast. As a young 22-year-old reigning Miss South Carolina, getting to meet Dr. Graham and sit on the same platform with him as he preached the Gospel of Christ will forever be a treasured memory and highlight in the ministry to which God called me. That same amazing grace led him home last week.
I so much enjoyed the month of February and reflecting on love. The love of our Father, love for my children, love of friends that have become family, all such precious gifts. I also loved traveling to each ministry opportunity. I had the pleasure to return to Charlotte, NC on February 6th to sing for Central Church's Prime Timers' Dinner after having the pleasure of being with them 3 years earlier. I love this wonderful group of people, their Senior Adult Pastor and his wife Greg and Laura Baker, Ministry assistant Pam Macaluso, and their church.
On the 11th I was with Corinth Lutheran Church in Saluda, SC for an evening concert.
And closing out the month on the 25th I enjoyed a full day with Mountain Hill Community Church in Landrum, SC as I shared special music that morning and a full concert that night. What a treat to be able to combine ministry and family as my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and family friend David Taylor joined me for the morning service and lunch with some sweet church members. The afternoon I was able to visit in Robert and Elizabeth's home in-between services just long enough for James Michael to beat his mom and me in a game of Skipbo! (He beats me EVERY time.) That evening my son-in-law's mom/my friend, Carolyn Little and her sister Beth West COMPLETELY surprised me by coming to the concert! They drove from Asheville and Greer and it meant so much to me. It was so wonderful to look out and see the familiar faces of loved ones that entire day.
As I head into a very busy travel spring ministry season, I would so appreciate your prayers. I will be starting out the month heading to Alabama by car today with a 5+ hour drive ahead of me, and a full day of ministry both Saturday and Sunday, with 5+ hours back home. Monday I will jump right back into teaching my 30 music students as I do every week Monday-Wednesday.
I'm so grateful to have remained healthy so far during this terribly deadly flu season, with so many suffering, and do not take that blessing lightly. My prayer is to be a vessel of honor to the Lord Jesus. I am convinced that each and every opportunity is a divine appointment and I am always humbled to have been chosen to serve them.
Pastors, Worship Leaders, Women's Ministry Leaders, as you are looking ahead to your 2018 ministry calendars, I would love to be considered to minister to your congregation or group. Please take a moment to visit my website. I would love to hear from you, and I would be delighted to be invited to come and share my ministry as a part of yours as we partner together in this new year to reach people with the Good News of the Gospel. www.dawnsmithjordan.com
*Available Piggy Back Dates*
The following dates are available for me to stay over for a Sunday morning/evening concert. There would be no travel expenses, simply a love offering and a place to lay my head. Email me if you would like to take advantage of one of these dates!
Sunday, May 13th (Seneca, SC) - available p.m.
Sunday, August 12th (Eastover, NC)- available a.m. and p.m.
Sunday, September 23rd (Lumberton, NC) - available p.m.
Sunday, September 30th (Lakeland, FL) - available a.m. and p.m.
Sunday, November 11th (Sophia, NC)- available a.m. and p.m.
*Summer Love-Offering Concert Series*
While Dawn's spring schedule is filling up, we want to remind you that during the summer months of June, July and August she opens up her schedule during the slower months to churches that are interested in planning something special for their church family and community. She is available to come share a concert simply on a love-offering basis. Please email us today to secure your Sunday morning and/or evening at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**"Timeless Hymns II" Update**
"Timeless Hymns II" will be delayed due to unforeseen issues with production. We do not have a release date of yet, but as soon as we do, we will let you all know!
On the Homefront:
My college roommate and friend of 32 years Julie and I had the distinct opportunity to meet at The Peace Center in Greenville to see "The Phantom of the Opera" together last month. What made it even more fun was the fact that my friend from here in Columbia was in the show the only day we were able to make it. Dan Debenport has been on the road with the NYC National Tour of Phantom as the swing since 2013, and what a thrill it was to see him do a such fabulous job playing the role of Joseph Buquet, who sadly is hanged! But still, what fun, and how proud I was to get to see him. That's definitely one off of the bucket list.
On the Road Again:
Saturday, March 3rd
Cherokee County Women's Conference
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 4th
Pine Grove Baptist Church
Sunday School- 9:45 a.m.
Special Music- 11:00 a.m.
Sunday, March 18th
Little Mountain Presbyterian Church
Gifts of Women Sunday
Friday, March 23rd - Saturday, March 24th
Acadian Baptist Center
Friday, March 30th
Little Rock Baptist
Little Rock, SC
A Note from Allison
As a mom I try to instill in my children a love of the Lord, an understanding of Him, kindness towards others, all the principles Christ teaches, and very importantly Scriptures. One of the things Randy and I do is teach our kids Scriptures that are applicable to their lives and things they face as young children. Fear, bad dreams, obeying, being able to do things, honoring your parents, etc.
Each of our kids have a canvas in their room with their name and its meaning, and Psalms 4:8 "I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." From a very early age we teach them this verse and have them say it at night before bed. To reassure them that they are safe and the Lord is with them. We've taught them "Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." "Do all things without arguing or complaining." "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." We have them say these verses when the moment is appropriate in hopes that they will learn to cling to the Bible through their life and find the reassurance and guidance it provides.
Through teaching my kids this practice, I have been so convicted to do it for myself as well. There is life in Scripture! Hope, encouragement, guidance, peace, love...and I could go on and on forever with all the things the Bible has for us. So I have started to find verses that are applicable to my life and place them where I can see them, learn them, repeat them and cement them in my own heart and mind. And believing that when the situation arises I will be able to pull them from my memory and use them as the weapon again life as they were intended.