Happy almost fall, y’all! I love love love this season, it is my favorite. Here in SC we get to enjoy cooler temps (80’s, ha!) and all things pumpkin, spice, and everything nice. On September 1st, I traditionally decorate for fall, so I can pretend when inside that it is just as cool and feels like autumn outside.
As I shared my ministry and brand-new message “Out of the Mire and Into the Choir” at Church of the Cross in beautiful Bluffton, SC last month, the Friday before I was to leave on Saturday I had set aside that evening to review my notes. I was to share in two morning services that Sunday, at 9:00 and 10:30. However, as I began to look over my notes of this previously-written talk, the Lord began to redirect my plans. By the time I finished that evening, he had me completely re-write what I thought I was originally supposed to share. If I may be completely honest with you, this was a bit unnerving. Writing a new message on Friday night that you are to share on Sunday morning can cause one to question if it’s what they should do, or if they should stick with the tried and true, well-known talk. I came face to face with a choice. I could choose fear and go the comfortable, familiar route, or I could practice what I preach and choose faith. I truly believed the Lord had given me this message, specifically for this specific group of people that would be in these specific services on that particular day. So I prayerfully chose to step out in faith and give the message I believed He had given me as I met with Him for several hours of unplanned Scripture study, prayer, and inspiration. While I thought I was going to look over my notes and then find a movie to chill out watching on the couch that evening, I loved the unexpected date with my Father. I couldn’t believe it when I looked up hours later to find it was 11:30 p.m.
After the first service, several people spoke to me, saying how they felt the message was specifically for them, right where they were in their own faith journey. How grateful I was at the goodness of God to allow me to meet them and hear such encouragement. After the second service, a precious woman asked me if she could have a few minutes with me after everyone left. She began to tell me how she’d been out of church for a while, was a single mom, her 16-year-old son was with her, and they had come the previous Sunday for the 1st time to the church. She shared how someone had greeted her that day and told her that she should come back the next week to hear me speak. She had never heard of me, but she came back anyway. With tears in her eyes, she showed me her bulletin, where she had written on it before the service had even started, scribbling how she was feeling, in a pit, crying out to the Lord, having no idea what my message would be about. She said it was as if the Lord was speaking directly to her, word for word.
My message was based on Psalm 40:1-3, “I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” When I asked her what her name was, she said, “Sheri.” For me to have shared part of my story surrounding my beloved sister Shari, there sat Sheri.
And the Lord was faithful to meet her right where she was. How humbled I was as I drove back home that day, overwhelmed that the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, would choose to unexpectedly meet me in my living room on a Friday night in such a special way, to then use that very time to meet this other dear sister in her time of need as she cried out to Him just as the very Psalmist had done in the text we were focusing on that morning. Y’all, this is why I do what I do…packing and unpacking year-round, having done so for over 32 years, paying pet sitters to come care for my fur babies, getting up at dark-thirty to drive or fly alone around the country to places I have never been to be with people I have never met. It is worth it. Sheri is worth it! And just as this Psalmist wrote what God did in his life, this is OUR story. And many WILL see what He has done in our lives, and want to also trust in Him. Don’t ever stop what you are doing in the world in which He has called you to share your own story of redemption from the pit to praising Him. You are making a difference.
Together we are the family of God, let’s keep on telling our stories of how He brought us out of the mire and into the choir!
I love you and thank God for you, so glad we are in this journey together,
***Available Dates for 2018***
I have a few Sundays left in October and November, and I would love to come share my ministry at your church. If you are interested in one of the dates, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your date.
Sunday, October 14th
Sunday, October 21st
Sunday October 28th
Sunday, November 4th
Sunday, November 18th
Sunday, December 2nd
Schedule your December/Christmas concerts NOW!
Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and I would love to come share my Christmas concert/message with you and your church. I have a few events on my December schedule already but do still have some openings.
I was so grateful to have a wonderful August full of sharing God's message. I am thankful for each church or organization that hosted me. Deepwood Estates in Lexington, SC; Antioch Baptist Church in Camden, SC; The Church of the Cross in Bluffton, SC; Lebanon Baptist Church in Eastover, NC; Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Chapin, SC and Nazareth United Methodist Church in Batesburg, SC.
While most of my ministry events are new places and people, it is always a sweet blessing to reconnect with friends I have served alongside over the years. Betty Jo Amick is one of those people. She worked in my children's high school lunchroom for years, and always asks me how they are when I see her. This time she sent me home with one of the sweetest "gift baskets" I have ever received, including her delicious homemade salsa AND spaghetti sauce inside. I love being a part of the family of God.
Returning to Lebanon Baptist Church in Eastover, NC was another one of those times. S.O.U.L. Sisters are am amazing group of women. Just as the Lord had given me a completely new message for the church in Bluffton, would you believe He did it AGAIN on the Wednesday night before I was to leave Friday to be with them on Saturday for their annual women's conference?! Yet again, after rewriting "Soul/Sole Sisters," His message is always the one that reaches hearts, not what we plan or prepare. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.
Funnies from the Road
As I make it a point to look up the hosting churches' websites or Facebook pages to get better acquainted with how they are promoting my visit with them, I got the biggest kick out of a recent church's promotional blurb on their website. That was news to me that I was being promoted as a "local actress," and after enjoying a good laugh with Allison, decided that I would best be playing the role of myself that night with them!
On the Homefront
Summer has come to its end once again as students are back in school and long-anticipated vacations are behind us. I enjoyed a slower teaching schedule, and especially enjoyed teaching the most seasoned piano student I have ever had under my tutelage. 81-year-old Joan Brown's daughters and husband gave her piano lessons as her Mother's Day gift, and she came to me to fulfill a lifelong dream of hers. She had taken piano lessons for one year when she was 6 years old, and wanted to be able to play hymns better. Even with Parkinson's Disease, she accomplished her goal over the two months she studied with me and I loved every minute of having she and her sweetheart husband Lamar in my home once a week. What an inspiration she was/is to me! It's never too late to reach for your dreams. I was so proud of many of my summer students who presented a beautiful end-of-summer recital in a local assisted living facility. It truly is more blessed to give than receive.
Allison and I finally celebrated her birthday over sushi, of course. She has now been working alongside me for three years here at Jordan Ministries. What a blessing she continues to be as my Administrative Assistant/Schedule Coordinator and friend.
Sammy has completed his heart worm treatment and is doing so well. We are both looking forward to beginning exercising together now that I have a walking buddy again.
Brianna came home for her grandfather's funeral and though bittersweet, it is always good to see her.
Labor Day was welcomed with 13 of us kayaking 5.48 miles on the Saluda River, an annual tradition that we look forward to. And with that, summer is a wrap.
On the Road Again
Grace Baptist Church
Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Women's Ministry Fall Kick-Off
First Baptist Church of the Islands
Maysville Baptist Church
First Baptist Church of Andrews
Young Women's Tea
East Lumberton Baptist Church
Women 2 Women
Hodge-Podge Allison Hodge, Administrative Assistant
Dawn Smith Jordan Ministries Randy and Allison Hodge Abby (6), Hannah (4), Ryan (1)