"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 is a Scripture that I have always held near and dear to my heart...it was my mother's life verse. It is a verse I have learned to take hold of on a daily basis, God's saving grace, forgiving grace, sustaining grace, enabling grace...in our weakest of weakness, He makes us strong. I lived it out this weekend in a way I don't think I ever have before to the degree that I did, and I stand in awe. I wondered today as I went about the day of unpacking from my six-day trip back to the beautiful state of Oregon why we are so amazed by the grace of God. It IS amazing, you know?
To start off the month of February, I flew into Shreveport, LA to head over to First Baptist Church of Magnolia, AR for their Ladies' Conference Saturday and their Sunday morning worship service, February 3rd-5th, and had such a great time there. Then on February 13th, I was delighted to share the evening with the ladies of Macedonia Baptist Church in Gaffney, SC, enjoying the company of my brother's sweet girlfriend, Elizabeth Trautman. Here are a few pictures of my visits and some of the wonderful women I was privileged to meet. I had been looking forward to returning to the west coast for the third time, leaving on a 7:00 a.m. flight Thursday morning, to return last night (Tuesday.) February 23-28, 2012 has been on my calendar for 9 months, and I had anticipated such a great time, as both previous trips had been an absolute delight. I fell in love with those wonderful west coast people, and taught them a little about southern charm and saying "ya'll."
Ross had been sick the week before with a sore throat, terrible cough, congestion, and hoarse voice. Then Hannah began to complain of a sore throat. Tuesday morning I felt a sore throat coming on, but hoped it was just all in my head. By Wednesday in the early hours of the morning, my throat was on fire and woke me up much sooner than my alarm was set to go off. I ended up in the Dr.'s office, being diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, getting a shot of steroids, a Z-Pac, and two prescription cough medicines. Obviously the timing for any of us to get sick is never convenient, but seriously, when I had to get on the plane at 7:00 the next morning and fly to the other side of the country where I was responsible for four one-hour sessions of speaking and singing at an annual women's retreat AND a full one-and-a-half-hour concert in a different church Monday night? I immediately did what I knew was needed most, and I emailed and texted my girlfriends and family and asked them to pray. They did, before and during every ministry time. And God gave grace that I cannot explain. It was merciful favor for a voice that was not there. I had a fever most of the time I was away, and yet when I ministered, He enabled me to do the task to which He had called me there. I was so grateful to my prayer warriors, Jennifer, Robert, Carol, Julie, Yvette, Libba, Debbi, Amy, Sharon, Melissa, Hannah and Ross, Barbara, my hosts for the weekend, and countless facebook friends. Not only did the Lord give me a voice each and every time I was to minister, but the three-hour time change did not affect me like it always has in the past. Normally when I travel to the west coast, I stand to speak about the time I am going to sleep at home, and then am wide awake around 4:00 a.m. their time, getting very little rest. But in His mercy, the Lord allowed me to go to bed their time, and wake up at normal waking hours their time, too. Oh how thankful I am today, as I was about as sick as I have ever been in over 25 years of ministry.
And you know what else? It was still one of the sweetest times of fellowship with the women He let me be with. Good Shepherd Community Church of Boring, Oregon hosted me for their annual women's retreat at the magnificently beautiful Cannon Beach. The theme for the weekend was "Trusting God in All the Seasons of Our Lives." We had wonderful worship by their gifted worship team, I fell in love with Peri Layton, Director of Women's Ministries, her sister Gaila who came down from Washington to be with us for the weekend, as well as the 150+ women that attended. Monday I was blessed to be back with my dear friends from Salem Heights Church in Salem, Oregon, reuniting for lunch with Julie Bernard and Emily Dempster, whom I had grown to love the previous March when they hosted me for their women's retreat at Newport Beach, Oregon. We had a Girls' Night Out that I will not soon forget, between laughing and crying all at the same time, God was just so good to us. Weary, but overflowing with gratitude as I got on the plane to come home early Tuesday morning, I just thanked the Lord over and over for doing in, for and through me what I knew I could have never done apart from Him. "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
And to top it all off, I left home on Thursday when our forecast was calling for 80 degree weather, and stepped into the dead of winter when I got off the plane in Portland. It was cold, rainy, windy...but the Lord did give us two beautiful days of sun to enjoy walking on the beach of the Pacific Ocean. Then on the drive back from Cannon Beach to Portland, it snowed! Can you believe it? It actually snowed, so you know this South Carolina girl was thrilled. Of course today it was 73 degrees back here at home, and I was in short sleeves and flip flops!
I am continually amazed at where the Lord takes me, and the people He allows me to spend my ministry days with. The stories I hear from the many women would make a volume of books. All of us have a story to tell...all of us are a story in the making. Just this weekend alone in Oregon, I reunited with a precious young woman, mother of two, that I had the joy of riding with last year from Oregon to the coast and back. She was expecting her 2nd child, her husband was overseas serving in our military, and she missed him so. This year as we met again face to face, we had kept in touch via Facebook and I knew of the devastating changes that had taken place in her life since last year. The day she gave birth to her baby boy, she learned of her husband's unfaithfulness. On Monday following the retreat, she faced mediation proceedings as they head into a divorce. Yet what an amazing young woman she is, and I was so delighted to see her precious little 6-month old baby who accompanied her to the retreat, one of the happiest little guys you have ever seen. She is trusting the Lord for herself and her little boy and girl, and she was an inspiration to me. Hers is a deep, mature faith in her Father. Sufficient grace...
I met another woman whose mother had been murdered. I met a precious woman whose first husband died after battling cancer, to have her second husband divorce her, yet the joy and contentment of her relationship with Jesus made her absolutely radiant. Stories of loss, of disappointment, despair. On Monday night I met a precious lady that had come from the Dr.'s office that afternoon to discover her cancer had returned. On and on the stories go, and I am the one that leaves more challenged and encouraged by those encounters than they could ever be from listening to me. Each of them had an underlying theme...absolute trust in the One that said He would be their all in all. Sustaining grace in the lives of each of us, friends. What is your story?
This Month in Ministry:
This Friday, March 2nd-4th, I head to the beautiful NC mountains for a women's retreat (and I will get to see my brother Robert on the way back home), then over to Seneca SC March 24th-25th to be a part of New Hope Baptist Church's women's ministry Saturday and Sunday morning worship service. The last weekend of the month I will be flying to be with the ladies of First Baptist Church of Jefferson, TX for their women's conference on the 31st, then staying over April 1st for their morning worship service, sharing a concert that evening at Forest Home Baptist Church in Kilgore, TX, then returning to be with my friends at First Baptist Church, Tyler, TX for their Ladies' Night Out on April 2nd. I can hardly wait! (Though I DO pray I will not be getting on the plane for that trip with the crud I carried with me this time!)
On the Home Front:
I am looking forward to watching #6 on the Irmo JV Lacrosse team play in his games this month, and am so proud of Ross for being such a good team captain. He is doing a great job of handling a 2 1/2-3-hour practice every night of the week, plus games, and keeping up his schoolwork and grades. We are thankful that the Lord provided a part-time job for Hannah, as this was an answer to prayer. She just began this week as a hostess at Ruby Tuesday here in the Harbison area, so if you want some friendly service if you are over this way, I know she would love to see you. I am also very proud of her as she made the Dean's List her first semester of college at Charleston Southern Unversity, and continues to do very well in school here at home at Midlands Technical College. I am enjoying being her voice teacher this semester, and she is also brushing up on her classical piano. Both she and Ross are serving in the First Baptist Church Student Ministries' Worship team, and it is just such a thrill to see them using their abilities to the glory of God.
Thank you for allowing me to come into your hearts and homes for just a few moments each month. It is always a joy to share with you the latest news on our end, and is always a double blessing to hear back from you. May you continue to walk in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This month we are highlighting Dawn's Book and Movie at www.dawnsmithjordan.com. The movie was a CBS Made-for-TV production and still airs internationally on cable television. While it follows Dawn's life closely, the book will offer a more accurate understanding of the tragic events of the kidnapping and death of Dawn's sister Shari and how Dawn and her family made it through this difficult time, finding Jesus to be all-sufficient. This combination would make a great gift for a friend who is struggling to understand God's plan in the midst of difficult life circumstances. The movie concludes with a video clip of Dawn singing "Sister."
Black Mountain, NC
New Hope Baptist Church
First Baptist Church
Forest Home Baptist Church
First Baptist Church
Follow Dawn on Facebook where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
At this time Dawn is opening up her summer concert calendar to churches within driving distance of Columbia, SC on a love-offering basis during the months of June/July/August, asking only that her expenses be covered. We would love to hear from you if you would be interested in hosting Dawn as a part of your summer concert series!
Little Dale Tales
A few months ago my husband and I came downstairs for breakfast when our son Ian announced: "Well, when I woke up this morning I saw that a chipmunk had drowned in the toilet." We weren't surprised because we knew there were a few around the front porch and we thought we had seen one around the fireplace in the livingroom. My husband sighed and said: "Ok, I'll take care of it after breakfast." My son responded: "It's ok, I already flushed it down." My husband about had a heart-attack - but thankfully it didn't clog the septic system.
A couple of months later I was in the office working for Dawn when I heard my youngest daughter Jenna choking and saying: "I can't breathe! I can't breathe." I ran upstairs in a panic to find that she was sitting on the floor in her room and looked perfectly fine. When I asked her what she was doing she replied: "Oh, I was just imagining what it must have been like for that chipmunk that Ian flushed to be going down the drain." Yes, she has quite a little imagination!