"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13-14.
Monday night I had the privilege of returning to Christ Community Church in Sumter, SC, where I have been in ministry a few times over the last several years. Upon inviting me to return, the women's ministry director asked if I had any new topics to speak on, as they had already heard everything I had listed on my website. I had a new message that the Lord had been working out in my life personally, and this deadline gave me just the incentive needed to get it done: "Pressing On in the Midst (of Whatever We Are in the Midst of)." What a thrill it was to share it for the first time, and see the Lord move in a mighty way! I am so excited to begin sharing this message in 2013.
They had just completed a Bible study entitled "The Walking Wounded." Oh, that was me years ago. But that is not who I am today, praise God. As a young 21-year-old, facing devastating tragedy, Philippians 4:13 became my life Scripture..."I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." I had no idea what ALL THINGS would look like over the next 25+ years. But my Father did. My sister wrote my family a letter as she was facing death, at the hands of a murderer, at just 17 years old. "Don't let this ruin your lives...just keep living one day at a time...some good will come of this." Our journey is full of choices. How do we choose to respond to circumstances we would have never chosen?
Last week I spent 3 1/2 hours on the phone with the producer of "On the Case With Paula Zahn" which airs on the Discovery Network. My family's story is going to be featured in an upcoming hour-long program. As the producer began to ask me questions, it became apparent that I clearly had forgotten what she was even talking about...the details of the horror of my family's tragedy in the kidnapping and murder, and the horrific taunting we endured at the hands of her murderer, are no longer in the recesses of my memory. I have not given any thought to those details in so very many years, that I had to finally grab a copy of my own book that I wrote on this story, to follow along with her line of questioning. What an amazing realization I had when it became obvious that my Father had so completely healed me of those hurts, that I had to literally remind myself again what they were. The focus of this program is going to be our story of faith and forgiveness, and how we pressed on. My prayer is that the Lord will use it to speak hope and healing to the many that will tune in.
I am most inspired by true stories of people who faced insurmountable obstacles, yet persevered right through the middle of them. Today I saw this quote as someone's facebook status: "You can't start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the old one." How many of us are looking back, instead of standing in the present, today, facing forward, pressing on? Perry Noble, pastor of Newspring Church, recently said in one of his sermons, "If you don't let your past die, your past won't let your future live." Powerful thought.
As I finished reading Tender Mercy for a Mother's Soul by Angela Thomas just last night, this struck me as such truth: "We are designed to function poorly, to feel overwhelmed and alone apart from our relationship with Jesus. We are made to be lost without God. We are great on the good days and hopeless on the hard ones. Our only option to press on is to walk with God." In Selections From Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, he wrote, "If none of God's saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the consolations of divine grace. God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. The masterworks of God are those men who stand in the midst of difficulties, steadfast, unmovevable. He would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it - hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end."
That, my friends, is why we CAN do all things, endure all things, persevere through all things, and press on in ALL things, because our Father can be trusted to enable us to do just that, for His glory alone. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Cor. 9:24, because Phil. 1:6 assures us, "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." I'm pressing on, won't you join me?!
On the Homefront
October was such a fun month for our family. Hannah was home for fall break, so the 3 of us got to enjoy our family's tradition of going to the SC State Fair together...elephant ears, corn dogs, Fiske fries, teriyaki chicken on a stick, chocolate-dipped ice cream, fried mushrooms, fried Oreos and cookie dough, pizza, AND lemonade...so glad we only do it once a year! But so fun! Ross played lacrosse for the Riverland Hills Baptist Church league, and it was so fun getting to watch him him play again. We ordered his class ring, which seems impossible that my little man is going to be a senior next year. The Lord answered prayer regarding Hannah's major at Clemson. She has changed from being a Performing Arts major to Equine Business. She made the Clemson University Equestrian Team, and was asked to ride in her first collegiate equestrian competition this past Saturday at Lander University. Her very first show, and she got 1st place! Here she is with her blue ribbon. What an exciting day that was! I went to visit my brother Robert and we enjoyed a glorious day on the Blue Ridge Parkway and The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, taking in God's breathtaking scenery during our favorite season of the year. Now we are looking forward to having Hannah back home this weekend, and then for Thanksgiving, as we all gather together with family and friends and give thanks for the gifts of faith & family in November.
While October allowed me a Sunday morning or two at home with my family, it was still a busy month as I traveled throughout my home state. A ladies event in Laurens, SC at New Prospect Baptist Church allowed me to catch up with my friends Kirk and Kelli Carlisle. I had the opportunity to share at the Hampton Arts Council on Sunday afternoon as well as a morning service and a ladies event at Christ Community Church in Sumter. In addition I shared in concert at West Columbia 1st Church of the Nazarene and Northside Baptist Church in Orangeburg. The month of November will have me in South Carolina as well as North Carolina. For more details please see my concert calendar at the bottom of this newsletter, or for a regularly updated calendar you can visit my website at www.dawnsmithjordan.com.
I am very excited to be able to release my new hymns album shortly, however it is already available for pre-order for the Christmas Season. Please scroll down to the Product Spotlight below for more information and a music sample.
There are a couple of dates I would love to fill while I am traveling. I still have December 16th available for morning and evening Christmas concerts and would love to share one of my all-time favorite programs at your church (entitled Your Presence for Christmas). Additionally I am looking for a church in NC that would be interested in having me on Sunday, January 13th (I will be at The Cove, just outside Asheville that Friday and Saturday), as well as Sunday May 5th in the evening while I am in the Dallas/Ft. Worth TX area. If you church would be interested in having me share my testimony and some new songs, I would be delighted to head your way for a concert.
Thank you for welcoming me into your home today. As we press on together, let us be mindful of those facing the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, as we pray for our country, our upcoming election, and our world. May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Spotlight of the Month
Dawn Smith Jordan's upcoming project, "Timeless Hymns" is set for a late November/early December release. Here is a sneak preview of "Softly and Tenderly." Other favorites included are "Amazing Grace," "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," for a total of 17 hymns." Order your pre-release copy TODAY at (the link above) just in time for Christmas!
Congaree Baptist Church
West Columbia, SC
Gate City Baptist Church
Gospel Baptist Church
Catawba Heights Baptist Church
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church
Blaise Baptist Church
WIS News Recording (Sounds of the Season)
Follow Dawn on Facebook and Twitter where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
Little Dale Tales (Stories from the home of my schedule coordinator, Jennifer Dale)
The other day we were walking out the grocery store when my son turned to me and said: "Mom, the nerve in my knee is really irritating me! Do your nerves ever get irritated?" I responded wryly: "Oh yes, all the time." He walked off with the grocery cart to put it away, glad that someone could identify with his irritated nerves. However when he got in the car, he paused a moment, then looked at me and said: "THAT WAS NOT NICE MOM!" We both laughed all the way home! He had set himself up for that one! :)