The month of March has been one of personal reflection in my own life in many ways. The message the Lord has continued to speak to me is that He chose me, He loves me, and I am His....that He is with me. As I was blessed to lead in worship for Miles Road Baptist Church's Annual Ladies' Prayer Retreat for the 2nd time, it was one of those times where I truly felt the message the wonderful speaker Tammy Feil had shared, was specifically for me. God really moved in many of the ladies' hearts that weekend, one precious woman accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior there in the beautiful NC mountains during a small group time, several ladies came to let go of things they had been holding onto and forgive. But for me, I will never be the same.
My friend Debbi Dunlap, Director of Women's Ministries there, had asked if I would also share a new message with the ladies, "Pressing On in the Midst of Whatever We Are in the Midst of." Little did I know that the content of that message would come to life and God would give me even deeper clarity as I listened to the messages Tammy shared.
In one of the times alone with God, we were asked to answer several pages of questions that would then end up being our testimony when we completed them. It was an aha! moment like I have not had in a very long time. You see, for me, people see me and "my testimony" as that of being the sister of Shari Smith, the beautiful 17-year-old girl that was murdered years ago. However, as I read Scripture, prayed, answered each question with careful consideration, I began to see that although that is a part of my life story, the Lord began to show me that weekend that He began writing my testimony long before that ever happened...as a little girl, learning to trust Him from a very young age, building a faith in Him in me in the midst of what was going on in my life during those growing-up years, in preparation for what was to come.
As we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ yesterday on Easter, I was once again reminded that He chose me, He chose to love me, to give Himself up for me, to pay the price for me. It is a thought that I can hardly grasp, but am learning to rest in my Father's unconditional love for me, a love that is everlasting. Oh how grateful I am today. Isaiah 41:9 says, "I have called you, I have chosen you, and I will not throw you away." "For I am the Lord, your God, and Savior...you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you." Isaiah 43:3. Put YOUR name after each "you," my friends.
On the Home Front:
March held some wonderful time with family...Hannah was home for a full 10 days after not being home since her Christmas break. It was so good to have she and her sweet beau Clayton home, as he was visiting his family, as well. She brought her sweet new "puppy" Blue, an 8 month old Husky/German Shepherd mix, and the house was full of activity and noise, as our dog Cookie and cat Skunk were not quite sure what to think about this new 50-lb. baby! We are looking forward to having them back the first of May for the summer. Ross had a great season playing for the Dutch Fork High School Lacrosse team, and I enjoyed going to the games to cheer them on. Hannah joined me for 2 of them while she was home.
With my birthday this week, my brother, his girlfriend, and her 4-year-old son came Friday to spend the day celebrating with me, and we went to the zoo, then home for a big birthday cake cookie and gifts, even watching some home movies. It was so good to be home on Easter Sunday, to go sit beside Ross in worship, and then visit with my college roommate Julie Caldwell and her family as they were in town visiting her in-laws. Ross is on spring break this week, and it will be a nice break to have a slower schedule, to be able to take a break from teaching 16 music lessons in 2 days and spend some time with Ross. On April 6th, I am looking forward to attending my cousin Cory Cartrette's wedding and seeing family I have not see in a while. On April 23rd, I am heading to Clemson to see Hannah's Women's Glee Spring Concert, and then attending the Dutch Fork High School Lacrosse Banquet on the 26th. I am grateful for this sweet time with family and friends.
The month of March has been another rich month of ministry as I was privileged to speak and sing for First Baptist Church Alexandria, VA's women's retreat on the breathtaking coast of Maryland. The following weekend I headed to Blue Ridge Assembly in Western North Carolina for Miles Road Baptist's annual ladies prayer retreat. Not only was this a wonderful time of ministry but a much needed time of personal refreshment for me as well. I had the joy of sharing with Hannah at the Ladies event at Palmetto Land Baptist Church in Summerville, SC also - it's been a while since Hannah and I have served together in ministry and it was a delight to this Mamma's heart!
I have had a much needed 2 weekends at home after six straight weekends on the road with multiple events during the week also. I'm looking forward to what the Lord has in store for me this April as I head to a Night of Worship for Women with Sandridge First Baptist Church in Ridgeville SC on April 5th, a ladies event at Jerusalem Baptist Church in Mocksville NC on April 13th, share some special music during the three morning services and a full evening concert at Catawba Heights Baptist Church in Belmont, NC on April 14th, a women's encounter evening at Pinewood Baptist Church in Pinewood SC on April 18th, and serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Lexington County School District 1 Educational Foundation Fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars, on April 22nd. On April 27th I am looking forward to being with the ladies at Gilgal Baptist Church in Edgefield, SC. It's going to be a whirlwind month of ministry, not to mention that life here at home goes on as well with all the activities Ross and Hannah are involved in both in college and highschool etc.
We have continued to receive inquiries regarding the airing of my family's story on "On the Case with Paula Zahn." It is available for viewing through this link on Amazon for $1.99.
Additionally, I wanted to let you know that I still have some dates available if you have a Mother/Daughter or women's banquet in May as well as summer concerts. My summer concert calendar is open for love-offering concerts to churches within driving distance from Columbia, SC.
I am so grateful for each one of you, for taking the time to allow me to come into your home and heart each month, for your friendship, support and prayers. My prayer for you is that you will be reminded that the Lord has chosen YOU, He is with YOU, and He loves YOU.
Spotlight of the Month
With Mother's Day around the corner I'd love to suggest my Mom's book "Rose of Shari" as a gift suggestion. In this book my precious Mother shared her perspective of our family's story. I miss her so much and am thankful to continue to be able to share with others her thoughts that she has left behind in written form.
Sandridge First Baptist Church
Jerusalem Baptist Church
Catawba Heights Baptist Church
Pinewood Baptist Church
Lexington County School District 1 Fundraiser
Gilgal Baptist Church
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)
It would seem that our youngest has a solid grasp on the Biblical doctrine of human depravity from conception! The other day on the way home from church she was telling our family about the baby's unbiblical chord! :)