I am currently reading a great book, When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent, a fellow Christian speaker with whom that I have had the privilege of sharing the platform. Underneath the title on the front cover are these words: "Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances." While Hannah is working and Ross is swimming with friends this afternoon, I am able to sit here on this quiet, cloudy summer afternoon in my home office pondering these words, the only sound in the house being the washing machine and dryer, the occasional clanking of the dogs' collars as they sleep, my ceiling fan, while smelling fresh bread baking in the oven, and I wonder...could that be said about you and me? At one point or another in our journey of life, we will face circumstances not of our own choosing. Some will be unthinkable. Yet the question is, do we still choose unshakable faith or do we fall apart? As I read this remarkable, deeply honest, gut-wrenching story of this precious Jesus-following mom's only son committing murder and being sentenced to prison, my heart goes out to her and her husband, along with her son's wife and step-daughters. He was a fine Christian young man, yet he chose this heinous crime in order to do what he thought necessary to protect his wife's two young daughters from their father, and now all of their lives are forever changed. Sometimes we have no choice but to live with the consequences of other people's sinful choices, and yet we come face to face with how we do just that. I love this quote in the beginning of the book: "Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins," Eric Liddell, Olympian. That is such a great reminder for you and me today, my friends. Carol wrote, "Hope's power is that we have the energy and desire to go on living because we believe something better is coming. That's the bottom-line for the Christian: something more is coming. There is more to this world than meets the eye." I have had a few unthinkable circumstances in my own life, I am currently facing another, and this is the hope we can hold onto when it seems we are having to let everything that is most dear to us go. As Abraham was willing to lay his only son Isaac down on the altar in obedience to God, I am learning to let go of some things near and dear to me right now, as I am certain my Father is asking me to do just that. I am learning to let go and leave the rest with Him. I am realizing that at 49 years old, there are some things I simply cannot fix, and my job at this time is to do like the old hymns says, "Trust and obey." I am leaving the rest with Him as I am on my knees. What about you? Gregory Floyd said: " What does an anchor do? It keeps the ship on course when wind and waves rage against it. But the anchor of hope is sunk in heaven, not on earth." What are you holding onto today that the Father is calling you to lay down? A relationship, a person, a wayward child, a situation, a job or position? I am finding that holding onto what is not ours to fix only makes matters worse, brings unnecessary worry, pain, frustration and fear into our lives that God never intended, and a burden much too great for us to bear. I choose this day to lay it down and trust Him. I choose to stand firm in the unshakable faith only found in my Faithful Father.
On the Home Front:
July is a big month in our household. Ross turns 17 on July 12th, and Hannah turns 20 on July 19th! My goodness these kids are about grown up, folks. There will be much celebrating with two birthdays in one week. Hannah has been serving on staff at Seacoast Church Irmo on Sunday mornings as a worship leader, while also doing an internship under the worship leader's direction. She has nannied and pet-sat in addition to this position, and in July she will begin a new nanny job that will last for five weeks for two small children while continuing to lead worship. Ross continues to work at Regal Cinemas, and will be enjoying practicing up on his lacrosse skills as well. Personally, I am treasuring these summer days of having Hannah home from Clemson, along with her sweet puppy Blue, and her boyfriend Clayton who also lives in town. I am grateful to be singing in concert every Sunday through the end of August, while teaching piano/voice lessons one day a week only. I am looking forward to spending five days at the beach with my brother Robert, his sweet girlfriend and her son that calls me "Aunt Dawn" as they have invited me to join them on vacation since our family schedule doesn't allow for a vacation together this summer. Garden City Beach, SC, I can hardly wait to get my toes in your sand! Hannah is heading off on a week-long cruise with her boyfriend's family the last week of June, Ross will enjoy a week at Folly Beach with the entire Jordan clan, and Hannah and Clayton will be able to join them toward the end of the week there. Then Ross will be heading to The Gauntlet with NewSpring Church in Daytona Beach, FL with his youth group. I am hoping for a Labor Day weekend family get-away at the beach to close out the season. Hannah and I did enjoy a day trip to the Charleston, SC beach with my college roommate Julie and two of her children, while Ross was still in school. Sun, surf, and sand is on the horizon, and we love that part of summer.
Ministry at a Glance:
June had me in SC, NC and VA. July will have me in SC, NC, GA & TX. I have immensely enjoyed having the church choirs or praise teams join me in concert on a set from my "Timeless Hymns" project, as well as having the congregation join in corporate worship throughout the concert. Summer is a chance to, for the most part, take a break from speaking at women's events and conferences, and enjoy sharing mostly in music for church's summer concert series. Sometimes it's such a treat to go hear someone else do the speaking, and the month of June brought about the opportunity for me to hear my friend/fellow speaker/WIS-TV news anchor Dawndy Mercer Plank (while Hannah nannied for her that day) with my fellow speaker/singer friend Melodie Griffin. What a time of refreshment!
Lifeway's Journey magazine article update:
I am so excited to share with you that as I began to write the article for Lifeway's Journey magazine entitled "Keep Believing...Trusting in the Lord When You Don't Understand"...before I knew it, my mind and fingers had flown and I had 1,999 words in an article that was supposed to be between 1,000-1,200 words. As I emailed the content editor to let her know my dilemma, she asked me to send her what I had so far. After reading my rough draft, she wrote me back, saying that she felt my story would best be told by being shared in 2 articles/issues instead of 1. I am so grateful for this additional opportunity and want to ask you to pray for me as the deadline is June 28th. I will now be taking the one long article and finishing it up to divide it into two articles. The first article will be more of sharing my story, and the 2nd sharing the application of trusting God in and through the circumstances that I have shared. At this time there is no publication date, but we will keep you informed as that is determined.
We are getting this newsletter ready and out to you a little early in light of Jennifer's due date for baby # 4 beingJune 28th! Would you remember her and her family as they welcome this new little lady into the Dale family? She will be off the first full week after the baby comes, and then will be checking in periodically while adjusting to life with 4 children. However, I will be available and you are welcome to email me at email@example.com.
At this time my schedule for 2013 is filling up very quickly - however, I do still have a few fall and Christmas Season dates available if your church is interested in having me for a Ladies Night Out/Retreat or Conference/Tour of Tables or a Christmas Concert. Please send me an email if you know of a church that might be interested in having me! In closing, thank you for taking the time to let me catch up with you each month. Your emails, notes, and words of encouragement mean so very much. I pray you enjoy your summer, have some time to just relax and regroup, and find a good book to read while you sit on the beach or wherever your vacation days may take you that will encourage you in your faith walk.
Choosing faith today,
Spotlight of the Month
Through a partnership with HymnsMatter.com, Dawn's record company contributes a significant percentage of the proceeds from her "Timeless Hymns" CD to The Global Orphan Project and The International Justice Mission. Dawn is grateful to be a part of this organization, as well, believing that music really can matter in the world by creating awareness and financial assistance in helping organizations such as these which are seeking to house and clothe orphans and end human trafficking. Should you order a copy of this, Dawn's newest project, you can help us be a part of building an orphanage and battling human trafficking.
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)
Last night the girls were working on a little project for fun when my youngest said: "Mom, I want a picture of myself to glue in the front of my journal. Julie-Joy has one of herself, can I have one of myself too?" Her older sister (trying to be helpful), responded very seriously: "I have an idea Jenna. Let's go through my magazine and cut out pictures of Colorado wildlife you can use instead!" Her little sister stared at her as if she had lost her mind. We're still not sure what part of Colorado wildlife she would have chosen for her sister had we given her that option... sibling love!