Thursday I took a "mental health day." That is what they used to call our days off when I worked summers during college at Carowinds Theme Park as a singer/dancer. Hannah and Ross used to call them "stay-home-days" when we homeschooled for 7 years. Today I call it a "pajama day." It's when you choose to not get dressed, and not leave your house. At all. On purpose. For the whole day. And sometimes that is the absolute best thing we can do for ourselves. Many of my facebook friends agreed as I posted this was my status.
The demands of life are great, and they are unrelenting, constant. Sometimes I feel bombarded from every direction and completely overwhelmed trying to meet the needs/requests of everyone asking for a piece of my time. I simply cannot do it. And as I took the day, working as hard as I ever do, I found myself sitting at my computer that night feeling truly refreshed, revived as I began to write this article. No one did that for me other than the One that impressed me to choose this, and He met me right where I was, reminding that even He had to get away from the crowds and be alone to think, pray, breathe.
About 4:30, it was a nice cool 77 degrees, a delightful breeze was blowing, and I decided to take a break and head out on my back porch, my 2nd favorite place to be other than the beach. With the book I am currently reading When God Weeps, Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty by Joni Erickson Tada and Steven Estes, Cookie and Skunk joined me. Both were soon fast asleep in the warm sunshine as I made myself comfortable in the antique chaise lounge Robert gave me years ago as a gift. My faithful dog to my right on the porch, Hannah's (now my) cat at my feet on the lounge chair, a hummingbird getting a drink nearby, and I just soaked in the presence of the Only One that could meet me right where I was and give me the drink I so desperately needed to keep going in this race He has called me to run.
Because of the public ministry that I have been blessed with for 27 years, on top of the very high profile story that my family has, to being a former Miss SC, sometimes I just have to get away from it all. Just this week alone, I found myself in a meeting where the lady sitting beside me recognized me, and she began sharing a heartbreaking story of tragedy in her own own life, asking me to pray for her through tears. From there I went by Tokyo Grill to pick myself up some take-out for a very late supper at the end of that extremely demanding day. The person in line in front of me recognized me, and for the next 20 minutes, shared a story of health crises and a broken marriage in the life of someone I knew from GA, asking I contact him and pray for them. The next day I received an email from a mom of one of my music students who is facing a difficult time in her own life, and requesting prayer and several things surrounding that. That morning there was the facebook message from a former pastor who is facing divorce, sharing the details of his situation, and asking for prayer. Wednesday night/Thursday morning at 2:00 a.m. my ministry line rang multiple times. The next morning Jennifer let me know that the same caller had tried her number multiple times, waking her, as well, leaving a message that she was struggling and had hoped to be able to meet or speak to me. That night I received a personal request via a facebook message from someone whose neighbor's child is competing in a local pageant and asked if I could mail her a note of encouragement. Later that night at 11:40 p.m. a woman private messaged me on facebook asking me to pray for her mother who was having surgery Friday morning. My dear friend's daughter was admitted into the hospital last Monday afternoon, and the group text messages requesting prayer have come all hours of the night and day as we pray for this precious one.
And of course all of these additional needs that spanned only the course of Tuesday through Thursday, a mere 48-hour period, came on top of the daily needs that come with being the mother of 2 children, one of whom was away at college and sick, one needing a gazillion things taken care of for high school graduation and college applications, and a brother and his fiance that are getting married in just 2 weeks, with whom I am helping plan their wedding. On top of course, a full-time ministry office and 75 dates annually, 2 full days of teaching 16 piano and voice students every week...I don't think I need to go on, you get the picture.
Matthew 14:13 says that "When Jesus had heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place." (He had just heard about his precious friend, John the Baptist's death.) Later in that chapter, verse 23 says, "After He had dismissed them (the crowds), He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray." Even Jesus, God Himself, had to get away from the crowds. The constant needs. Sunday morning as all of this was still simmering about in me, I read Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many."
As His followers, we have been called to "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2.
You could write a list as long as your arm of the constant demands in your own life. We MUST get away from them every now and then, so that we can come back to being who God has called us to be to the ones he has placed in our paths. But we can't do it running on empty. So take a pajama day. A stay-home day. A mental health day. And then come back ready to answer the call of those that need you to be Christ to them.
Ministry at a Glance:
September only held 4 ministry events on the calendar, but oh what richness each of them held. First I was so blessed to drive a few miles down the road to the town of Lexington, SC, my former hometown of growing up years, and shared a concert there at St. James Lutheran Church where some dear family friends came. It was so good to see my high school friend Lorraine Sandifer and her husband, and the Boozer family, Brenda being my sister Shari's best friend in high school (pictured above here.) Then I went to First Baptist Church Gibsonville, NC for a beautiful ladies' event where my friend Mary Brock's (pastor's wife from Gateway Baptist in Irmo, SC) sister lives and is the women's ministry director there. What a great evening we shared together catching up. (Here I am with Mary and Molly.) From there it was to Cornelia, GA to be with First Baptist, where my former Lexington friends John and Jennie Swindler and their daughter live, and John is on staff as one of the ministers. They showed such gracious hospitality to me as they hosted me in their home on Saturday night, and then again on Sunday for lunch at another home by a church family (pictured above to the left). This is an art that I believe has been lost in our busy culture, of being together in homes. Oh what a blessing and time of refreshment it was, not to mention the delicious food! Then last but not least I was in Irmo, SC at First Baptist Church for their September Surge with my friend Denise Tweito. Here we are below after the event at her church at Shandon Baptist Church for the Twila Paris, Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Wayne Watson concert. Yes, we know how to pack it in!
This month I am looking forward to being at Mullins First Baptist Church and Mullins Presbyterian Church in Mullins, SC, in West Columbia, SC at Congaree Baptist Church, and then the end of the month returning to one of my most favorite churches to be in, Miles Road Baptist Church in Summerville, SC for their annual Women's Conference where I will get to be with my precious friend Debbi Dunlap, Director of Women's Ministries, and serve alongside Ellen Stamps, former assistant to the late Corrie Ten Boom! What an amazing month it will be, and on top of that, the church choirs in Mullins are joining me in concert, and Miles Rd.'s choir will be singing both the morning and evening with me, featuring my "Timeless Hymns" concert.
On the Home Front:
September was a delight to this mama's heart personally, as I got to see Hannah lead worship at Newspring Anderson on September 1st, she came home for a weekend, and then I got to go through on the way to Georgia for a visit and back through Clemson to see her lead worship again and also see her boyfriend Clayton play a football game on his Clemson Intramural team. Ross and I went to his Senior Guidance Counselor appointment as we begin the exciting process of college applications. He has been chosen to represent Dutch Fork High School's Lacrosse team in the Homecoming court, so that will be a very special event. I loved getting together with my beautiful Aunt Sue McLeese and my wonderful cousins all in town for her birthday to close out the month. But the BIG NEWS for the month of October is Robert and Elizabeth's wedding, coming up on the 11th! Hannah is the maid of honor, and we are so happy for them, and welcome Elizabeth and her son James Michael into the family. What a blessing they both are to us all.
Even as I am sitting here wrapping up the writing of this newsletter, a facebook friend just sent me a message requesting prayer for her daughter, who has chosen a lifestyle that is breaking her mother's heart. We ALL have burdens, and may we all run to the Only One Who alone can meet the deepest needs of our hearts, according to HIS glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
In Him alone,
URGENT PRAYER REQUEST
Brad and Melissa Bird (dear friends and Jordan Ministries Chairman of the Board and Board of Directors member) are facing a crisis that I want to make you aware of should you feel led to pray for them. Their next to the youngest daughter, Lizzie, is currently in the hospital, having been admitted last Monday. Since the spring, she began experiencing health issues, and since then, has not been able to hold down solid food. It got progressively so much worse that for the last month she could only hold down water. They have seen specialists, and are now still trying to get a diagnosis for her. They are weary, Lizzie is deeply discouraged, and they need answers and help. She now has a pic line and a feeding tube while many tests continue to be run. Her sister Karis currently attends Timberline Lodge Bible School in Fraser, CO where Jennifer and Reid work/serve and she was able to come home this weekend. They have one older and one younger daughter. I love this family, having taught their girls piano/voice for years, having homeschooled in the early years together. I know they would greatly appreciate your prayers for them.
Dawn's Concert Calendar
Hi everyone - this is Jennifer updating you on Dawn's current concert calendar. Dawn is getting bookings well into 2014, 2015 and even into 2016! It's time to get your event on the calendar as well! We still have a few openings for Dawn's December calendar available if your church would be interested in booking a Christmas Concert, a ladies holiday event, or a family/staff banquet. You can learn more about Dawn's Christmas concert entitled "Your Presence for Christmas" on her website here and listen to some excerpts from her two Christmas albums here as well.
Dawn's Books and CD's
Christmas is just around the corner and Dawn has a large selection of books and CD's available on her website at www.dawnsmithjordan.com/store.php. These items would make great stocking stuffers or an encouraging gift to a friend who is struggling and needs to know that Jesus is with them in the hard times.
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest! Congratulations to the month of September's winner, Annette Sturkie Bartlett. Should your name be chosen at the end of October, you will receive a complimentary CD, book or DVD of your choice, so be sure and play!
10/6 & 7
First Baptist Church
Mullins Presbyterian Church
West Columbia, SC
Congaree Baptist Church
10/25 - 27
Miles Road 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)
The other day I heard strange sounds coming from the bathroom. When I asked Jenna what she was doing she said: "I'm breathing hard so I can see what it looks like when my nostrils flare!" Never a dull moment around our house!! :) (Here are some recent pictures of Lillian, our newest family member, and Reid and I at a recent a dodge ball tournament with the bible school students from Timberline Lodge where we work .... see if you can guess what the dress-up theme was! :)