As I sit here in my den, in front of a fire, with the wind howling outside and the wind chill 16 degrees, I am grateful for the blessing of a warm home on such a bitter cold night. Our school district is on a 2-hour delay tomorrow due to the cold temperatures in the forecast. A high of 30 tomorrow. I believe that is a first in either of my children's school histories, school being delayed due to the cold. I'm so grateful for the blessing of celebrating Christmas with my loved ones here in the home the Lord has blessed us with. Can you even imagine not having your home in this frigid weather? We are blessed, my friends. Out of what we have been given, let's each seek how we can be a blessing to others less fortunate than ourselves.
As I was driving from one Georgia town late one night last month to the next, going from one concert venue to the next, it was freezing and pouring down rain. There were no fast food restaurants in sight, it felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, and so I stopped at the only gas station I had seen for miles to see if they had anything to eat. A pizza in a box in a warmer oven was all there was. But I was hungry, and grateful. Later, after arriving at my hotel, I noticed there was writing on the bottom of the pizza box as I was about to throw it away. It read, "Our Guiding Principles: Place God first in all we do. Be a blessing to people. Trust God to meet our needs. Strive for excellence." Here is a picture I took of the box, to be sure I didn't forget what it said. A pizza company I had never heard of making a huge statement about their core values. Good ones. What a testimony they share with every person that purchases their pizzas wherever they are sold.
We each have been given a mission, to make a difference in the world in which the Father has entrusted us to live. For us personally, our family has sponsored a child through Compassion International for years. We have had 3 different boys whose lives are changed because of a very small amount of money we send each month. This Christmas as a family we fed 27 homeless people a hot Christmas dinner through contributing to The Oliver Gospel Mission, an organization here in Columbia where we live that ministers to the homeless. Jennifer's husband worked there before they moved to Colorado. While they were back here over the Christmas holidays, Reid reconnected with this ministry, and is still very involved with Rescue Mission work in Denver, CO where he takes their Bible School students on outreach every week. We are blessed, my friends, and out of those blessings, we are called to bless others. What we do is not much, but it is what we are able to do. And if each of us would do just that, what a difference we would make in our worlds. What would the Father have you do in 2014 to do just that? Let's start by placing God first in all we do. Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
On the Home Front:
I hope your family enjoyed your Christmas holidays as much as mine did. I took a full 2 1/2 weeks completely off from my work...from responding to emails, facebook messages, mail, voicemails, inquiries, requests, anything and everything outside the realm of my family. Because the ministry to which the Lord has called me requires that I spend the majority of weekends on the road away from my family, I needed the breather, but more importantly, I felt the Father leading me to do just that for the sole purpose of devoting undivided attention to my loved ones. I had watched an interview with one of my favorite authors this year, Ann Voscamp, and something she said struck a chord with me. She said that in the current season of life she is in as a farmer's wife and homeschooling mother, along with being a best-selling author, she does not accept speaking engagements and rarely gives interviews. Her reasoning came out of something her husband once told her...he said that every time she said yes to someone else, she was saying no to their family, because she had no more margin in her life to give anymore.
While there were some that continued to write and request (one person even writing asking me on facebook, "Why are you ignoring me?"), I knew that I was choosing to not respond only temporarily, and I would get back to them when my uninterrupted time with my family and friends had come and gone. I chose out of obedience to my Father's leading to let go of some things I had done for years and years in my public ministry. While some didn't understand, I knew it was the right thing for the ones I hold most dear. I didn't go into the holiday season exhausted, depleted, for the first time in a very long time. And I loved every minute of this Christmas holiday season...Robert and his family came and spent a few days with us. I enjoyed going to movies, family celebrations, laughter, baking, Christmas lights, shopping, time with friends, going to church with my family. There were no alarm clocks and no schedules to adhere to. It was the best holiday that I have had personally in years, and as I started back to work today for the first full day back, I am grateful for the time of rest, recreation, and refreshment.
Hannah, Clayton, and Blue are back at Clemson, Ross is finishing his final semester as a high school senior and his final lacrosse season, and I am back full speed ahead. And as I just put the final Christmas decorations away today, I am so grateful that the greatest gift, our Savior Jesus, gives me reason to press on into this year seeking His purposes in my life and ministry.
A Christmas gift "from me to me," Ann Voscamp's new book, The Greatest Gift, Unwrapping The Full Love Story of Christmas , is what I am currently reading. One of my favorite quotes so far is, "Wise men are only wise because they make their priority the seeking of Christ. The wise keep seeking the presence of Christ in a thousand places, because you only come to yourself when you come to Him." As 2014 is in the process of unfolding, this is what I am prayerfully pursuing...to seek first the Christ of Christmas all year long.
2013 at a Glance
What a year this has been! I shared at 68 churches/venues in 85 separate singing events/days this year that took place in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, and New York! When I think of all the people I was so privileged to meet, and the many opportunities the Lord gave me to share the testimony of His work in my life, I am overwhelmed and so very grateful.
The month of December was no exception! I was so honored to share at the Sandy Creek Baptist Association Pastors and Spouses Christmas Dinner in Sanford, NC, a beautiful ladies' Festival of Tables at Ten Mile Creek Baptist Church in Baxley, GA (I had the joy of singing with this precious trio called "In Him"), and in concert at O'Quinn Baptist Church in Screven, GA (here I am with my sweet friend Nicole Copley), 1st Church of the Nazarene in Hartsville, SC, Satilla Baptist Church in Wray, GA, and Calvary Baptist Church in Jesup, GA.
During our Christmas holiday break, Jennifer came through Columbia and we got to have lunch together at Panera, where I met her sweet little six month old Lillian for the first time. She has to be one of the happiest babies I have ever seen! She laughed and smiled our entire lunch. What a joy! The rest of the family came down with a bad cold so I missed seeing Reid and the other three kids, but it was so fun to catch up after having not seeing Jennifer in person the last two years. We communicate almost daily via email, instant message, text and phone conversations, but getting to talk face-to-face was a treat.
This Month in Jordan Ministries
I'm looking forward to starting up my 2014 concert ministry again this month - my schedule is listed below as well as online at www.dawnsmithjordan.com. This month will take me to several churches and events in South and North Carolina as well as my first visit to Alaska! I'm so excited to get to see and experience some real winter weather!
I am also honored to be published in this month's January issue of Lifeway's Journey Magazine. I was asked to write an article entitled "Keep Believing...Trusting in the Lord When You Don't Understand" focusing on my own life's testimony. It will appear this month and in the February issue. I am grateful to have heard from many ladies that have already read it and how the Lord has used it to encourage them. This month's article is entitled "In the Valley of the Shadow of Death," and my prayer is that the Father will use it in the lives of the women that read it as a reminder to them in their own valleys that He is with us, always, and we can keep believing Him for each step He calls us to take.
I am looking forward to sharing the journey of this new year with you, and thank you for your faithful friendship, support and prayers for Jennifer and for me as we seek the Lord first and foremost in this ministry, in our daily lives and families.
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 would love to hear from you if your church is booking a spring women's conference or retreat or a church wide concert. Dawn's Timeless Hymns Concert that she shares in combination with church choirs has been extremely well received and she would love to have your choir join her in sharing her favorite hymns!
Tax-Deductible Gifts If the Lord would lay Jordan Ministries on your heart to support financially, know that all gifts to Jordan Ministries are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated as we continue to share the good news of the Gospel. Jordan Ministries is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The NEW Mailing Address is:
Dawn Smith Jordan Ministries, PO Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest!
Fort Mill, SC
First Baptist Church
Dawn attending the SC Women's Leadership Retreat
at White Oak Conference Center
West Columbia, SC
Crossroads Baptist Church
Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Cornerstone Fellowship 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)
Our family was so blessed to be able to spend Christmas in TN, NC and SC this year and thanks to some generous family members we enjoyed a week at the beach in Charleston along with my parents, my sisters and my brother and their families. All in all there were 11 children and 9 adults at the house - 8 of the kids were 6 years old and under and 7 of them were boys!! (Here is a picture of five of them playing in the sand) It was a crazy but fun time! :) One of my nephews is notorious for his one-liners. He is a hilarious little four year old that has us in stiches quite often. Recently one of his favorite comments to make has been "Whatever!" My sister informed him that he would be in trouble if he said "Whatever!" one more time. He turned around, and walking away, my sister heard him muttering under his breath .... "Whatever!" Needless to say he got into trouble - but it sure made us adults chuckle when the story was retold.