How was your re-entry into real life after the holidays? My first full day back at work, the temperature was 12 degrees and school was on a 2-hour delay due to the unusually cold temps. The night before I had let Cookie out to go potty before bed and saw the trash had either been knocked or blown over, but the wind was blowing so wildly and it was so bitter cold that I knew I would have to get to it the next morning. That day I had tried to write the article for January’s newsletter all day with constant interruptions…. our website manager had changed servers over December and our email and website were not working; we had a change of mailing address and our letterhead and business cards were no longer accurate; computer problems…you name it! Welcome back to reality! As I finally sat down in front of a fire and my laptop to get the newsletter done that night, one of my dearest friends, Yvette, called as we had not talked over the entire Christmas holiday. Then both Robert and Elizabeth called. I finally resigned myself to the fact that it would get written, just not on my time table. I stayed at my laptop until 10:00pm writing, and just had to decide I would finish up in the morning.
The morning greeted me with the ENTIRE contents of our trash dumpster being ALL OVER my front AND back yard, and clean-up took a full hour. Obviously some critter had gotten into the trash can and ripped open all the trash bags, because we had Beaufort Stew on New Year’s Eve and the corn cobs were half eaten with shrimp tails everywhere. That animal had a feast! I had to laugh as I was in the front yard with my Grinch PJ pants on with a coat! I thought that was appropriate attire for what I was facing. Done with that, I came in to warm my frozen fingers by the fire only to find that my sweet Cookie had had a VERY upset tummy overnight, several times, ALL OVER my dining room….and not just on the hardwood floor but mainly on my Persian rug, in multiple places. Needless to say, that took another hour of my time. By then I had not had a drop of coffee, no breakfast, no quiet time, but a shower was first and foremost of importance. All the while Jennifer was at her desk waiting on my article so she could get it all together to email it to you already a few days late due to New Year’s Day being a holiday. She took what I had been able to write and got it done as she is always so great at doing thankfully. That was also my first day back to teaching music lessons that afternoon, so I was on a time crunch. WHAT A DAY it was.
But while I was out there freezing, cleaning up the biggest mess I have ever seen in my yard, I was asking the Lord to show me what I needed to see in the situation as my thoughts weren’t exactly of the spiritual mindset. I began thanking Him for cleaning up the messes we make in our lives, no matter how terrible they are. 1. John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleans us from all unrighteousness.” – when we come to Him just as we are. ALL unrighteousness. As I am called upon quite a lot to share a story and message of forgiveness, it is often the forgiveness that I have extended. However, on this particular day, the Lord was showing me HIS forgiveness for ME. I have certainly made my share of messes, and when we come to Him, He is ready to meet us right where we are, and COMPLETELY clean us up from the inside out. For days there were pieces of paper stuck in the bushes in both the front and back yards that I had to dig out and continue cleaning up. Not so with our Father. I am so grateful that “Jesus paid it all….sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” The song I wrote years ago is along those same lines, entitled “Love that Changes Me.” “I always thought I had to change, in order for You to want to love me. But now that my thoughts are rearranged, Lord, for the first time I can see, Lord, it’s Your love that changes me!” HE makes ALL THINGS NEW, and that includes you and me. The unwelcomed morning spent picking up trash was a vivid reminder to the sinner who was in need of a Savior, that He did just that in my life, and it is a daily process of molding me into the image of His Son.
On the Home Front:
As I write this newsletter, I am sitting in Seattle, WA on a four hour layover in the midst of a 20-hour trip from Columbia, to Atlanta, to Seattle, to Fairbanks, trying to write this letter on my iPhone. I am truly excited to be heading to the wonderful state of Alaska for the first time. Of course I wish more than anything that Hannah and Ross were able to join me, but with speaking Friday, Saturday, and a concert Sunday, not to mention an overnight flight home, this was not a trip to bring them along. They are busy with school right now, doing their jobs, and doing them well I might add! Hannah made the Dean’s List for Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, and Ross made four A’s and two B’s on his report card this semester. This is Ross' senior year and his final season of lacrosse starts at Dutch Fork High School this week. I am so proud of both of them. Back at home we’ve enjoyed one of the coldest January winters in years with two snow days and two inches of snow. Even Clemson, where Hannah is going to school, got some snow! I absolutely love a true winter!
On the Ministry Front:
Jennifer and I hit the road running in January with multiple concert and event inquiries for 2014 and a busy traveling schedule for me already. I shared at a MOPS event at FBC in Fort Mill, SC and reconnected with my precious friends, Lindsay George Alexander and her sweet mom Cindy George. Next, I traveled to Crossroads Baptist Church in West Columbia, SC, a women’s conference for Cornerstone Fellowship in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, Antioch Baptist Church in Lumberton, NC, and Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hartsville, SC. The Emmanuel Baptist Church choir joined me in concert under the direction of their wonderful worship leader, Joey Colson. I have such great memories from each of these places, meeting wonderful sisters and brothers in Christ. This month I’m so excited to be back on the road again as I am sharing out-of-state in Alaska and in Alabama. I’ll be posting pictures etc. on Facebook so be sure to check in there from time to time so I can share with you where I have been and where I am going.
Alaska, the Trip of a Lifetime:
You know how God just wows you sometimes? He did just that in Alaska. I just kept asking Him to do "above and beyond all that we could ever ask or imagine" as I prepared for the trip. He did just that! Even the jet lag from my first ever overnight flight (I left Sunday at 5:00 pm to land in Columbia, SC at 2:00 pm!) cannot compete with the gratitude I feel for all He did in Fairbanks. A church packed full of women in worship and the Word Friday night, ending on Saturday with an altar full of women seeking freedom in Christ, forgiveness taking place, hearts and lives being mended (they had hoped for 40-50 women, they were thrilled to have 72 sign up, and by the time all was said and done we had 90 ladies attend the event!). Sunday morning after sharing a brief mini-concert and testimony, the invitation time lasted over 35 minutes, as I prayed with one person after another, people flooding the altar, God clearly working in their lives. And to even think He allowed me to be a small part of it. I am overwhelmed with gratitude even as I write this to you tonight.
Never having been to Alaska, I had no idea what I was in for. In the midst of some the coldest temps I have ever experienced, I experienced some of the warmest people I have ever met. From the moment I stepped off the plane after traveling for 20 hours, I was in love with the place and people of Alaska. What a privilege it was to speak Friday night and Saturday for the Tanana Valley Baptist Association's Women's Winter Wake-Up. Some women had come from over 100 miles away to be there. Friday my message was "Keep Believing...Trusting in the Lord When You Don't Understand," and then on Saturday, "How Far Must Forgiveness Go?" Sunday morning I was blessed to worship with the church family of University Baptist Church in Fairbanks, joined by their wonderful choir and worship leader.
My precious host was Judy Zach, who I originally met last year in Nashville when I spoke/sang for a Lifeway Trustees' Wives event. When she initially emailed to inquire about my willingness and interest to come to Alaska, my immediate response was "YES!" She and her husband, Howard, were my "tour guides" on Saturday afternoon, and I enjoyed some incredible sight-seeing...the Alaska Pipeline, a moose in the wild, they took me to The North Pole, I saw reindeer, did some shopping at the Santa shop there, and we saw incredible beauty all around us, snow-covered mountains, roads, white trees covered in ice (my favorite!). Breathtaking beauty unlike anything I have ever seen before and will never forget. I have included several pictures here for you to enjoy, as well, and would love to invite you to both of my facebook pages to view the full album of 100 pictures of my entire trip there.
In closing, I know that many have been suffering with illness over the last few weeks/month. Several of my piano/voice students have had various sicknesses, Jennifer and her family have been sick on and off since Christmas, and Ross just had strep and then a bad virus, and has missed four days of school already. I pray this newsletter finds you and your family well, warm, and finding God's grace sufficient for these days. Please pray for my dear friends' daughter, Lizzie Bird, who continues to suffer from the very rare Rumination Syndrome as they are so weary, but continuing to trust God for each day.
In His Love and Grace,
Canopy is Dawn's break through radio project. It contains the hit single The Promise of Love (duet with Jerome Olds), Canopy, No Earthly Reason, I Believe in You, A Love That Leads to You (a song Dawn wrote for her daughter) and Sister (written in memory of her sister, Shari), which she performed at the conclusion of the CBS feature film based on her life story, Nightmare in Columbia County. This album also contains the song that Dawn mentions in her devotional in her newsletter - Love That Changes Me. For more information, to listen to song excerpts and to purchase your own copy visit our website here.
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 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!
Be sure to check out my 2nd article in Lifeway's Journey Magazine this month's issue, a follow-up to last month's, "Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus...Whatever Lies Ahead, He is Already There." How grateful I am for the opportunity to share my own journey as a part of this wonderful magazine that encourages so many women in their walk with Christ.
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!
Tanana Valley Baptist Association Women's Conference
University Baptist Church (A.M. Concert)
First Baptist Church (Ladies Luncheon)
First Baptist Church (A.M. Concert)
Mt. Hebron Baptist Church (4:00pm Ladies Event)
Mt. Hebron Baptist Church (P.M. Concert)
West Columbia, SC
Calvary Community Church (P.M. Concert)
Details for PM Concert still being confirmed
3/16 opening for a morning concert
Miller's Creek, NC
Miller's Creek Baptist Church (P.M. Concert)