I had the privilege of singing as a part of a revival in Dearing, GA last Wednesday night. I cannot recall the last time I was at a revival, much less having sung for one. It took me back to the earlier years of my ministry when revivals were a common occurrence on my calendar. In more recent years, the Lord has had me very involved with women's ministries, retreats, conferences and church concerts. It was almost odd to only be responsible for singing/sharing for 25 minutes of the service after always being responsible for the whole hour+. Nonethetless, getting ready, preparing for and getting to a ministry event requires the same amount of time and energy, and I was very much looking forward to hearing some good preaching. (Here is a picture that a young lady by the name of Chloe drew of me at the revival service - she got the red lipstick and everything just right! Isn't it just priceless?! :)
Wednesday is one of my piano/voice teaching days, and it was already a full day. I had moved a few of my late afternoon students so I could leave by 4:30 for Georgia.
Here is how that Wednesday went...I worked alongside Jennifer via email/google chat as we do every day in the office from 8:30-11:00 a.m., the personalized lullaby company emailed over a custom name that needed to be recorded "at my earliest convenience," Ross began texting me that he needed help registering for his college classes right before I began teaching piano/voice at 12:30. On my 1-hour break I was heading to the post office with several product orders, one of which was going to an obviously very disgruntled customer who had called Jennifer that morning to say he wanted to know where it was as it had been over a week since he had ordered (though our website clearly states to allow 2-4 weeks for orders). As I looked up from my desk as I was gathering my things to run the errand, I saw a car pull into my driveway. I opened up the door and was greeted by 2 of my precious students (sisters) whose mom had mistakenly brought them that day for their lessons, though they were not scheduled until the next week. So I prayerfully dropped the post office trip, thankful I had just wolfed down a sandwich, taught them for that hour, finished up at 3:30, ran to the post office, and while driving straight from there to the church in GA (a 1.5 hour drive), Hannah texted me that she needed proof of renter's insurance for her apartment lease. So I began trying to take care of that from my cell phone.
That night we had an amazing time of ministry/revival, and I pulled into Columbia at 11:30 pm, and fell into bed. I was jolted awake when my ministry office phone rang at 12:30 a.m. and again at 1:03 a.m., as it was someone who had come to the service that night, leaving me a voicemail telling me how much they enjoyed my singing and loved me. Though I appreciated the message, a better time could have been chosen to place the call. And the sermon title that night at the revival? "Finding Joy in the Junk!" How timely is our God?
I was privileged to hear such a powerful message given by Dr. Wayne Bray, pastor at Beulah Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia, whose father, Dr. Phil Bray, pastors Fort Creek Baptist Church in Dearing, GA where the revival was held.
So many reminders just for me that night...maybe you need them, too. "When my eyes are on the circumstances, I can't see the Savior. When my eyes are on the problem, I can't see the Provider. When I'm consumed by my junk, I can't find the joy. Am I focused on the Master or the misery? The junk or Jesus? We will talk about what is most important to us." Hmm...
The last statement really got me. What do my friends and family hear me talk about most? My circumstances or my Savior? I will admit I am guilty of all of the above at times, and lately, my eyes have been more focused on the junk that has been hanging on for a while now, and in my weariness of it all, I have come very close to the potential of losing my joy. But it is a war worth waging, and I will not give in. 2 Timothy 3:12 says, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Did you catch those few words that stuck out to me? IN FACT. EVERYONE. Yes, in fact, we will face persecution. But the good news is found in this: James 1:2-5 reminds us: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Verse 12 continues, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."
My faithful Father met me right where I needed to be found that night, sitting on the front row of that Baptist Church after sharing a few songs, brief testimony, and closing with the song I so often do, "Keep Believing." And just as author Ann Voscamp says, I am always "preaching the Gospel to myself." That night the preacher used one of her phrases more than once..."It is all grace." It truly is all grace. That God would allow these trials into our lives, the unforseen interruptions...the junk of life...for His good purposes in us...and when we come to accept this into our very core...we can truly find the joy in the very center of the junk of life.
As I emailed my students' mom yesterday to check and see if they also wanted to come this week, she wrote me back to tell me that it was "strange how things worked out." After they had come mistakenly last week, her father was admitted into the hospital that very afternoon and was still there, and because of that, they would not be able to come this week. I am so glad the Lord prompted me to drop my plans for His. Though a few piano lessons may seem small and insignificant, they are not when placed in the hands of an All-knowing Father.
Daily I ask God for the fruit of His Spirit in my life...as a woman of God, mother, minister, sister, friend, teacher...and I cry out to Him daily for wisdom, because on my own I know I cannot do this life well. I believe that day He gave me wisdom when I knew the moment I saw those two precious faces I have grown to love, along with their mama's apologies, that I was supposed to drop what I had planned and go with it.
Oh how grateful I am that I love and serve a God Who leads us and guides us every step of each day, and the things we may see as interruptions in the big pile of "junk" it sometimes may feel like, actually become a masterpiece in His hands. How can we help but find true joy in that?
On the Home Front:
July was a month of birthdays! Ross turned 18 on the 12th, and a week later, Hannah turned 21. Can my children really be adults? My friend Julie Caldwell and Ross share a birthday and she joined me in the 50-year-old club. I enjoyed spending the 4th with her family in Easley (@ 50+ of them) celebrating a variety of things... Independence Day, several of her nieces' and nephews' graduations, and best of all, a surprise birthday party for Julie. It was a great day. Blue also celebrated his 2nd birthday in July, and I treated him and Hannah to a celebration trip (via long-distance) in Clemson to Starbucks and he got his very own "puppacino." Hannah said he was so excited, he was crying the entire time he ate it!
My friend Barbara Maffet's birthday was also in July, and I was able to visit her while passing through Florence one Sunday.
My sister-in-law Elizabeth came and spent the night and a day with me as she was the master designer for my den's redecorating project. We went to Zumba, then got more sushi than we should have, stayed up much too late, drank a lot of coffee, and spent the next day running to stores, painting, and having a ball. I love the finished product!
Hannah came home the weekend of the 11th and we were a part of a precious family friend, Melody Phillips' wedding at First Baptist of Columbia. Melody traveled with us when the children were younger as their nanny, and will always hold a very special place in our hearts. Hannah, Clayton and I had so much fun attending the wedding and reception, and reconnecting with so many friends at FBC that we had not seen in years. Not to fail to mention, the wedding was simply beautiful, and a joy to be a part of. We were able to celebrate birthdays together, and for the time I was able to spend with both of my children, I am so grateful. Hannah, Clayton's family and I enjoyed a wonderful early birthday celebration dinner at Miyabi's, and Ross, a friend of his, and I enjoyed a lunch at Chili's followed by an afternoon of shopping.
My Uncle Louie Lawrimore passed from this life onto glory and my Aunt Sue McLeese and I made the trip to Hemingway together to attend the funeral. Though the loss of a loved one is always sad, we can greatly rejoice in heaven. It was good to see so many family members we had not seen, and I always enjoy any time spent with Aunt Sue.
This week while the annual Jordan Family Folly Beach vacation is taking place, I am babysitting my grand dog, Blue. He and Cookie are the best of friends, and though Blue is a very large 2-year-old "puppy," he is a bit more energetic than 10-year-old Cookie, and his time with our little Zoey has to be closely watched. They definitely want to be friends, and they are doing well together so far as long as I supervise their "visits."
I am looking forward to spending the 2nd half of this week at Folly Beach, also, with Robert, Elizabeth and James Michael, as they have invited me to join them on their final vacation for the summer. Oh how I am looking forward to putting my feet in the sand, sea and soaking in some sun. (Here is little James Michael with Zoey!).
August will be very busy as I will be traveling all over the state of SC for ministry events, and will be hosting a Summer Session Music Recital in my home on the 14th for the students that have studied piano/voice with me over June, July and August. Hannah completed both Accounting and Chemistry in summer school at Clemson, is enjoying a 3-week break from classes, and will begin classes at Clemson University on the 20th while Ross will begin classes at Midlands Technical College on the 25th. My regular music students will start back the week of the 19th, and we will bid farewell to the summer.
Ministry at a Glance:
I had an opening for July 27th and with a little over a week's notice, Covenant Baptist Church in Union, SC booked a concert. And I am so very thankful! What a blessing it was to be there as the pastor prayed with me before the service and the altar literally flooded with almost everyone in attendance on their faces before the Lord. Afterwards the entire congregation gathered around me and prayed for me and for my family, and my continued ministry. What an unexpected blessing!
In July I travelled to FBC Darlington, SC, Coward Baptist Church in Coward, SC, Paxville Baptist Church in Manning, SC, Kelleytown Baptist Church in Hartsville, SC, Fort Ceek Baptist Church in Dearing, GA, Calvary Baptist Church in Barnwell, SC, and Covenant Baptist Church in Union, SC, and am so thankful that the Lord continues to use my testimony and music to encourage His people and to reach out to those who do not know Him as their Lord and Savior.
August will be even busier than July with a mini-concert at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Florence, SC, and a ladies event at Bethel Worship Center in Camden SC on 8/3, a women's ministry event with Celebration Women's Ministry at St. Paul UMC in Ninety Six, SC on 8/9, a concert at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Aiken, SC, and a Mother-Daughter-Friend Banquet at St. David Lutheran Church in West Columba on 8/10, a Ladies Event at Liberty Pentecostal Church in Hemingway, SC on 8/15, a Ladies event at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Plum Branch SC on 8/16, two morning services at FBC Montmorenci near Aiken, SC and an evening service at Pelion Church of the Nazarene in Pelion, SC on 8/17, a Junior Ambassadors of Clarendon County event in Manning SC on 8/22, a Ladies event and two morning services at Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Lady's Island, SC on 8/23 and 8/24, and an evening concert at FBC Walterboro, SC on August 24th with three more events/concerts still being booked for the 23rd and 24th. More details (times etc.) on all of these concerts is available below in the schedule section as well as on my website and you can even find the contact information for churches on my Facebook website.
I am so thankful for all the opportunities the Lord has provided for me this summer to meet so many amazing people!
In closing, let's choose joy this day...it's all grace, and it's our choice in how we view it...junk or joy.
Product Highlight This month I am highlighting a set of four speaking CD's. The topics are 1. My Live Testimony, 2. Keep Believing - Trusting in the Lord When You Don't Understand, 3. How Far Must Forgiveness Go, and 4. Out of the Mire and Into the Choir. When I speak at women's conferences these are often the session topics that are chosen to go together and they summarize well the thoughts that the Lord has given me and the heart of what I want to share with His Church. http://www.dawnsmithjordan.com/store.php
Alaska Cruise in August 2015
Join Dawn on a cruise through Alaska, August 6-15 (or an extended trip through August 19th is also an option) in 2015. Come and enjoy the breathtaking Alaskan landscape and then join Dawn as she will be sharing several concerts in the evenings etc. For more information please contact Bill Ballou at A&B Travel - 903.534.7050
Dawn's Concert Calendar
It's time to get your event on Dawn's Concert Calendar! We would love to hear from you if your church is booking a women's conference or retreat, a church wide summer concert or even a Christmas Holiday event. 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!
Ebenezer Baptist Church
10:30am mini concert
Bethel Worship Center
6:00pm Women of Worth Quarterly Meeting
Celebration Women's Ministry at St. Paul UMC
Ninety Six, SC
9:30am Women's Event
Lighthouse Baptist Church
St. David Lutheran Church
West Columbia, SC
6:30pm Mother-Daughter-Friend Banquet
Liberty Pentecostal Church
7:00pm Ladies Event
Rehoboth Baptist Church
Plum Branch, SC
11:00am-2:00pm Ladies Luncheon
First Baptist Church Montmorenci
8:30am & 11:00am services
Pelion Church of the Nazarene
Junior Ambassadors of Clarendon County
12:00pm Scholarship Fund Luncheon
8/23 & 8/24
Meadowbrook Baptist Church
Lady's Island, SC
Saturday evening Ladies event (time tbd)
Sunday 8:30am & 11:00am services
First 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)
We often get letters asking us to purchase a membership to the Denver Zoo. But I find we truly have no need of it, for apart from our house being a zoo (the other day we were visiting friends and my husband Reid told the kids how glad he was that they behaved so well and that he didn't have to worry about them swinging from the rafters or scratching their armpits! :), we actually have a zoo just outside our front door. We have seen deer, elk, antelope, moose, foxes, coyotes, beavers, magpies, huge porcupines and smaller animals like picas and chipmunks. Here is a picture we took a few years ago when a moose was eating out of the flower bed in front of our living room window (though we've had moose visit us since then as well). I can't tell you how many times I have felt discouraged or had a challenging day only to look out the window and see one of the Lord's amazing creations. And I just marvel at His creativity and His kindness to let us have a glimpse of all He has made and be able to enjoy it!