Dawn Smith Jordan speaks at Carolinas Healthy Woman event
By William m. Mingus III Editor of The News Journal Florence, S.C.
Thursday night the SiMT building hosted a very inspiring evening at the Carolinas Healthy Woman event with renowned speaker Dawn Smith Jordan.
Close to 400 people were in attendance. Carolinas Hospital Systems CEO Vance Reyonds, Chief Nursing Officer Costa Cockfield, and Chief Operating Officer Kyle Baxter were among those in attendance. Dr. Mo Bourji, Cardiologist, made a presentation regarding women’s heart health.
On May 31, 1985, Dawn's younger sister, Shari, was kidnapped and murdered just two days before her high school graduation. It became the largest manhunt in South Carolina's history, drawing national attention.
Shari's murderer allowed her to write a letter of farewell to her family, saying: “Please don’t let this ruin your lives. Just keep living one day at a time for Jesus. Remember, everything works out for the good to those that love the Lord. Some good will come of this.” Never could Dawn or her family have realized how even God could do just that.
“Shari’s murder was the first major test of my faith,” Jordan says. “We were so close. We sang together. She encouraged me. I prayed so hard that God would spare her life...not take her from me. And when he didn’t, well, I remember going outside when I learned that she was dead and I was just screaming on the inside. I told God, “I’m not going to believe in you anymore! I’m not going to pray to you anymore!”
Jordan’s anger toward God did not last long. Her mother, father and brother were so grounded as Christians that they hugged, prayed and even sang Amazing Grace together in their living room during those devastating days. Jordan claimed Proverbs 3:5-6 as her lifeline: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight.”
But Jordan still struggled to understand Shari’s death. “I had to make a choice to trust Him, to go on, to hold onto Him. It was Shari’s letter that tremendously enabled my faith – and it still does. She had a choice, to have fear or to have faith. She chose faith in a moment when the fear was unthinkable.”
With the hope only found in Jesus Christ, Dawn went on to become Miss South Carolina 1986 and 2nd runner-up to Miss America. The Billy Graham Crusade came to South Carolina that same year, and millions were touched by Dawn's testimony, and her singing of “Amazing Grace.” God was weaving all of these circumstances together to form a full-time ministry that would reach thousands throughout the U.S. and Canada.
In 1986 Dawn received a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Columbia College in Columbia. Today, Dawn ministers in up to 75 concerts/events annually. The heartbeat of her music and message is the sufficiency of God’s grace, even to the point of forgiving the man who killed her sister.
When asked if music has always been present in her family Jordan said, “Oh yes, one of my grandmothers could play the piano by ear, my dad plays the trumpet and a variety of other instruments, my mother sings. It is funny how God works, I have a Great Pyrenees who can make pitch”.
Dawn wrote the song “Sister” in 1988 in honor of her sister and best friend Shari. Though Shari was taken from this world at only 17, there is hope in knowing that one day they will be reunited in heaven for all eternity.
Carolinas Hospital System Health Woman program is designed to empower women with the knowledge and confidence to make informed health care and well-being decisions for themselves and their loved ones. Health Woman membership is free and includes more than 2,000 members in the Pee Dee region.
For more information, please visit www.CarolinasHealthyWoman.com/HeartHealth.