Jordan Brassfield Dunham
My husband and I have had this saying since we got engaged almost 10 years ago. We hadn’t known each other long, but we both just knew this is where we wanted to be, with each other. One evening, we sat talking about this and that…The conversation turned more serious as we talked about the future. He had been offered a job requiring him to move about an hour away, so change was coming, I just didn’t know how much. I encouraged him to take the opportunity and reassured him I wasn’t going anywhere; it would work out. He said he wanted me to go with him. As we continued to talk about what that might look like, the conversation ended with a final question, “So are you all in?” My response was, “Always.”
This “All in” idea has continued throughout our marriage in various seasons. During the Spring of 2020, a particularly hard season in our lives, I had to be away from home for several months in order to overcome a life of addiction. It was hard to be away, especially after relapsing and the beginning of the COVID pandemic. My relapse was a new low and another notch on the failure side of life for me. All the while, Scott had purchased a cross necklace with “All in” engraved on it for me, and he had, for himself, a cross chain with “Always” on it. Scott was patient with me, and when he gave me the necklace, he reassured me that he hadn’t changed his mind, he was still ALL IN, ALWAYS.
In that season, God was drawing us close to Him. He was calling us to know Him. He was preparing our hearts for what was to come. While I was away, Scott began to seek God for himself. Up to this point, church had not been a priority for us, and his experience and understanding of God was more transactional than relational. In this time, the Holy Spirit began working on us separately. He was drawing Scott closer, stirring in him a hunger for more. The Lord was working in my heart as well. As He began to heal my heart, my hunger for more of Him grew stronger. When I graduated from my program and returned home, we started dreaming again, sharing with each other what God had been doing in our hearts over the last several months. In our excitement and hunger for more of God, we had an opportunity to go through the DLI (Destiny Leadership Institute), and we jumped on it. Again, we were living with our hearts ALL IN to whatever doors God was opening. As my dad says often, “keep your switch flipped to ‘YES.’”
Whether we understood the purpose or felt unqualified, we both wanted what God had purposed for us, so we seized the opportunity to complete the DLI program. We completed DLI in December 2022 and graduated at this summer’s Destiny Gathering conference. DLI affected so many areas of our lives. It taught us to reevaluate our priorities and open up our eyes, hearts, and lives to seek what God had in store for us. Scott began to realize that, as the head of our household, it was time for him to become the spiritual leader of our family. Our children were impacted, our marriage was impacted. WE were changing. In our obedience and willingness to go ALL IN, God began to move and expand our capacity. DLI urged us to stretch out of our comfort zone and trust that God would see us through any situation.
When we first started DLI, we had to arrange to serve our local church or ministry as part of the program. We talked to Pastor Jarred at The River to see if there was an area in the church where we could be of service. We began as door greeters. This was a perfect opportunity to get our “servant feet” wet. We are pretty goofy, so we had a lot of fun welcoming people as they came into church. This was something that was really out of our comfort zone, but we were committed – we went ALL IN.
After a little time, we were offered an opportunity to participate in one of Samaritan’s Purse’s ministries, Operation Christmas Child. Scott’s heart was moved with compassion for OCC. We started praying that the Lord would lead us into His desire and purpose for our lives. We didn’t want to commit to more than we could effectively manage. We were willing to go ALL IN, but we wanted our steps to be ordered by the Lord, so we waited.
It didn’t take long, and we felt the tugging in our heart to become a part of The OCC ministry. To know that we could help brighten a child’s life from across the globe and to share with them the hope and gospel of Jesus Christ was a privilege. This is our third year to lead as acentral drop off location team leaders for five area churches. We couldn’t have done any of it without the volunteers giving their time and effort to serve. Last year, with the help of the wonderful people from the Heart of Arkansas team, we were able to collect over 23,000 shoe boxes for children who have never heard of Jesus. Each one of those boxes is a seed that will affect families and generations to come. The harvest is coming, and we are believing God for more.
When I think back to where it all started, I shake my head. Jesus restores all that the enemy has tried to destroy. He set our feet on firm ground as we sought to know Him more. We are thankful that DLI was available to us. We gained so much understanding about the heart of God as we studied the Word of God. You combine those classes with the lectures on servant leadership, and wrap it all up with opportunities to live out what we learned… well, it doesn’t get much better than that. If you had asked us five years ago if we would be where we are today, I wouldn’t have believed it. We are grateful for all of the opportunities that God has given to us to serve those that He loves! We desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus, bringing glory to His name. Our switch is flipped to “yes,” and we are ALL IN, ALWAYS.