Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Ecclesiastes 3:1 ~ There is a time for everything,
  and a season for every activity under the heavens...

The lazy days have come and gone and so has Labour Day. Summer is officially over and routines are being re-established. Alarm clocks are a daily occurrence and packed lunches are the norm. The familiar sound of the buses making their rounds disrupts the early morning quiet and carpool lines test the patience of those trapped within their confines. School is in full session.

For 21 years school had one common denominator for the Cash family and it was "home". For 21 years home was where at least one student pulled up a chair at the table, newly sharpened pencil in hand and began the learning process for that particular grade level. For 21 years life was familiar, chaotic, and "ours"...until it wasn't. 21 years and 5 students later, school as we knew it was no longer and we found ourselves embarking on a journey that took us into uncharted waters.

We have had kids in school before. Rachel spent her senior year in a Christian school, Benji's entire high school years were spent at the same Christian school and Jesse has spent the last 3 years (freshman thru junior) at the public school down the road. We prayed a lot about what school would look like for Jesse, Hannah and Caleb this year and things look vastly different. Jesse is spending his senior year at Loganville Christian Academy. Hannah is a freshman at Bethlehem Christian Academy and Caleb is in 7th grade at BCA. Caleb is the youngest one we've had enter school, but he has been diagnosed with some learning differences and we felt it would be good for him to get a head-start so high school might be a little easier for him.

Not everyone was totally thrilled about their new assignment (okay, Jesse was the only one looking forward to the change), but they are settling in and learning a new way of life. Having a set (early) time to get up and trading jammies for uniforms to start the day have been a bit of an adjustment. The technological side of things has provided a few bumps in the road and more than one meltdown. Totally exasperated one afternoon as he tried to figure out how to find his homework assignments on Schoology Caleb blurted out, "Whatever happened to pencils and paper? Pencils and paper! They worked great for hundreds of years! Why can't we just use pencils and paper?" I have to admit I definitely lean hard into his thinking on this, especially as I get used to having to track 3 students on Renweb and Schoology. All in all, though, everyone is hitting their groove and things are much smoother than the first couple of weeks predicted they might be. All 3 students are making their way so that just leaves...


The woman who, for 25 years, has always had at least one child home with her all day every day. The woman who was responsible for 21 years of information being introduced to 5 different students all in different grades and at different stages of life. The woman whose husband traveled all the time and who learned creative ways to keep toddlers busy while trying to teach others their times tables or how to dissect an owl pellet. The woman who fixed 3 meals a day and was continually cleaning the kitchen suddenly found that when she cleaned up after breakfast it stayed clean. 

The first day of school was a moment I had been somewhat dreading. I had kept a strong front and cheerful face in the weeks leading up to the first day and all the way thru the drop-off line, but I didn't make it out of the parking lot before the tears started flowing. They flowed so much that I had to pull over somewhere to get myself together and I picked the one place I knew I wouldn't have to deal with other people guessing at why I was such a mess. I even turned off my GPS because I could envision Tim, wondering why I was taking so long, checking the tracker app and trying to figure out why in the world I was at...

the pet cememtery!!

Yep! I knew there'd be no prying eyes or judgment passed at the pet cememtery so I ugly cried to my heart's content and mourned the end of a way of life for the Cash family. It wasn't that I felt like we hadn't made the best choice for each of them, but life as we knew it had come to an end and more than 2 decades of familiarity had been replaced. I finally managed to pull myself together enough to venture home to Tim and a handful of workers who were in the final stages of our kitchen renovation. I had to steal away often that day to resume crying and I felt like a wet dishrag that had been wrung out by the end of the day.

We're all finding a new normal and I am finding that I can clean the house and it stays that way for quite a while. There's less pressure now not being the sole person responsible for their entire education and my introverted self does relish the quiet. I sure do miss my kids, though. I imagine a part of me will always miss the time when life was a little simpler and school meant "us". I'm so thankful for all those days we had snuggled on the couch reading books that became treasured friends and I'm thankful for those days when we struggled to even want to be in the same room with each other because cabin fever had taken its toll on us. All those days, the good and the bad, were what allowed our hearts to be bound together and what made our family uniquely ours. 

Those 25 years are so precious to me and I will be forever grateful that the Lord granted us that time together!!

Ecclesiastes 3:4 ~ A time to cry and a time to laugh.

    A time to grieve and a time to dance.

I've had my time to cry and the grieving will eventually come to an end. Now I just need to learn my new dance!! Until then I shall remember this quote from my old friend, Dr. Seuss...

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


I’ve been seeing a lot of t-shirts and signs lately that have the word “blessed” included and it has had me thinking. It is obvious, based on their context, that this definition is the one being highlighted…

“bringing pleasure, contentment, or good fortune”.

It’s the kind of definition that gives you the warm fuzzies and makes you feel like all is right in your world. Unfortunately, while many of the distributors of these items would consider themselves Christian and consider their items geared toward a Christian audience, I find a much different picture painted in scripture of what “blessed” actually means. Scripturally I find this definition to be a little more accurate…

“made holy; consecrated”.

It’s definitely not the same thing and looking at Matthew 5 will help us understand the difference. I like the way the Phillip’s translation puts it. You just have to substitute ”blessed” for “happy”.

‘Then he began his teaching by saying to them, “How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “How happy are those who know what sorrow means for they will be given courage and comfort! “Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! “Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they will be fully satisfied! “Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them! “Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God! “Happy are those who make peace, for they will be sons of God! “Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “And what happiness will be yours when people blame you and ill-treat you and say all kinds of slanderous things against you for my sake! Be glad then, yes, be tremendously glad—for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. They persecuted the prophets before your time in exactly the same way.’

Most people don’t associate sorrow, mourning, persecution and slander with being blessed and therein lies the problem…we have sanitized the word blessed and dressed it up pretty and tried to pass it off as t-shirt worthy!

Being blessed often implies a struggle or a seemingly undesirable event that causes us to press into God and focus on Him to meet our needs during that time. Scripture says that Mary was blessed and highly favored when she was chosen to carry Jesus and that would be pretty amazing to be chosen, out of all the women alive at the time, to do that. Let’s not forget what all that blessing entailed, though, because ultimately Mary had to watch her “baby” be scorned, persecuted, tortured and brutally murdered. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t imagine I’d be  feeling very “blessed” during that time unless blessed means much more than what we have reduced it to these days. 

I have been to the Dominican Republic and I have seen people who have much less than what even the poorest Americans have, and yet they had such an evident joy and excitement in their eyes that it made me realize that being blessed must be about much more than pleasure, contentment or good fortune. Jesus said in Luke 11;28, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it”, and James 1:12 may give us one of the ultimate indications of what a blessed life truly looks like…

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

I don’t want to get confused and misconstrue what blessed should look like because I have a responsibility to accurately communicate God’s truth to my children and those we minister to on a daily basis. 

Many years ago we visited a church for a few weeks and on our 5th or 6th visit (Rachel and I were the only ones there that day) I finally had to walk out. I called Tim on the way home and told him that I couldn’t attend any more services at that church. I believe the pastor and many of those in attendance really love Jesus, I just don’t feel they accurately represented what walking with Him looks like on most days. Walking with Jesus looks much less like a pep rally or cruise ship for Jesus and much more like a path with peaks and valleys, rocks and other obstacles that can trip us up and some days just sheer grit and determination to stay focused on Him and obeying what He has shown us to do. 

Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to live the life I have and I will be the first to admit that we lead, by the world’s standards, a very comfortable life. I might even venture out and say on most days I feel blessed. It’s certainly not because life is without its struggles, but rather because I really do desire to hear from God, honor Him and obey what He shows me to do…and most days I think I get that right. My tassel is far from being turned, but I’m pressing in and headed in the right direction. I don’t think we should eliminate all the shirts and signs that use the word blessed, but when we see them let’s pause and ponder what that really looks like in our own lives.

Lord, let me not confuse pleasure or good fortune with true blessings in my life. Help me remember that blessings are often the intangibles in my life that are actually counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. May I ever keep before me the goal of spending eternity with You as the ultimate blessing that far surpasses anything this earth can offer!! Amen!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


God has been doing so much in our Body of believers over the last few months and it has been amazing to see!! Chains are being loosed and captives are being set free. Shame is being identified and lifted from the shoulders of those who have borne it for far too long. It's been a beautiful thing to see but, as is usually the case, it has not come without attack and the stirring of chaos and confusion from the enemy. We are seeing one of the greatest attacks in the area of marriages that I have ever seen.

I'm always hesitant to give the enemy too much credit in the midst of sin because, while I DO know he schemes and desires to lead our hearts astray, I never want to discount the fact that we have personal responsibility when we start going down a dark and sinful path. That being said, marriages are being torn apart and families are being left in fragmented pieces, wondering what just hit them.

Over the course of our 26+ years in ministry we have counseled more couples who have struggled in their marriages than we could ever begin to count. Many of them have struggled for years and stable misery is the best that they have come up with to get through the days that have eventually led to years of dissatisfaction. That's not what I'm talking about here, though.

Lately, we are seeing people who are in church every week, hearing Truth and appearing to desire to stand on Truth's side absolutely trip a switch and not just crack open a door of sin, but throw the door open and march on through. It is heart-breaking!!! I have cried more the last few months and, particularly the last few weeks, than I may have ever cried before in my life. I've cried for the collateral damage that these people I care about are leaving behind, but mostly I have cried for those who have broken covenant themselves. I've cried because of this one thing...

There are severe and lasting consequences for disobeying God and violating His Word!!!!!

Oh, how my heart breaks for them. Sin is pleasurable for a season, but eventually, once the newness has worn off and life again becomes routine (because the level of excitement a new relationship brings can not be sustained forever), these wayward souls will wake up one day and see the ruins that their choices have created.

Hebrews 4: 12-13 says, "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable."

We can rationalize our actions all we want, but God sees our hearts and they are laid bare before Him!!! There is NO escaping it!!! Here's the thing, though...

It is NEVER too late to repent, turn from our sin and reconcile ourselves with God and others!!!

Psalm 51: 7-11 ~ "Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
 Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.
 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me."

Oh, how I pray that those whom I love and care about have their eyes opened and their hearts arrested with the truth of their sin. How I long to see them fall on their faces and confess their sin and and violently repent!!! It may be too late to reconcile their marriages, but it is NEVER too late to be broken before the Lord and restored to a right relationship with Him!!

During war, the only way a victory has a chance of being experienced is for the troops to be united, all pulling in the same direction and working toward the same goal. There is no difference in this spiritual battle that is going on around us. For that reason, there is a group of us who have come together and developed a battle plan! Our brothers and sisters may have entered into enemy territory, but we are not going to allow them to stay there without a fight!! To that end, we have each chosen a particular time of day and set a daily, recurring alarm to go off on our phones and when it does we stop and intentionally and specifically pray for those we know are behind enemy lines. We may not see all of them experience brokenness and repentance, but it will certainly not be because we let them go and didn't intercede on their behalf!!

Ephesians 6: 11-12 says, "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."

We're suited up, armed and ready...and I challenge you to do the same!