Monday, September 22, 2014

I Stand Amazed


Big and small; loud and quiet; subtle and obvious.

Amazing all.

A list:


       
1.  A very nice restaurant with a Gluten Free menu in Kampala. It is called the Bistro, it is in Kisementi, the owner is named J.J. and I might just move into the place and eat their fabulous Gluten Free
       bhajias everyday for the rest of my life.




2.  I played two games of pool with my Cash men and I won BOTH games. The last game was sealed with a bank shot to sink the 8 ball. Boom!



3. For years now, any sojourn to Kenya must include a stop at our beloved Java House. This wonderful coffee shop/cafe boasts such grandeur as real (with ice cream!) milkshakes, delicious food, awesome coffee and the memories of many moments of sweet fellowship with friends. Well.... Java House (the original one!) has come to Uganda (to Kampala). Their GF menu is a bit lacking, but sitting on their premises with my unsweetened coffee reminds me of many amazing moments with friends in Kenya. I heart Java House! 



3.  Two orthodontists who provide loving and attentive care to my family. We have mostly saved our dental work for furlough in our tenure overseas, but this term need has pushed us to try orthodontics in this country. Our experience has been so positive and we are amazed and grateful for this!  (PS Alex is SO much taller than me now! Also amazing :))


4.  My husband. So many reasons why I am amazed by him, but his perseverance and endurance leave me blissfully astounded on a daily basis.



5.  The Cashlings. Washing their clothes by hand, taking basin baths, dealing with all the broken things…life in Uganda affords them many opportunities to endure and adjust. They face these challenges (and more) all the while becoming four of the most fascinating and hilarious people in my world. The days with them in our home are racing (RACING!) by and I treasure every one. I am so deeply thankful for the beauty and strength of their lives.




6.  The love and support born from the plane accident. Gobsmacked. Shocked. Overwhelmed. The show of community inclusion has washed over us like a cleansing flood. For the most part, we have no words. Just a resounding deep soul utterance of “…thank you, so much, Faithful God.”




7.  Clarity. We have faced abrupt (and sometimes, not so abrupt) setbacks many times in this missionary life. It is the nature of battle (spiritual and otherwise) to be pushed back or have our legs knocked out from underneath us. We have had much practice at finding our feet and standing again following difficulty or struggle. Over the last few weeks, I have been completely blown away at the pristine clarity that speaks:  

 We belong here.
      
Our God has done this. And it is our deepest hearts desire to steward this story well. To honor His Mighty Hand and the grace of His provision not just in a
       moment of an obvious miracle and saving, but also in any dark, obscure and   
       painful moment too. He is Good. All the time. He is Good.



“Those who walk the fields to sow, casting their seed in tears,
    
will one day tread those same long rows, amazed by what’s appeared.”
Psalm 126:5 The Voice


Saturday, September 20, 2014

I'm Not Exactly Sure How to Put This...



I’ve missed you. Of late my world has been encompassed by three things: family, writing and life without bread.

Sigh.

We have discovered a (not so) magical cocktail of restrictions that has improved my health tremendously. I am currently gluten/soy/sugar/dairy free.

Yes, that is a very sad list and I struggle against using the word ‘free’ in it at all.

In fact, I’m struggling for many words these days in relation to my health.

The restricted diet requires much explanation and dialogue in the middle of moments that are meant to be liberating and restful. Date night with my husband. Coffee dates with my Cashlings. Spontaneous meals to free me from cooking.

All of that (and so very much more) has changed. Perhaps for a very long time.

I am still searching for a comfortable script to navigate all the changes and more accurately express my needs. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

At first, I was mostly ecstatic to have finally discovered a method to feel better again. That euphoria carried me through the early weeks of diet change.

And then.

It was the ice cream. And the sugar in my coffee. And the physical illness I experienced when I simply made my family a pie.

My favorite brand of curry powder.

My much beloved cast iron skillet and my very favorite plastic spatula.

My entire collection of Tupperware and Rubbermaid.

The wooden rolling pin I bought in my first days in Fort Portal.

Pizza.

The giving up of these and more has left me grieving and resolute. A whole new process to adjust to and master.

I am learning so very much. Gluten, which has become (always was?) disastrous for me, is in everything or so it seems.

And it isn’t terribly popular to speak of, even in America where this struggle/sickness is more well-known.

There is much (good-natured) teasing concerning the elimination of a component of food no one knew about not so long ago. Like a life without gluten is somewhat suspiciously crazy.

And complicated. And sometimes sad.

Good times.

Regardless, one cannot argue with results and this diet has yielded much positive in my daily life.

I have one again.

Caring for my family, homeschooling, writing, teaching, church, walking, getting out of bed, clear vision, a head full of hair…

Well, those are all very good things. And I had lost them for far too many days.

So, we press on. Proving, yet again, that you are never too old to learn something new.

Over the last months, I’ve leaned hard on my beautiful family. And they have been so faithful. I treasure them and their willing hearts. So many of the kitchen tasks that have been mine are now parceled out daily. Precious Kinley. Her cooking repertoire has multiplied exponentially! The boys and Jeff are helpful too, grieving with me the loss of food and filling in every gap my restricted lifestyle creates.

So deeply grateful.

My Stateside family has been so concerned and supportive as well. For instance, my Mom has been on a package mailing mission sending me supplies and GF treats and new makeup and better fitting clothes. She has been a champion.

My amazing Cherise has chased down resources for me and my incredible Trisha gathered and sent cookbooks and precious supplies for GF baking and meal prep. I am so grateful for these sisters!

From this season of struggle has been born some hope.

Right in the middle of the illness, God poured out some words. Over 50,000 words as of today. I still have a ways to go with it, but it is the story of my heart. A memoir of the road to ministry and Africa and my family.

I humbly whisper that endeavor into this venue, with growing confidence from all the remembering it has required of me. I have been reminded of how faithfully God carries His work to completion. Every single time.

Pray for me, friends, that God will provide that same fortitude for my current writing project and health management.  To completion.

Thank you for every prayer. I am so grateful to be remembered by you. Our hope is in the Lord.

Steady on.




Friday, August 29, 2014

A Prayer of Blessing


“When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
Judges 6: 7-10


Dear Father,

When we cry out to you on behalf of the oppressed and physically afflicted; on behalf of the burdened and abused we can hear your Word repeated throughout Scripture that reminds us:

You are the God of Israel who—

Brought up

Rescued

Delivered

Drove out

And gave.

You are the LORD and you are Ours.

Fill us with courage to reject the gods of those in whose land we live—
Grant us wisdom to remember every thing you have done.

Give us ears to hear 
Hearts to accept
and mouths to proclaim
You.

The One True and Living God.

A Lord who acts on behalf of His people.


From my perch on this side of a parted Red Sea;
Hugging a raised Lazarus with my own arms;
Let me proclaim into any wilderness before me—
Our God Saves!
He has done it.
And He will do it again.

Come, Lord Jesus, 
Into every hurting place
Bring your hope
And come.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Take Heart!


"...In this world you will have trouble...." John 16:33

Indeed we will. Deadly illness. Toppling governments. Wars and persecutions. Executions that people take pictures of. Anger. Riots. Questions yet to be answered. A yearning for justice.

Divorce. Grief.

Devastating diagnosis.

Accidents.

Trouble.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God…”
Psalm 42:5

Season your news feed well with this, friends.

Saturate your hours with This News.

“A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the LORD
with the LORD for his hope.
He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream; when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit…”
Jeremiah 17:5-8

No worries. Never ceasing. No alarm.

“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,”
 Psalm 65:5

“For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.”
 Psalm 52:9

Awesome and righteous, He answers. We can see what He has already done! Don’t forget that His Name is Good.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Hebrews 6:19

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
  Hebrews 10:23

Hang on! Cling! We have this!

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
 Romans 12:12

Don’t stop praying. Choose joy as you expect and anticipate good things.

“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”
Psalm 71:14

Always. More and more. As for me? 

“My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning
more than watchmen wait for the morning
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”
 Psalm 130:6-7

Unfailing and Full.

Love and redemption.

Wait for it.

“Yes, my soul finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him.”
Psalm 62:5

He is the source of hope. He provides what may wan in me.

Rest is Yes in His provision!


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 Joy? Peace? Trust?

To absolutely overflowing.

Right in the middle of all this overwhelming tide.

By His power.

Let it be so.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mighty


"Listen... to your father’s instruction… " Proverbs1:8


Ephesians 6:10-20;24

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then…”


“…with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…”

Glenn Cash follows Christ with dedication and fervor. He has a heart that ardently pursues truth. He trusts in the words of Scripture and, from a heart of love for God, adheres to the principles and wisdom He reads and studies. His persistent resolve to obey God, trains a righteousness that guards our hearts. Glenn taught Jeff the truth of Jesus’ salvation. Jeff embraced that truth with his whole being effecting generations and other nations for Christ. Glenn’s pursuit of understanding echoes and deeply influences Jeff’s personal choice to explore the depths of the mysteries of God. In study and in teaching, Jeff serves as he watched his dad serve:  diligently discovering and proclaiming truth, shielding hearts with a righteousness that frees and renews. We are deeply thankful for Glenn's faithfulness and we honor  his commitment to love and serve to the glory of the Lord. His influence and consistent prayer for our family has guarded our hearts as we seek to continue in truth. 


 “…and with the your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

My Dad means the world to me. Always has. He easily engages the people in his world with love, grace and humor. When people in his community are hurting, my Dad gets the call. He cares genuinely and is ready to go. Dad is always ready to go. Out the door-- to the hospital, to the funeral home and to death beds. He brings peace. The peace of Christ which transformed his own life dramatically, decades ago. My Dad carries Christ with him to every place, especially the dark and shadowy ones where Jesus’ light can soothe and comfort. Dad offers this peaceful support with such deep abiding joy. I’ve always wanted to be just like him. It is no surprise that I found my feet ‘fitted’ with the same readiness that I witnessed in his. I guess I was ready to go too. His sacrificial support of my calling sustains in places no one else can touch. He is my hero and my dearest friend. 


  
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

I spent many days and hours in the company of my Granddaddy. He was an extremely reserved man, so most of those hours were quiet but his constant love was very, very loud. The complete assurance of his adoration and care for me affected me deeply. During a very trying time in my life  I was asked by a spiritual mentor to design a shield that would protect me from some of the arrows (figurative) being flung in my direction.  After I completed the task, I described the shield to my wise friend. When I was finished, she nodded and said, “If this shield was the strongest, most impenetrable shield available, who would you have build it?”
Without hesitation or even conscious thought I replied, “Granddaddy. Granddaddy would build it.”
Love conquers all. Granddaddy’s love for me was fueled by a faith he rarely spoke about but instead lived out daily one faithful, generous step at a time. Even though he is physically gone from my life, his steadfast devotion continues to protect me in the battles that I face. I miss him so very much.


"Take the helmet of salvation…”

This picture sits on Jeff’s desk. It is a photo of a very young Jeff with his Granddad, AJ Small. Jeff tells the story of his Granddad delighting in watching him baptize his cousins and sister in the irrigation ditches that ran alongside Grandad’s house. They were little children acting out the blessing of obedience and salvation. A salvation AJ received and proclaimed with his life. AJ was a finish carpenter, an amazing one. He worked hard, loved his family, endured heavy physical illness and delighted in God’s word. Jeff recalls his love for scripture, his determination that Jeff could handle responsibility and his constant encouragement for Jeff to exercise independence (AJ let 8 yr old Jeff walk to the ranching store alone much to the chagrin of AJ’s wife and daughter at the time!). Granddad Small realized his salvation fully before I joined his family. I’m sure he would delight to know that his grandson would continue baptizing and proclaiming salvation. We will all be together again someday. I can’t wait to meet him around that Throne.



“...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Granddad Cash was the captain of the police force in the town where he raised his family. He was a protector and a guard for the just and the good. He carried a gun every day, but only fired it once in his lifelong career. He said that there were better ways to solve a problem than with a gun. Weapons had their place, he taught, but should be respectfully wielded in conflict.
Granddad Cash loved Christ and His church and served as an elder for many years. He acted as defender in that capacity too, utilizing the most valued weapon in his arsenal, the word of God. He trusted the tenets of scripture with his life and taught his children and grandchildren faithfully to follow Christ with their whole hearts. His influence penetrated deeply as he spoke truth about following God.
Jeff often tells a story of hiking with his Granddad. During the hike, Jeff recalls his Granddad encouraging him to lift his eyes every once and awhile. Granddad said, “When we are walking we are often watching the path just in front of us. Too often we miss the incredible views around. We need to lift up our eyes and see the great expanse God designed around us. Not just watch the path at our feet.”
It was a moment that would echo in Jeff’s mind and spirit for decades. Jeff has nurtured a powerful, visionary heart that confidently lifts eyes to see the expanse of God’s design. Granddad Cash encouraged this vision by carefully carving inspiration with a weapon he very much respected. The words of God. We miss Granddad Cash very much, but walk out his wisdom still.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

My Grandpa Money was a strong man; a very hard worker. He and my Granny raised seven children on an oil field worker’s salary in dry West Texas towns. He was diligent and dedicated. He adhered to strict roles as he led his home. He was the provider and my Granny took care of the household responsibilities. As far as I know, they were both content in their circumstance. My Granny suffered through many strokes in the years I remember her most. I watched my Grandpa step out of his well-practiced role of working outside the home and walk confidently into the kitchen. He cooked and cleaned and took care of my Granny who became increasingly debilitated in the last years of her life. Grandpa stepped up, in exorbitant love. I witnessed him keeping his promises and serving his wife and his God, beautifully. He was a good, good man.
Of all the memories I have of my Grandpa (dominoes, silly songs and the way he closed his eyes when he was remembering the details of a story he was telling) it is his prayers that emerge prominent. I remember how he held Granny’s hand and leaned in close over her bed when he prayed for her meals. I remember where he sat at the table in the kitchen and how his hand felt when he held mine. I remember his voice and how he ended every prayer the exact same way, “…we beg in Jesus name, Amen.” You could count on Grandpa's prayers. They were just like him. Solid, dependable, consistent and full of faith. 




“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

I see in Jeff attributes of each of these strong men of faith. Jeff embodies a true soldier spirit, armed and ready, protected and sure. I so greatly esteem and depend on Jeff’s fearless heart as he proclaims the mysteries of the gospel to those in our community, in our churches and to the treasures in our home. Our children are following in Jeff’s courageous steps as he has followed in the steps of those before him. How grateful I am that these footfalls rest on a trail blazed by a Faithful, Merciful King. A King we have watched, in the generations before us, redeem, heal, sustain and welcome home.

I honor each of these men today for their dedication to their families and for loving as Christ does. Because of their choices and their faithfulness my world and the world of my children was set on a solid foundation. I am forever grateful.

“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.”

Praise the Lord!


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Taste and See

Psalm 34
Encouragement for the afflicted.

"I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together."

Celebrating Easter


With my dear ones


Fun with Easter Elephants (not bunnies!)

"I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."

I love this girl! 

Enjoying the delights of a trip to Kampala

"This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them."

blessed by the prayers of new friends as we wait for test results at the clinic

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."

New malls, new cafes, good coffee


Birthday breakfast in bed


Blueberries (a rare treat!) and ice cream. A perfect birthday dessert!

Laying words on a page--delight!

"Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD...
 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."

Bible class on Sunday mornings

Sharing love, laughter and Jesus together with dear friends 


Mother's day with all my loves


Mother's Day surprises



beautiful new dishes!

Memorial Day skype time with cousins

Memorial Day grilling and fun




"The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."


my steadfast man, working tirelessly to make life better for our family


"The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects his bones, not one of them will be broken."

a washed out bridge between us and church on a Sunday morning

'no hill for a stepper!' 
Jeff Cash drove three vehicles over this tiny space twice in one day


"The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned."

safe travels and providential guidance over many long, dangerous miles

A Psalm for the afflicted.
(hear! and rejoice!)

Taste and see.
(Partake.)
(Join in!)

The Lord is good!



thankful, thankful to share life with this man


treasures of my heart

delight!


"We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you."
Psalm 33:20-22


Brief health update:  Thank you for your love and encouragement! I continue to work towards healing. 
The latest labs and opinions and well-informed thoughts say I might be fighting some sort of allergy or food intolerance.  We are utilizing the resources we have, namely, Process of Elimination. This process is slow and sometimes difficult, but we are thankful for every success and strengthened through each opportunity to discipline endurance. Your prayers have been felt and fruitful.  We greatly appreciate your continued petitions for sustained good health.









Saturday, May 10, 2014

Her Children Rise Up...


“…do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8b


Psalm 147
selected verses

“Praise the Lord.”





“How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Time at my Granny’s house included good food, laughter and singing. She always made fudge just for me. It would be on a plate, with plastic wrap covering it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Delightful!
My Granny Money suffered through strokes and their effects in the final years of her life. She lost the use of many things, including her recollection of words.
But she could always sing every word of her favorite song. I can still hear her voice and see her pat her left hand in time to the music.
The song was "Amazing Grace."
We sang it often together with her as a family.
We live it together still. 


“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

My Mom has lived this verse. She spent her career in Child Protective Services, working long, arduous hours to right some wrongs for the brokenhearted. She served among heroes. She, herself, was a hero to many. She showed me where and how to follow Jesus. Among the suffering, with dedicated persistence.
My Mom also carries this verse in herself. My calling has become her sacrifice too, leaving her brokenhearted in tender places. She has journeyed far in our service here. I deeply appreciate her love for me in the midst of the surrender this work requires of us both.


“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”

One consistent memory Jeff recalls of his Mom is her singing over him as a young boy. 
“Can You Count the Stars of Evening”
Jeff grew up fully confident of God’s awareness of Him. Of God’s love. He knew that because he belonged to the One who numbers the stars, he could confidently shoot for them…with bold courage.
He does. Every day. And his mom’s song still sings over him and the children he is raising to live with courage too.
Every single time we sit outside and watch the African night sky, Jeff speaks of the song and of his Mom. Her faith and deep love for African missions (all missions really) is a vibrant part of where we serve and raise our family today.



“the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

I spent more time with Mam-ma than any of my other grandparents. Her influence in my life remains deep and strong. She pursued God with passionate dedication. She obeyed and deeply respected His commands. Her Bible was always at her right hand. On the end table. The bookmark moved daily. She read His words as if her life depended on it. Her life did depend on it. I knew that full well. I delight in considering her entrance into her eternal home. What joy for her when she realized, face to face, the depth and breadth of Christ’s unfailing love for her. I can’t wait to be with them both.


“He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides…”

Grandma Rose loved flowers. She always had a beautiful garden. One of the gifts we honor in our home is a picture of flowers that she painted. It reminds us of her and her knowledge of the blooms she adored.  She knew the names of them all. And she knew Who provided them for her enjoyment.
As Grandma Rose served alongside her husband, AJ, in ministry, money was pretty tight. She was well practiced at making the most of what she was given. Conversations with her always included stories of the ways God provided for her in her life. And time with her consistently yielded arms full of blessings and gifts that she loved to provide for us.
The beautiful wedding ring I treasure speaks daily to me of God’s provision to her and God’s provision to me. The testimony of Grandma Rose’s life echoes in our home every day.


“He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.”

Nona Cash is one woman I long to know! She went to be with Jesus before I joined her clan, but never have I heard a woman spoken of with such adoration and esteem as this one. She is very well remembered.
If I could sit with her over coffee today, I would celebrate with her the beautiful ways God has strengthened the gates of her Cash family, how He has stayed with us in the places where we come and go.  We could number the ways He has blessed us within those walls of belonging. We would rejoice over how large the family has grown—delighting in each new, beautiful life. We could look at our borders and see that even in our most vulnerable places God is kneading peace.
We could discuss long how faithfully He has remained among us, satisfying us with the finest of wheat—the Bread of Life where we need Him most.
I would thank her for her endurance and her witness of Christ’s love.
Her beautiful heritage is mine now too.


“One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty---
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works---
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”
Psalm 145:4-7

On this Mother’s Day 2014, I will proclaim and joyfully sing of His goodness as I meditate on the heritage of faith in these beautiful, Godly women.

They commend God’s works to us, speaking and telling of His splendor and of His power and of His abundant goodness.

We rise up and call them, “Blessed!”

Praise the Lord!