Today's edition of Profile features Nicole Cassady. Nicole is a wife, mom of three, and travels in music evangelism with her family. You may have seen Nicole at the piano on the IHC platform, or in campmeetings or revival ministries, and this is your opportunity to get to know her better and feel her heart for God and for her family.
|L to R: Chloe, Stephen, Ashton, Nicole, Blake|
WOW: Welcome, Nicole! Let’s begin by going back to your childhood. When were you saved, and how did your family influence that decision?
NC: I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to serve God. Since a little girl, I’ve always wanted to please Jesus. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I never remember deliberately choosing to walk away from Christ. A crisis moment took place when I was around 17 or 18...I remember standing in my grandparents spare room and making a vow to give my entire life to Christ and with His help, I have never looked back.
My mother faithfully took me to church. Even though she went alone, (my father was saved after I was married) we rarely ever missed a service. My parents both saw the value in Christian education and willingly sent me to a Christian Day School all of my school years. My mom took me (and dad paid for me to go!) to family camp, they sent me to youth camp, took me to IHC, drove reasonable distances to hear college choirs and groups and provided my way through Bible college. I was so blessed with parents who kept my influences Godly.
WOW: You sing and play the piano beautifully. When did you first realize that you had a gift for music?
NC: You are going to think I have a memory loss problem...sorry! I don’t really remember my life before playing the piano! I started taking lessons around 7 years of age. I remember playing “Putt, Putt Goes the Flashy Speedboat” about 25 times the day of my first lesson and from then on, I just played....? I don’t remember ever being shown any chords, any progressions, key changes, runs...anything....I don’t even know how I play, I just play. I have worked on it a little through my later years, but I really do not read music at all. It’s much easier for me to listen to a song once or twice and then play it. Don’t make me suffer through all that note reading...I leave that to the really good musicians. I often wonder if I’d be any good, if I knew what I was doing!
WOW: Do you feel that it is important for parents to spend the time and money to cultivate and develop musical talent in their children? Why?
NC: I guess that depends on what parents desire for their children to become and on what their goals would be for their children. If they desire for their children to be used of God, then absolutely it is important. It places another tool in their tool box that God may use. Music speaks every language and who knows where your child might end up and how they could be used. And besides....it might pay their way through Bible College....! Traveling and seeing churches that have nobody to play the piano for their services breaks my heart – I always point out to my kids how valuable it could be to have this ability.
WOW: How did you meet Stephen?
NC: We met at Union Bible College. He was not attending school at the time, but lived right behind the college. An avid ball player, he would come to the gym and play ball with the other guys. I didn’t pay much attention to him at first, thinking he was just an old man coming in to play with the younger guys! Now I’m married to that old man!
WOW: You have three children. Would you introduce us to them?
NC: Gladly. They are my life. Blake Allan is our oldest son and he will be 12 this coming March. Chloe Nicole is our only daughter and she is 9. Our baby, Ashton Israel is a lively 3. Blake is in 6th grade, Chloe is in 3rd and Ashton is in everything. (smile) When I was a little girl, I always said that I wanted my family to be a boy, a girl and a boy. I don’t know why I said that and I’m pretty sure I really didn’t have a choice in the matter, but I feel like God has blessed me with my greatest desires – these gifts sent from Him.
WOW: You and your husband travel extensively in evangelism throughout the year. You homeschool your children and manage your household in a travel trailer. What are some of the ways you keep you prioritize and find balance while in ministry?
NC: Well...I’m not sure how well I do in this area...my personality likes to have everything done yesterday, so that sort of works against me. I am a “lists/charts/schedules” person (to a fault probably) and these help me stay on the track I want to be. I never wake up in the morning and think, “Hmm...what should I do today?” That was planned out, like, 2 weeks ago - Just check the schedule! So in planning my schedules, charts and lists, I set realistic goals and even plan “down time” specifically with the children in mind. I don’t fall apart if we deviate from a suggested plan for the day, but it keeps me from wandering aimlessly about doing nothing!
I do try hard to maintain a schedule for our children - keeping the proper balance between school, ministry and remembering our kids are just kids. Being a road mom has unique challenges and one is that we “work the night shift” and our kids work with us! Once our children hit school age, we found that having late night snacks every night in the parsonage was just not going to work. So we don’t “party” during the school week, giving the kids a decently normal life with an “early to bed, early to rise” mentality. I feel like balance in this area is very important to their upbringing even though it’s caused me to stick my neck out a little bit from what people typically expect from an evangelists family.
WOW: What is your favorite season and holiday, and have you developed a family tradition that you would like to share with us?
NC: I like all holidays! Even my birthday! My birthday is December 22nd.For years, Stephen has found a babysitter for the children and taken me to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to celebrate my birthday. It is very festive being so close to Christmas and it’s a night I look forward to all year long! Christmas Day we spend at home – starting off with opening stockings, eating biscuits and gravy, reading the Christmas story and then tearing into our presents. Finally we spend the rest of the day enjoying our gifts, eating too much food and being all around lazy – hey, it only happens once a year!
Fall would be my first favorite season (I like all of them too!) – but Stephen and I got married in October and so the beautiful fall foliage always reminds me of our special day.
WOW: What are some hobbies that you currently find relaxing and fun?
NC: I guess I don’t really have any hobbies....maybe I should start one? I do love to bake and send my kids all through our neighborhood passing out whatever I just baked! Drives Stephen crazy because he would rather eat the baked goods himself, but I guess maybe I feel like it’s a way to open the door with our neighbors and it makes me happy to share.
I enjoy going to thrift stores and yard sales with my mom and eating lunch together. Just being home as a family and working in the yard together or piddling around in my house is always relaxing to me.
WOW: If you weren’t inhibited by time or money, what dream would you love to fulfill?
NC: This question caught my attention and had me thinking for several days. It may sound crazy, but whether inhibited by time/money or not, I guess I would just have to say, I am living my dream. I can think of nothing different I would long to do. Travel the world with my family...what more could a girl ask for? I might choose some specific locations for the fun of it, but who knows...God being my “employer”, we may end up in those locations anyway! Since I was a very small girl, my dream was to travel and sing. Here I am -Thank you, Lord!
WOW: Could you share with us a time when God brought you through a storm or a difficult place?
NC: In January of 2012, I was brought face to face with death. The Doctors told Stephen the next 24 hours would determine whether I would live or die. I was gravely ill with pancreatitis. Facebook and phones lit up and our friends all across our movement went to God in my behalf. God honored the prayers of all you dear people and chose to heal me. Stephen was by my bedside and can tell you the approximate time God touched me. When the Dr. came in the next morning, he just stared at me and said, “You look like a different person!” I told him I had a lot of people praying for me.
After I was sent home, Stephen was brought low physically. He lost his eyesight and could only see about 2 feet in front of him. We did not know the end result was because of high blood sugar and that within a few weeks, he would be able to see again. All we knew was that our lives had come to a screeching halt. He couldn’t see to drive around town, let alone pull a truck and trailer across the country; I was very fragile, both emotionally and physically, mending from a near death experience and now it seemed we’d been snatched from traveling and it literally seemed like we were done. Those were very dark days for our family. I can’t begin to go into all the details but during that time the song taken from Scriptures became my rock “Be still and know that I am God” I felt the Lord calling unto me to simply be still. NOT an easy assignment for me. And then the next verse “I am the Lord that healeth Thee” For quite some time after this whole ordeal, I fought fears of thinking I was going to die at any moment or anytime the kids simply had a small cut or headache or something silly, I could imagine that it was going turn into something deadly. I could turn any normal, minor issue into a huge amount of worrying that someone was going to die. The Lord kept reassuring me that HE was the Healer and I didn’t need to worry. “In Thee, Oh Lord, I place my trust” is now a daily reminder and commitment for me – remembering that He did not fail me in one of the most trying times of our lives and knowing I can rest assured by placing my trust in Him, He will not let me down.
WOW: It has been a blessing to get to know you, Nicole. Thank you so much for stopping by. Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?
NC: Thank you for the invitation to share from my life a little bit. This has been fun! I don't have any amazing words of wisdom, only just strive to please the Lord and to be in His will in every way...every day. Compare your living to the Bible and not to others. Comparing yourself to others breeds discontentment and we will answer according to the Bible - not the opinions of others. Mind the checks of the Holy Spirit. Mind the checks, mind the checks. Focus on your family - it is your greatest mission field.