Really Relating


The Land of the Living, Part 1 of 2 04/27/2010

Filed under: Believe,Believing God,Goodness of the Lord,To Do List — Vickey Banks @ 10:39 am

Seriously God, where do I begin?
Feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to tackle all the To Dos weighing upon you? Those were my exact feelings the morning after my father’s funeral. However, I’m finding some solid, practical, much needed hope in Psalm 27:13-14,
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
 in the land of the living! 
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong,
and let your heart take courage;
 wait for the LORD!
Let’s look at verse 13 today, and then we’ll tackle verse 14 later this week.
We must nourish and foster our trust in God. Immerse ourselves in what’s true – God’s Word. Stand on it. Be carried by it. Regardless.
Observe and cause to observe. Don’t just know how life with God is supposed to be, but actually look for the sights and sounds of His presence…causing others to see them as well.
Goodness of the Lord
Life is not all mystery, and it shouldn’t go down just like bad tasting medicine. Goodness means there IS fairness, beauty and joy. We’ve just got to open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to see God’s goodness! Sorting through my parents things, I’m finding God’s goodness on sticky notes they’ve left to guide me, a note my Dad left assuring me of his love, a sister who is by my side, a helpful husband with the mind for business that I don’t have, friends remembering to pray for me, and a God who reminds me often that He will never leave me.
Land of the Living
This hope-filled phrase means the whole earth or ends of the earth. It originally meant reviving, sustenance, revival, renewal, and community. Picture Spring – nature coming out in all it’s glory with a profusion of green leaves, pink blossoms on Redbud trees, and yellow daffodils sprouting up everywhere. As long as we’re here on Earth, God has life for us to live! Warmth for us to feel. Work for us to do. Community for us to enjoy!
No matter how many things are on our To Do list today, believing God has got to top them all. We must believe that we will see His goodness here in The Land of the Living.
“I do believe; help my unbelief.” – Mark 9:24
Really Relating
Where and how are you seeing the goodness of the Lord?


Honoring Dad 04/16/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vickey Banks @ 11:23 am

Most people don’t say good-bye to one parent on the anniversary of the exact same day that their other parent died. However…nothing could seem more fitting for us. For although our Dad was many things:
·      a shy boy
·      ornery young man
·      loving son and brother
·      brave marine
·      skilled carpenter
·      trusted realtor
·      loyal friend
·      humble, good man and an
·      exceedingly proud father and granddad
He was first and foremost:
            A head over heels,
                        Openly adoring,
                                    Deeply devoted,
                                                And actively loving husband.
He was crazy about our mother!
Although Dad was a quiet man, we grew up hearing him often tell us that our mother had everything from the perfect nose to the perfect toes. His words and actions repeatedly told us that he believed she was the best thing that ever happened to him.
If Dad was in the Living Room watching TV and Mom was in the kitchen, he would call out, “Shirley Ann, where are you? I can’t see you! Come in here.” He always wanted her by his side.
Grieving our Mom, living life, and fighting terminal cancer all with Dad these past several years has been the most difficult gift we both NEVER wanted, BUT feel PRIVILEGED to have received.
Because Mom was gone, we got to experience a concentrated amount of time with Dad. Side by side, we got to do all the Dr’s visits, chemo treatments, scans, etc. We’ve shared more meals, tears, hugs and “I love you”s in these past 4 years with him than we had in our entire lives up to that point. And, every single day we were with Dad, he reminded us of that he truly, deeply loved our Mother and us.
This has been the silver lining in our cloud of cancer.
This has been our gift.
Our time together also reminded us of a truth that we are infinitely proud of,                                   
Although our Dad was small in stature,
He was colossal in character.
We are blessed to have had a father who showed us how to live and how to die with integrity, dignity, loyalty and honor.
Because of all this, we genuinely want to thank you for honoring our Dad today. We know that many of you have known and loved our parents for decades. They treasured the memories you shared and spoke of you all. May your memories of their lives and their love continue to encourage and inspire you…as it does us.
With deepest gratitude for your love and support,
Vickey and Stacey
(Clem & Shirley’s girls)
This is the letter that was read at my Dad’s celebration service yesterday, April 15th. He died the same day as my mom and was buried on the same day as her.


Living In Transition 04/06/2010

Filed under: Change,Transition — Vickey Banks @ 11:18 pm

We are all in transition.

Think about it…

Seasons of Life.

We’re either moving toward or away from some thing. Some one. Some place.
Some transitions are welcomed. Even sought. Others are fought with a frenzied vengeance. Avoided like a life-sucking plague. Regardless of how we feel about them…transitions are inevitable.
Do you feel lost in transition?
If so, I know exactly how you feel. I am in the middle of the single biggest transition of my life. I feel like one of those people you see in a snow globe, at the mercy of someone constantly shaking up their little world. Honestly, I sometimes feel dizzy. And, well, I don’t like snow.
But you and I…we’re not plastic figures trapped in a cheap glass globe. We are handmade, one-of-a-kind creations, crafted by a God who has promised us a future and a hope. We weren’t created to be lost, but to live, even in transition. God is doing a work IN US, and I’m confident He wants our cooperation!  
We are in process. Which, interestingly, is what transition really means: a process of change, a linking.
Today’s process is part of our journey – our linking from one thing to the next. How we respond to these transitional times will undeniably affect our ability to embrace what’s ahead. Will we merely begrudge what we’ve lost or graduated from? Will we stay locked in a world of memory – of what would of/should of/could of been? Will we so long for what’s been taken that we look right past what we now have? So fear what’s potentially ahead that we don’t fully live today?
How do we embrace this journey of transition?
That’s my question. Got any ideas? I’m listening…
Really Relating
Where are you in transition? How are you embracing your time in transition?

Cell Phone Messages From God 04/01/2010

Filed under: Cell Phone,God's Word,Messages from God,Scripture — Vickey Banks @ 3:57 pm

Have you ever had a cell phone message from God?

This past Monday, I received two very upsetting phone calls from my Dad’s Hospice nurse. Among the things she said was that she felt He would probably plummet at any time. And, I was stuck about 25 states away in the middle of a Spring Break littered with sold-out flights clear across the country.
I opened my eyes the next morning and begged God to please get my son and I home to my Dad. Then, I checked the messages on my cell phone. In the midst of the mayhem, I saw an email that I get from a website called the daily verse. This was my unedited cell phone message from God:
“And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.
Then you shall know that I am he LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.
        Ezekiel 37:14
Let us be encouraged by this passage from the story of the dry bones being brought to life.
Be reminded of God’s willingness to fill us with His Spirit, put us where we need to be
and finish what He has started in us.”
Really, God? You will place me in my own land? You will put me where I need to be? You have spoken and You will do it?
Then…God gave me the next two and a half days to ponder whether or not I would believe what the Spirit within me so strongly proclaimed would indeed happen. The most hair-raising rental car return I have had in thirteen years of concentrated traveling. Two separate sets of cancelled flights. An extra night added vs. the hoped-for flying home early.
But…here I am, a week later, sitting next to my Daddy and still thanking God for placing me in own land and for once again showing me that He will do what He says He will do.
Even when absolutely everything else tells me otherwise.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
– Hebrews 4:12 NAS
How has God used His Word to speak to you lately?