Joni B

The very idea.

Live Like That


One of my favorite Christian bands of all time is a fairly new band called Sidewalk Prophets.  I do like their music, but more importantly I find them to be real.  It’s easy to get caught up in the fame of it all, but so far I’ve only seen them love Jesus and truly minister to their fans – putting others above themselves.  I have not seen the slightest hint of arrogance, but them living Psalm 115:1.  “Not to us, Oh Lord, not to us.  But to You be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.”  They have a new single out (album is released March 27) called “Live Like That”.  It essentially prompts us to think of the saints in our lives who have made a difference for Jesus — who have shown His love with their life and for us to live like that.  I have been surrounded by those people my entire life.  This all leads up to my blog for today.

Before I say any of this, I want you to know this is only God through me.  This is only Jesus loving others through me and I only blog about it in hopes that you too will get ideas from this and realize the need that is out there.  I’ve prayed, as a result, of  “Live Like That”, for God to show me how to love like He does.  He did give me an idea that was so incredible it could have only come from the Throne Room of Heaven.  Instead of Ron and I going on a date for Valentine’s Day, we invited several widows to dinner with us.  I thought it was a good idea, but I really had no idea what lay ahead.  We made a list and started to call them.  Ron made a big deal about wanting to spend Valentine’s Day with the finest women in Savannah.  The delight in their voices was so fun to hear.  One woman was very composed as she accepted his offer, but started talking to her daughter before she hung up the phone and with great joy said, “Well!  You are never going to believe this!”  Another said, “What are we going to do?”  Ron teasingly said, “I’m going to grill for you all and Joni said something about me jumping out of a cake, but I’m not going to do that.”  Very dryly she replied, “Well, Ron, I hope you’ll reconsider.”  It’s not often someone can get Ron’s goat, but she accomplished it!  We also heard comments like this “Just that you called means everything.  My phone doesn’t ring very often anymore.  Sometimes I call myself just to see if it still works.”  “It’s been a long time since a man has asked me to dinner.”  I had the pleasure of seeing one woman face to face when we asked her.  She lit up like a light bulb!  There was almost a look of relief on her face.

They all came to dinner.  I stayed in the kitchen and cooked.  Ron and his friend Shawn entertained and waited on them.  My boys opened doors, escorted them to and from their cars, brought them coffee, drinks, etc.  We gave them small boxes of Valentine candy, chocolate covered strawberries, a Valentine card, and small bouquets of flowers.  A new widow cried and said, “This is the only card I got this year.”  Another thanked us and told us that Valentine’s Day was the hardest on her.  I never thought about that.  The other holidays you are usually surrounded by family.  Valentine’s Day you are left alone with only your memories.  The flowers were originally part of the centerpiece on the table.  God again inspired an idea as I took my holder into the florist.  I asked them to make  it using small bouquets.  At the end of the night, when Ron begin pulling the arrangement apart and giving them their own sets of flowers, we got to see the blessing on their faces.  God is so good!  He loves us so much and I am so thankful that He allowed me to be a part of making sure these wonderful ladies were not alone on this night.

I didn’t get flowers or a card or a romantic meal with my sweetie, but make no mistake – this was absolutely the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had!  I’ve read a lot of tweets over the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.  So many hurting single people who desire to find their soul mate.  Let me encourage you to not spend another Valentine’s Day feeling sorry for yourself.  Find a widow(er) and don’t let them spend it alone.  Let God love through you.  Choose to “Live Like That.”

One last thing – Dave, Ben, Justin, Cal and Shawn – should you ever read this – THANK YOU.  Thank you for letting God minister through you.  Thank you for leaving your families and hitting the road to spread God’s Word and His love.  Because of your willingness to be in ministry, there were 6 ladies who didn’t have to spend Valentine’s night alone in sorrow.  I only wish you could have seen their faces or heard their voices.  May God richly bless your ministry!


posted under General
2 Comments to

“Live Like That”

  1. Avatar February 15th, 2012 at 11:48 am Jerry Opdycke Says:


    You said in your post that “I’ve prayed, as a result, of “Live Like That”, for God to show me how to love like He does.” I surely have no doubts whatsoever as to how much God lives and loves in and through you & Ron & and your family.

    I will NEVER forget the visit from y’all in the hospital in Jackson on the Sunday before my open heart surgery that was scheduled for the very next morning. That particular Sunday of your visit was Father’s Day and you both took time away from your family on that very special day to come pray with and for me. I will never, if I live to be a million years old, be able to fully express to you how much your visit meant to me. During those dark times, I was indeed blessed far above my deservedness by all of the thoughts and prayers on my behalf.

    So, knowing from my personal experience the Godly love that dwells in your family’s hearts, your wonderful Valentine’s deed is no surprise to me! I’m sure that those ladies who dined with you will also hold the memories made that day forever in their hearts and minds.

    Thank you for the examples of true Godly love that you show everyday. Our little town is truly blessed to have the Shank family as residents and I am honored to call you my friends…

  2. Avatar February 16th, 2012 at 8:23 pm Erica Smith Says:

    Joni, I love this! What an amazing thing for you all to do. As a widow I personally am taken back by this selfless act of kindness. God truly does work through you and I am so thankful to have met you and Ron. Even if meeting you two on the cruise that week is the last time I get to see you in person I honestly believe I am a better person having met you guys. It is so nice to see people “living like that”! Gives me so much hope. And just to let you know I did not spend my valentines day alone this year. Not only was I not alone but I was proposed to by the most wonderful Christian man that God has blessed me with!! I couldn’t be happier!! Thank you for all of your kindness, thank you for sharing your lives with others and caring for others as Jesus does. You are amazing!!!

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