In the sailor's vernacular, it is said, "Red sky at night; sailor's delight. Red sky at morning; sailor take warning." After viewing hundreds of these gorgeous pre-dawn elegant skies, I can tell you that I never know. For me, as I stand out on my deck, it is like awaiting a rainbow, which can mean the end of a terrible storm or its beginning. Life, with its many triumphs and disasters cannot be predicted. We await whatever comes, and we are usually unprepared. Or are we?
I have found that if I am prepared in the good times...if my heart and soul and mind are prepared, in an attitude of prayer, then when disaster strikes, I am able to turn to the One who will carry me through. It may sound simplistic. It may sound even ridiculous, but that is how I prepare. I pray. No, not necessarily on my knees, for these old knees no longer hold me nor allow me to stand once I get down. But, as God has commanded in His Bible, my heart remains, in between my sinful self and my devotion to Him, ready for His will. I always hope, and I pray, that His will contains mercy and deliverance from that awful day of disaster.
In 1999, I wrote a poem, which later God sent music to me, titled, "The Eye of the Storm." Since then, I have faced so many storms in my life, so many disasters. Yet, here I am.
As a family, we have faced, near death, and life; cancer scares, semi-coma, the death of precious pets, and the loss of friends. We have been abandoned by family and friends and church. We have suffered loss that we thought we could never endure. We have even had precious friends murdered. How can that be? How can that be endured? And yet we have seen those who were closest to tragedy triumph with love and forgiveness. We have even learned to forgive, when forgiveness seemed impossible.
We have not done these things of our own power. Never. You will not hear me say that I have done anything by my own power. Even the greatest love of my life, my husband, Louie, and my dearest treasures, my daughters, Jenny and Helen, are gifts of God. Their love and devotion are God's most precious gifts.
So, right now, I can only promise that before the day of disaster strikes, begin a relationship, daily, hourly, minute by minute with the God who will carry you through. Prayer is not a formal declaration. It need not begin with Thee or Thou. It can begin in any way. I began as a child, something like this:
"You know, God, this is a beautiful day. Thank you. It makes my heart smile, and that makes my face smile."
There are so many ways to begin. You may have already begun. It may have begun with a complaint, for which you feel guilty. Don't. If you are talking to God, you are acknowledging Him. But don't miss out on the sweet times, those moments of great love, those times when the sunrise is so beautiful you feel like singing. Take a moment to look around you and just say "Thank you."
In fact, I give you this challenge, as we approach Christmas and the New Year. Once a day, perhaps whenever you think of it, thank God. Just thank Him, and smile when you do it. I promise it will change your life. Then, when the day of disaster strikes, you will feel Him carry you through. I promise.