We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ready for Anything? When Life Re-defines You # 3

Crash! Boom! Cracks of thunder, lightning, wind, and torrents of rain held us captive inside the lobby of the Montrose Bible Conference on Thursday afternoon. It had been a profitable week, full of instruction for writers, workshops, and one-on-one meetings with editors, not to mention networking opportunities. I and a couple others commuted each day. The storm delayed our drive home, but we eventually made it . . . fallen trees and some minor flash flooding notwithstanding.

My sigh of relief as we pulled into the driveway quickly gave way to an adrenalin rush as I entered the house and realized I had no power. My first thought? The pumps! Visions of water in my basement and crawlspace sent me flying to find a battery-operated lantern and head downstairs. My houseguest graciously helped me lift my box fan onto the chest freezer, roll the dehumidifiers to the "safer" end of the room, and move the bottom shelf of movies to higher ground. It didn't take long. We were ready.

Two years ago, a flooded basement would have meant a major clean-up project.

This post is the third in a series about how to prepare for the unexpected based on my workshop at the Women's LYFE Conference. So far we've talked about our relationships with God and others as well as how to keep records and important documents together and organized, using the "red file."

Today's post will briefly suggest a few more ideas of how to prepare for a crisis of any kind.

Strategy # 4: Have adequate insurance. The purpose of insurance is to cover risk we can't afford to take. It's a good idea to periodically evaluate what you need or don't need for car, homeowner's or renter's insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance. 

Strategy # 5: Be intentional about how you manage your finances. Have a plan. Use a budget. Be intentional about reducing debt and putting an emergency savings plan in place. And if possible, be sure both spouses have a general idea of how to pay the bills and what the overall financial picture looks like. Howard Dayton has written a helpful resource titled Your Money Counts.

Strategy # 6: Simplify. Try to imagine how another person would feel if faced with the task of cleaning out your house! Here's where my basement story comes in. My sweet, wonderful husband (and he truly was) had interests from A to Z. The basement was crammed full of . . . stuff. I couldn't fault him. He had resources at his fingertips to help educators, students, and colleagues. He had built shelves for the books, and the rest took up space on the floor in boxes, bins, and piles. It took months for me to sort through it all after he passed away . . . to find and file the treasures, toss the dated catalogs and papers, and give away materials others could use.

My motivation? Either I clean up the basement or my kids would have to do it. Little by little, the space began to take on an "emptier" appearance. So that by the time the power went out this past week, it took just a few minutes to get ready for the "flood," which never happened by the way! Ruth Soukup has written a practical book on the topic of simplifying titled Unstuffed. Great title. Great resource.

Just like our experience with the storm on Thursday, we never know when a crisis will delay our plans and bring about a flood of changes, from minor inconveniences to major losses. Yet God has written all the days ordained for us in a book (Psalm 139:16). And while it's important to be prepared, the bottom line always begins and ends with trust in a faithful God who promises, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
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  1. Sarah, thank you for godly, practical content. I would recommend Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup as well. Glad that your basement did not flood this time!

    Teresa Ingalls

    1. Thank you, Teresa. Hope you've been safe through the recent storms . . . I was thinking that maybe UNSTUFFED would be a good book to read once a year! Blessings to you . . .

  2. There's a saying "You do your best, and God will do the rest." I think there is great truth in that. The practical advice you're giving in this series certainly helps us do our best to be prepared for many eventualities life could throw at us. Beyond that, we trust God to meet every need. Some good stuff here, Sarah. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for sharing the quote, Cheryl . . . well said. So glad we can trust God to meet our every need! Blessings to you . . .

  3. Hi Sarah, thank you for your advice on forward thinking. I am guilty of not 'preparing for the worst' and tend to have the attitude of "Oh, I'll take care of insurance later..". How do you plan your emergency fund though, how much should be a minimum to set aside?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Simon. In my research, I've read that an emergency fund amount should be at least three months worth of your current income. Along with Howard Dayton's book (listed above), I just heard a radio interview with Chris Hogan. I have not read his book but liked what I heard. (Here is a link to his book: https://www.amazon.com/Retire-Inspired-Its-Financial-Number-ebook/dp/B01AIAJ746/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502501616&sr=8-1&keywords=Chris+Hogan) Blessings to you . . .