Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ.

“Don’t Ignore the Red Flags” by Katie Wilson


Proverbs 22:3 (ESV)
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

My head was under water; I could barely hold my son above the waves. I didn’t know what to do. While we were only 10 feet from the safety of the shore, the riptide kept us from getting there. I wish I could say a mother’s calm washed over me, but that would be a lie. Panic washed over me instead, along with a series of waves. As we wildly flailed, the salt from my tears mixed with the salty sea. I didn’t even know you could cry under water, but you can.

Out of nowhere, a man with a boogie board saved us. We frantically took hold of it and tried to help our rescuer get us back to the beach. Tearfully and awkwardly, I hugged him with gratitude, while my son coughed up the ocean.

Our hero calmly said, “You must be new here. The riptide can be fierce.” And then he asked, “Didn’t you see the DOUBLE RED FLAGS?”

Embarrassment and mother guilt temporarily trumped PTSD. I replied, “I did not,” adding a lie to my long litany of fine parenting moments. Actually, I did see the dancing red flags, but I chose to ignore them.

By the time we reached our condo, my son seemed to have fully recovered. I grew weaker in the knees, drowning in shock waves, as I replayed the “what if” scenarios in my head. My husband opened the door to a wet and weary bunch. He listened intently as our son gave him the play by play. We all stepped onto the balcony to see the scene from a higher view.

From our floor, we could clearly see the current cutting the sandbar in two and the flapping double red flags. We held our breath as we witnessed another man fighting the riptide, while his family screamed from the shore. Eventually, he made it in and collapsed on the beach. The reality of the danger sunk in a little deeper.

“The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.” (Proverbs 14:16)

Looking back over my life, I can see many times God gave me “proverbial” red flags.
Can you?

Sometimes I was cautious; sometimes I plunged ahead.
Can you relate?

God, in His mercy, allowed there to be consequences for my foolish behavior. Good fathers discipline their children. Hindsight is a God-given gift to show us how good HE is, not how bad we are.

God was very gracious to us that day at the beach. He was beside us in every wave. HE provided the red flags as a warning. HE provided the boogie board man as a rescuer. HE embraced my repentant heart, as the reality of my foolishness crashed in like a wrecking ball. He lovingly taught me a lesson I will not soon forget: DON’T IGNORE THE RED FLAGS!


Dear Lord,

Thank you so much for enabling us to hear your voice. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27 NLT) You show us the way, step by step, and kindly give us guardrails and warning signs when we are veering off Your path. Thank you for your mercy and grace when we have taken detours, been derailed or dawdled in delay. Give us Your wisdom today to see the way and give us Your courage and strength to walk in it.


About Katie Wilson

Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ. #amwriting #Compel Forgiven and Free Living a life that says: COME AND SEE!

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