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Happy Thanksgiving – I’m Thankful I’m Alive!

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I’m sitting in an airport, thankful I’m alive!

Well, at least I was sitting in an airport when I started writing this post much earlier today.

My flight was suppose to take off at 7:15am this morning and land me back in St. Louis to see my awesome family in time for Thanksgiving after a much needed three day getaway in Florida.

I’m so thankful for my family!

Right before takeoff the pilot said a maintenance light came on and they would need to address it before launch.

Fine by me. My first thought:

Thank You Jesus! It’s so much better for a maintenance light to come on while on the runway as opposed to mid-air.” 

Took a while to get it fixed, but I had a 3.5 hour layover at my connecting airport – Dallas – so I would be fine…I thought.

A second time we prepared for takeoff and again, another maintenance light came on.

After a long while we deboarded the plane and by the time I got off, there were about 100 people standing in front of me at the airline counter.

Thank God for mobile phones!

Between my husband working from home and me from the airport, we were able to get everything sorted out without me needing to stand in line for hours

I’m thankful for my loving husband!

About an hour later though, after going to an airport restaurant, eating a personal pan pizza, walking around for a while and coming back to my gate, I thought, “maybe I should just go up to the counter and double-check everything.” 

After showing the airline attendant what the airline had planned for me over the phone, she said, “I suggest you let me change your flight because I’m concerned you won’t get to Dallas in time to make your connection to St. Louis. Even a minor delay could cut it too close for you.”

I’m so thankful to the Holy Spirit for prompting me to go up to the counter because my flight from Florida to Charlotte left at 3:34pm which got me to St. Louis at 7:30pm; whereas, the original airplane that I deboarded that was suppose to fly us to Dallas at 2pm was still sitting at the gate when my flight left. I would have missed my connection, had to spend the night in Dallas and may not have gotten home until after Thanksgiving.

Interestingly enough, this morning I was feeling unsettled about my flight so I prayed about it and waited, but still felt ok about boarding.

After the two maintenance problems occurred, I was just sitting on the plane quietly thanking God for watching over me and thinking about how much He loves me. It was right about then when I felt Him speak something to my heart. Here’s the text I sent my husband:

“I already know I’m going to live a long, healthy life according to Psalm 91:16, but I felt God just speak to my heart a few moments ago and felt He told me He will never let a plane that I’m on take off if there’s going to be trouble. I had a weird feeling about this flight earlier this morning, but still felt I was ok to get on it. God knew there was going to be trouble and stopped it. God loves His children so much. If we will just believe that what He says, He means! I’ll think about what He spoke to my heart every time I get on a plane for the rest of my life. And it wasn’t that I was scared. I think He just spoke that to me in my heart because He’s my heavenly Daddy and He just wanted to assure me! My goodness, He loves us so much. I gotta get people to see His love for them.”

What could have ended up being a frustrating day for me, full of impatience and complaints, ended up being a peaceful day, despite my circumstances – a day where I honestly feel I have grown deeper in the Father’s love for me.

When you encounter situations such as I have today and find yourself impatiently taking over in your own human effort, which always results in frustration, instead of trusting God and letting the Spirit lead you, which always results in peace, remind yourself that you’re not living in the freedom Jesus died to give you. But also remind yourself that you can live in that freedom!

What made the difference for me this morning? – my relationship with Jesus. When that happened and I knew my schedule for the day was going to be totally blown, it didn’t worry me because I’ve learned the secret to life. Have you?

The secret to life is that Jesus is Life!

I’m back in St. Louis now and happy about it, but I know for a fact, if I would have been stuck in Dallas and even if I would have missed Thanksgiving with my family I would have been able to remain in peace because the Prince of Peace lives in me!

As long as we have Jesus, we have everything we truly need. And the most fabulous news ever is that once a person receives Jesus into their heart to be their Lord and Savior, He never leaves! Now that’s security, my friend.

Can I tell you something very sad though? For the first 34 years of my life, as a Christian, I hardly ever thought about Jesus or what Jesus did for me through His finished work on the cross. That’s crazy, but it’s true.

I was too busy working, trying desperately to be a good Christian so God would be pleased with me and was totally missing the point of Christianity, which is relationship!

My husband Steve said something interesting recently. He said he’s been noticing that there are so many long-time Christians – people who have been Christians for decades – who frequently struggle with insecurity, jealousy, frustration, anger, worry, envy, strife, etc.

We believe these Christians are doing the same thing I did those 34 years – trying to live out their Christianity the Old Covenant way, by their own human effort.

Steve said he’s also been noticing that those who are living out their Christianity the New Covenant way, by throwing themselves on God’s grace day in and day out, are enjoying the life of freedom and peace that Jesus died to give them.”

We, The McCollom Family, are one of those families living free. I’m in no way saying we are perfect in our actions, but we are enjoying a life of freedom. In other words, because of the grace of God working in our lives, we no longer live as if we believe sin has power over us. We know it doesn’t and we live like it doesn’t!

Last week one of my teen girls said something to me in a disrespectful tone and it made me so mad at first. Then I said several things back to her (in an effort to win the power struggle) that I shouldn’t have said.

She hurt my feelings and frankly, I didn’t want to talk to her, but then the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I went upstairs and apologized to her for saying what I did. She then apologized to me (on her own) for what she had done to me. Neither of us carried that any longer. We were able to go on just as if it never happened. That’s the power of grace working in our lives!

But guess what? If I had been laying in bed mad at myself for reacting to her like I did and allowing the devil to bury me under guilt and condemnation, I wouldn’t have been tuned into the Holy Spirit. Instead, I went directly to the throne of grace and was having a conversation with my heavenly Father about what had happened, all the while continuing to receive His love for me.

So many Christians would sweep something like what happened between my daughter and I under the rug, never address the situation and just go on like nothing happened. When people live like that, the junk under the rug doesn’t just go away, but in the last number of years on my grace journey I’ve learned the reason people have a difficult time forgiving others. They don’t have a revelation yet of how much they have been forgiven of by God. Once they do, it changes everything!

Grace produces heart change in us so when I was laying in bed last week, hurt by what my daughter said and feeling like I didn’t want to have anything to do with her at the moment, the Holy Spirit very lovingly reminded me that I was free to live in freedom which led me to go straight to my daughter and walk in love!

Steve said, “We have to be onto something in living this grace-life because the heart change is there and as a result the fruit is there.”

Sure, I could have gone and apologized to my daughter just to check it off my spiritual to-do list, but could have, at the same time, still been holding bitterness in my heart toward her.

Would that be freedom though? No. And this is not the fruit we experience when living the grace-life because living the grace-life – receiving God‘s grace for ourselves all day long whether we are having a good day or a bad day – produces heart change in us. When a person’s heart is changed they don’t have the same wants and desires. It’s all about the heart.

It’s hard to understand why a person goes on living in bondage and doesn’t stop to ask themselves if they are really free, but then again it’s not hard to understand because I did it for years before I got a grace revelation. I was so blinded until God opened up my eyes so that is what we are praying for others who we know are still living in bondage – that the blinders will fall off.

I hope you are one of those who is enjoying the freedom that Jesus died to give you, including His very own peace that He left you. (see John 14:27). But if you’re not, don’t feel condemned. I am never about putting condemnation on people. The truth is, guilt & condemnation must go before a person can truly be free.

I myself feel like I just recently went deeper in my relationship with God, but before this I was in a season of experiencing more anxiety and frustration.

After being kind of angry for a while and even spouting off things like, “my life never works” or “if it’s not one thing, it’s something else,” I had to say to myself, “Sandra, you’re not living in the freedom Jesus died to give you and it’s not because of your circumstances. It’s the fact that you have gotten your eyes off of Jesus and you’re focusing on the wind and the waves in life. Go back to that sweet communion with Jesus.”

Once I did, of course peace returned because relationship with Jesus is what it’s all about. People everywhere are trying to achieve happiness, satisfaction and contentment from anything and everything imaginable but nothing will ever fill a person utterly and completely except relationship with God!

When I made this shift once again from self-effort living back to relationship-with-God living, my whole perspective changed.

I’ve made it through lots of different struggles over the past month and I’ve been able to stay in peace because my best friend, Jesus, was with me and we’ve kept this ongoing communication with each other!

Here’s a great example to go along with this post:

Today, I watched as several kids, who had also been at the airport since 5:30am this morning like me,  just went on playing, giggling and having a great time. They did this even though things weren’t going the way they planned. I believe the reason they were able to do this is because they trusted that their parents were going to make sure they got safely to their final destination.

This is exactly what helps us not to be overwhelmed in times when we could be – simply trusting that our heavenly Father is going to take care of us and make sure we get to each destination He has planned for us! And by the way, His plans for us are all good plans. Nothing but good!

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Let’s enjoy God and let our reactions to life come out of our union with Him. I just know we’re going to love the results!

We can come to Him just like a little child and trust Him.

It’s a one step program, my friend, and His name is Jesus!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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