See this long, deep, ugly scratch on our car?
I was pulling out of my driveway a couple of weeks ago when I side-swiped my own mailbox. Seriously, who does that! Apparently I do and for some reason I have beaten up this particular car on a number of occasions.
I can’t seem to stop running into things, but thankfully, I have not actually hit any other cars or people, only my own house. No need to show my mailbox here though, because it looks like it’s been virtually untouched. Go figure.
The day I did this though, I was so excited about the reaction I had toward myself because of how different it was from the way it would have been a couple of years ago. Oh my, had it been a couple of years prior to this, before God set me on the beautiful journey of grace that I am currently on, I would have been so mad at myself and felt so guilty about it. I would have been putting myself down for this imperfection and most likely calling myself not-so-nice names. But the reaction I had on May 21st was completely different.
To my surprise, I did not feel one moment of anger toward myself that day. I was taking my girls to some classes and I actually kept laughing about what I had just done on the way there. It really was a great testimony to the power of God’s grace for my girls to see me stay calm and peaceful.
Another thing I very well may have done in the past or even could have done a few weeks ago when this happened, had I not been focusing on right believing in the days leading up to this event, was that I may have even blamed my 11 year old twin girls, saying they were talking to me and distracted me, causing me to hit the mailbox.
When we don’t feel good about ourselves because we don’t know who we are in Christ, it’s so hard to admit we are wrong and many times, in an effort to escape our guilty feelings, we blame others. This all changes as we become more solid in knowing who we are in Christ and in knowing how deeply loved we are by God. It doesn’t mean we are going to be perfect because of course, we don’t always believe right 100% of the time.
Sometimes we choose wrong believing, but what I’ve found to be true is that the longer I have been on this grace journey, the more often my mind is filled with right believing and right believing always leads to right living!
On May 21st, after I ran into my mailbox, I continued to drive my girls to their classes. For about the first 5 or 10 minutes I didn’t even know I had scratched the car, until my daughter Angel gasped as she saw the scratch in the side-view mirror outside the passengers seat.
As a result of God’s grace at work in my life, the first thing I felt that day was not anger or guilt or fear. The first thing I remember coming to my mind was, “That’s O.K, I am completely loved by God.” Then the second thing I remember thinking of was the following verse!
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (NLT)
In fact, after I dropped my girls off I started singing this verse. Something like, “I thank you God that You’re working this situation out for my good, I thank You God that You’re working this situation out for my good.” I sang it over and over and over again.
Then this thought came to my mind, “I should take a picture of the scratch and do a blog post so I can encourage others about how we can remain at rest, even in hard times, when we are living under God’s grace.
My friend, it’s such a beautiful thing to relax in God’s love for you and know that you are secure in who you are in Him and no mistake you ever make can shake you from that secure place in Christ.
God’s love truly does drive out every fear.” (1 John 4:18)
So I had made a decision to stay in rest regarding the whole situation. How was I able to do that? By God’s grace.
“But what do you mean when you say you were able to stay in rest by God’s grace, Sandra?” I am so glad you asked this question.
When a person is living under God’s grace that means they are going to be focusing often on everything that God’s grace is; therefore, other than allowing the devil to trip me up for a day or two (and that definitely happens sometimes), oftentimes I make the daily choice to stay surrendered to or yielded to God’s grace in my life and focus on His unmerited favor toward me (which is His grace)!
I didn’t start out doing this as frequently a couple of years ago when God first set me on this journey because I didn’t understand how amazing His grace was back then. But the more I started trusting in Him and His unmerited favor in my life instead of my own self-efforts, the more I saw the phenomenal results that accompanied this kind of lifestyle.
Then, on days when I would go back to doing things by my own self-efforts or trying to live life in my own strength I kept seeing over and over again that things never ended up good, or even if I could manage to get a good result once in a while, I noticed that this kind of lifestyle was always accompanied by anxiety and frustration as I busied myself trying to produce the result I wanted.
This is why the subtitle to my book that is coming out next year, in the Spring of 2015, is ‘From Anxiety and Frustration to Rest and Relaxation.’
The more I see the incredible results that go with a life lived by resting in God’s grace, the more I desire to continue in His grace!
Someone may ask, “Why didn’t you choose to live this kind of restful lifestyle all the other years in the past when you were almost constantly anxious and frustrated?” Another great question and one I have thought about often. I believe I have an answer.
First of all, I was very, very caught up in myself and living my life by my own self-efforts/in my own strength. I also lived with many misconceptions about the way I perceived God felt about me. I saw Him as a hard taskmaster, not a loving Father, which caused me to live in fear that I needed to do all these things to prove myself acceptable to Him.
The fear I lived with just caused me to try more and work harder, but no matter how hard I tried and no matter how much I worked, I never felt I was doing enough for God or even if I was doing a lot, I never felt I was doing it all right. That simply wasn’t acceptable to me.
I knew the word grace in my head, but I didn’t understand true grace in my heart and it wasn’t until I came to the point of exhaustion and decided to give up all my self-efforts one day late in December of 2011, telling God I could no longer live the Christian life and crying out to Him for help that my life began to change. I call this day my coming to the end of myself day or as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:24 (MSG) – “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope.”
This is when God came in as if to say, “Good Sandra. I have been waiting for this day. Now that you know you can’t do this on your own and you have cried out to Me for My help, let Me show you how the Christian life is meant to be lived and not only that, but how it can be lived from a place of great effectiveness, beyond anything you have ever imagined possible and how all this can be done from a place of complete rest in Me!”
Over time, from living under God’s grace, I have become less self-focused and more Jesus-focused and I am just beside myself with joy.
As you can see, the joy I am experiencing is not based on my circumstances. It’s based on Jesus and Jesus’ finished work on the cross. It’s based on God’s unconditional love for me, totally separate from any right or wrong that I do, which is why I could feel just as confident and peaceful after hitting the mailbox and scratching my car as I did before I made that mistake.
My focus that day was not on me after I did what I did. I immediately turned my focus to God and His goodness. In fact, I remember thinking, “Wow, this is so cool to be able to stay in peace right now after what I just did.” I was just thanking God all the way to the girls’ classes and all the way home.
That day, I had no idea what God had in store for me, but just knowing that He was with me and was never going to leave me gave me confidence that everything was going to work out fine.
As I said I would, I posted a photo of the scratch on my car along with an encouraging word via social media and the very next day something amazing happened! One of our Facebook friends names Greg, who Steve and I went to church with for years and years a long time ago, posted a comment on my Facebook page telling me that he works at an auto body shop near us and said, “Let me know when you want to get your car in and we will make it look new again. Don’t even worry about the money. We just count you as family.”
Another jaw dropping experience that is a regular part of our life now because our trust is no longer in ourselves, but in God’s unmerited favor. In other words, we didn’t do anything to deserve this blessing. It was simply a sheer act of God’s grace.
Still, just think about all the stress and anxiety and lack of sleep that I could have had over this seemingly bad circumstance that has actually turned into a testimony that will inspire many people. As you can see, it wasn’t necessary for me to go through any stress at all because God’s amazing grace was and always will be enough for anything and everything we ever encounter in life.
We just picked our car up a few days ago and look at this!
The scratch needed to be sanded out, they had to take a dent out of the door and the whole door panel had to be re-painted.
Who knows, this could have cost up to $1000 if we would have had to pay for it.
We even asked the company who fixed our car if they wanted us to mention the name of their company on Facebook and they said, “Nope, God has blessed us so much. We have work backed up for nine months.
Well, guess what, Steve and I are not the only ones who have benefitted from their generosity. Greg was telling us some stories and they do these kinds of things for people on a regular basis as the Lord leads them. All they wanted was for others to hear this testimony so God could be glorified!!
I WILL be spending the rest of my life telling people how good God is and how we can choose to enter His rest and live in this wonderful place of peace!
Just look what happened. When I decided to rest, God went to work on my behalf and this is one of so, so, so, many times that He has done this for the McCollom’s since the day that we made a decision to live by His grace alone!
YOU CAN enter into this place of resting in Christ as well and just stand back in awe and watch God work on your behalf!
The more you choose this lifestyle, the more you will see what it produces and the more addicted you will become to living this way!
Honestly, once a person gets a revelation of true grace it just naturally leads you to a place of wanting to live in it more and more often because you end up realizing, “I’d be crazy not to receive everything that my amazing Savior, Jesus, died to provide for me!’
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!