Friends, I’ve got a story for you! It’s a miraculous story of how the amazing grace of God can affect our everyday lives!
I just returned back home last night from an awesome Grace XP Youth Rally at Healing Grace Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma with 5 teenage girls, including my own two girls.
We had a great time for the most part, except for that time when I broke down in tears and that other time when I completely lost it, calling myself an idiot…etc. Here’s how it came down.
I rented a minivan for the trip. It was the first time I’d ever driven a mini-van so that could have played into this, but let me just start out by saying, I am a confident driver, I enjoy driving, I’m relaxed when I drive and I feel like I’m a good driver, but this weekend…
I do not know what in the world happened but 3-4 times when I was simply trying to make a lane change from the left hand lane to the right hand lane I almost hit another vehicle. This is not normal. I can’t even remember the last time I did this. It was crazy. In fact, a couple days ago, after doing this for about the third time I literally broke down in tears right there in the minivan with the 5 girls I brought. They were all so understanding, sweet and encouraging to me!
Oh, we’re not done though…
Fast forward to the end of the rally where my iPhone got stolen at Incredible Pizza right before we left. We did use the find my phone feature that Apple has to try and locate the phone but it said it had been turned off so after looking for about an hour, we headed back to Missouri, but before we did I saw a group of friends from the rally standing in the parking lot talking and the Holy Spirit led me to go over to them and ask for prayer in regards to our situation. I was already heading toward a negative mindset as I will explain in the next couple of paragraphs, so at this point, even though my feelings weren’t joining in, I walked over and asked Shelley, her husband and the others if they would pray with me.
Now, I want you to pay attention closely to this part of the blog post because I’m going to share with you what kind of thoughts I was allowing to roll around in my mind as I continued the long drive home.
I was not very happy with myself for leaving my phone laying somewhere at Incredible Pizza for someone else to steal so I felt aggravated at myself. Still yet, I prayed over the situation right there in the car with the 5 girls and asked God to help me recover my phone and told God I was choosing peace and trusting Him to work on my behalf while I rested in Him.
The problem was, I didn’t stay there for very long, but instead pretty quickly moved back into a “poor me mindset.”
“If it’s not one thing it’s another. Now I’m gonna have to spend over $1000 to get a new phone. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I did this.”
Or as my friend Nichole Marbach would say, “blah, blah, blah.”
My wonderful husband Steve, who did not have it in his plans to get on the phone with Apple Care for over an hour yesterday, gladly did it anyway and did not make me feel bad about my mistake at all – not in any way, shape or form! I am blessed! Steve gave me more bad news though when he told me that we had not purchased the loss/theft part of the insurance when we purchased my phone last November.
Oh boy! Sandra, who was in poor me mode, replied to Steve, “Wow, I can’t believe we did that? You would think we would be smarter than that.” I will say though I quickly corrected myself by telling him I shouldn’t be saying we because I distinctly remember Steve calling me and asking me, from the Apple store last November, if I wanted to include loss and theft insurance.
“Oh no, we won’t need that. I’ve never lost my phone before.”
So now I had this new thought that I should’ve chosen correctly to add the loss/theft protection on my mind in addition to all the other guilt-ridden thoughts that announced to me that I was anything but ok. They instead announced loud and clear that Sandra McCollom was lacking.
On top of all this I was also embracing fear that I would lose all my pictures again because what if the back up didn’t work like last November when we wiped my old phone before buying a new one and found out that I’d lost thousands of pictures and videos. Memories are very important to me and thank the Lord I was able to recover almost all of my memories from that loss through various means but it took me probably 6 months to complete that project. This time there would be no way to recover the new memories and although I knew they were being backed up properly, panic of going through this again struck my soul.
So let’s recap: I welcomed in a poor me mindset, an I’m not good enough mindset and frankly, an I’m not smart enough mindset.
Is this what the Bible says to do? Nope. Here’s what the Bible says.
“We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 (TPT)
Oh, I’m not done though…
About an hour or two after allowing this trash to roll around in my head I once again was attempting to change lanes and this time I very narrowly missed side swiping the van to my right. I would like to tell you that I remained in perfect peace but since I am 100% committed to being authentic and vulnerable I have to tell you that did not happen. Get ready. Brace yourself.
I lost it big time, friends. I began yelling at myself, putting myself down, calling myself names – specifically an idiot. It was loud and it was bad. I wasn’t yelling at anyone else in the van until my daughter Starr tried to get me to stop because she was embarrassed by my behavior at which point I began yelling at her too, telling her she didn’t care about me. “All you care about is impressing your friends.” I told you it was bad. They all had to endure my raving fit. Oh my daughters. They were so embarrassed. I had royally blown it. I kept spewing junk out of my mouth for the next couple of minutes… at least.
Oh my gosh, did I ever step off the throne and forget the royal position I hold in Christ. I even said, “You may as well drive yourselves to camp next year girls so I don’t kill anyone.” Did I mention I was furious with myself?
After I calmed down enough to talk, which took a while, I apologized to everyone in the car. I explained how sorry I was that they had to see and hear me in raging maniac mode. I took responsibility for my wrong actions and explained to the girls that I believe it stemmed from all of the guilt, condemnation and shame I had been embracing in the hours leading up to my outburst of anger.
Listen, I learned it from Pastor Joseph Prince years ago and it is the truth:
Right believing leads to right living and wrong believing leads to wrong living.
Learning this has helped me so much because I had outbursts of anger on a regular basis for years and never knew what the root cause of those outbursts were, but after learning this truth I began to take a step backwards whenever something like this happened and I began asking myself, “What lie have I been believing that led me to this place?” Sometimes it’s a lie about God that we are embracing, sometimes it’s a lie about ourself and at other times it’s a lie about someone else.
Here’s what I believe I should have done right at the beginning of the drive back home. What would have been so much better is if I would have stopped at a nice gas station, let the girls walk around inside for 5-10 minutes and sat in the car and really received peace from God regarding the cell phone situation. I could have placed it completely into His hands, but instead I plowed forward because in my mind “We needed to get home.”
I was so much more in self-effort mode than I was in trusting God mode.
We arrived home around 10:20 pm and searched the mini-van one last time for my phone before dropping it off at the rental company. Driving there, I noticed I was still being negative regarding the phone situation and was operating in unbelief, not trusting that God was able to help us find my phone. I repented right then and there while driving to the car rental place. I said, “God, I recognize right now that I am still not trusting You over this mistake I made. I said I believe You’ll work all things together for my good but I am not actually believing that You will. I choose to really, truly trust You right now in Jesus’ name. I let go of this situation and choose to rest so You can work this out on my behalf.”
I was also concerned about having to spend the money to get a new phone and although we have the money in our savings account it bugged me to think we were going to have to take it out of there because of me. Again, my husband never said one negative thing to me over this. In fact, at one point earlier in the day he said, “It’s Ok. It’s just money.”
So right as I was pulling into the car rental facility to leave the minivan keys in their drop box I said out loud, “It’s OK, Sandra. Your good heavenly Father owns it all and even if you have to take the money out of your savings account, it’s gonna be ok!” I’m actually crying right now while typing this as I recall the release I felt in that moment. The peace I had let go of returned.
That was the moment I genuinely let go of my mistake (of losing my phone) and really believed that God could and would take care of it.
Then the morning came!!! I opened up my computer this morning and noticed I had received an email from Apple’s Find My Phone feature giving an address of where my phone was last found. Steve, nor my girls, had received this information the day before so it was an unexpected email. I called Apple about it and Jacob said, “I would call the police in that county in Oklahoma and see if they can go to that house and retrieve your phone.”
I was like, “Oh my gosh, the police would do that. I had no idea.” I then proceeded to call Ponca City Oklahoma Police Department and was put through to Sergeant Hughs, who was extremely kind and patient with me explaining my story and truly cared about trying to get my phone back for me. I asked him if he minded if I told this story publicly and he said it was perfectly fine.
When I gave him the address to the house, he thought he recognized it because he had been there before. A 12 year old boy had stolen my phone and we believe his mother had full knowledge of it. He had hidden it in a box in the alley behind his house. The officer walked back there with him while he retrieved it. When Sergeant Hughs called me and said, “I found your phone,” I screamed, “Thank You God!!!!” And, of course, I profusely (meaning: to a large degree) thanked the officer too!
He’s going to mail it back to me tomorrow morning after he gets into the office and talks to his boss.
Now come on…only God could orchestrate my phone being found when it was hidden in a box in an alley 1.5 hours away from the Incredible Pizza where it was stolen!!!
I’m so thankful for Apple’s Find Your Phone feature on their iPhones and to Sergeant Hughs for genuinely caring about recovering my phone and saving me well over $1000. I’m also really grateful for that group of friends from the rally who prayed for me right there in the middle of Incredible Pizza’s parking lot. Wow, God’s goodness blows my mind.
You know what else blows my mind? The fact that God led me to call Apple Care back and ask them about that address on my email and how Jacob from Apple Care gave me the idea to call the police department and how God helped Sergeant Hughs find my phone even though I acted like a raving maniac yesterday and even though I spent most of the day in unbelief.
According to my deeds I did not deserve for my phone to be found, but it was found, not according to my deeds, but according to Jesus’ perfect life of obedience to His Father. You see, I’m living under the New Covenant of God’s Grace, not the Old Covenant of Law anymore. Under the old covenant, I would have gotten what I deserved but under the New Covenant I get what Jesus deserves. IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS!!
Hebrews 8:12-13 says,
12 And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”
13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means He has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.
Now, does that means there’s no consequences for sin. No it doesn’t. In fact, I was living out consequences on that long, miserable drive home. It was miserable because I was being super negative and believing lies. I lived out the consequence of knowing I had embarrassed my girls royally in front of their friends. And by the way, both them and their friends were gracious about the whole thing but, yes, there are most certainly consequences to our choices; BUT, BUT, BUT we never have to let our wrong choices bring us into a place of guilt, condemnation or shame. You read earlier in this post where me choosing these 3 poisons – guilt, condemnation & shame – got me into major trouble. This way of trying to pay for our sin is a dead end road and it always will be because it relies on our ability to be perfect in our behavior instead of relying on Jesus’ finished work.
I believe God can take our worst mistakes and work them into something beautiful. I’ve seen Him do it over and over in my life. This is why I sat for hours today writing out this miraculous story to share it with you…to point you to Jesus!
Now I want you to hear the results of being Jesus-conscious as opposed to being sin-conscious. I want you to hear the results of a person (me) who knows she’s been forgiven of much.
When I heard the details of the boy stealing my phone I felt no anger toward him or his mom. In fact, Steve and I were talking about it and he said, “I wonder if she’s a single mother?” We know the reason anyone steals is because that person has a fear of lack in their life. So Steve, myself, Angel and Starr prayed for this family. We prayed that they would meet the God we know and come into the understanding that He wants to take care of their every need. We prayed that they would not steal another thing, but like Zacchaeus, they would encounter Jesus in such a way that they would desire to give everything they’ve stolen back and more besides. We prayed that this family would no longer play the devil’s games but they would come into a living, vibrant, life transforming personal relationship with Jesus and their lives would be forever changed from intersecting with our lives. Do they know who we are? No. Do we know who they are? No. But our lives have still intersected because of the choice they made and because of the choice I eventually made to trust God to work on my behalf.
I prayed right in the beginning of this, after losing my phone, that God would cause all things to work together for our good according to Romans 8:28. I would say God is answering our prayers above and beyond anything that we could ever dare to hope, ask or think if a whole family can be saved in the process. Oh, and it will happen, because this girl right here is back in believing mode and she knows God hears her when she prays!!! God is so AWESOME!!!!!
Look out family who has been believing the lie that you are thieves. That’s lie is being dismantled today. You’re gonna be a family of world changers. Oh yes you will. The McCollom’s believe it!
Oh, and by the way, I think it’s hysterical that the last blog post I shared with you was on “Anger Management Made Easy.” What I shared on there is still true though, even though I messed up yesterday. That’s the whole point of the message. You can go back and watch for yourself (it’s a video) if you want to see what I’m talking about.
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!
Oh My Goodness Friend! What a testimony! God is so good and full of grace!! It makes me so happy that you got your phone back!! It makes me so happy that you experienced His mercy and grace and that you shared it with the world! You, my friend, amaze me!! Love you❤️
Thank you friend! I’m in awe of God’s goodness and grace once again, including the grace that He gave me today to get this story recorded. I pray it encourages many, many people. ❤️ Love you!!
Thank you for being so transparent. It is truly an encouraging word. God bless you.
You’re welcome, Margie. I’m glad you felt encouraged from reading this Good News! 👆
What an amazing testimony, thanks for sharing Sandra. Encouraging as I’ve been dealing with some wrong thinking this past week. I had to talk to myself out loud a few times. “Right believing leads to right living and wrong believing leads to wrong living.” is always a favorite to steer me back on track. It’s comforting to live under grace where God embraces us with His love. It’s all because of Jesus!!!
Awe, I’m so happy this blog post encouraged you, friend! God always knows!
Excellent read— full of Jesus. Thank you for being open and honest plus the gift of storytelling/writing so that we can be on the journey with you. Hope was rising up in me as I read. This is one that I should read once a week. You made grace so simple. It’s really that simple when we can stop, own those nasty thoughts and repent/renew our minds. Rolling thoughts… they are like a crazy train that finally runs off the rails. Gosh you just described what happens to all of us! I join with you for that lad and his… Read more »
You’re so welcome, friend! I’m so glad this helped you understand, in a deeper way, what receiving grace looks like in our everyday lives. It felt great to get back to writing. I enjoy it so much! ❤️
Hi Sandra, your post made me laugh because I can relate so much. I do the same & God is working on this with me. Thanks for your honesty & the truth, that because of Jesus ‘ finished work, we can rest & know that God never judges us. Beautiful post with a beautiful ending!
Amen! Because of Jesus! 🙌👆
God is right on time again. Thank you for writing this blog. I needed right now. So much drama. God will never leave us. God bless you and your family.
In the Name of Jesus I bless you, your family, your ministry. Amen.
God always knows exactly what we need! I’m so happy you feel encouraged from reading this blog post. 😁
Sandra – Wow!! What a story! How good it God!!! That’s my God too! I believe he will and has covered all of my mistakes, big and small. Thank you for sharing!
Funny thing I was going to text you pictures of Elephant Ears today, cause some of our small ones are getting bigger!
I’m getting ready to head outside soon and check on my flowers/plants. 😁 Thank you for blessing us with the elephant ears. As of last week before I left, they looked great! ❤️
Keep on writing, teaching and speaking. You have blessed me many times.
I sure will. It felt great to get back to writing yesterday. I really enjoy it and so glad you’ve been helped and encouraged! 😁 💕
So good Sandra! I was driving home Sunday after preaching in Shawnee and blew out a trailer tire. Usually I would be so mad and saying, “Why me?” and even getting upset with God for letting it happen. But I was calm and thought it happens! I changed the tire with the help of a very nice young police officer. My 7.5 hour trip become a 9.5 hour trip but I had total peace. I had some fear afterwards of it happening again but I prayed and received his peace. He is so good!
Woohoo – Freedom Living! It was great to catch up with you and talk about Jesus at the rally. My daughter Angel told me yesterday me she got a lot out of your message about being a light explosion to those around her and that her generation CAN make a difference! I know Starr was also blessed by being in your breakout group!
I loved this! Thank you for being so transparent. It helps me to want to be too. Our God is so good! God bless you!
You’re welcome, Joann! Yes He is! 😁
Wow, what an incredible story. Thank you for sharing. It’s crazy how God works things out, and you almost wonder if it hadn’t been His plan for you to loose your phone, just so you can share this with us. So even though you blamed yourself for a mistake you had made, it may have not been a mistake at all. God bless, thank you for being so real❤️🙏🏻🙌🏻☺️
Gina, thanks for sharing your thoughts!! Here are my thoughts on the matter: I don’t personally believe God caused me to lose my phone or even allowed it to be stolen on purpose, but what I do believe is what Jesus said which is, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NIV) I 100% believe that whenever we encounter trouble as a result of us living in a fallen world, God takes what satan meant for our harm… Read more »
Your absolutely right Sandra, now that you explained it, that didn’t come out quite the way I intended. God wouldn’t of made you loose your phone and stress out. He just made a way to retrieve it and always shows his love, grace and mercy.
Amen! 🎶 He’s a good, good Father. That’s who He is. And we’re loved by Him. That’s who we are. 🎶
It took me some time to get into the story, maybe my thoughts are all over the place..but I am thankful that I kept reading, I had to smile and thank Jesus, for your honest reports.
😂 😂 😂 – I totally get the ‘thoughts all over the place’ feeling! Glad you enjoyed it!