Good morning on this chilly and rainy day! Our Lenten devotional for today comes to us from Cheryl Wilson. Cheryl is the Associate Vice Chancellor and Controller in the Financial Services Office here at TCU, and she also happens to be the Advisor for one or student religious organizations – the Baptist Student Ministry. Over the past few years I’ve come to know Cheryl largely through her role as Advisor to BSM. In that time I’ve experienced her genuine kindness and desire to support our students and their Campus Minister in the work they are doing on campus and in growing in their faith. A heart of gold, a warm smile, and an authentic desire to extend compassion to those she comes in contact with, Cheryl intentionally lives into her faith each day. I think her words for us today are evidence of that, as well as the fact that life need not be perfect in order for us to be thankful. I hope her words will open your mind and touch your heart today. Blessings on your journey…
March 10, 2016 By: Cheryl Wilson
Philippians 4: 6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Lent has been far different this year than I would have imagined in late January when I agreed to write my first Lenten devotional. My mother was unexpectedly hospitalized for a serious illness on February 4th. For most of the next two weeks, I was by her side at a hospital two hours from home. For much of that time, I couldn’t even seem to find the right words to pray. I was strengthened, though, knowing that so many dear friends and family members were praying just the right words on behalf of my mother and our family. What a blessing that when we are too weak and exhausted to even find the right words to pray, we can count on others and even Christ himself to intercede on our behalf. I was filled with comfort by that thought and by the words from Romans 8: 26-27: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Even knowing that friends, family, and Christ himself was interceding on my mother’s behalf, I have to admit that there were still many anxious moments, especially when I would awaken throughout the night. During those moments, instead of letting my mind race with all my anxious thoughts, I tried to focus on thanking God for specific blessings of that day. I realized that the way in which I could follow the instruction in Philippians 4:6 to “not be anxious about anything” could only be accomplished by presenting my requests to God by prayer and petition,with thanksgiving. Focusing on praying “with thanksgiving” truly helped replace my anxious thoughts with the peace of God.
I’m very thankful that my mother is at home now and recovering after her time in the hospital. After I returned home, I have continued to try to focus on being thankful when my anxious thoughts about family, work, and so many other things try to replace the peace of God in my life. During the remainder of this Lenten season, I am challenged to not only be thankful for my many physical blessings, but to be thankful for the most amazing blessing of all—God’s grace and forgiveness offered to us through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Thank you, God, for the gift of your Son and for your Spirit that intercedes on our behalf. May your peace guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.