Lenten Devotion, Thursday, March 24, 2022

Published March 24, 2022 by Margie Ehlers

Because I Have Been Given Much

Cheese. It is one of my favorite foods and the first thing I ever gave up when I decided that I should give something up for Lent. To be honest, I had not taken the time to reflect, or even pray, about why I was giving up one of my favorite foods. Throughout Lent that year, I certainly felt that I was being faithful and doing it all right, especially when I had to intentionally decline any type of cheese. This feeling lasted until day 38, when I ate a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing at a work event. Once I realized what I had eaten, I immediately felt that the whole practice was for nothing because I had not made it the full 40 days. I understand now that I completely missed the point.

Looking back over the pandemic and the last two years, I realize I have felt often like I did during my first Lenten experience: being asked to give up favorites when I really didn't want to let them go, letting my focus remain on all I had lost, and honestly missing the point more often than I would like to admit.

For this Lenten season, one of the topics we are being asked to think about is God's faithfulness towards us. While preparing to write this devotion, I reflected on my pandemic journey. While thinking about God's faithfulness towards me, I finally began to focus on all I had been given as opposed to all I had been asked to give up. While I certainly had some major events happen during the past two years, I was surprised when I realized that I saw God's faithfulness more through the daily, quiet moments. During the slower pace of the pandemic, God illustrated his faithfulness to me through the beauty of his creation. One evening on a walk after a tough day, he reminded me of his promise to me through a rainbow in the park that seemed like it was placed there just for me. As I think back about God's faithfulness, I am humbled how he used that walk to remind me of his constant presence and everlasting promise to me.

God also showed me his faithfulness through the people in my life. Like many, I lost hours and was flexed down at work as COVID-19 spread. Now that enough time has passed, I am able to realize that God demonstrated his faithfulness to me through this extra time that allowed me to take daily bike rides with my children, to feed the turtles at our neighborhood bridge, and to make memories as we explored nearby state parks on random Wednesdays in the summer. God also revealed his faithfulness to me through friendships that were developed and strengthened during this time. Long walks with a close friend around the neighborhood and three-hour coffee outings, where we only ended because the cafe closed, served as much needed reminders how I am supported and not alone.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for revealing your faithfulness to me. May I be reminded of all I have been given as we prepare to remember your sacrifice and ultimate resurrection during this season. Amen.

Margie Ehlers works in the Employee Assistance Program at Texas Children's Hospital. Margie is proud to work with the MainKids on Wednesdays and Sundays and she sings in the Sanctuary Choir. She and her husband Tom are active members of the Journey class and together they have two children: Naomi (10) and Robby (8).