Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Making a Difference During Lent

Being a Protestant, Lent was never a big thing in the churches I have attended. But when we moved to Louisville, Kentucky in the 1980s, I had lots of Catholic friends there and they were a big influence on me in this area.  When we moved to Huntsville, Alabama, guess what? My sweet next door neighbor and good friend was also Catholic.  I laugh and say I am a closet Catholic. I love to read the early church fathers and I have learned a lot from watching television programs on EWTN. I am going to say that most Protestants shy away from anything that looks like we might be embracing works and as a result I think we miss some blessings.

Last year I decided to observe Lent in a little way and it was eye opening to me. I realized how world centered and Me centered I was/am. This year I decided to observe Lent in a more meaningful way, adding more prayer and almsgiving to this season.  Several bloggers have really encouraged me in my Lenten journey.

Dawn, at By Sun and Candlelight, shared some meaningful things to do each day of Lent. I "stole" a few of those. Catholic Icing is another blog that helps families really live their faith. Last year she did a post about Acts of Mercy. She suggested making up some comfort bags to have in your vehicle to share with the homeless. This really touched my heart but I did nothing about it...just thought to myself, Well that is nice.  But God did not leave me alone about this idea! So yesterday I made three comfort bags to keep in my car. Two for men and one for a lady. We do not see many homeless here in Decatur but we do see people with signs saying Willing to Work. The other day on our way home from School there was a lady standing near my home with such a sign. My heart was pricked that I had not done what the Lord had been impressing on my heart.

I started with three gallon ziplock bags.

I added these items to the bag. I found the large New Testaments at Lifeway Book Store for $2 each. I looked at some of the smaller testaments but even I had trouble reading the small print so I went with a larger size.

I put the crackers in a smaller bag. You can also use vienna sausages, granola bars etc. You need to change out the food if you do not use the bags in a timely manner.

I put the bags in this lock and lock container in my car. I noted the day they were prepared as well.

If you see a person who needs a bag you can just roll down your window and hand them the bag.  And yes, they may just toss it...or they may use everything but the Bible.  I am not responsible for their reaction but I am responsible for caring for others.

Another idea I have seen in the Blogosphere, is 40 bags in 40 days. Each day you take a garbage bag and clean an area of your home. You toss clutter but better yet, you can donate things you are not using to those who will use them.  Americans have big homes so they can store all the stuff they never use. Guilty!!!

I do not want to use this blog to be a Humble Bragger as one of my daughters so succintly puts it! I just want to share that I struggle like we all struggle to do the things God puts on my heart. I can find an excuse for disobedience and that is really what it all boils down to this morning.  One of my goals for 2016 was to heed the nudgings of God in my everyday life.   Lent is a good time to take a hard look at yourself and to realize that you are here for a purpose. I hope the disciplines that I practice during Lent will stick with me the rest of the year.


Sandy said...

Great ideas Arlene and you could never be thought of as a bragger. I have read every post the last week, but have been extremely busy so no time to post. I have read and enjoyed though:)

Arlene Grimm said...

Thank you Sandy. I do not want to make other people feel they have to do what I do! I am honestly trying to change some things that need changing. I have not posted many comments this week either. I am goint to try and go and post on all my fav blogs today though. I have a day at home with no grands.

Terri D said...

Arlene, I have seen those posts, too. The bags for homeless is such a great idea, as is the 40 items in 40 days project. Hopefully, our good works carry over to times other than just Lent! Beautiful post and not boastful at all!!

Mari said...

I appreciate this post - I agree that we try to stay too far away from works sometimes, and I really like the ideas you shared here.

Leslie Anne Tarabella said...

More and more protestant churches are observing Lent in one form or the other. It's a beautiful time to be mindful. I love your ideas and am doing the 40 bag thing - only I think it will be around 20! I'm trying!

doodles n daydreams said...

We always grew up observing Lent, I am an Anglican, but this year I haven't managed to get into the spirit of it at all.


Arlene Grimm said...

Thanks for your comments Ladies. I do not want to make anyone feel guilty about Lent but just sharing what has been meaningful to me. Terri I hope this does make me more mindful all year! Mari, I will report on my bags, hoping I get an opportunity to share them. Leslie Anne, Like you I will probably only do 20 or so bags. I have already done one area of my home. Diana, I think God leads us along in different ways and as we can go. I know I have found this in my own life.

Jenny Bonds said...

Being a Catholic convert (as opposed to a cradle Catholic) I'm like you Arlene. I have read and studied a lot of the dogma, catechism; and listened to EWTN to learn more. Being raised a Baptist I was "taught" that Catholics were "bad" folks who worshipped statues; etc. One of our summer Youth Ministers, seeking to broaden our young impressionable minds and horizons, took us to the monastery in Conyers GA one year. Oh, I can still remember how the deacons reacted! Needless to say he was fired. But it may have been the second seed planted in my heart ~ the first was when we visited the Vatican in Italy when I was 14. I was up close and personal with Michaelangelos' statue of St Peter where the faithful, through the years, have rubbed his foot smooth from touching it and kissing it. (yes I did, rub it, touch it, and kiss it).

Enjoying your blog

Arlene Grimm said...

Jenny, thanks for your sweet comment. I think we can all learn from one another in the body of Christ. I have read many of Scott Hahn's books and one of my favorite movies is The Way. Have you seen it? Thanks for stopping by!!