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.