Lent Day 9

Day 9 February 26 – [S] Buy or find 5+ items for a food bank (deliver on March 28)

RO: One way we understand Jesus is the term “Son of God”. // Jesus is one person with two natures. The one nature is that he is human. The other is that he is divine. Fully human, fully divine, one person. // He offers himself eternally to the Father on our behalf. He forgives us of our sins and is forever offering that work that he on the cross to the Father in the love of the Holy Spirit. He is fully God. // Who is Jesus to you? Your understanding of Jesus Christ as the Son of God is very important. If he is not God then he is just a man who died on a cross. // It’s okay to have those nagging questions. Just know that God is big enough to answer those questions and he answers them definitely in the person of Jesus Christ who is fully human and also fully divine.

Esther C: 12, 14-16, 23-25

God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you

Matthew 7: 7-12

Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds” // “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”

Today is the day I have been excited for the most on the Lenten Calendar! I am not exactly sure why, but yes “excited” is the word for it. As I mentioned on Day 6 I called Operation Safety Net about donating clothes. On Tuesday they called me and let me know that clothes from Goodwill would be perfectly fine. I wanted to go shopping right then and there and then also on Wednesday, but had to be patient and wait until tonight. (I had wait for reasons such as: Nora typically runs thru the clothes racks, she intentionally runs away from me when I try to get her, and she laughs since I cannot catch her, therefore I had to wait until I could go without her.)

Perhaps it had to do with going shopping. But I suspect it really had to do with the good I knew I was helping to happen. I don’t  mean to say “the good I was doing” because I am just contributing to the good and those at Operation Safety Net are those doing the good.

I have this bad habit and definitely weakness for over-shopping for myself (hence what I’ve given up for Lent is online shopping). I’d say I think it makes me happy, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t because usually I end up praying to God to help me get past desiring stuff of this world and focus on Him. (Last Lent I even wrote a few prayers about this very subject, but here I am one year later and this struggle continues.)

But what I know brings me definite joy is shopping for others – especially when I know someone needs something. Usually it is for people like my family. But tonight in those racks at Goodwill I cannot explain the joy God filled my heart with. He gave me this peaceful feeling to say “Yes” to Him in each garment. Every time I found something on the list (sweater, sweatpants, coat, hat, gloves) I saw it, found it to be perfect, and placed it in my cart. Twice I worried about what the total bill would be, but each time my next thought was “No, do not worry. There is no amount you can spend that is not worth it.” And then I trusted in God.

Is a cold person on the street worth this $2 sweater? By all means that answer is “Yes”!

And so I should take a step back in my story, to the moment I left for the store. I went out to my car and found it to be covered with a light layer of snow/ice. I felt the cold the instant I was outside. But I had the luxury of turning my car on and going back inside the house to stay warm. A few minutes later I went back outside. For some reason I didn’t put gloves on despite the fact it is winter. I had to get the ice off of my windshield. In that one minute I was in the cold without gloves God’s message about what I was doing was clear. If I was cold in just one minute of being outside (yes, I was) imagine how someone who is homeless feels? I have never stepped outside in winter and not exclaimed “Man it’s cold!” as I bundled my coat tighter and made my hat more snug. But how often do I think about those that don’t have those things and those that have to live in winter not just live with winter? Not often.

Fortunately God gave me today to do something for Him. I was giddy in Goodwill when I found an entire shelf of winter hats. And no I don’t often get giddy (never+1 time) but I was. I couldn’t get the smile off of my face or stop saying “Oh this is perfect!” This just felt so right.

When I checked out the cashier lady said “Someone’s stocking up!” And I explained that it was for Operation Safety Net and they clothe the homeless. She said it was such a nice thing that I was doing, and I thanked her for saying that  – not because I wanted anyone to tell me I was doing a nice thing (God already let me know that) but before she thanked me she had told me her story: One winter she was unemployed, she has kids, she didn’t have warm enough clothes for them but Project Bundle Up helped her provide her kids with the clothes they needed. She was so appreciative that Project Bundle Up helped her in her time of need.

God brought me this person today. And I was so blessed to see it as it was happening, not just upon reflection. He didn’t have to make it so clear to me that I was doing what He wanted me to do today, but he did.

I know it sounds like a simple story. But to me it was so powerful. And it showed me that God can be simple. Knowing Him. Loving Him. Seeing Him. All simple things because He is in all things just waiting for us to recognize He’s there.

Can we sometimes forget how simple loving God can be? Yes (I don’t have to look any further than my experience on these other Lent days!) But despite our spiritual amnesia He waits for us to remember and come back to Him.

Now I know the Lenten Calendar said “food pantry” and this is not food. But I know this is something God wanted me to do today. I didn’t need a calendar to tell me to do it. That made me feel so full. And I will be delivering these items hopefully tomorrow since they need the items now since it is cold. So when it comes to March 28 I could easily go to my own pantry and grab 5+ items for delivery to the food pantry; that is what I plan to do that day. But right now I know this clothes substitution is where God has called me. And so humbly I follow.

2/27 Follow-up: During lunch time I dropped the clothes off at Operation Safety Net. Outside on the street it was sunny, quiet, just one other person was on the street. As I entered the doors and went downstairs there was a buzz; such a juxtaposition from the moment before. Many people were sitting at tables, staying warm, conversing. I stood for a minute waiting for the man to help me (he was busy with the mail and didn’t notice a few of us actually there waiting for him). I got his attention, he took care of me. I left. And I felt good about it for one minute until I realized that I definitely should have let the guy who was there before me go first! I felt like such a terrible person! I got so caught up in my own needs that I completely forgot about someone else — and that was even in a moment of “doing good”! Can I never learn anything from what God is trying to tell me? I should not place myself first no matter how important I think I am. I am not as important as I’d like to think I am. Let the last be first and the first be last…. I need to sheepishly move myself to the end of the queue…

Continue to Day 10