Sunday, September 12, 2010

So Fast

This past week my pastor called our church to a time of prayer and fasting.

It's my belief that fasting is something that really has to be done with the right intentions and purposes. I have many times considered or even started a fast only to be out of determination by dinner time. I've thought about doing fasts because it would be a good way to start a diet, or because I would have some other ulterior motivation, and never, ever would it work out or last.

Only once in my life did I ever experience a truly successful fast. Maybe that's a word to my spiritual condition? But I don't think so, what I really think is that the source behind a truly successful fast has to be the Lord. It has to be something He initiates, or at the very least, He sustains. Yes, it is our discipline, but it is by His strength.

The first successful fast I experienced was back in the fall of 2003. 2 1/2 years in to Ethan's adoption a birth father came back into the picture and battled us to regain custody. In the heat of the stress and battle I awoke in the middle of the night and as I lay in bed in my room in the dark, I heard the Lord tell me to fast for three days, so I did. I sailed through the process, and when it was finally over, within a matter of days everything turned around in E's adoption. God purposed it, initiated it and sustained it, and it was successful and effective.

This time there was no personal waking in the middle of the night, but when I heard my pastor's call to it, as I thought/ prayed about it, my thought was, that we are called to submit to our spiritual leaders. I felt like the fact that that's where my mind was led, was that the Lord was encouraging me to submit to my pastor's direction, and participate in the fast, so I did.

We were called to 4 days of prayer and fasting, and each night, Tuesday through Thursday, there was a prayer meeting at church. As a family we decided to go on a media fast. We had no TV on and no computer time except for one hour a day (Neal and I have been watching Big Brother, and we didn't want to get behind.) In addition to the family fast I decided to fast food.

Because of a medical condition that I have, I do have some blood sugar issues. My blood sugar can take sudden dips and drops. A while back when I was consistently drinking vitamin waters that had lots of carbohydrates in them, I was super sickly and sluggish. So I had an interesting combination of challenges with needing some sugars to keep my blood sugar from dropping too low, but also I could not consistently drink juices or vitamin waters because too much sugar raises my insulin level too high, and then my level drops even lower.

So my solution to this challenge was drinking primarily water, and when I would feel my blood sugar drop and get the woozy off kilter feeling, I would take a swig of fruit juice to try to level things out. It worked pretty well. I never finished more than a single can/ bottle of juice on any given day.

Unlike the other fast I felt called to, I didn't sail through, but it was much easier than I expected. I had moments of really low blood sugar when I would feel dizzy, almost drunk like or sluggish, but I was able to bounce back.

Unlike the first fast, when I knew exactly what I was seeking God for, it was a specific seeking for a specific prayer, this time, I was just seeking Him. I didn't have a specific agenda in my prayers, I just sought the Lord. When I would go to the prayer meetings at church, I would pray the specific directions we were led in, but on my own, I didn't have an agenda, or want list I was following, I just sought Him.

Wednesday evening my "partner" in the fast got really sick and she had to eat Thursday. I was torn between wanting to quit too, and then not wanting to because I didn't want her to feel bad that I did. In the end, I persevered. But I can't take any credit. Sincerely, I know apart from the strength of the Lord, I would never have made it through. I felt my flesh rise again and again, and I would feel the Lord helping me press through.

It was a long week physically, but emotionally, it was a rise and fall week that made my blood sugar seem static. As I sought Him, He sought to do a lot of work in me.

He spoke, He convicted, He revealed.

He touched places that have been untouched for a long time. Did work I didn't even realize I needed done.

I had some amazing times of prayer. I had moments where I would feel His presence fall mightily.

Throughout the whole week I felt like what I imagine someone on a mountain climb might feel. Ascending an incline, you can't see the summit, and yet you know it's there and you know you're drawing closer. As you press on through challenging resistance, you push through the pain and discomfort because you know you're almost there. Someone climbing a high mountain peak, when you reach the summit, the entire view will change. Standing on the top, looking out at a valley down below, getting a distant view of where the journey on will lead.

I picture this sense of looking down and seeing the generality of what lies ahead, but not being able to fully comprehend the intimacy of the terrain, or city that is below. Atop the mountain, the journey isn't over, but you've reached a turning point in the journey. That is the way I feel about the last week. I by no means have reached an ultimate destination, but there is an exhilaration in having gotten to the place I did this past week. It was an arrival of sorts in that I pressed through a difficult stretch of my longer journey, and I can sort of see off in the distance this beautiful place up ahead, a place I know I want to go. And as I look around, I realize, "I got here, I can keep going."

This week was a crazy emotional week. Super highs, and painful lows, times when I felt like I could soar, and times when I felt like a puddle someone ought to just mop up and dispose of, or maybe already had. But in the end, the Lord had done a good work.

Friday night at the last prayer meeting, as I closed my eyes to sing during worship, I had this strange sensation, as though I were taller. I literally felt like I was greater in stature. It was like the Lord had removed something that had been weighing me down. Perhaps he took off a pack that I should not carry for the next leg of the journey that still waits ahead. A leg I look forward to with anticipation. God's going to continue the good work He has begun, because He promised He would. (Philippians 1:6)

Saturday evening my honorary kid who I hadn't seen much during the difficult week came and hung out with us. As he sat next to me at the Angel game he stopped me to speak. He said, "I don't want this to sound wrong, or prideful or anything, but you're different." It was a high compliment, and I took it that way.

I pray it is truly a lasting change. I pray it's not just an afterglow. What I sense in my spirit, I long for it to last. It has been a good work this week, and all the work of the Lord.

1 comment:

Christine said...


Thank you for sharing. It always gives me a lift!