Picking up on Jan. 26th...one thing I'd like to add about fasting is....fasting is NOT to twist God's arm or put on a show to impress Him (or anyone else for that matter)....the goal is to line up your heart with God's heart...and by doing that and joining with Him in unity during that time...this immense power is unleashed. Fasting sharpens our focus on prayer. Not everyone choses to fast from food....but all of us can eliminate something from our diet or our routines and let God grab our spiritual attention that we so commonly cloud up with "other" things.
Last year was the first year that I fasted. Now I have taken breaks from social media before...but more from conviction of over use...I had never fasted in the form of the right posture of my heart until last year. My husband and I chose to each fast from "sweets" last year and I too refrained from social media...not so much in the fast form but because along with fasting comes prayer...and I know myself all to well and if I am to be praying, seeking, and listening during these 21 days with the most intention that I have...then I knew that social media would just distract me from being that much more devoted in prayer. So this year I also took a break from social media but the fast I chose to do was the Daniel Fast.
Last year when I was still breastfeeding Lyric and I didn't want to do a major food fast but this year I knew in my heart that I was seeking major stuff and wanted to place myself in a major fast.
The Daniel Plan is based out of Daniel in the bible who fasted for 40 days. There is a book called The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren and that is the fast I did (for 21 days only). There is also a journal with a daily devotional and places to keep record of your food choices, your fitness, and of course your prayers. When you do this fast you are giving up coffee(ahhhh the biggest thing I struggled with when it came to agreeing to God to do this fast), sugar, red meat, processed food, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol....what you CAN have is....Water(or decafinated green and black teas), chicken, turkey(from the bird not the package), veggies, fruits, sweet potatoes, nuts, beans, natural peanut butter, eggs, salmon, whole wheat bread, quina, brown rice, hummus, and I think a few other things that I didn't dip into...these above are mainly what I ate (except the salmon and turkey...never got around to making or ordering that.)
Now that the logistics are laid out there....let me set this up by saying I was by no means excited at first about this fast....but for some reason I had a strong hankering in my spirit that I needed to do it. Even weeks leading up to it my hubby said "Are you really going to do this"..."you're not going to lose weight are you"?!? And I toiled and toiled and toiled with the fact of well I could do it IF I could just still have coffee....maybe I'd just do it all but the no coffee...BUT if it was easy...then I would be defeating the purpose. So the week before the fast I started "weaning" myself a little bit here and there...I started with having NO lattes! Only black coffee and only one-two cups a day. I skipped eating lots of sweets and started upping my veggie intake. The hard thing was I had just had the flu right after Christmas so I was hungry and knew that if I was going to fast that I needed to build up my strength and start eating right. SO all week I ate good....a lot healthier than I had been since the week before was Christmas! By the weekend I decided I was going to try to eat high calorie foods and try to gain 5 pounds before the fast because I definitely did not want to lose weight on this fast and because I had just had the flu. As the week went on God already was prepaing my heart and getting me more and more excited for the fast. Sunday January 3rd was a good service at church and when I got home I cleaned out my cupboard and got rid of all the stale things, bad things, and left overs and prepared some meals and healthy snacks for the up coming week. Let me add this tid bit of information....Sunday was the first day Lyric didn't take a nap....which I thought was caused by big brother Lane being distraction since they share a room...but I'll come back to that later.
Monday morning I woke up ready for action. I set my goals for what I was fasting from, why I was fasting and spent my time with God. I even weighed myself (which you do the first day, 10 days into it and then at 20 days) and had succeeded in gaining 6 lbs! I was above my average weight and excited for the challenge...and excited to feel the healthiest I had ever felt...I was actually excited to eat "whole" real food and I was MOST excited to start seeking God and feeling His presence like never before. Monday was a good morning (minus the slight nagging no caffenine head ache...those headaches stayed persistent for 7 full days)
But Monday afternoon was a different situation....it was Lane's first day back to school after Christmas break and Luke's too! I loved on my Lyric like never before and we had some great one on one time. But in the afternoon...screaming and crying...no napping and super fussy! Then at bed THE. SAME. THING! This was not our baby and of course had me very distracted. So Tuesday I took him to the doctor to get him a check up (even though he had no fever and actually the runny nose he had for the couple weeks prior had subsided). Well low and behold...sweet Lyric had a double ear infection! His first one ever and our pediatrician said his right ear was very bad. I felt terrible! He showed no signs of being sick. Off to the pharmacy I went for his medicine. Day after day after day through out this week...Lyric would not nap or go to bed easy...and was not sleeping through the night. The poor baby could not lay flat from all the pressure from the fluid. After super hard non stop crying Thursday afternoon I called the doctor back and they said for me to give him benedryal at bed along with his amoxicillian to see if this would help assist in drying up the fluid and the pressure in his ear canal. Thursday night was a little better and by Friday he finally napped, went to bed without crying, and slept through the night. I had to rebuke the devil from our house and we had to do spiritual warfare against this attack! We still had our small group here inspite of a stressful week and we all prayed together that we would keep the devil under our feet and let nothing get in the way of us all fasting (from differnt things) and seeking God!
SO thankful for our small group!
Saturday he was like a whole new baby and I was like a whole new momma.
We spent the day relaxing and healing as a family and it was much needed.
The next day...we went to church(and got to get out of the house) and we heard an amazing message on being "Connected to your Purpose". It was absolutely wonderful.
When I started this fast I started a journal. I started the day before and wrote down what I was seeking...but I decided to leave that from this blog because now that the fast is over I feel like that is something that God has in His hands and I'd just like to keep it right there!
I set a goal to develop a balance with Sugar! I laid down my addiction to sweets and coffee! I want to still enjoy them in life but more minimally and in much moderation and after this fast I plan on having 1-2 cups of black coffee a day, and dessert, candy or treats one at time! (NOT eating a whole bunch of cookies for breakfast and lunch!) Back to the 5 food groups! NOURISHMENT! Fuel for our body is what is important! And raising these boys with the best intentions a chef and baking momma can have!
I have been blessed(well I think it is a blessing) to be a person that has A LOT of energy. And I know that (when that) energy is focused it has enourmous power.
I want to spend time reading my bible and with Christ at least for 15 minutes each morning and I want to get in the habit of journaling again! I want to be listening to worship music at least once a day (which is usually the norm around here because my husband is on the worship team at our church and he is always playing, practicing, listening etc and I have a kids worship cd in our car that the boys love and we listen too.) And to continue to exercise 3 days a week like I already had been!(I did skip lots of cardio on this fast because I knew with a lower carb diet skipping that would be best for me!)
My theme Song for this fast that God laid on my heart was "Keep making me" by sidewalk prophets.
"Til you are my one desire, til you are my one true love, til you are my breath, my everything, Lord please keep making me."
My desire is for the the Lord to be the manager of my life...to surrender to His will and not my own. AND to rest in His amazing grace.
I had been praying for God to give me a word....He gave our pastor a word for our church for the year, another pastor I love to listen to online He prayed for a word for the year for his church and I too wanted a word too.
I would need to do a whole septerate post on all the ways he revealed it to me....but after many reassuing moments...the word he gave me was SIMPLE!
This word was something I prayed and sought after during my fast too!
The 21 days wasn't SIMPLE. It was amazing! And it was more than I could have asked for or imagined. I didn't really talk about it a whole lot to my friends, family, or even my hubby during the fast because it wasn't about anyone else...their thoughts...their approval...or my pride.
It was about me and God(period).
I am thankful though for the encouragement from the people that did know and the love of my sweet hubby who didn't set the coffee pot for the mornings to tempt me to a super yummy smelling house of coffee aroma sure Casey's appreciated his business of the past month.
I learned so much about myself during these past 21 days. I have learned to praise God for what He gave me and for what He hasn't given me. I have learned that what I have and where I'm at is exactly what I need for this season in my life. I have learned that I am enough because He is (and always has been) MORE than enough. I learned a deep contentment within me that was longing to be on the forefront of my daily life. I have learned that it's not about what's next but about what's right now. I have learned not to take for granted what I have while thinking about what is next...because I don't ever want to have to experience what's gone to make me realize how amazing what "was".
I could go on and on and on about more that He revealed to me but in a nut shell I have a new found, refreshed sense of contentment, peace, and gratitude of abiding in an ever striving world. I have refocused my heart to be Jesus centered in a self centered world and I pray I can continue to stay that way as the world spins around me.
As for now...I DID have an amazing piece of chocolate brownie birthday cake my mom made for me and I froze (my birthday was during the fast so I had no cake) and coffee yesterday (one day post fast) for breakfast!(At 5:15 am...which wasn't too bad...my hubs thought I'd be up eating it at 3:00am! haha!)And today I enjoyed the caramel brownies my sis had made for my birthday and I will continue to feast and enjoy sugar and my daily coffee AS WELL as my new found like for veggies and hummus and trying to keep a well balanced intake for "good for you" foods that I often never thought about before! I think I ate more "greens" and super foods this month than I have in the combined past 6 months! LOL! I have been a pretty healthy eater this past year...BUT healthy stuff I like...not like vegtables and stuff! So this is so great that now I am actually liking more stuff like that. EGGS!
And I started...
a new book yesterday to continue in my commitment to reading, journaling, and staying in God's word and I am so excited about that daily habit that was created as well!
God is big enough to move a mountain...and I get that with my whole heart...but I also know that I am a fleshly human...and the suggestion of it taking 21 days to make a habit and 21 days to break a habit really resonates with me and with His strength and my obedience I am looking forward to the new habits I have developed and broke and to a super "sweet