Take a Bite

A few of my journal musings from our 40 day Daniel fast.

Isaiah 58:6-12  “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them,  and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Day One The internet is alive with Daniel fast recipes, blogs, thoughts, ideas, advice, forums, debates. My aim is to avoid these. (Except for recipe ideas;)  Today I kicked off with barley and spicy tomato soup. Whilst it was for us fasters, the kids devoured it with Emily declaring ‘Mom, you can really cook’!

During this time I aim to allow Him the chance to speak into my life to see if there is anything within that is cluttering up His ‘well spring’ of life

Day Two I realize how a drive thru coffee is part of my psyche.

One of the key areas of praying during this 40 days is to focus on our years. So, Day 5=5 years old etc. The aim is to reflect on and rejoice over or redeem those years. Not unnecessarily digging and searching healed situations, but allow the Spirit to shine light into areas.

Day Three ‘Why are you fasting mom, don’t you know Jesus enough’?

Top tip. Wean off caffeine before the fast. I stopped abruptly, Phil wisely weaned.

Day Four My head rages, my stomach cramps. My malaise body hates me. I’m lethargic. My skin is dry. Time to hit those forums for a minute or two. Yes… Common ‘withdrawal’ symptoms. I really thought I was healthy before this… It feels like a holistic cleanse. As my body reacts and kicks out dependency so do attitudes, behaviors and emotions surface. The light shines brightly on them, a little too brightly.

An uncomfortable place to be.

Day Five I am reminded today of when I started school and felt complete, traumatic separation from my Mom. I remember chasing after her, my stomach churning, tears burning. Separation sickness. Today I pray for those separated.  Those who are apart from loved ones. Those whose hearts are separated from their creator, that they would grasp the truth of the love of Father God. The estranged will be restored.

I’m naming names.                                                                                                                

Day Seven I went to Starbucks with a friend. The Christmas drinks were 2 for 1. The aroma was pounding my every pore. It was a feast to my born again senses. Eggnog, pumpkin spice, peppermint mocha…breathe it in.

Day Eight Headache finally subsided. I cannot believe it! Very worrying…

Day Ten Good grief? I think so.

Day Eleven We are both finding that sleep and waking comes easier, with natural chemicals doing their thing. Sharp as the lemon in my hot water.

Day Twelve Saying no to food at a Mennonite banquet is not acceptable. Particularly when those serving like to ‘Bless the Pastor’ with more. Our children enjoyed the more…

Day Thirteen It’s not a diet it’s a fast!! I’m not eating sugar, bread, any chemical goodness, not drinking anything but water. I don’t know about you but that speaks to me of abstinence.

‘Do you miss a glass of wine in the evening’? ‘No, I miss a cup of tea in the morning’

Day Sixteen Regret. This could crop up across various years. 16 in particular. The coulda been. The what ifs. The if only. Hmmm.  The great Aslan says that “it is not given to man to know what might have been…”       I know my decisions are anticipated whether ignorant or rebellious and I am thankful for a transformed mind in this area. I choose to focus on his grace and power not my limitations and failures. I pray you will grasp the will of God to be thankful for where you find yourself this day. The paralysing effect of regret is not Gods will for your life.

Day Seventeen The year of my salvation. Stopped in my wild tracks and wooed by the lover of soul. I listened. Pursuing an alternative wildness. I’ve valued reflecting on the journey to salvation.

Day Eighteen Away for the night. Godspace. breathe. I realise 18 days in, the fast soon becomes a way of life. Where my body is not reacting to the change as it did. Where cravings are less. I need to push in more. To dig deep into God’s word. Praying breakthrough for the church.

Day Nineteen God’s kingdom, like a water table, lies just below the surface of our lives. May springs break out and wells be opened up. Gerard Kelly

Yes they may. Yes, yes, yes.

Day Twenty Halfway. Whoop.

Day TwentyOne Could quite easily give up now. I think I’d have the ‘what did I miss’ not a guilt trip or a failure thing but I know in a kingdom perspective there is much to be achieved.

So yes, a marathon it is, but Christmas is coming!

Day TwentyThree The busiest 2 weeks of our church life are coming up. If ever there was a time to fast for our church it’s now. As thousands of visitors come through for Living Nativity or Christmas Eve, we pray it’s not only their tradition or a feel good activity but that the presence and light and love of God will shine into hearts.

Day TwentyFour I’m baking cookies. I don’t even lick the spoon… I’m beginning to wonder if I will be changed for good. That this will be my way of life now. This design. Is this the way it should be?

Day TwentySix Psalm 139: 23-24 – Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.

Day Thirty Intentional. Demands are still the same. You have to carve out time. To linger, journal, ponder. That’s the challenge. Or is it? Discipline is discipline.

Day ThirtyFour “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Oh I’m in love. Shhhhh. Can you hear your song? A love song written for you. For some of you it’s not a language you’re used to.  The heart speaks a language of love.

Day ThirtyFive Unprocessed times with Christ have to be priority.

Day ThirtySix I love the personal nature of fasting, the discretion, the understanding of it being a  meaningless spiritual activity without Gods blessing on it. Each individual must discern their own requirement of a fast. For some it’s a day of water, others 3 days of juice, the next person 21 days…  It’s not about how long or how much. Take encouragement from  the Desert Fathers: the hegumen (abbot) would send his monks to their cells far apart from each other in the desert during the fast, so no one knew what the others were or were not doing in this regard. Another cave dweller was Catherine of Siena. She was given to fasting and to the LORD in intimacy and fellowship. Catherine began an active ministry to the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned of Siena. Result.

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”

Back to my cave.

Day ThirtySeven Tough day. I’m surrounded by feasting delights. I choose fasting delights for 3 more days.

Day ThirtyEight Advent. Waiting. It’s not about me…

Day Forty Fast complete. Thankful.

Day FortyOne Full.

For You
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

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