During my sixth and seventh years of life our family lived in Glassboro, NJ. I can’t say I have a lot of memories of those years but among them are the woods behind our house that served as our playground; woods filled with poison ivy and a path that led to the sewage treatment plant, scientific experiments that included slugs and salt, the beautiful teenage girl that fascinated me when she used orange juice cans to curl her hair, mom giving piano lessons to Steve, the Sunday night dad and a couple of laymen staked out the dark church hoping to catch whomever was stealing the altar flowers every week and my introduction to fasting.
Wednesday nights were called “Prayer and Fasting” and since our home was dubbed “the parsonage,” you can be sure we participated. I don’t recall mom and dad eating anything but, since there were four children between the ages of 4 and 9, some semblance of dinner had to be served.
Among my facebook friends there are many who would give a hearty “yes” to the question “Can I get a witness?” regarding the culinary skills of my mother. She could compete with any 5 star chef. Not only that, she has always been the master of creating fellowship memories around a table filled with incredible food.
But my memory serves a very different story when it came to our Wednesday fasts. I remember long faces staring at bowls of soup and no homemade bread in sight. I also remember the night mom cut and fried an eggplant so that we thought we were getting the very rare treat of French fries. Suffice it to say that my brother Dave never did take well to food trickery and he is still bitter about this event in his life.
I don’t know if it was my early childhood experience or the fact that I’m one who can get busy on a project and simply forget to eat but, I have never been one to fast. Enter early November, 2013. Forty five years after the eggplant debacle. And God, as only God can, began speaking to my heart about a fast.
My heart had been growing increasingly heavy regarding a personal situation that was not resolving with me in charge. Fancy that! Because I skip meals by nature, God was asking me to fast sweets…through the holidays…and trust HIM to work out my concerns. So there I was, already with all of our decorations in storage and now facing the choice of obedience regarding the absence of cookies, cakes and cheesecakes. I love sweets. Even more, I love Christmas sweets.
You know what is so interesting? When I made the choice to obey, giving up the sweets was not even difficult. It was the obedience part that was most difficult – the first step. Then God took over. And in His loving way, He put a guard over my mouth regarding the situation and He worked all things for good as I committed the situation to Him through prayer.
My plea was not immediately resolved. It was a process. But the process now belonged to Him. My hands were off. His hands were on. Things were now in proper order.
Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.