Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This past April marked the second time in my life I fasted. The first being the previous year. Though I’d obviously heard about others fasting in my adult life over the years, it was never something that interested me beyond the wonder of why someone would what to do such a thing. Frankly, I was glad it was not my “religion” to do so.
In 2008 my church challenged the congregation to fast for five days. Their reason was so we could identify with those that are hungry in Africa. Well, that certainly wasn’t for me. After all, I had three young children and a husband to feed, and a busy life to live. There was no way fasting could possible fit in.
In 2009 our church once again asked those of us in the congregation to join them in fasting. What the pastor said this time hit home…
“If you’re not going to do it, you need to ask yourself why?”
Of course I could come up all the excuses why not too…but when I thought about it, they were exactly that. Excuses! Did those in Africa have the opportunity for excuses not too?
In 2009 I started my first ever fasting. The challenge…only water, a cup of oat meal in the morning, and a cup of beans and rice for lunch, and then again for dinner. My twelve-year-old daughter decided she’d take the challenge as well.
In the beginning it was more of a challenge to remember NOT to eat in-between meals. Habit, habit, habit. As time went on the hunger set in. I was getting in the habit of not being able to eat between meals but now my stomach was letting me know I was eating much less then I was use to. Every time I felt those hunger pains, I thought of those in Africa.
By the end of the week my energy level was low, my hunger pains constant. At least I didn’t have to work. Though I still needed to maintain life, at least I didn’t have a job I had to deal with on such low energy. I once again thought of the children in Africa. They have to walk miles in the heat, often with no shoes, carrying heavy containers on their heads filled with water!
In the end, my daughter and I made it through the challenge. I was so proud of her. As it was she doesn’t like oatmeal or beans so she’d only ate rice the entire time, all the while maintaining school and her activities.
The following year in 2010 our church once again challenged us to fast for five days. This time without hesitation I knew I was in. There would be no more excuse for me. The first time was an experience all unto itself. There will never be a first experience, again but the second time had its own uniqueness. In ways it was easier, and in others harder.
For me, it was a challenge that left me forever changed. I learned of strength and perseverance within myself, as much as the many blessings I have in the very basics of life.
God is good!