Two Steps Forward…

Can I tell you a secret? I’m so excited this week—and God stands smack dab in the middle of it.

Back in November of 2013, our church decided to fast and pray over a period of three weeks for God to work breakthroughs in both the congregation as a whole and in our individual lives. Now, before you start biting your fingernails, I’m not going to get into all the nitty-gritty about fasting and the how’s and why’s and all that. That’s not what this post is about. Suffice it to say, you can fast from anything for any length of time—though preferably in an area of your life in which giving something up is going to sting a little; where you might need to lean on God’s strength to get you through moments of weakness. (Imagine that!)

So when our lead pastor urged us to begin thinking about what we might fast from, I naturally considered all the areas in my life that made the idea of a twenty-one day sacrifice uncomfortable. Um…all areas except food, that is. Long ago I had concluded that fasting from food was a ridiculous notion for someone as thin as me—and who tended to get the shakes when accidentally missing a meal (you know: on days when I don’t want to “waste time” preparing lunch because I have to pick up the kids from school in less than three hours and I have oh-so-many-things to accomplish before then!). And since I get the shakes, I shouldn’t skip meals on purpose, right? Right!

(Right?)

For years, I lived in complete harmony with my rationale; after all, one doesn’t need to fast from food in order to have a healthy relationship with God.

Unless, of course, God asks you to fast from food.

I might not have visibly slunk lower in my seat that day during the church service, but my stomach curled up in a fetal position and cried.

Seriously, Lord? You want me to fast from breakfast? But that’s my favorite meal of the day!let me play you a sad song on the world's smallest violin.  -Mr Krabs by batjas88

Whine.

But my mom says I’m already underweight! I can’t afford to lose any more ounces by skipping a meal.

Whine.

But, hang on, Lord. I run in the mornings. How am I supposed to run on an empty stomach and then wait until noon before replenishing my dwindling supply of nourishment?

Whine.

And wait!—there’s my women’s Bible study on Friday mornings, followed by my weekly stop at Wal Mart…and any other wayward errand I have to run. You know I get hungry watching Beth Moore…and sometimes I don’t return home to eat lunch until after one-thirty on those days!

Whine whine whine whine whine.

(Is anyone else playing the world’s saddest song on the world’s smallest violin?)

It might have continued in this manner had God not spoken through my thoughts: “Am I not the God of impossibilities?”

Well, yeah, Lord, of course You are.

“Don’t you think I could sustain you during the hours you’re fasting for Me? Even during a run? Even during Beth Moore and your errands?”

I…guess so. But—

“Then I think it’s time you stopped making excuses and trusted Me to provide for you. Besides, your faith could use a little more growth…”

You know what I did, right?

Yeah. I fasted from breakfast for three weeks. Nothing like making one more aware of God’s presence than when you’re relying on Him to give you strength and energy before, during, and after a 3-mile run.

But since I yearned for breakthrough in certain areas of my life, I wanted my fasting to reflect my earnestness. And I did need to exercise my trust and faith that God would carry me through the morning hours no matter what my schedule looked like on any given day. Three weeks later—not once did I have the shakes; and I don’t think I lost any weight (happy, Mom? 😉 ); and amazingly enough, most days I didn’t crave food, even come noon.

That God revealed Himself to me in awesome ways during those weeks would have been enough—but He didn’t stop there. Two days ago it suddenly hit me He’s been steadily blessing me with breakthrough throughout this last year in at least one of the major areas for which I cried out!

Because not only has He continued to sprinkle me with ideas for this blog which I stepped out in faith to start in 2014, but it was two days ago that I finished the first draft of a Christmas novel I had begun to write during the late spring of 2013. 97,000 words in twenty-one months. For those who have chugged out 50,000 words in one month for NaNoWriMo, twenty-one months might seem like an eternity. For me, it’s a record. A breakthrough.breaking-free It represents a bit of freedom from my perfectionist tendencies—a breaking free from suffocating demands and impractical expectations.

Most of all, this represents God at work in me. His answers to my heartfelt prayers remind me He listens. He cares. He loves. He’s pleased to bring me pleasure.

The Creator-God blessing His creation through creativity. May that which I fashion always bear His thumbprint.

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