This week has truly been one of those “whaaaat is liiiiiiife?” kinda weeks. On so many levels. Irony? Check. Humor? Check. Happiness? Check. Frustration? Check… but oh, that frustration did not have victory. I mean, I don’t want to confuse you. It hasn’t been a bad week. One word to summarize it in? Weird. Just weird.
Fasting is something that’s supposed to be done in quiet. Jesus is pretty explicit about that. Wouldn’t you want someone you love to be a little more hush-hush about something that was just between you and them? But here’s the thing. This season of fasting brought more understanding and just all-around good stuff than ever before. So I’m gonna give Jesus some praise for what He’s done. (And why am I doing this today? Cause the fast is over now).
As a Methodist and Catholic school kid, I’ve been participating in fasts ever since about 6th grade. They’ve included everything from simply giving up Dr. Pepper, to all out abstaining from bread and sweets. But this is the first time that I’ve actually spent more time in prayer than what I was fasting from could amount to. And let me tell y’all, I love food. I take solace in food. Food is bae for me (and I hate the expression “bae”… it’s so dumb). So it’s a big deal. You get the point.
Y’all all know that I’m at a pretty “moldable” place in my life. Scratch that. I’m at a very vulnerable place in my life. I knew that I needed this fast, and I expected Jesus to move. It’s just always so interesting how He always makes moves that I could never guess Him making. Case in point: this past week.
For example: my mom and I went to the grocery store to pick up a few veggies to make ratatouille for supper. That’s the kind of trip that should take maybe 20 minutes, tops? But let me tell you. We saw everyone we knew that day. And even people we didn’t know. It was lovely, and so many great conversations were had. We loved it. However, by the time we finally left, 3 hours had passed. Not to mention, there we were, in the middle of a fast, enjoying the distraction from our hunger with friendly conversation, SURROUNDED BY FOOD GALORE IN A GROCERY STORE. This was the irony I was dealing with. But in the midst of that irony, a man that we didn’t know came to speak to us simply because he thought we were nice.
Before we pulled up to the grocery store, I had been telling my mom about some of my concerns, (ahem, worries, I’m ashamed to say), and she was reassuring me that the Lord has it all together. Well, this man, about mid 70’s, came to talk to us and he told me his secret to life. His secret y’all. He told me: “It’s all about God. If God is at the center of everything you will be alright.” He also told me that I should let God find my husband (as he noticed no ring on my finger), and he told us several stories about his life. It was exactly what I needed to hear from a stranger. Who knew? Total encouragement in the produce section. And not in the most conventional way (…I always feel like the less conventional it is, the more “neon sign” the Lord is being). It was like Jesus was nudging me, like, “See Chas? Told you. Hahaha”.
I’ve spent more time in prayer at 6 AM (braving the BITTER cold… I HATE the cold) for the past few weeks than I have in a long time. I forewent everything I took solace in.. and that went beyond just food. It was a total immersion in Jesus, and although I felt reduced to nothing, I’ve never been more overjoyed. There’s a lot of “I” in those sentences, but much like reducing and humbling teaches us, the truth is none of that is about me. It’s about Him, and how He loves us. And how fortunate are we, that He loves us in the most creative of ways?
Fasting brings us to our knees, and when we’re at these places in our lives things can get a little wirey. For example, my aunt Perri’s lunch she packed for Thomas (my cousin, in high school). They were fasting during these past few weeks, as well. They would come to prayer in the mornings with my mom and I, and one morning Perri told us this story. She said, “Oh y’all, I just have to tell you this story. Okay, so yesterday I packed this great lunch for Thomas. It had a corn and couscous salad, hummus, some veggies, a Clif bar, and some juice that had fruit and vegetables in it (they were fasting too and this made my mouth water). I put it in a sack, and into the fridge the night before so I could have it ready for him the next morning. So the next day, I grabbed the sack from the fridge, gave it to Thomas and got him to school. Well, later that day I went back to the fridge and found another sack, opened it, and there was the couscous, hummus, veggies and juice. I thought, ‘oh no’, so I sent Thomas a text and said ‘oh baby, what did I send you for lunch?’ Well, the day before, I asked Andy to slice up 10 huge carrots from Sam’s and put them in the fridge for dinner the next night . So Thomas said, ‘ I knew something was wrong when I opened the sack. You sent me a bunch of carrots’. I said ‘I am so sorry, what did you do for food?, and He responded, ‘I ate them'”. Bless my cousin, he ate all 10 carrots for lunch and that was it. We had a pretty good laugh about it, but it’s another example of the kind of week we all had.
The funny thing is, this is the type of vulnerability that leaves juuuust enough room for Christ to have complete control to work miracles in our lives. This entire time we prayed fervently, and were expectant, and still are remaining expectant to see Him work. In the process, prayers were answered, healing occurred, and the Lord even started articulating more promises to me that I know He will fulfill in my life… promises that I never imagined I was even deserving enough for. I’m more excited about the future than I’ve ever been. But above all, I’ve fallen even more in love with Him and His will makes sense. I don’t care what happens to my life as long as it’s for His glory. (A lot of what I’m saying is waaaay easier said than done, but don’t you see the splendor that comes from complete surrender?).
I say this a lot, but I really don’t know where many of y’all are in your life. But if you ever are looking for a recommendation from me, a total dedication to not only fasting, but also amping up your prayer simultaneously is the best way to get answers, understanding, healing, and whatever else you may be seeking the Lord for. My advice? Try it. And do it all in.
For some of you this may be quite elementary. In fact, I feel somewhat inadequate because here I am talking about where I am in life and what I expect the Lord to do and what He’s doing, and yet this is really the first time I’ve completely unplugged from the world and completely plugged into Jesus for more than 10 days. But it’s a journey right?
There’s so much that’s going on, and I know that I will be able to tell y’all even more over the next few months. I’m so excited for what’s coming, no matter what it even is. Truthfully, the future means more time spent with Jesus, and that means being with Him more and more. If the future means more of Him, that’s all I need to know. No matter what it is. I. Can’t. Wait.
He’s all we need, friends. Really. Just let go, and see what He does. He might just make you laugh.