Sunday, January 5, 2014

Our 21-Day Fast Begins

Our greatest victories are won on our knees and with empty stomachs. ~Julio C. Ruibal

Our church has encouraged its members to fast for twenty-one days in January since it began three years ago and we are beginning this one tomorrow. As how most church en masse fasts tend to go, we have some certain things on which we are concentrating in our prayers together and one can choose what he wishes to fast. My husband and I will be fasting food, but we may have small amounts of raw milk since he will be working and I am challenged with insomnia and leg cramps with fasts, especially in the winter. The Princess has chosen to fast sweets as usual, but this time she also has chosen to fast her evening meals, which is a first time thing for her.

On New Year's Eve we went to our second Stew Jam at one of the members' home. This is where everyone brings food, most in crock pots, to share with everyone. This time my husband made a rabbit pot pie type of stew but we used noodles instead of a pie crust and to my surprise it was the most popular dishes as we had hardly any left while others had far more. That night we sang songs of praise and made a list of things we wanted to "give away," actually things we did not want and needed for God to intervene in our lives. Then we burned the lists, not in the outside bonfire we hoped to have as the wood was too wet to burn, but in their fireplace. At midnight, the man of the house blew a shofar outside to ring in the new year.

Today our pastor talked about last year being the season of Momentum and this year is the season of Increase as well as the vision God has given him for the church, for us. This was one of those services when I truly felt God talking to me personally, but I have become keenly aware lately that something has been trying to cut me off from hearing God. In fact during the service, I actually felt like I could not hear the pastor...I could hear him, but I felt like something was trying to interfere with me hearing. There are very few times I have felt spiritual warfare in my midst, but today I believe I felt it. Even now as I began write this, I could not remember what it was God was saying to me in the last half of this sermon; it is as if the sermon was a month ago rather than today. I am thankful for technology because I listened to some of his points again that were given at the other campus by simply clicking here.

This week I had strange pains again. My entire rib cage began hurting on New Year's Day, after the Stew Jam, and it was diminishing but continued until yesterday afternoon. The Sunday service before Christmas I had this same problem and felt horrible. I had no intention of going to church service, so my husband and daughter went. However, he called me after the first service to tell me that the children were singing that morning, which neither of us knew, so he could pick me up for the second service. I wanted to see my daughter sing, but I felt miserable and my mood was as bad or worse. My husband told me at the church, when I was just not willing to go into the sanctuary (yes, I can be a pouting brat in rare occasions), that while he was driving to get me he was praying and he felt the Lord tell him that I was under a spiritual attack. If you knew my husband and how he thinks, this would floor you so, of course, it floored me. I knew he was probably right, but I cannot say that the knowledge improved my mood.

Perhaps God has a purpose for me and I am a target because of it. Of late, I have been working through the idea of God loving me. I know He does in my mind, however I am realizing how much I do not allow myself to feel like I am loved or just I will not accept that I am loved or even I just will not allow anyone, including God, to love me. And at times I feel I cannot really love anyone either.

I know the reason of this and it is not just an excuse. This is the residual from having an abusive parent: the self-gratifying, twisted, manipulative, and hurtful use of the word "love." A child who grows up in that kind of "love" is one who is unable to accept the real thing. It is not like I do not now know what love is or what it should be for the most part, it is that I cannot accept it completely, even from God, and I am questioning if I actually feel it. I also am rather annoyed that every time I think I have completely healed of my past that eventually God guides me to one more thing still left over that I did not recognize previously, but in reality, we all are dealing with those things in us that are not from God. If only it were as easy as writing them on a paper and burning them up!

So, today when the pastor talked of restoration and recovering what was lost, I heard God speaking to my heart about my heart. It is not broken or cracked, just badly mended, like a sloppy hand-sewn patching attempted by a child too young to have the necessary skills. This is what I am going to be praying about during this fast and I believe this is why I have been under spiritual attacks of late, because after God unravels these messy threads and heals my heart, I believe He will have me in a ministry that I have thought to be beyond for what I could have hoped.

~ My Lord, I am ready to know Your love. Make me ready to accept it completely as well. ~

1 comment:

Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.