It’s the morning of day two here, and so far so good. Amazingly, my family are talking about ‘Mum’s fast’ and encouraging me along, which has been a new feature this year and it captures how things have shifted in my home. I have a little more to share on that shift below.
First, though, I want to say that it's common to set a goal with fasting and find you don't make it. It's just so hard to fast -- That's the truth of it. If that's you, don't beat yourself up and think it's a failure. It's not. Just get back on the horse and try again the next day. It's definitely worth continuing.
The truth is, our Father smiles on the heart of one who fasts. And this morning I'm reminded of a little story that seems to illustrate that:
Every Christmas, Bryce and I put pressies under the tree for our teenage boys, Travis and Miles, and that’s fun. But I’ve never encouraged my children to buy me a present or even buy their Dad a present. I just haven’t; and so they haven’t. Instead, the boys and I go out and buy something for Bryce from all three of us and we have fun doing it.
Anyway, this year, those two boys did something very nice.
I was sitting in the lounge when Miles (age 14) said to me “Mum, you haven’t yet noticed what’s under the tree.” So I got up and looked. There, under the tree was a little package, clearly wrapped by a teenage boy. Wrinkley, ragged edges, and Sellotape all over the place. It said, “To Mum, from Travis and Miles”. And there, next to it, another package: “To Dad …”.
Oh my heart. I looked back at my boy and his face showed how excited he was by this little wrinkled package. Thankfully he still doesn’t mind a cuddle from his Mum, and he got one.
The two of them had clubbed together their pocket money, gone out and done it. Teenage boys aren’t always the best at this sort of thing, nor is it at all easy parenting teenagers, and so I really can’t express how it felt to see that package. It was their little gesture of love and it meant the world.
Later in bed, Bryce and I looked at each other: “How CUTE WAS THAT?” We were giggling at the wrapping job, but then we both said in all seriousness that it was pretty much the highlight of our year.
Turning back now to the heart of our Father, a friend of mine recently said to me "We may never truly understand the tenderness of the Father until we reach Heaven". Our Father is tender, and how does He feel when we – His children -- do something like fast? It’s our gesture of love, devotion, and honor to Him.
So now here's more on that shift I mentioned:
“Why do you fast?” Bryce asked me yesterday.
“Well .. It’s a gesture of love to God. To go without food is a sacrifice.”
“Mm, now you say that I can imagine it.” he said. “Food is a big deal.”
I carried on:
“God shines his face on someone when they make a gesture like that. It might be attractive to him, so to speak. Power comes, things happen in your life then.”
And then I said a bit more:
“Jesus said certain things can only be shifted through prayer and fasting. So fasting is powerful in that way – It can help people overcome certain challenges …”
“Hmm, interesting.” He nodded and took it all in. Perfectly nice; genuine interest. What's more, I didn't feel awkward talking about it.
A lot has shifted there. We didn’t have that kind of conversation a few years ago as faith conversations used to bring this mega wedge between us. But now it’s easier. And, quite honestly, I am enthralled by that change which has happened in only the last year.
Could it be that even this conversation yesterday with my husband is a testimony that the SUM fasts have made a difference? A gentle nod from the Father's tender heart. I'll take it.
Onwards and upwards, SUM soldiers, and I wish you all the best for day two. What has day one been like for you?