Fasting When You Have Little People

I’ve been doing some deep work here on the blog. For one thing, I’m completely overhauling the website, and I hope to have the new site ready to launch in the next month or two. For another thing, I’ve been reading and praying and researching so that I can best serve you, my reader.

Here are some things I believe to be true about you: 

1. You love Jesus.
2. You are a momma of little people.
3. You want to make a difference as you pour the love of Jesus into the lives of your little people.

There are exceptions to this (Hi, Daddy), but in general, how am I doing so far?

The plan going forward, is to write with these perceptions in mind. I don’t want to waste your time by randomly sticking up posts. Instead, I want to be your cheerleader and encourage you as you pursue the heart of your heavenly Father.

I haven’t finished the deep work yet, but I’d love to carry on a conversation in the process. So, how about we start with fasting?

Every January and August my church (along with many others) does a season of 21 days of prayer and fasting. It is a time of early rising to intentionally spend time in worship, Bible study, and prayer; giving God the first of our day in an act of submission to Him.

Fasting is the practice of abstaining from something in an effort to connect with God. He doesn’t like us more if we do it, we are not a superior Christian if we do it, but it does honor Him by removing distractions as we focus our heart and attention toward Him.

The question is, how do we effectively fast with little people around?

I don’t know about you, but my little people do not always follow my pre-determined schedule. They tend to wake up mid-way through the 6am livestream, and since their bodies are still growing, l cannot ask them to fast from food. These small ones are the definition of hangry.

Some of you may be pregnant, or nursing, or have health needs that require you to eat. Some of you aren’t sleeping very much at the moment because the baby is still waking up three or more times every night. This makes it hard (impossible?) to wake up early enough to have an entire hour of quiet with the Lord.

Here is what I want you to hear today: God sees your heart and He loves your efforts.

Our season of fasting may look a little different during these younger years, but that does not make them wasted. Consider implementing one of the following ideas for 21 days. Will any of these work for your current stage of life?

7 Ideas for fasting with little people:

-Starting the day with worship music.
-Staying off of social media.
-Keeping the tv off after the kiddos have gone to bed.
-Choosing one verse to meditate on during the course of the day. Or week. Or 21 days.
-Fasting from one type of food item. What is it that you reach for when you just need a moment? Instead of reaching for it, pray to Jesus.
-Fasting one meal during the day.
-Consuming a liquid diet for one day.

No matter what you do, it’s the heart behind it that matters. God loves for His people to seek after Him. He knows your current reality and sees the sacrifices that you make to spend time with Him. He delights in you.

Keep after it. Any time you find to devote toward God will not be wasted.

“‘When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.’ God’s Decree.” Jeremiah 29:12-14 (The Message)

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A Time to Meet

A Time to Meet

Have you ever thought about the fact that the King of the Universe invites us to speak to Him personally?

How would you feel if you were given the opportunity to grab coffee one-on-one with one of your favorite celebrities? Or a chance to receive personal training by the person you admire most in your job/craft/hobby/passion? Wouldn’t we drop everything for such an opportunity?

Our prayer life with God is like that… but taken to the next level. It’s more than that once-in-a-lifetime 30-minute coffee appointment, more than a 2-hour training session. It’s a lifetime of Him whispering a personal invitation to meet with Him, talk with Him, and get to know Him on a personal level. 

Beyond the ability to have a conference with the King to get His perspective on the latest politics, we can know who He is. We can dine at His table, receive His counsel, express our frustrations, and make known our requests all while He seeks to know us better in return.

I was once told that God seeks our friendship. Isn’t that such a beautiful element of prayer? God didn’t create humans simply to leave us to figure out our lives on our own. Rather, just as He invites us to spend time with Him, He longs to be invited into the inner workings of our lives. He is ready to get in the mess with us. He wants to be the place you turn for a vent session. He desires that you express the deepest needs of your heart to Him. He looks forward to every second you carve out of your day to just check in and say “hello”. 

God is all-knowing. Do we really have to tell Him our needs for Him to know them? Of course not. He knows it all before we even utter a sound. But doesn’t it make it so much more meaningful that we should entrust it to Him? There is a difference between knowing about a thing, and being included in a thing. 

He sees us pushing, striving, running, and seeking advice from all sources but Him. What He wouldn’t give for us to turn to Him so that He can lift our burdens and tell us how much He loves us.

God isn’t a moody taskmaster we have to tip-toe around to keep from setting Him off. He invites us to spend time with Him because He cares and He wants to ease our pain and suffering. The more we meet with Him, the less weight we end up carrying.

Don’t ignore His request. Just like you would if that celebrity wanted to meet with you, give Him priority above all else. Take a moment and thank Him for His invitation. Mark your meeting time on your calendar and show up early. You won’t regret it.

“Look! I Stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20

Because You Prayed

Because You Prayed

When I started “waking up” out of my postpartum depression, I turned to the Psalms.

I had been struggling with the concept of prayer and feeling like God wasn’t listening to my desperate pleas. Upon diving into the Psalms, I discovered that King David had quite the opposite view:

  • “The Lord will answer when I call to him.” 4:3
  • “I bring my requests to [God] and wait expectantly.” 5:3
  • “The Lord will answer my prayer.” 6:9

I should have been encouraged, but I wasn’t at first. Of COURSE God would answer David’s prayers. Wasn’t he known as a man after God’s own heart? Surely he had some sort of golden ticket when it came to prayer.

But these sorts of statements are littered throughout the Psalms… even when David hadn’t acted quite like the golden child. Even after he had committed adultery and subsequently, murder, in an attempt to cover up his actions. Even then, he still knew God not only heard his prayers, but He would answer them:

“Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.” Psalm 86:6-7

God answered David’s prayers time and time again. He gave battle strategies, rescued David in times of danger, forgave him and comforted him when he was at his worst. God blessed David. 

David wasn’t the only one who saw his prayers answered. Here are just a few more examples:

  • In the heat of battle, Joshua sought God for help. “…in front of all the people of Israel” he prayed a bold prayer for the sun and moon to stand still. God answered this request and the nation of Israel was victorious. Joshua 10:12-14
  • King Hezekiah was threatened by the king of Assyria. In short, Israel was being taunted and God was being mocked by this outsider who believed quite highly in himself. King Hezekiah responded by desperately praying for God to intervene. God’s response? “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed…” God Himself protected and defended the city! Isaiah 37:21-37
  • Elijah put his reputation on the line when he asked God to do what Baal could not: create a fire for a sacrifice out of thin air. Even though the alter had been drenched in water, “immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood the stones, and the dust. it even licked up all the water in the trench!” 1 Kings 18:38
  • Daniel pleaded on behalf of his people while they were in exile in Babylon. In response, God sent an angel with a message: “The moment you began praying, a command was given.” Daniel 9:23 

There are so many more examples in the Bible of God hearing and answering prayers. What I love about these particular moments is the glaring fact that all of these things happened as a result of the prayer itself. There cannot be an answer if we do not make the request in the first place.

God hears our prayers. Don’t give up praying even when it feels like He isn’t listening. Keep praying even when it doesn’t make sense. 

  • What battles could be won…
  • What lives could be changed…
  • What mountains could fall…
  • What miracles could happen…

…because you prayed?

“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.” Psalm 17:6

Unheard Prayers

Unheard Prayers

Do you ever feel like your prayers are pointless? Like they are just words or thoughts that get uttered into the wind to be whisked away and never be found again?

I spent many a sleepless night begging, pleading for God to make my baby fall asleep so I could finally sleep myself. “PLEASE God! Help me! She won’t sleep and I can’t sleep tomorrow. I’m exhausted. I feel like I’m losing it. PLEASE!”

I cried a lot of tears. The knowing that I wouldn’t be able to make up for lost sleep, that I would need to be present for my toddler the next day… made every cry from my baby that much more piercing. 

It felt like God didn’t hear me, or worse, that He didn’t care.

I don’t know why God chose not to gratify my every request for sleep, but looking back it is easy to see the battle that was taking place with the enemy.

The lies. Oh, those lies: “God isn’t coming through for you.” “You might as well not pray at all.” “You aren’t worth his time.” “No one sees you.”

Do you know who the enemy likes to attack? Those he deems a threat. He waits for a weak spot to appear, for a time when our pursuit of God is dwindling to make his first move. It’s a subtle move to keep us none the wiser.

Our best counter-attack is to call the lies out for what they are. To proclaim TRUTH in their stead. 

Perhaps you are in a time of pouring your heart out to God and it feels like He is silent. The enemy is whispering lies, trying to convince you that your case is hopeless and the prayers are not worth your time.

Do NOT give in. I don’t know your circumstances, I don’t know God’s reasons for saying yes, or no, or for remaining silent. But if the enemy is working this hard to dissuade you from pursuing the Almighty, then my guess is that the Almighty has some mighty plans in store for you!

Here are some things I know about prayer…

-Prayer is powerful and effective
-Prayer changes things
-God hears our prayers and He answers them
-God loves it when we pray
-The Bible tells us to pray…so, by all means, we pray

We pray our hearts out and we lay our petitions at the feet of our Lord. We surrender our lives, our circumstances, our everything to Him. He feels our pain and sees our need and He takes care of us. Just like a parent, His wisdom is better than our own. We can trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense.

It can be hard sometimes. It can be really, truly beautiful other times. So, even though we may not always understand how this prayer thing works, we are to keep going after it and after it and after it like our lives depend upon it.

“But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.” Psalm 66:19-20