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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fasting when you can't fast

Today being Fast Sunday (In the LDS church, we set aside the first Sunday of every month to fast for whatever needs we stand in need of), I've been thinking of fasting as I got ready for church. I realized that in the last six and a half years I have been married, I haven't been able to fast for over four and a half of them. That's over 2/3 of my marriage I've been unable to fast!

As we've been teaching Kessa why Daddy doesn't eat these mornings, we've simplified it to this: When you need something from Heavenly Father, you pray and ask for it. But sometimes you really need something. You need or want it so much that you're willing to do even more than a simple prayer to show Heavenly Father how much it means to you. That's what fasting does.

This powerful tool I have largely not utilized over the past 6 and a half years due to pregnancy and nursing. But several months ago, while explaining to Kessa why we fast, I realized that was silly. Heavenly Father made my body. He understands that during pregnancy and nursing, my body needs extra nutrients and cannot go as long without eating. He made me that way! I cannot believe that he would expect me to forego the blessings that come from fasting simply because I am also nourishing a child.

It got me thinking. If fasting is a way of sacrificing something in order to show God my greater desire for blessings, why couldn't I sacrifice something else?

So I have. For the last several months I start my fast with something different. I usually start by thinking, "What is it I really want right now that I could live without, but would be a sacrifice?" Sometimes it's a particular book I'm reading (especially if I'm at a climax). Sometimes it's sugar. Sometimes it's anything other than simple, mostly-bland-but-still-nutritious food. This approach is completely customizable to the person.

Now, the scriptures specifically talk about fasting from food and drink, so I am not suggesting that everyone deviate from that. When I am able to properly fast, I do. But I think too often I've thought of pregnancy and nursing or being sick as a "Get out of Fast Sunday Free" pass. I have rarely stopped to think of the blessings I am joyfully missing out of. So now during the times that I am not capable of a participating in a full fast, I believe that Heavenly Father accepts what I can do. I am satisfied with this work-around.

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