Monday, August 11, 2008
Fasting With Young Children at Home
Fasting is something that a lot of people assume they cannot do. Especially someone battling depression. If we knew how beneficial are the things the Lord asks of us, we would not hesitate, but often we don't see the results until during, and then after the fast. Nevertheless, often an encouragement or desire to fast will come up, and what then? How can a mother with young children at home (or a mother who is post partum, or battling depression) possibly fast?
First, I encourage you to recognize that you can. All things are possible to him who believes. If you have tried fasting before, and had a negative experience, or if you have kept saying "I can't fast, I have _____.", then I encourage you to reexamine things as we discuss fasting. It may not be so unattainable as you think.
First of all, peoples from every nation and time period have always fasted. We North Americans can do it too.
Second, it is so beneficial to your health, and your relationship with Jesus, that it should be obligatory- at least once in awhile.
Now thirdly, let me soften the blow with some practical advice, which will give you a vision of how fasting is possible, if you want to.
A mother with young children at home to take care of can fast, but she will have to lay aside her expectations for a day. You may need to rest for most of the day, so plan to serve the children simple meals, like yogurt and bananas for breakfast, pb&j for lunch (use healthy wholegrain bread, and raw honey if you like). For supper, put something easy in the crockpot (like a chicken) so hubby doesn't feel neglected when he comes home hungry.
Next, you will have to plan to spend time on the couch reading books to your little loved ones. You will probably need to take out of storage some special toys that haven't been played with for awhile, so the kids have an entertaining day. You will probably have to resort to some vegitales videos from the library.
This day isn't a day for you to tackle the laundry, but it isn't an excuse to be lazy. Read your bible as much as you can. Lay on the floor with the kids (so they can enjoy your presence) and read your bible while they play.
For a mom with many babies, a water fast (which I was referring to above) may not work. But you can fast with raw fruit and vegetable juices, which will help you have the energy you need to take care of babies, and will still provide the health and spiritual benefits you desire. If you have no access to raw juices, you could probable find carrot juice in the salad section of your grocery store- then just water down four ounces of this and drink every 3 hours or so. In a real pinch, you could use unsweetened rice milk, although this alters your blood sugar more than raw juice.
Fasting isn't the same as not fasting, and that's ok. We just need to make allowance for the differences. Turn the phone off, use paper plates for the kids, and remember: the fast will be over someday, but the benefits will remain. : )
If none of these possibilities work, you can still fast!!! Fast from McDonald's please. Fast from Coke, and coffee! Whatever you do, fast from sugar! Fast from wheat for awhile, and refined fats. You can do something.
If diet is a concern (health concerns), you can still fast! You can fast from TV. You can fast from the Internet. Fast from what takes up the bulk of your time, and then offer that time to the Lord in prayer, and biblestudy. Fasting is a time that we listen to Him, not try to get Him to pay attention to us. When we listen, we are not disappointed. Some of your sweetest times with the Lord, or your most momentous breakthroughs may happen when fasting- simply because you have turned your heart to Him to hear.
If it all looks too big, then just fast your last meal of the day, and then the kids are going to bed soon anyway. You can curl up in bed with your bible not long after they drop off.
Jesus Himself said that we would fast.
Be encouraged that if the Lord has put this on your heart to do, then all things are possible to them that believe.
Blessings on you, In Jesus' name!