My 21 days of faith experiment ended yesterday. I gleefully broke my fast by enjoying a beautiful meal at Oyama, a wonderful Japanese restaurant with my family last night. I always like eating Japanese food because I feel like I ate something good for me and never feel like I'm going to explode when I leave (except one time several years ago when I had sake and it gave me such bad gas I thought I was going to die - seriously. But that's a different story and believe it or not Tums came to the rescue so I survived. HA!)
Now I'm looking back and reflecting on all the things that the 21 days did in me. What I realized was that going deeper into faith can be frustrating, scary and difficult. My 21 days were a whirlwind of emotions as God called things out of me to deal with. And you know what? I had to deal with them because of my fast from cooked food. Any other time I probably would have noticed God bringing something up and then fighting Him by burying myself in some unhealthy behavior like eating a whole bag of Doritos. I would feel the pain of my weaknesses and self medicate with junk instead of and saying, "Yes, I do this or that, and it's not OK. Jesus help me change it."
So what I'm taking home with me out of this experiment is faith. Not because I asked for a miracle and saw a miracle happen on the outside but because God showed me many small miracles inside and helped me to begin to change the ugly parts of who God never intended me to be.
I started out asking Jesus to step in to my life and help me change my eating lifestyle but the very first night God told me that He wanted to work on something else. And I was pissed! And then God told me he wanted to work on that too!! HA ha. It was a crazy start to something that was supposed to be faith building - God tearing down my useless defenses first. Isn't He smart? But I felt like I was going nuts and the new thing we were working on wasn't going well.
The bedtime routine with my daughter was getting completely out of control so I knew only after God pointed it out (duh) that this was the miracle I needed to see in my life right now. I was spending hours each night trying to get Adi to sleep and much of that time was spent with me crying and cursing God for not helping me. Oh man, did I ever have to repent for that! But I felt alone, I felt abandoned and I felt like there was really no point in praying any more if God wasn't going to answer my prayers.
I had come to a point of giving up on hope and deciding that I was going to have to do it on my own, without the help of my God. It didn't take long for God to set me straight on that because now I felt dead spiritually and my only chance at life was to admit I couldn't do it on my own and I begged Jesus to forgive me and just be with me. I think that was the weekend I desperately needed to be in worship and church but I was scheduled to serve in the toddler room. Funny how that always seems to happen. Kind of like God saying, "Don't depend on worship and church - depend on Me! Turn your eyes to Me!"
My next lesson was patience. This one keeps coming up for me. I don't know if I'll ever get it right. God showed me that I needed to be patient with Adi. She's two and a half. She's just a child - what she needs most from me are love, consistency and patience. So I knew I had to slow down. I had to look at some resources and figure out a plan. And then I had to stick with the plan and finally (and most importantly) I had to be patient!
Another place where patience became vital was in waiting for my period to come. It's so hard to just wait around, not knowing when I'll be able to move on and get my test done and find out what the heck is wrong with me and why I can't seem to stay pregnant. I felt myself getting irritated because I felt very much like I was experiencing PMS (with meltdowns and extreme emotions) but I couldn't tell if it was because I actually had hormones doing crazy stuff or if it was because I didn't have cooked food to turn to. So I had to be patient and wait.
Finally another Sunday came and I was so completely on edge to begin with. I didn't know if I had any faith at all. I was so low and so desperate. And then I had to listen to a testimony about grasping for what we want vs. waiting and receiving what God has for us. Though I had heard the testimony before it threw me way off. I was feeling good about deciding to have the HSG done and then all of a sudden I was forced to consider whether doing so was just grasping and not waiting and receiving. I think I wrote a blog entry about this because it was pretty relevant. Ultimately I came to a place of knowing in my heart that I have two choices. I can continue on the way I have been and take the risk of having many more miscarriages, or I can accept the technology that could tell me what is wrong and possibly help me prevent it from ever happening again. My heart can't keep going through miscarriages. I just can't. I'm getting the test and once again, I feel good about that.
That same afternoon I went to a prophetic ministry time that was wonderful and affirming for me. God told me to keep praying. He told me other things that I desperately needed to hear and I left feeling like Jesus had restored me. I felt my faith grow, my heart heal, and the spirit of joy.
My final week was probably the easiest in terms of faith but the hardest in terms of my fast. I stayed on my fast through both Thanksgiving dinners that we attended and it was miserable. But I did it. Cam was so proud of me and I was just a grumpy old fuddy duddy! But family made it all better and I was grateful to have been able to make a choice between cooked and raw food and that there was an abundance of each. So many people in the world (including right here in our country) aren't so blessed.
This post is already so long. There's so much more I could say and other ways I can see God working in me but I think I just want to close by saying that my faith experiment was exactly what it should have been. Did I see an answer to prayer? Yes, I did. Just not in the way I expected to. I think 21 days was perfect for me and I can't wait until the next faith experiment comes up - if God did all of this in 21 days, I can only imagine what He could do in 40!