Thursday, April 25, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day 4

This is Day 4 of a series of posts on the Daniel Fast.
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

I'm going strong, by the grace of God.  What a wonderful time in my spiritual life, to set aside time to focus on prayer.  God has already shown me so much, in just 4 days.  I can't wait to see what He has for me in the next 6!

Today, my word is "crutches".  And I threw them down today.  Literally.

I mentioned previously that I had been using Tylenol PM since early August.  I was consistently waking up in the middle of the night, head spinning with the 20 things that I didn't get done the day before and swimming with the 30 things I needed to get done the next day.  I tried all the tricks to get back to sleep, but it never worked.  And believe me.  I tried.

I knew it wasn't good for me to use the pills every day, so I wouldn't take them on Friday nights and Saturday nights.  My theory was that if I was tired on the weekend, I could always take a nap.  Yeah right.  And tired I was.  I continued to wake up at 3 am. every. single. night.

But not for the last 3 days.  I have prayed that God would provide my rest.  He loves to give good gifts to those who ask (Matthew 7:11)!  And every night, I have slept 8 hours.  Yet, I kept the bottle in my bathroom, just in case.  Just in case God didn't provide.  Just in case I didn't really trust Him, more like it.  What was I saying?  "God, I trust You to direct my paths regarding children's ministry.  I trust You to provide a place for us to live.  I trust You with saving my husband's life.  But, I don't think You are powerful enough to grant me rest.  I'll take care of it."  After these four days, I don't WANT to say that!  I WANT to rely on God more and MORE!

So, I threw the bottle in the trash.  I cast down my crutches.

As my beloved sister-in-Christ (who just finished her Daniel Fast) said, "It has NO CONTROL over me anymore!"  Amen sister.

I tell you this, not to brag about myself.  I tell you to encourage you.  You can have the same power.  You can conquer those fears and addictions.  "Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." John 16:24.

Daniel Fast: Day 3

This is Day 3 of a series of posts on the Daniel Fast.
Day 1

Day 2

The word for today: temptation.

The whole point of a fast is to focus on a spiritual goal.  You spend more time praying, reading, meditating.  When you hunger or are tempted, you call out to God.  BEFORE you are tempted, you call out to God.  This was my day.

My husband received an amazing gift last year.  He was given a kidney, so that he may live.  He has been doing great and even just had a doctor's visit.  The body loves the new kidney.  However, he must still take immuno-suppressant drugs so his body doesn't reject the kidney.  To combat the low immunity, he also has to take a special flu-fighting pill.  It's a delicate balance.  Well, he ran out of the flu-fighting pill and missed one dose.  That's all it took.  Down he went.  Up IT went.  Vomiting, chills, body-aches.  All night.  Which meant I also got no sleep.  I'm not complaining and I'm not making this all about me; simply setting the stage for my temptation.

When we woke up (is it "woke up" if you never really fell asleep?), he was still achy wanted Tylenol.  We ran out just the day before.  So, I drove to our nearest store that would have it and be open at 5 am: Circle K.  If you have never had Circle K coffee, you are missing out.  I know.  I know.  It's Circle K.  But seriously people. It's good.  I knew I would be tempted.  The smell.  My routine of going in and getting a cup.  All that, PLUS the sleepless night!  I could rationalize that I needed it to stay sharp.  Joe needed me to take care of him and I'm not a good caregiver while tired.  Instead, I prayed for help with my temptation.

Before I even stepped foot inside, I smelled heaven coffee.  I made myself not even LOOK at the coffee.  After paying and getting back in my van, I promise you that I could still smell the coffee.  But I resisted temptation and relied on God.

The same was true at work.  My co-worker makes coffee for us every morning.  Normally, I get the first cup.  I told him what I was doing and that I wouldn't be drinking any for 10 days.  I forgot to tell the aroma.  It still wafts down the hall, into my classroom.  It would be so easy.  But no.

On Wednesday afternoons, the students go home early and the teachers have Professional Development in the library.  For 7 years, I have run to the corner market and bought a HUGE 44 ounce soda.  Every Wednesday for 7 years.  Imagine how hard it was to sit in the meeting without my soda, surrounded by others with their condensation-dripping, syprupy-sweet sodas.  I added extra lemon to my water bottle so I wouldn't be tempted. I was tempted, but I still stayed strong.

This week, our PD was very short.  Instead, we celebrated 4 pregnancies/births.  With cake.  With TWO cakes.  Friendly teachers tried to give me a piece, but I chomped on my almonds.  Not quite the same.

It ended with dessert that night.  Do you remember those cartoons where a hungry person imagines the person standing next to them is a walking steak or a walking roasted chicken?  It's true!  Every night, we make a little coffee (did I tell you how much I like coffee?) and have a little dessert.  Joe made coffee for himself (he was feeling better) and I was tempted as I smelled it.  I opened the freezer to put more ice in my water and I swear I saw a face in the freezer.  I saw two eyes and a mouth and it said, "eat me".  Seriously.  I slammed the door shut.  When I reopened the door, a brand new ice cream was staring at me.

I'm happy to report that God kept me strong all day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Daniel Fast: Day 2

This is Day 2 of a series of posts on the Daniel Fast.
Day 1

Day 2 was definitely better than the first.  After I got over the wall, my body is accepting the fast and going forward.

I want to spend this time reading the book of Daniel.  I learned so much in just chapter one.  How did I not know that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not their birth names?  How did I not know that those were god-worshipping names?  I will do my best to retrain my brain to refer to them by their God-honoring names; Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

I also learned something about myself.  I was trusting God with the big issues in my life: Joe's health, my job, ministry .  Yet, I wasn't trusting Him with the small things; sleep, my health, etc.  I was medicating my small problems with Tylenol PM every night and Tylenol during the day, should I get a headache.  I want to be true to the fast so God would speak to me and I would derive the most benefit from this time set aside.  I knew that meant I wouldn't be able to take the sleeping aids.

I prayed that God would bless me with 8 hours of sleep and would restore my body.  My breath prayer on Day 2 was "Lord, make me sharper."  I went to bed, resting on the promise that God would provide, even sleep.  And provide He did.  For the first time since July, I was able to sleep 8 hours.  Aside from the wonderful feeling of rest, I felt so loved and comforted.  I felt renewed knowing that I need to place my small problems in God's hands as well.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Daniel Fast

Most of the time, this blog is for others to read and for me to share our crazy, wonderful lives.  But, sometimes, the blog is for me to journal my thoughts and emotions.  This is one of those posts.

I started the Daniel Fast.  If you don't know what it is, you can click here.  I didn't know much either until recently.

Today is my first day.  Wowsers!  This is so much harder than I thought.  I thought I might be hungry, but I never did feel hungry.  I ate my normal amounts of food for meals and snacks.  It wasn't even so hard to go without meat, as I don't eat much anyway.  What was hard was cutting out the sugar and caffeine.  

When running, runners hit "the wall"; a figurative point where they don't feel like they can go any further.  However, when the runner mentally tells themselves that they CAN and WILL do it, they push past that wall and go much further.  When I get to that point, I actually don't feel the pain anymore and it's almost euphoric.

Well, I hit the wall today with the Daniel Fast.  It is common for people on the fast to feel fatigue and headaches.  I felt extreme fatigue and wanted to just stuff my mouth with chocolate.  I spoke with my friend, whom is also on the fast, and asked her for advice.  She prayed me through it.  And I actually started to feel better.  My energy picked up and I was able to finish the day. I'm not quite to the euphoric stage yet.  

Of course, the main point of this fast is to focus on prayer and mediation.  My breath prayer during this will be: Speak Lord.  Your servant is listening.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

The radio has been playing your song a lot lately and it makes me miss you more.  It might be hard to believe that I only knew you for 14 months, but you have left a lasting impression on my heart, even 37 years after you left this planet.  I can't wait to see you in Heaven and spend time with you.  We have so much in common and I can't wait to tell you all about this life I've had.

I think about the night you went to be with Jesus a lot.  I know the angels kept you healthy enough to feed me, bathe me, and kiss me good night.  I thank God for that.

I know it wasn't what any of us had planned, but it was God's plan and who are we to argue with that?  It made Mom and me closer.  It made us rely on friends who have really become family.  It has given me an intimate empathy for my fatherless students.  It made me fight fiercely to save my husband's life, so my children wouldn't know the same sorrow.  That reminds me, I have two boys.  Their names start with "J", just like you.  And, they both love Jesus, so you will get to meet them too one day.

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Your Little Girl- Susan Kathleen

Monday, April 1, 2013

His Grace, My Weakness

I've been sailing through struggling with my National Boards lately.  I have reached the edge of my abilities and yet it is still so distant from the National Board standard.  I was washing dishes (because seriously people, I have to do something that I know I can do well) and I was feeling consumed with my insufficiency.  And then God spoke to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9.

I am rejoicing, my friends.  Rejoicing because I have come to realize my weaknesses.  I know where Susan ends.  Anything that comes after is pure God.  It was God to begin with, as this is His talent in me.  His plan and purpose for my life.  But from here on out, it's 100% God.  Amen.  "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

I don't know what struggles you are going through right now.  But take solace in the fact that His grace is sufficient.  If you need prayer right now, click on the pic of the hands on the right side of the screen.  I am also available to pray, but I can't promise how long it will take me to see the message.

where Glory meets my suffering