Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Every new year, I generally participate in a fast with my mom and her church (which was my church once upon a time), the Daniel Fast. I've always gave up meat, or social media, something real slight that was challenging, but in the back of my mind I knew I could do it. So I thought to myself, what is the real sacrifice in that?
In 2019, I had A LOT of transitions. My husband was laid off in 2018. God blessed him to be able to find contract work at the latter part of 2018 and into the first month of 2019; which was also the month we welcomed our beautiful baby girl. When he was originally laid off, I was emotional for a bit, but honestly I was always optimistic about the process. There were times I cried and got frustrated, but God reminded me of His power every step of the way ("For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened"~Luke 11:10 NLT). I tell you, God has a miraculous way of shifting things in our lives and we often times can't see the blessing in the storm until the rain clears.
The short two months between me finding work and Dwain being laid off was the longest ever. Trusting God was hard. I was two months pregnant, with an infant, and we were also home owners. I applied for everything I thought I did or did not qualify for. Medicaid, food stamps, student loan forbearance, homeowners assistance, you name it. We were denied for almost EVERYTHING; food stamps because of my income (which wasn't much for where we lived and definitely not enough to comfortably pay bills AND eat). Our medicaid application took up to 60 days to process and I began working full-time before it was even processed. Let me just say, I applied for all of this out of fear, God had already carried us and we didn't actually use or need anything that I applied for. Fear will always be our worse enemy. I try my hardest to live a fearless, limitless, life of faith. In in moments such as this, you can not operate in fear. I was so frustrated with all of these processes, I surrendered; but I did not give up. Surrendering allows us to truly cast our cares before the Lord ("Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall". - Psalm 55:22 NLT). It involves a level of faith and intentionality. That is the difference between giving up and surrender. Once I surrendered and asked God for His hand, He gave it to me. He led me to apply for that position and it was Him who worked through me to secure the position.
I LOVED the district that I worked in. I went on maternity leave in mid-December and was blessed to be off of work for about 4 months (and received my full salary). Dwain had started and ended his contact work so it was a great 3 months of all of us home together. We grew a lot during that time. Dwain continued his job search and it was a testing and trying process. Without dragging this out, he was offered a position back in NC, we packed up (not even going to go into that headache) and moved across the country to our new home in NC.
That wasn't the end of our transitions. We had to get adjusted back to NC living, coming from the Bay Area, our kids needed time to get adjusted to a new environment, they were still getting to know each other as siblings, so much going on at once. When 2019 ended, I was truly at peace. A lot had happened for us in 2018 and 2019 and I just reflected on how we are still here and still a family. Only God did that.
To honor Him and to also activate a deeper level in our faith, we decided to take this journey on a season of sacrifice. 21 days of prayer and fasting, using the most traditional Daniel Fast (which ended up being a hybrid of the two fasts that are mentioned in the book of Daniel). I've included some information about the Daniel fast and walk you through our process and how we made it unique.
What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is based on two scriptures in the book of Daniel of The Holy Bible.
In verse 12, Daniel asks the chief of staff to test himself, Hananiah, and Mishael for 10 days eating "nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink" (v.12). The chief of staff agreed and "At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food" (v.15). Verse 17 reads, "To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds" (v.17).
SPIRITUAL fasting must always have a spiritual purpose. The goal is to be disciplined by sacrificing something in your life, in order to draw closer to God. I chose to do the Daniel fast because I was entering a season in my life where I needed understanding and direction. As God gave Daniel dreams, I too wanted an understanding of God's will and what my purpose is on Earth to bring forth His will. We started our fast on January 13th. The first 10 days was a strict vegan diet. In the first 10 days, I leaned on God a lot. I had many cravings and when they would surface I would either pray or listen to one of my favorite gospel songs. One album that really held me down during this fast was Broken Record by Travis Greene.
Top 5 Songs from the
Broken Record Album
The second half of the fast, we incorporated grains back into our diet. I mentioned we did a "hybrid" Daniel fast because in the book of Bible, Daniel engaged in two fasts. The second is based on Daniel 10: 2-3. In this passage it reads Daniel "ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over" (v.3). Choice foods fore me are simple: meat and JUNK food. I was tested many times. I went on a trip to Atlanta. Trips are always hard for me because I love eating at new restaurants. I was able to stick to my fast through constant prayer and feeding my spirit with positive music, and keeping positive energy around me. I can say this season of fasting has truly helped me draw nearer to God and has given me a level of discipline I have never had. Here are a few tips if you are considering starting a fast to draw nearer to God.