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Fasting and Change of Plans 2.0

I've never been one to set New Year's Resolutions. I've always felt like changes need to come from within, not just because the calendar flipped over. I've also never had a great desire to close out a year. But this year is a bit different. 2019 has been arguably the worst year of my life. Broken promises and a broken heart left me despondent and dependent. I started 2019 as a newlywed, head over boots in love with the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. I had a beautiful house, two new step-daughters, a husband, and a future of love, hope and happiness. I felt that all of the promises God had given me had been fulfilled. By the time school got out at the end of May, my marriage had unraveled, I lost my house, my new family, and the future I had prayed for. It was such a whirlwind, I didn't even know what had happened to our relationship. Even six months later, I still don't understand why he left or how he could change his mind so quickly. This was now the second time I had a major change of plans in my life.

This time around, however, my heart shattered into a million pieces. I truly thought this man was the fulfillment of years of promises the Lord had given me. The month before I met him, I had told several friends that I was ready to fall in love; I was ready to meet the man God had for me. I had received several visions of what my life would be like, what to do to prepare to meet him, and how I would meet him. I prayed and submitted my life and relationship to the Lord. Or at least I thought I had. And that's what's been so hard to understand since he left in June. I thought we were following God's plan. I thought we were in obedience to Him. I thought God had spoken to me concerning our marriage. I spent the majority of this past summer spending time with God. I was completely dependent on Him and I struggled to understand how this utter heartbreak fit His divine plan.

In times of desperation, the only place I know to look is up. I knew I needed to fast, but I didn't want to. The primary reason for my hesitation was that I love food. I didn't want to feel the hunger pangs. I didn't want to deprive myself of my favorite vice.

In the Bible, there were several reasons people would fast. This included when people were seeking guidance from God, as in Ezra 8:21-23 and Acts 14:23. Jesus fasted following his baptism to prepare for His ministry in Luke 4:1-2. God told the Israelites to fast as part of their repentance in Joel 2:12-15. God also told the Israelites to fast to commemorate the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16:29-31.

I knew I needed clarity and answers, so in August, I spent three days fasting. I ate no food, and I spent the time I would normally eat in prayer and reading the Bible. For as much as I love food, this fast was probably the hardest three days of my life. I would also pray every time I felt hungry--which was almost every waking second of the day. When I began the fast, I was praying for God to change his heart. That God would speak to him, let him see His Truth, let him feel God's love. What happened over those three days was transformational. Instead of changing him, God changed me. He changed my heart. For the first time in my life, my emotions were under my every command. I could tell myself exactly how to feel and what to feel. In depriving myself of food, I had forced my body to submit to my will. Therefore, my soul (my mind, will and emotions) were then completely submitted to God.

That August day when I ended my three day fast was a turning point for me. It marked the true end of my marriage, and my heart and mind knew the man I married was not the same man I was divorcing. Since that day, I have prayed for restoration and healing for my heart. I know I have a long road ahead of me to be able to trust a man again, to be able to love wholly and completely again, but I know God is faithful, and He is working. God's goodness and grace is evident all around me, every day.

I can see the hand of God on my life these past few months unlike anything I have ever seen. In the past, if I wanted to sin, God would in essence step aside and allow me to sin. It was as if He were saying, "Go ahead, but you shouldn't." I mean, the first full sentence out of my mouth was, "Let me do it by me-self!" So being the stubborn girl I've always been, I've learned a lot of lessons through experience instead of by faith. I was the consummate prodigal. God has always picked up my broken pieces and fashioned them back together, even when I didn't deserve it. But lately, He has been practically preventing me from sinning. He warns me; He gives me signs. He is telling me to watch out. Maybe He had been giving me those same warning signs before, and I just didn't listen, or maybe I just wasn't as sensitive to the signs He was giving me. All I know is that it's been completely different since those three days in August.


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