All through biblical history, we read of kings and prophets that call a fast in order to move the heart of God, petitioning Him to heal lands, people and hearts.
This still occurs today; the church body pressing in for deeper revelation, greater intimacy, and breakthrough for churches and individuals.
As I observed the somewhat discreet fasting of those around me, I questioned my own lack of passion to do the same. I’d heard the same message from my own pastor after all, and yet I could not be moved.
It’s certainly not because I don’t have areas in my life where a breakthrough would be most welcome, quite the opposite. The thing is this. I have a daughter who is acquainted with an eating disorder. She denies her body of food on a regular basis, or quickly relieves it of same when she does indulge, so to seemingly join her in this journey seemed to be ironic in the least.
I am writing this with her permission, and before the reader thinks this is going to be a sad story, let me assure you that God is in the breakthrough business. This is a good story.
I have been praying for a breakthrough in this issue for my daughter for quite some time. I don’t call it “her bulimia” because she doesn’t own it and it doesn’t own her. I have long since learned that a blood-bought child of the King doesn’t have to beg for healing; I call forth everything God says is mine and send the enemy packing at the first sign of intrusion. The Lord loves a prayin’ mama because thus far, my declarations have lead my daughter to professionals whom she respects and trusts-that’s a miracle itself.
This kid is very forthright and has no problem telling anyone what she needs, wants, or requires. So, when her dietician recommended set meal times and specific foods, she had no qualms about telling me what my role would be.
“Mom. I need to eat at the same time everyday. We can’t have food being prepared at different times during the day and there’s food that I just can’t even look at. Like, you can’t even bring it into the apartment.”
I smile at her bossiness and ask if there is anything else I can do to help her. I have to reassure her that I’m serious, so she continues, “Yeah, like maybe we could eat together. And I’ll do the cooking too. No offence, but I’m picky. I need to cook it the way I like; you won’t be able to make anything I’ll be able to eat.”
To some, this may sound like I’m taking orders from my kid. Truth be known, this was an answer to prayer. I grew up in a family that ate together, all the time. Every dinner, without exception, you sat at your designated spot at the table at five-thirty on the dot. A little Leave it to Beaver-esque, but it was a routine that brought us together to communicate as a family, regardless of how good we were at actually doing it. When I was married to my children’s father, I replicated this routine. Meals were eaten in the kitchen with the television off. No exceptions. When their father and I divorced, I maintained this routine in my home for as long as I could. As our seasons of life changed, so did the dining routines. I would watch as meals were taken behind bedroom doors, eaten in front of the television, if they were even had at all.
For my daughter to embrace eating together, to request it, to need it as part of her healing is huge. Just to allow herself to ask for what she needs without fear of being rejected has catapulted her that much closer towards wholeness. My belief is that the whole eating disorder issue stems from faulty wiring in one’s identity, a lack of sense of family, belonging, or simply feeling unloved.
So now, I sit down at the dining room table and I eat what’s put on my plate. Veggies. Lots of veggies. And lots of conversation. I will admit after months of not sharing mealtimes together, it felt a bit like a first date. What to talk about, what not to talk about; could we even talk about the whole eating issue thingie? I needn’t have worried. It’s been 7 days (yes, the number of completion) and she proudly announces,
“I haven’t puked!”
I know enough to not make a big deal of it–she hates melodrama, but inwardly I’m over the moon.
I think I am experiencing the fast that is spoken of in Isaiah 58:6. Although not denying my body food, I have given up the quarrelling and fighting with my daughter and together we are working at “letting the oppressed go free” and “removing the chains that bind people.”
Yes and amen.