Tomorrow is day 1 of 21.
21 days of fasting.
And self-deprivation? Is so not something I do well. Just ask my husband.
But this is different. Because our church is calling the congregation to fast. And because, for one of the first times ever, I’m feeling led to fast.
We were given a booklet at church, with ideas on all the different ways to fast. Asher decided that he wanted to participate, so I asked him to choose the way we – Chris, Asher and myself – would participate.
And he thought about it for a while.
He said he wanted to be challenged.
And I was afraid.
He decided he wanted to do the Daniel Fast. Daniel was a man of God and in the Bible he said, “In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Daniel 10:2-3)
So why am I posting a picture of a jar?
Because it represents how scared I am. Scared of giving up all that this fast requires. Scared of not being able to do it.
This jar? Is where my coffee used to be. My beloved Starbucks Espresso Roast coffee. The first thing I look for every morning, once I’ve wiped the sleep out of my eyes.
I cleaned it out and put it up after I drank my last cup of coffee this morning. And I felt sad. Already.
Then I wanted to kick myself in my own rear for being so silly. And selfish. And worldly.
For the next 21 days I’ll be following the following food ‘rules’…
No sweeteners of any kind.
No preservatives of any kind.
No drink other than water.
Pretty much nuts, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, whole grain pasta and fruit.
Oh, and Triscuits are okay, and so is natural peanut butter. Just can’t have any other ‘stuff’ in it.
Part of me is terrified. I don’t want to fail. I also don’t want to be miserable.
But another part of me is excited. Chris and I have so much to pray over during this time of drawing closer to the Lord. So very much. And we are taking this step to fast and to be purposeful in seeking Him more over the next 21 days in faith that He will be faithful and reveal to us, in His timing, His perfect will for our family.
Here are a few sites with more information about the Daniel Fast.
So why am I sharing this here, with y’all? Because I thought maybe some of you might like to join me. Sorry – short notice I know – but you can do this! And I know I’d really love to have you along for support and encouragement. I really think this is going to be a journey for me – in more ways than one! If you’d like to participate, just let me know and we can be accountability partners, okay?
And if you’ve done this already, and have any tips, recipes or suggestions, I’d be so very grateful.
Trusting that He’ll be there for me (and you!) every step of the way.
P.S. I appreciate the help and tips y’all gave me on FB! Mwah!
Here are a couple things that ‘saved’ my friend during this fast: plain rice cakes with natural peanut butter and raisins—helps you get your sweet on. Also homemade guacamole with sweet potato fries. Sounds questionable, but is very yummy. Hope it goes well–watch out for that caffeine headache. Yikes–you might consider some high dose ibuprofen the first day.
Great ideas! Will have advil and rice cakes at the ready tomorrow!
Dina K. says
My church is doing this also, right now. So glad I am not alone. Thanks for posting this!
Keep me posted on your journey, Dina! Hope it all goes well for you 🙂
I am praying God speaks to your family through your fasting. My daughter last year at this time fasted. They have a children’s fast calendar which does not have them fast food. She wanted to do this all on her own. I did it with her and actually she was better at fasting than I was!! 🙂
I have a feeling that Asher is going to be much better at this than I am, too… so grateful for your prayers, Kim 🙂
Nearly three years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare and serious cardiac condition. With four children to care for (one newly home from China), it was a very challenging time for our family as I was rendered in chronic pain and visited the ER regularly. We tried every medical option to relieve the pain. Nothing worked. It seemed my days of being “busy” for Jesus were gone. I was broken to see how life had changed. We prayed without ceasing. We praised God in the midst of the suffering. And He sweetly ministered to us, reassuring us that He was to be trusted and that one day I would be pain free. Over time, I learned of the Daniel fast and we decided to take our request for healing to him in this very special way. A few friends joined us. I missed my coffee. I missed bread. I never wanted to see a carrot again! But God was merciful. I wasn’t healed immediately, but I began to improve. Slowly, day by day I could feel my health returning. Three years later? We’re getting ready to leave for China to adopt again! And in the quiet of my heart I wonder…could it be that God has brought me through this pain to understand what it is like so that I would have compassion on a little one who also holds a physically wounded heart? Only God knows. For now, I am content to know…to KNOW…that He has a purpose for each day of my life…whether in pain or in health! My prayers will be with you!
Thank you, Jessemyn. So grateful for the encouragement, and for sharing your story! What a beautiful testimony to His goodness!!
Jolene (Homespun Heritage) says
Not to sound crazy or anything but that’s my normal everyday diet…..I do have the occasional hot chocolate or something but on a normal basis this is it! It can definitely be done and have no fear, I LOVE IT! I recently ate meat after not having it for a long time and let me tell ya my body just couldn’t handle the meat. So, definitely sticking with the veggies! Praying you through this!
Well, then you must have some recipes to share… pretty please? 🙂
Sarah VanGrunsven says
Stef, You can do this! Lean on Him during times of want and desire. The first few days are the most difficult, but you can do it with Prayer :-)!
Hmmm- I’m going to be 100% honest- this scares the daylights out of me! Every Lent, I typically make it through my sacrifice, but I struggle SO hard! It’s kind of embarrassing to admit how weak I am. I want to do a “fast” with you, but I don’t think I can handle the Daniel fast yet. I’m going to start praying about what I can give up for the next 3 weeks also! I’ll let you know when God leads me to something.
Honestly, Brooke, I am probably the weakest willed person on the planet! If I can do this, you can 🙂
Let me know if you decide to jump on board for this!
Wendy Hoff says
Wow, this sounds interesting. Every lent, I give up my negative attitude. Meaning, I will not speak a negative word about anyone. Not that I am a negative person but I work in an all womens environment and it is real easy to get caught up in gossip. I have to say it definitely became very routine for me to stay away from gossip. This idea of fasting sounds very interesting and important to become closer to God. I plan to head to the grocery store tomorrow and pick up the necessary items to participate in this. I like the idea of rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins to curb my sweet tooth.
Yay! So glad you’re going to join me in this, Wendy!
Now I just need to go get some rice cakes… sounds good to me too!
I eat a diet very similar although I do drink coffee. I wanted to share with you the bread that I eat…I feel sure you can eat it on your fast. The brand is called Food For Life and here is the website: http://www.foodforlife.com/. Their breads are ALL NATURAL and have NO PRESERVATIVES. There are several different kinds, my favorite breads they have are Ezekiel, Genesis, and 7 Sprouted Grains. It’s Certified Organic, is flourless and all the grains are sprouted.
Here are the ingredients: organic sprouted wheat, filtered water, organic malted barley, organic sprouted rye, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted oats, organic sprouted millet, organic sprouted corn, organic sprouted brown rice, fresh yeast, organic wheat gluten, sea salt.
You can get it at most health food stores or Whole Foods Market.
At first you might think you are eating tree bark or that you might as well be…LOL…but just hang in there because you get use to the texture. I LOVE it and I don’t want to eat any other kind of bread. I had a sandwich for lunch on the 7 Sprouted Grains bread and I loaded it up with spinach, fresh mixed greens, shredded carrots, tomato, onion, cucumber, bell pepper, sliced black olives, sea salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning….NO mustard or mayo, you don’t even need it……it was so good my mouth is watering as I type….hehehe.
I hope this helps!
Yay! Thank you for all the great ideas, Kim!
“I don’t fast to pay a price. The price has been paid. I fast to refine my focus so that I might more fully apprehend all that has been purchased.”
just some encouragement :). doing daniel fast now myself!
Oooh, I really love that, Erika – thanks!
Not trying to find loopholes in the fast, but I’ve found that a lemon or lime wedge in water is very tasty and sweet. Also, if you need some calcium without dairy, soy milk might work.
Yes, and orange slices as well 🙂 Thanks, Amy!
Connie J says
Doggone it, Stefanie 🙂 I read your post tihs morning and felt perfectly fine NOT participating. After all, I’m doing B90X right now, starting school tomorrow, blah, blah, blah… And all day I’ve been feeling convicted to do this! Clayton and I have done an extended fast once before in 2009. We fasted from everything but water. We were a few weeks from traveling for Kinley Grace and Kooper and were $21,000 short of funds. We sought counsel from our pastor, who is also a dear friend, and he suggested the three of us fast, seeking closeness and clarity from the Father. After 7 days we broke the fast because the Lord had spoken clearly to all three of us! He reminded us that everything is HIS, and everything good comes from HIM and is for HIS purposes. We were reminded that we must give back faithfully, and as soon as we made the commitment and followed through…he provided ALL we needed to bring our kiddos home a few weeks later.
So, I realize I’m just making excuses for not joining in. I’m on board!
I’m praying you will draw near to Him and each time you have a hunger pang you will hunger more for HIM!
I’m researching and trying to decide how I’m fasting, but I know I am going to (first time, too!) Do you know if whole-grain pasta is ok on the Daniel Fast??
Yes, whole grain pasta IS okay 🙂
I’m currently doing a juicing fast with fresh produce. Although my fast is not spiritually motivated, I’ll still be here to empathize and encourage. I started two days ago and have 19 more to go. I love the juices and feel like they provide me with a lot of energy. Jointhereboot.com has some great plant based recipes that would surely work on your fast. Go to their reboot program page (jointhereboot.com/reboot-programs/), then click the 15 day standard program They will have day by day recipes below that you can browse. Focus on days 1-5 and 11-15.
Dying to self and putting our flesh under subjection is the hardest thing to do as a Christian but the rewards that come from the closeness we enjoy with our Savior is well worth the sacrifice. Blessings…
Thank you, Misty. I am very much looking forward to all He does through these 21 days!
Heather Peterson says
Stefanie! Hats off to you lady! I don’t know if I could do that!! I think it’s AWESOME that you brought Asher in on this! What a way for him to make his faith his own! I’m inspired by your heart to draw closer to Jesus! He’s gonna bless that for sure!
Awww, you sure can do it, Heather!
I, too, am so pumped that Asher wanted to do this with me… watching him grow through this is going to be an additional blessing for us, for sure!
Hi. My church is also doing this fast. ( My family included 🙂 It is a corporate fast that consists of 3 days of full fasting then 18 days of the Daniel fast. It is tough but I know you can make it!! I was so surprised to see this posted on your blog but I know alot of churches have joined together for a time of fasting at the first of the year. My family has done this for 10 years or so and each year it is diferrent for me. Sometimes its a real struggle other times I seem to feast off of His manta and it’s all I need. Either way His presence is always more real to me during this time and that’s the great reward!! Go here ( http://www.jentezenfranklin.org/fasting/ ) to my church website for tons of materials, recipes, and encouragement!!
Be blessed as you fast and seek Him!!!!
Heather Beam says
My husband and I discovered the 21-day fast three years ago. We do a ‘normal fast’ (no food, just liquids) for the first three days and then a Daniel fast the remaining 18. I have never felt closer to the Lord or more full of hope and anticipation for our future as a couple and as a family as I did when we were doing our first fast in January 2010. The Holy Spirit was stirring in us, but we couldn’t put our finger on what the Lord wanted from us. I had this strong sense that God was going to reveal something to us many months into 2010 (just because, well, often I find myself waiting on His timing). In the fall of 2010 (ten months after the fast!), we were clearly led to start the process to adopt. Our Article 5 should’ve been submitted today and then we’re off to get our boy in China (the reason someone led me to your blog)!
We are currently fasting again. We can’t imagine not starting our year this way now — it’s truly a blessing. I know this will be a mighty year for us as we bring our sweet James home and experience God’s closeness and grace in a way we’ve never experienced before.
Fasting has become such a sweet surrender for us. We look forward to it (and dread it!) every year! 🙂
An easy-read is ‘Fasting’ by Jentezen Franklin. Highly recommend it. Oh, and wish I had recipes to share, but we’re not as adventurous as some of the others who’ve commented (but considering the neat ideas!). We do not give up coffee, but do drink only coffee and water during our days on only liquids. Then we do only fruits and veggies for the Daniel. Never thought a baked potato could taste so good! My husband even eliminates salad dressing, but I do use some — we eat a ton of salads! And love resuming our Friday night pizza nights when it’s over! 🙂
Just catching up on life with you…. Girl… I am so thankful that for your obedience!!!!! I am not sure I could give up the coffee…. I know you can do this!!! And, I pray God speaks volumes to you, and blesses you in the most beautiful ways!!!!!
Lifting you up Stef!!!
And, Happy Anniversary sweet Vivi!