Since I was eight years old, I have fasted just about every first Sunday of the month with other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We call this special day, Fast Sunday and we give up all food and water for 24 hours, and meet together to have a fast and Testimony meeting where we can share our testimonies of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Fasting together as a Ward family brings unity and strength.We are advised to start and end our fast with a prayer, and fast with a purpose. This is a special time to ask Heavenly Father for things that we need. I have personally received answers through divine revelation while participating in such fasts. On occasions, where trials or temptations were particularly strong, I have fasted and prayed to ask the Lord for extra strength. Fasting helps me to focus on what is important. When I get hunger pangs while fasting, I try to think of my Savior, Jesus Christ who personally atoned for my sins. His sacrifice was so great that he bled from every pore. Fasting can be a very eyeopening and humbling experience that draws me closer to my Father In Heaven and Jesus Christ. Fasting has always been a testimony building part of my life.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I was sad when I realized that I couldn’t fast in the traditional way that I had done before. I had to eat every few hours in order to keep myself from getting sick. I also learned that I couldn’t fast while Breast Feeding, or my supply would drop. I really missed being able to feel that Spiritual connection with the Lord that comes through fasting. Thank goodness for my friend who gave me some wonderful advise about fasting several years ago.
When My friend joined the church, she began fasting just like the other members of the church. However she had a health restriction that would make her very ill when she fasted. She would go to sacrament meeting, and then have to rush home afterwards to eat and this would result in her missing her other meetings. Her loving Bishop noticed that she was leaving and asked her about it. When he realized that she was leaving because the fast was making her ill, he gave her some suggestions. He let her know that she could modify her fast so that she could still participate without making herself sick. She still had to eat in order to be healthy, but she could still sacrifice by fasting from certain things. For example, instead of having brown sugar and butter on her oatmeal, she could eat it plain. Instead of cream cheese on a bagel, she could eat it plain, instead of dressing on a salad, she could eat just vegetables etc.
I am so glad that she shared this with me. It has provided me with a way to still participate in fasting in a capacity that is doable for me. Some months while I was pregnant, I was not able to sacrifice much because the morning sickness was so overwhelming. Sometimes I simply could not keep a bagel down unless it was slathered with butter and honey. I simply had to eat what I could eat without tossing my cookies. This may sound ridiculous, but women who have experienced the mystery of morning sickness can relate. Through the sickness, I did what I could. Some Sunday’s the sacrifice was simply, no candy, Gatorade, or extra sugar, because that was all I could do.
The important thing, was prayer. I would pray to begin and end my fast. I prayed throughout the fast and asked for strength to make it through my difficult pregnancies. I suffered fatigue, nausea, anxiety, and stress throughout my pregnancy, but prayer and fasting helped lighten the load, and gave me reassurance. It created that spiritual connection with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that I so desperately needed.
I have adapted my fast to meet my personal health challenges, and as a result, I have been able to participate while still maintaining good health. If you have struggled with fasting because of your own health challenges, I hope this post will give you some ideas and encouragement. I hope you will be able find a way that works for you. I hope you will be able to experience a meaningful fast regardless of any physical restrictions you may have.
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