When thinking about First Love, I am reminded of the warning in Revelation 2:5 to the church in Ephesus, "do the things you did at first..." I think about life. I think about how quickly the moments with young children pass. I am mindful of how I have changed in my relationship with my husband from when we were first in love as kids, to 6 years married. I ponder the legacy I am even now weaving and will one day be leaving for my kids and those who know me. As a young mother, I am constantly admonished by others more seasoned in years, to enjoy life & my loved ones because it all passes so quickly... it's like smoke, like a vapor. So true.
In these moments of introspection, I ask myself the question "what were the things I did at first in my love relationship with Jesus?" The fond, honeymoon painted moments and memories flood my mind and my eyes brim with precious, happy tears of times gone by. And like I do with my husband & I's relationship - I marvel at the ways in which I have changed in my relationship with Jesus. Tender, secret, intimate things only two lovers know about one another. It's so precious.
One of the practices I did in those first years with Jesus was Fasting. I remember in high school skipping breakfast and lunches on Wednesdays and praying in the library for God to move significantly at youth group that night. I remember Michael & I's first year of marriage and looking back I laugh at how often we were on some kind of fast! I remember in college attempting one of my first three-day fast and completely believing I was about to die! I treasure these memories and the knowledge I have gained through them - mostly I treasure the intimacy with Jesus that has developed. Precious, precious times.
Due to being in a constant state of making and then feeding babies for the past 4 years (wow!) I have abstained from the practice of fasting food. Yeah, media fasts and such are decent but I'm telling you what! You know what kicks the sassy, selfish, easily-angered, mouthy flesh to the curb?! Fasting!!!
Having a house to call my home is SO FUN! This evening after I put the kids to bed (a WHOLE MIRACLE in and of itself!!!), I walked down to my bookshelf, in my living room (eek!) and literally grabbed the two exact books I wanted to read from my book collection and I read the parts I wanted to read and Viola! I rejoiced! If you're reading this and you're missing the excitement and amazing-ness... I am soooo glad you're not homeless and I encourage you to refresh yourself on your first days of living in your first home!!! A different kind of first love!
ANYWAY! Back to my two books I joyously grabbed off the bookshelf in my living room(!!!)... one was a book from my college days. Its a good one, and encourage you to pick one up, "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster.
"Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them. Paul writes, " 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be enslaved by anything" (1 Cor 6:12)"
Our continual indulgence as American Christians is perhaps one of the most lethal things we could be allowing in our personal/spiritual lives. I challenge you to consider the things you did at first, and ANOTHER good one that I always did at first was to write out "application questions" formulated by what I just read so.... here we go!
Q: What nonessentials have I allowed to take precedence in my life?
Q: What are the things I did at first in my relationship with Jesus?
Q: How can I get back to first love? What needs to change?
Ps. I encourage you to ask Jesus what He thinks about you+fasting. Jesus never outrightly commands us to fast in scripture, rather it seems He assumes we will (Matt 6:16, Matt 9:15). Beloved, it is for freedom that Christ has set us FREE, therefore you are free to fast, and that makes ALL the difference!!!
Missions trip to Mexico with my youth group in my early days of loving Jesus. "Here I am, send me" (Is 6:8)