Yesterday I finished up a huge spiritual push with prayer and fasting. Paul has been out of work for seven months and we are down to our last dollar. Every investment has been cashed in, every source of cash money liquidated, and I have been motivated to get off my tushie and look for paid work.
That in itself has been the biggest change of all.
I was telling my daughter the other day that as each moment of this time in our lives has clicked by, I have continually asked myself, “what is my role? what am I supposed to do? what would be the best way for me to contribute?”.
Early on I felt that it was crucial that I spend most of my time working in the kitchen using as much of our food storage and garden vegetables in our meals as possible. When you cook from scratch, the time invested manifests in loads of dishes and almost all of your energy going to preparing meals. Paul stepped in and started making home made applesauce, spaghetti sauce, and we moved to almost all home crafted soaps for laundry and dishes. He also did huge bakings of bread, rolls, muffins, and many other meals that sourced from the grains and beans canned in the basement.
When we decided to do this spiritual week as a family, I felt strongly that I should fast a couple of times. So on Friday I fasted all day. Paul received two calls for job opportunities that day after hearing nothing for two weeks, and yesterday we all fasted together on our normal fast day. The beauty of fasting is that when money is tight, it really makes you feel like you are contributing to the overall situation by quieting down your appetite and not eating the foods that you would normally spend money on.
In the quiet of the fast I found myself feeling really connected to my Heavenly Father. I always feel a deep connection to this person who is my source, but without the clutter of food moving through my system, my brain and spirit quieted down and I was able to really “talk” to him.
The main thing I felt from him was a deep and abiding love for me and our whole family. This outpouring of peace washed over my soul and I know that everything is going to work out well. As the cash has dwindled, the only real “savings” we have left is Andy’s mission fund. He worked all last year for a local wheat farmer killing thistles in the desert heat with a shovel and moving heavy irrigation and sprinkler pipe. I think I would rather clean toilets at A rest stop than take even one dollar from that sacred fund.
We had some amazing and timely gift offerings of cash from family over the holidays – a total of six hundred dollars – that enabled us to pay our utility bills and put gas in the car. We also had a couple of secret Santas who made certain a few presents were under the tree. I will always be grateful for the kindness shown by these beloved people. My dear sister Elaine loaned us five hundred dollars to fix the brakes on the car and in so doing kept our source of transportation going. The mechanic found something wrong with the water pump that would have killed the engine if it had gone on too much longer, so it was awesome to just get everything fixed up.
I interviewed for a new job last week. I figure if I have to get a job, might as well be something I love, so I updated my resume’ and am trying for a job at a local theatre. I also have some opportunities with my teaching job as well as another theatrical company in town. I pray that these all work out so that I can contribute some cash to the cause while Jeff finishes up his mission. Paul has had one serious offer from a local company and that job begins on Wednesday. But it is less than half of what he was making before at HP and no benefits. In order to keep paying for Jeffs mission for these final four months, I am planning to work full time doing theatre while Shelly takes over homeschooling Ben and my kitchen work. Michelle graduated from SUU last semester and wants to do this service for our family at this time in her life. She bakes better bread than me, so it is a win for all of us!
I hesitated to write about fasting simply because we are not really supposed to “brag” or talk about fasting efforts. But I know that many of my readers are not members of my faith and perhaps do not know or understand the spiritual power that is available when we fast and pray with a purpose. And so I “humbly” share in order to teach.
The biggest miracle yesterday was when Ben, who is 12, decided to try a two meal fast. He has proved extremely resistant over the years to even fasting one meal, and two meals?
But feeling the urgency of our financial situation and knowing that we had to really work together for some divine intervention, we all talked about our goals and dreams on Saturday and he realized that participating in the whole fast was really an important thing he could offer. When he woke up on Sunday morning he came into my room and said he was not sure he could do it. He eats like a cow, grazing all day long, and is growing so fast. He was shaking and feeling nervous because yesterday we switched to the 1:00 meeting time which meant he would not be able to be home to break his fast until at least 4:30 PM.
He was also supposed to go out with the young men and collect fast offerings at 11:00 and again was feeling faint and not sure if he could manage it out in the cold. I asked him if he would offer a prayer that he would be able to do it and also that I would be able to fast without passing out. We held hands and he said the sweetest prayer of his life. As he finished up the phone rang and it was his new deacon advisor asking him if he could call all of the other boys to go collecting. He hung up the phone and said, “well I guess I am going to go collecting”. I heard him making the calls and then he left to go collect. When he came home an hour later he ran into my room and told me that he felt better and he knew he could do the whole fast!
I had told him that in all of my fasting that the first meal was always the hardest to get through, especially for children, and even though you often feel weak, thirsty, and shaky during the last part of the fast, the spiritual outpouring that comes with disciplining your body and taking charge over your food addictions fully compensates for any discomfort. It also really helps to ponder on what you are fasting for rather than thinking about food.
After church Ben went with some other boys to administer the sacrament to the home bound members in our ward. When he showed up at the house at 4:30 Shelly had some food waiting for him. He barged in yelling, “I need food!!!”. The three of us kneeled and said a prayer together and then Ben broke his fast. Paul had to stay late to help count the Tithing money, but when he came home we said another family prayer and just all looked at each other with total and complete joy. No fear, no pain, no worry, just peaceful calm that something was right in front of us that would deliver us from financial destitution.
I must admit to a bit of pride around the fact that we have been able to do this bit of living without a dollar from the church or the government. It has been so wonderful to have the resources to be self reliant. Living in Pauls ancestral home without a mortgage made it possible and I will always be grateful to Elaine for inviting us to live with and take care of her in exchange for not having to pay rent. I believe it has been win/win for all concerned these past few years.
In the book of Mark, the Savior taught that certain miracles are only possible with prayer and fasting.
“This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
While it has been nerve wracking to be without health and dental benefits and no checks coming in to blow on toys and pizza for Benjamin, I can look at these past seven months and see that we have grown closer as a family and have felt a kinship with those who are also strugging during this dark time in our nations history.
I pray that with a new congress in place and more citizens aware of the pitfalls of a government completely out of control, that we can wrestle the republic out of the hands of the statists and communists who have overtaken it these past few years.
I read that just about every high ranking member of the Obama administration was either raised or mentored by communists. I believe it is past time to take back America from the Red Diaper Babies who have been working overtime to destroy our nation from within. It will be interesting and fun to watch it all play out in the years to come.
Maybe if Mr. Davis had taught Barry a little bit about faith, love, and hope instead of class warfare, collectivism, and hate we would not find ourselves in the financial pit of despair that has engulfed so many families. In his book, the president joked that he and Frank would sit around smoking weed and quoting dirty limericks to each other. I hope we do a better job vetting our next commander in chief.
Our children deserve better.
Thanks for stopping by!