Whether you're a single mom, married mom, remarried mom,
stay-at-home mom, working mom,
grand mom, step-mom...
or a complicated mix of the above,
there's one simple call on every mother's life:
Let your light shine!
Jesus spoke these words about Himself, "I am the Light of the World," then He passed the torch to us, His followers, in Matthew 5:14 - "You are the light of the world!" Yet, somehow, over the course of our long mothering days, our lights can flicker dim, until they all but die. There are too many reasons to count, I'm sure, darkening our lives and snuffing out our testimonies of light: the worries of this world, the challenges of marriage and child rearing, financial stress, broken hearts, broken dreams, dashed expectations, a lack of healthy lifestyles in the busyness of life, even depression brought on by a chemical imbalance, to name of a few. All of these things, and so many more, can work like a bushel (from the old Sunday School song) hiding our little lights.
While I'm not going to address all of the factors that blow strong against our call to shine, I am inviting you to join me for a 40 day fast from refined sugars! It is my belief that much of our mothering stress comes back to our inability to control our emotions. We give in to the stress and then parent with stress, adding stress up upon stress to everyone in our house.
Often we deal with the anxiety by running to the half-empty bag of chocolate chips in the pantry, rather than running to God in His Word.
So you see, this fast is both Spiritual and physical, as we commit to denying ourselves sugar, that we might taste the sweetness of Christ - and then share Him with those we care for most - shining His sweet love right where we are, in our home lives.
Moms struggle with sugar addition as much as our sweet-toothed kiddos. Just like them, we experience sugar spiked highs and sugar crashing lows. Though we desire to practice the fruit of self-control and hold every thought captive, to put on compassion and gentleness, be slow to speak and quick to listen... sugar makes it hard on us.
Simply put, SUGAR DOESN'T MAKE US SWEET!
40 DAY SUGAR FAST! January 16th - February 24th
By signing up you'll receive an invitation to join our private Facebook group and receive weekly emails to encourage you along the way. Since I won't be providing a hard core dietary plan to follow, simply some suggestions, you may want to order a book online. You can find a more rigorous guideline in the pages of The Daniel Plan: Forty Days to a Healthier Life by Pastor Rick Warren, or the secular, practical cookbook, The Whole 30, a 30 day guide to total health and food freedom.
If you'd like a great companion book to talk you through your relationship with food, in light of who Jesus is in our lives, I heartily endorse FULL: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction by Asheritah Ciuciu. As a special treat, Asheritah will actually be leading us through each chapter in our interactive Facebook group this year! So make sure you sign up here!
Ladies, you are going to love our community each day, as we support and hold one another accountable as experience the bondage breaking power of Jesus! Setting us free from the strong-hold of addiction, sugar induced meltdowns, depression, crabby attitudes, adrenal fatigue, and angry parenting.
The ultimate goal is freedom and emotional stability so that you might let your light shine, from your healthy stable heart, out into your home. That's my own personal and ongoing focus, and the theme of my encouragement to you.
JOIN US FOR THE 40 DAY SUGAR FAST!
I am not a nutritionist, nor do I play one on television, I'm simply a woman who has known the dark side of sugar-addiction while trying to love my family and community well. I believe that men and women who are committed to letting their lights shine for Christ, are constantly under attack, and sugar has become a common weapon forged against loving homes; a chain, holding us back from abundant and happy lives with our dear ones.
Don't you see the way your children bounce wildly and then crash when they've ingested too much sugar? Well, moms and dads, men and women, are losing control of themselves too, forsaking self-control, losing their tempers, hurting their relationships, shunning the light.
Below you'll find links to related posts that friends and I have written during our last two 40 Day Sugar Fasts. Join a great congregation of moms who are committed to taking our cravings to the One who made us to crave... Him.
4 - Made to Crave
5- Return to Me
10- Social Media Fasting - Because we want to care what God "likes" more than man
15- That time I ate ice-cream and then remembered I was fasting - a guest post by Julie at Happystronghome
17- Flash the Donkey - because sometimes a donkey has something to say about fasting too.
19- Praying for America - learning to pray for others
20- Do you think of prayer as a sort of magic trick? There's a magic deeper still...
21- What fasting taught me about an angry woman and a kind God - a guest post by Katie Reid at Echos of my Heart
Don't miss this ongoing series. Sign up here to have future posts delivered via email straight to your inbox.
My Personal Plan
1) Pray. While this is a physical fast it is also a spiritual one. Our goal is to break the ties that so easily bind us, holding us back from the fruit of God's Spirit displayed in our lives.
2) Scripture. Choose a scripture or two or forty, to meditate on when as your body craves sugar and you feel like giving up. (One of the blog posts in this series will have some suggestion). You are purposefully taking something out of your body (through fasting), therefore, this is the perfect time to replant something new (choose God's Word for strength and support.)
3) Dump the sugar. If it's not in your pantry you will not be tempted at home. That means the chocolate chips you have stashed away, the candied nuts, left-over Easter treats, those packages of brownie mix, the half eaten tub of ice cream, and your heavily sweetened coffee creamers. (ouch) Don't count the monetary cost. $60 worth of pantry items is less than the price-tag of having a professional come in and trash it for you.
4) Restock your kitchen. Just like you are fasting from sugar in your body and replacing those empty places with the truth of God's power to get you through, restock the shelves of your pantry and fridge with protein, vegetables and low sugar fruit items (grapefruit, berries, granny smith apples are your best options). Avoid simple carbs like white bread, pasta, and white rice, as they turn to sugars in your gut. Natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and local raw honey are good alternatives to sugar when used sparingly.
5) Plan your meals. I find that when I eat the exact same things each day, I am less likely to follow temptation down a side-street. Every morning I have a protein rich smoothie, for snacks I have a piece of fruit, raw carrots or a handful of almonds, lunch is either eggs and canadian bacon, a salad with light dressing, or sandwich meat wrapped around a cheese stick. If you want to simply have regular meal, go for it, just don't load your salad with high calorie dressing and slurp down a lemonade. Make a plan ahead of time and stick to it for forty days!
6) Invite others. Include your spouse, your children, and your friends. Let's be a community that says goodbye to testimony trashing sugars!
7) Expect Spiritual Attack. Though this is a physical fast, we have spiritual reasons for doing it. The devil loves nothing more than hearing you raise your voice at your kids. He delights in your emotional meltdowns at bedtime instead of seeing you make love to your husband. He wants you staying inside in the dark of your home, lethargic and depressed, rather than enjoy an energized day with your family and neighbors.
8) Stock up on vitamins and minerals. If your adrenal glands have been burned out by sugar, caffeine, and stress, then look for an adrenal support capsule at your local health food store. Vitamin B is also good for stress, that that's what chases you to your daily spoonful of Nutella.
9) Exercise. Once you make it through the first 5 days your energy is going to skyrocket. Layer in some exercise and those healthy endorphins will be an added bonus. Get ready to find yourself smiling more often! Your family will notice it too!
10) Pray. Let's bookend this list with prayer. "Dear Lord, we want to let Your lights shine into our homes and out into the world, but our moods have been all over the place lately. Give us the courage to do this fast, that we might learn to depend on You and not sugar crutches and short term fixes. You came that we might have life, and abundant life at that, we believe that this fast will help us to experience the life You came to give us. Speak truth into the empty places of our hearts as we fast and pray. We do this so that our lights will shine strong and sure, that others may see the light and glorify You! Amen."
Let me know in the comments if you'll be joining me in the forty days ahead.