from fast to feast - join us for a journey through the Psalms

For those of you who just completed our 2nd Annual 40 Day Sugar Fast... HIP-HIP-HOORAY! We've been more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Looking back over these 40 days I see many recurring themes, and all of them straight from the Bible.

- We talked a lot about letting our hunger pangs drive us to the only One who can ever satisfy our soul's great hunger. (Psalm 90:14)

- We recognized that when we "hunger and thirst for anything else, we hunger and thirst in vain." (Matt. 5:6)

- We confessed our tendency to emotionally binge rather than bring our emotions to the Lord. (Ps. 139:23)

- We collective heard Him say, "Thanks for the sugar, but what I really want is all of you." (Mark 12:30)

- Likewise, we admitted that once God shook this shackle free He immediately convicted us about other idols in our lives. (Leviticus 26:1)

- And finally, we've heard women joyfully confess, "I'm finally satisfied." (Psalm 107:9)

More than anything else was the call to be in God's Word throughout the fast. Instead of running to the pantry (for chocolate chips to get us through) we ran to Him, His Word, His Holy Spirit power!  We encouraged Bible study and Bible memory, and reminded each other that nothing else is sweeter. (Psalm 119:103)  It was a liberating and life-giving 40 days! And none of us are eager to turn back to captivity. We want to keep walking in freedom and pursuing the One who set us free indeed. And so we are going from fasting to feasting...

 

FROM FAST

 

We have developed a holy hunger to "taste and see" that the Lord, indeed, is good. (Psalm 34:8) Are you ready to go from FAST to FEAST? Beginning this coming Monday, May 16th, 2016, we're diving into the Psalms as a Spiritually starving group of women. We'll keep our private Facebook group alive and use it to "break bread" together, metaphorically.

If you have been one of the courageous women who went without sugar during this fast, it is my prayer that you've experienced the Lord's abiding nearness like never before. And I hope you'll join us on this next leg of our journey towards intimacy with Christ. But if you didn't fast with us this spring, but are hungry for time spent with the satisfying bread of life, you are welcome too!

 

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)

 

What do you say we taste and see for ourselves? Here's the challenge, brave ones: simply read one Psalm a day, Monday - Friday. Saturdays and Sundays can be used for catch up and reflection. Perhaps you'll choose to journal some of your thoughts and prayers, along with your favorite verses. Some of you may choose to copy some of these Psalms in their entirety. Maybe a handful of you will will even do a little creative Bible journaling with colored pens and watercolored paints. Whether you will read first thing in the morning, or  dive in once your little people are down for naps, it's up to you and the Holy Spirit's lead. The how and when and posture of your Bible Study is between you and the Him, but we invite you to share what you are learning each day on our private Facebook page. Each Monday - Friday one of the Fast2Feast admins will write the date and the Psalm number, followed by her personal reflection and an invitation for you to share yours. Sweet and simple.

Would you like a lovely little reminder? One of the ladies who joined our fast is a jewelry designer who has offered to create a series of bangles to remind us to fix our hunger upon the One who promises to satisfy every need, both now and forever more!

 

"Bind them continually on your heart;

Tie them around your neck (or your wrists.)

When you walk about, they will guide you;

When you sleep, they will watch over you;

And when you awake, they will talk to you."

(Proverbs 6:21-22, parenthesis added)

 

fastpromo1promo2promo4promo3

 

Order one, or order all three! Choose your favorite metal and our resident jeweler Jennifer, from The Finest Kind co. will ship it to you ASAP! Use the code: WENDY for 25% off - created especially for us!

I'll see y'all tomorrow as we dive into Psalm 1.

Wendy

 

When the Sweet Fix Makes You Sick

apple-computer.png

During last year's 40 Day Sugar Fast I learned and relearned one overarching lesson, day by day. It was as though The Lord was reaching into my humble offering plate, tracing my meager mite with His finger, and saying with a gentle whisper, "Thanks for giving me your sugar addiction... but I want it all. I want all of you." My dear friend Katie M. Reid is joining me for a second year in a row. Last year she experienced a similar call on her heart: "Yes, I'll take your sugar, but I want your anger too." This year He's taking her deeper still and asking for more.


 

When the Sweet Fix Makes You Sick

By Katie M. Reid

 

Edmund was already feeling uncomfortable from having eaten too many sweets, and when he heard that the Lady he had made friends with was a dangerous witch he felt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to taste that Turkish Delight more than he wanted anything else. -C.S. Lewis (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

 

Sometimes when you first taste a sugary treat it is delicious. The sweetness melts in your mouth and satisfies your craving. But have you ever indulged past the point of what you knew was reasonable? What once tasted divine leaves you with a headache, a stomach ache, or just an all-around lousy feeling.

The more you eat, the worse you feel.

That’s how it started for me. One taste led to another and soon I couldn’t stop. What began as something that made me feel satisfied morphed into something I couldn’t live without.

The constant stream of sugar I used to feed my emptiness filled me temporarily until the next fix. But the more I indulged the more I craved and the lousier I felt with each encounter.

I’m not really talking about sugar though.

I started this fast giving Him my sugar, but within the first 24 hours I knew that sugar wasn't my vice. I'd grown addicted to a different sort of sweet. 

 

The Fix that Breaks

The likes, the hearts, the thumbs up, and the shares that I received on social media began as beautiful encouragement to my discouraged soul. However, over time they’ve become something from which I can’t easily abstain.

An addiction to approval has a bigger hold on me than my afternoon delight of semi-sweet chocolate chips smothered in peanut butter. And that's saying a lot!

It’s hard for me to go too long without checking who likes, notices, and approves of me.

When I’m especially discouraged I reach out, with shaky hand, to get my next affirmation buzz.

 

apple computer

 

A few likes are no longer enough. I hunger for hundreds more and then it will be thousands. And when will it ever stop?

The addiction grows in power over me, controlling my happiness, constantly demanding to be fed.

I look to the attention of others, the stats, the approval ratings to see if I’m okay. Even when I feel acknowledged it isn’t enough. I set my sights on bigger and better, but I’m left with an ache; feeling lousy.

I walk away from the fix more discouraged then before because it doesn’t fulfill my soul.

Encouragement is a powerful tool. Pats on the back and thumbs up can lift us when we’re down. But when we take what was once sweet and prostitute it to fill us, we are left with a cheapened experience.

I want to stop playing the harlot—stop using people to make me feel good.

I’m sick of my self-indulgent heart keeping me from the pure delight of Jesus’ love.

I want to be made well.

 

The Break that Fixes

It’s hard to admit the ugliness of my sin, yet confession points the way to freedom.

When I see how others are seeking Him, unadulterated, I am tempted to retreat in shame—not feeling worthy to be among them. Feeling dirty—mixed motives present—in their company.

Yet, then, I think of her...the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). She was called out, caught in the act, yet Jesus did not condemn her. He had every right to accuse and find her guilty, but He chose another way. The heavy stones dropped as He picked up grace and wrapped it ‘round her with tenderness. Jesus did not leave her there in her filth. He told her to “Go and sin no more.” She was released to live differently. She was handed a clean slate, given a fresh start, freed to choose a more excellent way.

This is why I’m taking a break from sugar, because something is broken.

The allure of man’s approval has left me wanting. And I yearn for the genuine thing—approval found in Jesus alone.

Only Jesus’ affections and affirmation will truly satisfy.

We can find approval in Christ because of what He did on the cross. He took all of our sin, our addictions, our hidden faults and died for us so that we could be forgiven and restored to God. Jesus then rose again so that we can live victoriously and eternally.

 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

 

This is sweet news indeed. This is the hope that can be ours if we admit our need for Jesus. The world offers an artificial concoction of affirmation that leaves us sick yet longing for more. Jesus reaches down to pick us up, in the midst of brokenness, and wraps us with grace. He helps us to our feet and points to a better way—the way of Love.

 

Dear Lord,

When we feel discouraged draw us to Your Presence. When our flesh craves approval may we run to Your unconditionally love. Instead of indulging in unhealthy binges may we feast on Your Word that fills. Instead of reaching for temporary fixes may we lift our hands to worship You. Amen

With Grace, Katie


 

Katie_ReidHeadshotCloseKatie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children (with one more on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

For more 40 Day Sugar Fast posts, click here. Or sign up to get future messages delivered directly to your email inbox.

Satisfying hungry hearts - scriptures for your sugar fast

churchbells.jpeg

Welcome to our 2nd Annual 40 Day Sugar Fast! This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it - and expectant that God's Holy Spirit is going to use these 40 days to draw us into deeper intimacy and dependency upon Himself! I've received so many private messages from women who are desperate to lose weight, and you may, but the weight we really want to drop is the heavy burden of captivity, holding us back and holding us down. Shackled to sugar and shame. Held in bondage to anything is an awful way to live - unless we are bond as bondservant to the One who made us to crave HIM. Being held in bondage to anyone or anything other than Christ gives me a gut ache - both a physical and emotional gut ache.

Since last year's sugar fast I've been overcome with a holy hunger, a hankering for Him. And apparently I'm not alone in this, since nearly 5,000 women have signed up to join me on this year's Sugar Fast.

 

[Tweet ""Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6)"]

 

Still I forget sometimes, and look for satisfaction in all the wrong places. But I truly do want more of Jesus and less of the stuff that promises to satisfy me this side of glory. Though we take our craving hearts to the pantry, to the freezer, to our secret stash of chocolate covered almonds, to ease our anxiousness or loneliness, I know down to my core what we truly need.

And you do too.

This 40 Day Sugar Fast is all about fixing our eyes on the prize again. Remembering, the only One who can ever truly satisfy.

 

[Tweet "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)"]

 

We are a generation of hungry women. Hungry wives and moms and grandmas too. We're hungry for righteousness. We're hungry for joy in our hearts. We're hungry for peace and kindness in our homes. We are hungry women with hungry hearts, and we know that nothing has yet satisfied us the way that Christ can.

And so, during the next 40 days, we must do more than simply illuminate sugar from our diets; we must replace those refined sugars with the refining power of God's Word. Exchanging our sweets for the sweetest fare, the satisfying and sustaining One.

 

The goal isn't simply to stop eating what is wrong, but to start eating what is right. The Bread of Life! 

[Tweet "Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. (Ezekiel 3:3)"]

 

Consume His Word, and may you find it sweet and sustaining. Consume His Word and then use it like a battle ax when the enemy tempts you - just as He did Christ during His 40 days of fasting in the desert. "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'' Consume His Word, instead of everything else that your sweet tooth craves! Consume His Word, then pray it back to Him. "Fill me with your Word, may it be sweet to my mouth, O Lord. Satisfy me in the morning with your unfailing love, that I may sing for JOY and be glad all my days." Consume His Word.

Feast as you fast!

My sweet friend, Asheritah, author of the blog One Thing Alone, has created an incredible resource to help us through the days ahead. Sign up to get this free gift here!

 

Food Addiction Memory Cards Featured

 

Over the course of the next 40 days, we're focusing our hearts not on what we're giving up, but on the bread of life that came to earth to satisfy every deep hunger. Turn to Him, with each and every hunger pang!

 

"...using your bodily hunger pangs to remind you to cultivate your spiritual hunger for God. In other words, let your hunger pangs become like church bells calling you to prayer. Whenever you’re hungry for food say to yourself something like, “Jesus, you are my sweetness and sustenance. Your name is like honey on my lips. Your words are the manna that I hunger for.” (Bill Gaultiere, July 23, 2006)

 

churchbells

 

We don't want to simply renounce sugar without replacing our dependency on what was made to satisfy every longing heart. Let's taste and see that He is good, together! If you would like to receive more encouragement during our 40 Day Sugar Fast, sign up here. Or join our private Facebook group to dig further.

 

[Tweet "Let's replace those refined sugars with the refining power of God's Word. And exchange our sweets for the sweetest fare."]

 

UnknownOne more resource to help you pray God's Word. Beth Moore's, aptly titled book, Praying God's Word has an entire chapter dedicated to overcoming strongholds such as sugar addiction. This book is truly a mighty weapon to wield when the enemy attacks in the days ahead.

Do Not Be Afraid - resources for your sugar fast

fast2.jpeg

We're about to begin our 2nd Annual 40 Day Sugar Fast. And I'm excited, but a little fearful if I'm honest. Sugar's like crack cocaine to plenty of women I know - myself included - and detoxing coffee creamers, afternoon brownies, and that late night scoop of ice cream is no small thing. Over in our private Facebook Group, 40 Day Sugar Fast, thousands of women are already gathering, confessing to one their addictions... right along with their fears of failure. I thought to myself earlier today, "Wendy, you need to begin this fast immediately, like right now! These ladies need to be covered in prayer." So I did. I started my sugar fast a few days early, to prayerfully intercede and get my heart ready to lead the charge. Two hours in... everything started falling apart. My homeschooled kid couldn't focus, the other two came home from school emotional wrecks, and my husband came down with an intense headache. I'll tell you the truth, I wanted to cave because I couldn't use SUGAR TO COPE! You should have heard my inner dialogue back peddling. "Aw come on, girl, you never told anyone you were starting early. Self-medicate with a that leftover Easter cake."

And all I have to say is: Be afraid, be very afraid!

fast2

 

But here's the truth, we don't need to fear. We have the spirit of The Resurrected, sin-conquering, life-renewing, "I can do all things through Him" Savior of the world! Does that mean there won't be opposition? No. This will likely be tough for many of us. However, we don't need to fear! We are more than conquerors through Him who gives us strength! We are making the active, healthy, faith-filled, God-honoring choice for change.

[Tweet "God's Holy Spirit is all about changing and transforming the hearts and health and homes of people in bondage. Always has been! "]

"I came to set the captives free..." Jesus read from the scroll, fulfilling  that ancient prophesy. And so we can trust: the same Savior who died for our sins, rose again, overcoming every sin and snare, is powerful enough to walk us out of this mess we're in.

"The same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us." We just sang it Easter morning, let's live like we believe it!

"The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) I read these words just this morning to my boys. I'm reading them again tonight for myself, and passing them along to you. Fear not! "...because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

We are going to be clinging to scriptures just like these in the days ahead. Our next post will give you plenty of Biblical truth to feast upon as you  fast. However, if you would like another book or two to accompany you upon this journey, here are a few suggestions:

 

41v+L1WZnvL._AA160_51Gz87Z23zL._AA160_51tAw8GN6wL._AA160_

61ITyv1lTML._SX440_BO1,204,203,200_ 41pSLPuw0ZL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_  Unknown

Lysa TerKeurst's, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. Doesn't the title just about say it all? Here's a short description: "Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him."

Similarly, Lysa's other book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, is a great resource for those moms who simply can't hold themselves together. (Our sugar intake, may be contributing to the problem!) This may be a good time to address some of these issues.

Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, is another parenting book that address those shameful times we explode inappropriately at our children, rather than react with gentleness and grace. These forty days would be well spent addressing some of our emotional, sugar-induced parenting problems.

For those of you looking for some help with how to eat a more raw / whole foods diet during our fast. Let me suggest trying Rick Warren's, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life, or The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa and Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.

2nd Annual 40 Day Sugar Fast

SUGAR-FAST.jpeg

Tonight I made scones and fresh squeezed rosemary-infused peach lemonade in anticipation for Sunday's celebration. The table is set with roses straight from the garden. Tomorrow I'll prepare the lemon bars and spice cake. Plastic Easter eggs are filled with jelly beans and chocolates, ready to be hidden in the yard and joyfully discovered; and there's a dish of my husband's favorite treats on the coffee table. There's going to be lots of sugar this weekend! However, I have to tell you, that I am so incredibly excited about my 2nd Annual 40 Day Sugar Fast in a little over a week. I've chosen the dates intentionally, so that you might enjoy your traditional holiday sweets, and then join me for this special season. Last spring hundreds of ladies from the "No More Angry MOB" Facebook group discovered that when we cut refined sugars from our diets we're less likely to experience sugar-induced, emotional ups-and-downs during our long parenting days. We see our children reel from sugar themselves, melting-down and throwing fits... but rarely stop to see the correlation between that handful of chocolate chips, stolen from the back of the pantry, with our own late afternoon crash.

 

SUGAR FAST

 

But this isn't just a physical fast. This is a true spiritual fast! Together, we will spend 40 days crying out to the Lord - who is all we need to get us through our stress-filled mothering moments. No brownie is as sweet, no caffeinated beverage as bolstering, as His Holy Spirit in our needy lives.

 

"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."

(Joel 2:12)

 

I will be writing a weekly post here at WendySpeake.com to encourage you in the journey. Sign up here to have them delivered directly to your email inbox. We also have a private "40 Day Sugar Fast" Facebook group, for accountability and fellowship.

I am not a nutritionist, I have no detailed program for you to follow, and I'm not selling any weightless suppliants. The only thing I am offering is my friendship as we sojourn together - Let us return to Him with all our hearts.

 

[Tweet ""Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." (Joel 2:12)"]

 

Join me, April 4 - May 13, 2016

To read about last year's fast, click here.