I am writing this at 4 o’ clock in the morning on Friday. Lent began 2 days ago.

This is the first Lent I have ever participated in. Growing up in an Independent Baptist Church, it was not an event I was instructed in.  It is not something the Baptist church in general “does”.

Through some friends that I tend to discuss spiritual things with however, the topic of fasting has come up over the last several months in a few different ways. It made me realize that it was something I really knew very little about in general.  So, I began to read about it a little at a time. This interest, combined with the recent realization that I have a serious addiction to sugar, (hello, my name is Sasha and I am addicted to gingerbread rolled in white sugar)  brought me to a light research of the practice of Lent.

When I realized that the purpose behind Lent is not just to deny yourself for the sake of denying, but to draw closer to God I knew this was going to be the best way for me to get my problem under control. I’m forsaking sugar, a little white grain that I find so much comfort in, that is destroying my teeth most noticeably, not to mention other parts of my body I’m starting to recognize problems in, and looking to God to take it’s place.

I had my blogs and devotions about Lent lined up. I had encouraging Bible verses written out. I had a support group in place.

Yet, less than 48 hours into the fast, I found myself standing in Publix, shaking, picking up gourmet chocolate bar after gourmet chocolate bar, PRAYING that God would help me find one with no commercial sugar in it.

Yeah, not exactly the kind of relying on God I had intended.

I’m glad though. It was a big moment for me as I walked out of the store with no chocolate, knowing what I had just done.

Everything is much clearer in the morning though.  In my life, there have been times, when I know it has been God that has put things in my mind. Then He lets those thoughts ebb and flow until He knows I’ve come to just the right place where He can SHOW me something that rocks my socks. This has on more than one occasion sat me bolt upright in bed in the early hours of the morning with Him driving the point home perfectly. This morning was one of those mornings.

I am the nursing mother of a very happy, roly poly, 6 month old boy.  He LOVES to nurse. Until  recently he was exclusively breastfed, but lately we have been feeding him some homemade baby food.  He still nurses at least twice through the night. He stays in bed with us, because we all get sleep this way. It’s just what works for our family.

Typically I sense him stirring…he’s a thumb sucker…and when he’s hungry, the smacking is pretty loud on that thumb and he starts humming. He never actually wakes.  It’s kind of cute.  So I usually offer up a snack to which he greedily accepts, he hums a little louder and more happily for about 30 seconds and then I drift off to sleep while he eats.

Not today though. As he nursed and I heard somewhere in the back of my mind, “El Shaddai”, an ancient name of God. Having heard Him in the morning before, I had my “Yes Lord?” moment and finished feeding my baby. Then I hopped up and Googled “El Shaddai”.  The “El” refers to God himself, and “Shaddai” refers to “the One who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies.” The example that is often used in reference to the definition of this name is “Mother’s Milk”. In other words, like Mother’s Milk, He sustains completely. He is all I need. He nourishes, heals, fills, satisfies, and comforts, just like a nursing mother does for her child.  He’s happy to do it, just as I am happy to meet the needs of my baby when I hear him call. A design that is also completely His.

What a gentle way for my God to remind me that He does want me to look to Him to satisfy me. Knowing too, that today is day three of the fast, and probably the hardest. I love that I’ll have this picture all through the day as I nurse my own. A regular reminder to rely on Him in my weak moments.

Thank  you, El Shaddai.

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