By Natalie “Neco” Haviland
I have just finished a twenty-one day fast, and I just wanted to say thank you to God. I never believed that I could do a fast like that for so long. I know I did not do anything on my own, but I know that it was all God. All I did was accept the challenge in obedience when God prompted me. I trusted the Holy Spirit to do it for me. I knew deep down in my heart that I could not possibly give up my coffee, much less food, for twenty-one days.
There are three things on this earth that I adore; coffee, tea, and aerobics. I live on these three things daily, so to surrender all of them for three entire weeks was extreme to my small thinking. I was angry. Something in my spirit was enraged, and I saw myself becoming someone I didn't like. I was snapping at people. I cursed, and even told off one of the kindest officers here. I shocked everyone around me, and I was devastated by my own behavior.
At the same time, I learned that my daughter was experiencing some moral deficiencies. I felt she lacked honesty, integrity, and compassion for other people. The very same issues I had been praying about these last ten years. I begged God to help my child, to educate her. I prayed that He manifest His love, and truth into her heart, and to give her wisdom, and discernment. I prayed that God remove the veils from her eyes, and give her eyes to see, a heart to receive, and the mental clarity to define, and absorb His wisdom. I have prayed, cried, fasted and sacrificed all in an attempt to prompt God to help this poor child, who is out there in the world alone, and yet an entire decade has gone by, and still, she was the same.
I must acknowledge that God has done a lot for her. She is not on drugs, she is not selling her soul for a fix, and she is not completely homeless. She has not become pregnant, (my biggest prayer), and is safe, and healthy. Much has been done on her behalf. I see God's hand in her situations. I see, and I am truly grateful, for His provisions and His protection. I know He is working in her life.
It's just not enough. I need more. I am her mother, and no matter what she has done to me or anyone else at any time, she still deserves a good life. I will always want her to be happy and successful. I want her to be smart, and shine like the jewel she was created to be.
I felt like time was running out. It has been so long now, and I wondered at what point will good things begin to happen to her? She is now twenty-five years old, and she still thinks, and behaves like a teenager. It will take time to learn, study, practice, and become a woman of substance. Her child bearing years may be limited. I take all such things into consideration. I needed God to move a mountain in her life. I needed a miracle. I didn't just want God to hear my prayers; I needed to fall on my face before the Mercy Seat. I need God to reach down from His throne as I sobbed, and ached before Him. I needed Him to touch my shoulder, and tell me that He is doing what needs to be done. I needed peace.
So there I was, with these two aching needs in my life. I was sitting up on my bunk watching TBN when Jentzen Franklin came on, and said that his ministry was going to do a twenty-one day fast from Jan 8th to Jan 29th of this year. I remembered how the year before when I heard that they were going to fast, I thought that was an amazing idea. An entire ministry fasting for twenty-one days together was awesome.
So this year, when they made the announcement, I felt compelled to join them. I asked God if I could do a liquid fast so I could drink my coffee, tea, juice and milk. No such luck. I even asked God if He was kidding. I talk to Him as I would anyone else, except, of course, with an intense honor, and respect. I revere God as the Almighty, and not just someone from cell block three.
God knows my spirit, and asking me to forego food, coffee, tea, munchies, and aerobics for twenty one days was super huge. I cried, I feared, I doubted, and in the end I submitted. I trusted that I would never be expected to do it alone. I had several days to prepare. I wrote to my daughter, and I told her of the fast, and of my prayers. I also told her about my dearest pray partners, and friends, that were keeping me in their prayers. I prepared my cell, removing all temptations from view. I ate a few good meals during my last days, and I set up a small container that held 21 small wheat crackers, and 9 vitamins. I would take communion every morning, and 3 vitamins a week. For ten days I would consume just water, and then drink watered down oatmeal and peanut butter. The last five days I would eat fruit and vegetables. I worked in construction, and I thought I might become weakened over time, so I spoke to my supervisor. After the first week, I would not be allowed on the scaffold, and on the ladders. While the rest of the crew took their lunch, I was allowed to go in a separate room to rest, and to pray.
A special warfare prayer was printed, and copied for me to pray daily as I waged war against Satan and his minions. No longer was the enemy going to set up camp around my child, and build a stronghold in her heart, and mind. I was a soldier in God's army. I fought alongside mighty angels in the heavenly realms, casting down powers, spirits, principalities, and every vile thing that stood against the true knowledge of God. If I thought, or felt, they were even looking at my child, it was struck down in the name of Jesus. Hell hath no fury like a ticked mommy!
As I fasted, I wrote daily about my anger. I told God everything that was upsetting me, and when I got down to the heart of the matter I was shocked to learn that I was mostly angry at God. I had been blaming Him for allowing things to happen in my life that I simply wasn't jiggy with. My dearest friend took her own life, He took my friend, and it hurt me like I had never been hurt before. How could God let that happen? Is she in heaven? Will I ever see her again? So much pain and confusion had manifested itself into anger.
Although it seems inappropriate for me to tell God that I was angry at Him, it was necessary for me to be honest. He also understands that we get upset. He created us as emotional beings. He also understands that we do not have His infinite wisdom to understand all things. Ours is not to reason why. I learned a long ago that God is not a mathematical equation, and that I cannot not break Him down and figure Him out. I am but a simple human being, and know not what His intensions are. When I am broken from pain, anger, loss, confusion, or any state of unrest, I go to my savior my Father in all sincerity.
I also wrote my daughter every few days and I sent her tons of handouts from a class I teach here. It was all about self talk, goal setting, self awareness, and of course I talked about how she needed to know that she deserved to be happy, successful, and loved. I told her that God has entire store houses of blessing Him wants to pour out on her if she will just receive them. I teach, I preached, I fast, I pray, and I fight demons on her behalf. I'm a mom. Love conquers all. Now that's real! God gave us all that deep seeded love we have for our children. That love for our parents, our spouse, our friends, our country, and even our pets. God is love. What awesome power we have to protect our loved ones. I am sad to see that fasting is not widely taught in many churches. For me it is a mighty tool in the Christian armory. A weapon of mass destruction against the enemies of my soul. It is also a wonderful sacrifice to God. Christ sacrificed so much for us.
God gives and gives, and then gives some more. What do we give back? For me praises aren’t good enough. If I give my life, it is still not good enough. I want to, even desire to suffer for Christ. I am honored to suffer. It is why I practice my Native American sweat ceremony so eagerly. I fast and sweat to honor God, and to give a little something back for all I have been given.
Unci Mala (pronounced oon-she mola) means have pity on me in Lakota. I pray Unci mala every morning. I was given pity and mercy by God. I did not have any headaches from lack of coffee, and tea. I was not starving. I felt fine, and I worked normally every day. My spirit lifted, and peace surrounded me, even during the battle scenes in my heart. It was so easy to fast for all of those days that I felt I had done it wrong, or cheated somehow. When it was over I was so broken up. I went to go pray a prayer of thanksgiving. I sobbed telling God that I felt like I had failed him somehow. I felt I should not have eaten anything at all, like I was too weak, and gave in to easily.
It was then that God let me know that it wasn’t really about what I ate, or didn’t eat. He looked at my obedience, my willing heart to seek His face, His voice, His touch, and His help. The fact that I had been sincere in my effort was worthy enough. As I sat crying, and praying, I saw myself wrapping my arms around God’s neck. My tears spilled onto His shoulder soaking through His robe, wetting His skin. He held me as I claimed what no words, or deeds could ever convey how truly grateful I was for everything He has done for me, and my family, and my generation. My gratitude exceeds all I can even think. I got a hug from God! A broken old ex biker chic, from California, sitting in a prison cell, got a hug from God. Wow! What an experience. It is such an honor too great for me to express. I will never be the same.
Fasting will forever be one of my favorite ways to call on God, and seek His favor. I recommend it to anyone. I suggest you read, and learn all you can about fasting. There are many ways to fast, and time limits to fast. I was fortunate to find the “Beginners Guide to Fasting” by Elmer L. Towns. It is a small, simple guide to lead you as you prepare to explore this journey into His wonderful light. That being said, I would like to end this with a few words of wisdom concerning our spiritual walk. I believe we should always strive to concern ourselves more about what is coming out of our mouths, rather than what we are putting into it, as Jesus instructed in Matthew 15:11.
About half way through the fast, I received a letter from my daughter. She said she was tired of living the way she had been living, just merely existing, and she wanted to change. She was looking into a full time position, and was hopeful that she would be starting soon. She realized that her friends were not encouraging her to do anything better in her life, and had cut ties with most of them. I am encouraged about her future. I know God is moving in her life, and all the information I have been sending her is being read and considered. Hallelujah to the King of kings who shows such mercy to the lowest of human beings, like me. Through Him we have hope and a future.
Be blessed abundantly in His most precious name.