Lisa Shefferly-Gillay lent

How Fasting and Prayer Blessed Me this Lent

\"LisaLent, what a season! For some it brings dread, for others it is a time to strengthen their walk with God, and still others it is a missed opportunity for renewal altogether. For me, this Lent has been a wonderful and intense time of great growth in my relationship with God. I have learned many things, some I am still trying to find words for. One thing very obvious to me is that my faith and trust in God has greatly increased. This was not so this past December, when not only was I continuing to endure an extremely painful situation in my personal life, but it was also the time when my mother died.

It was just days before Thanksgiving and we had just received the sudden announcement by the doctors of my mother’s rapidly advancing terminal illness. That meant we now had the daunting task of scrambling to get the heretofore private affairs of our very independent mother in order as her ability to communicate with us, her three children, diminished rapidly each day. As the eldest, I had power of attorney for all her personal matters. We needed to find certain documentation and fast. My mother had a way, shall we say, of organizing that made things difficult for us to find. Add this stress to a woman who was now starting to become more and more incoherent just when we needed her most for answers and to say our good byes. One might then begin to understand the tension of our situation as we watched her decline rapidly with the knowledge we would be burying her at any day. As with any hard thing in life we managed to get through it all.

As I look back on what seemed so long ago, I know that if I had to do it again, the choices I made in that month may very well have been different. I was in so much pain and in so much sorrow over some very big things in my life. If I had only trusted in God more then as He has taught me in this season of Lent, but hey, why kick myself now. I confess my mistakes to God and to those I need to confess them to and pledge to trust in Him more in the future.

I have often fasted in my walk with God but not as much as I have this Lent. I had a conversation with a dear person in my life just days before this season started asking for her help with something, kind of as a last resort request for help. When that door was closed I had no one to turn to but God. It was as if He stood there in front of me saying, “My dear child, I have been here waiting for you from the beginning.” I knew I had come full circle and neglected my dearest Help. With renewed faith, I embarked on the best Lenten journey ever! I felt strongly called by God to fast and pray daily in intercession for my husband and myself and our eight children to grow in relationship with Him. I leave the details to my Priest director but oh, these past six weeks have been a glorious internal advancement of my faith and trust in God in my life. I am on fire! God has done wonderful things so far and I know He will complete His work in time according to His will.

In December, I saw that trusting God was something hard for me to do, especially in a certain area of my life. It took a big wake-up call for me to see that and be willing to learn to trust Him. He might even choose to test me in it. With His help, I pray I pass with flying colors. I only hope that now it is not too late to salvage what I have done in this area of my life. But with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Also in December, I saw that my faith in God was much weaker. It too affected this same area of my life. Instead of trusting more in Him, instead of having more faith in Him, I chose a lesser, easier path that I now regret. Yet with fasting and praying my faith has dramatically increased and with it the hope of restoration to the former path that may have been intended for me in the first place.

Along with fasting and praying during my Lenten journey has come a deeper peace, a more profound joy in my relationship with the Lord, a more serene calmness that I know comes from Him, and love, yes love; a deeper, unconditional love for my husband and family that truly surprises me as I know it comes as a gift from God and not from me! My time with God has really been very special to me during a season when I needed Him most in my life. Whatever may come, I know that He is with me and holds my hopes, my dreams, and my deepest held desires in His hand and will work them out for my good according to His Holy and Divine will. All glory and praise be His forever!