Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What The First Sunday of the Month Means to Me

Since this Sunday will be fast Sunday at church, I have been thinking about fasting in my life. I like food. (Can you tell by even a quick search of my blog?) Fasting is not easy for me. But I am very grateful that I have made it a habit to keep this commandment because I have received blessings and have come closer to my Heavenly Father because of it. I admit that some fast Sundays I just feel hungry and don’t notice any particular blessing, but I’m always glad that I made it through. When I fast and pray for a specific reason, fasting helps remind me of the purpose through all the hours of the day.

My first real experience with fasting that I can remember was when I was in high school. When I was a junior my family and I moved from Ohio to Florida. I had always wanted to go to BYU (for some reason, even though I had never been to Utah), but suddenly I wasn’t sure. I only applied to two colleges. One was BYU and the other was a school in Ohio where I could be near my friends who I missed and be my friend’s roommate. The more I thought about it, the more sure I was that I’d move to Ohio. My friend and I started making lists of who was going to buy what for the apartment and things like that. I received my acceptance letter to the school in Ohio and was so excited. I hoped that BYU wouldn’t even accept me so I wouldn’t have to worry about the decision.

But then I got the letter—an acceptance letter. I was resolved to move to Ohio. Then I had a thought, I knew what I wanted, but I hadn’t asked Heavenly Father what He wanted me to do. I thought about it for a few days before I got up the nerve to pray (probably because I already knew the answer, but didn’t want to hear it). Then it was fast Sunday, so I decided to fast and pray about it. Don’t think I’m crazy, k? but while I was sitting in the chapel with my eyes closed I could see in my mind a scene that hadn’t crossed my mind. My friend who was going to be my roommate was my friend for many years and I knew her family well. Her father was an alcoholic. In my head I could see that he would come to our apartment drunk and cause problems and that would become part of my life there. It struck me so strongly that I immediately knew that I was supposed to go to BYU. It was hard for me because I thought I’d be helping my friend get out of her house and she stayed at home since she didn’t have a roommate to move in with, but I had to do what I felt was right.

I loved my time and BYU and hope to go back again soon. If I wouldn’t have moved out to Utah I wouldn’t have met my husband and had our three beautiful children. I’m so grateful for the other times in my life when I have fasted and felt the Spirit more strongly, understood Heavenly Father’s will for me more clearly and saw my own weaknesses more accurately while feeling uplifted and never alone. I am looking forward to this fast Sunday...and the break-the-fast meal afterward.


"On that day, members who are physically able are encouraged to fast, pray, bear witness to the truthfulness of the gospel, and pay a generous fast offering.

Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry. If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father. Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation.

Fasting and prayer can help develop within us courage and confidence. It can strengthen our character and build self-restraint and discipline. Often when we fast, our righteous prayers and petitions have greater power. Testimonies grow. We mature spiritually and emotionally and sanctify our souls. Each time we fast, we gain a little more control over our worldly appetites and passions."
Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 2001, 73

"The law of the fast has three great purposes. First, it provides assistance to the needy through the contribution of fast offerings, consisting of the value of meals from which we abstain. Second, a
fast is beneficial to us physically. Third, it is to increase humility and spirituality on the part of each individual."
L. Tom Perry, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 1986, 31

1 comment:

  1. My husband had a very similar experience deciding which school to go to and I, for one, am forever grateful that he came to BYU! It's amazing the way the Lord has a way of letting us know the right thing when we're willing to put our trust in Him. Great post!


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