For about a year now, I have not been able to complete any fast.
Somehow, the devil had rendered me anaemic, from a person who never had problems with her blood volume. I have even donated blood a couple of times and suffered no after-effects.
This having no blood was alien and disturbing to me, not least because I could not fast without feeling like I was dying.
By 3pm at most, I would feel like the last drop of life was oozing out of me if I did not eat something as a matter of emergency. My blood sugar levels were okay and doctors put it down to anaemia.
And that is how the devil had sabotaged my fasting plans, despite the Bible saying in Matthew 17:21, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
In the Pentecostal faith, we do not observe the Lenten season like, say, the Anglicans or Catholics do, or Ramadan like the Muslims do.
We fast as the Holy Spirit guides. It can be several times a year or just once. I even know someone who fasted from September 2015 to September 2016.
It is an important practice for a born-again Christian to be able to fast, because we register faster and greater spiritual victories when our bodies have been battered into a position of submission, to allow dominance of the spirit and soul.
You can imagine my devastation every time I tried to fast, only to feel my heart pounding like it was working with empty veins.
I eventually came to terms with my predicament and focused on prayer and worship.
Then a week ago I started getting inexplicable fear and anxiety that I first put down to my coffee intake. But when all interventions failed, I went into a fast, determined to stay the course for at least six hours daily.
I was pleasantly surprised when I comfortably fasted all the days I had set out to fast, from 6am to 6pm with no health interruptions.
My prayer was for the Lord to restore a sound mind unto me, and He never disappointed.
See, before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour in February 2002, I had been a depressed and anxious mess.
I was so used to stepping away from my workstation for a few minutes to go to the bathroom to “cry it out”, so I could feel better for a few hours.
A born-again colleague saw through my makeup and asked to take me to her pastor friend for counselling.
That February day, I had gone for “just counselling” because I did not like “those savedee things”, but ended up repeating the sinner’s prayer and getting saved.
I often testify about inexplicable peace, joy and freedom I felt that afternoon. I felt like skipping as a little girl all the way home.
I remember wondering as I grinned at no one and everyone: “So, this is the peace that surpasses all understanding that they talk about?”
My depression and anxiety became history.
So you can imagine my trepidation when I felt those two emotions steadily creeping back to torment me.
But thank you, Lord, for your grace; with a few days’ fast, I was able to get back on track.