This is a guest post written by a long-time friend of mine Sandy Hennawi. The whole family–including two young daughters–went vegan for the entire Lenten fast last spring! I share her post today in case YOU haven’t started fasting yet, or in case you need some encouragement to help get your children fasting some or all of the Nativity fast.
Something amazing happened in our family! I as a mother of two young girls did not have to defrost meat for 55 days! Woohoo!
Do you know how quick our dinners were in the home this past Lent? They were unreal, and I wasn’t at the stove for 45 minutes!
Before this past Lent started, my husband said, “You know, it would be nice for our girls to fast with us 100%.”
I knew what that meant—going out with friends would be awkward. “You are letting your children fast the whole lent? This is simply haraaaam.”
I tell my husband, “Sweetheart, before we go to our friend’s home, let’s have a rundown of what we will say when they offer chicken to them.” So, right, we have a plan; we are good to go!
As soon as we sit down to the meal, our oldest says, “Mommy, I want chicken, please!”
My heart starts pounding, “Habibi (my love in Arabic), we talked about this.”
I didn’t want to say, “We are fasting; you can’t have this.” I never wanted my children to feel that they are better than others while teaching them about what fasting is and means spiritually. I also never wanted our children to know that they were literally abstaining from foods that they loved.
You are probably reading this and thinking, “This is way too extreme, and I would never put my children through that.”
Well, they went through it, and I feel their spirits were soaring high! God blessed us with many things during the several weeks of Lent. I didn’t heard complaints of, “When are we going to eat ‘lampa’?” (my daughter’s poor pronunciation of lahma—beef.
They seemed happy, and it can happen! Your children can fast an entire fasting season!
Now, I will be honest, they did eat seafood from time to time, and my husband agreed that’s okay on special days.
I know no matter what age we are and whatever spiritual level we think we are at, Christ our God gives us much awesome grace to achieve the goal to be by His side in what comes our way.
Our children are more resilient than we will ever realize, once we give them the chance. God has given me the gift of having children and raising them.
Just hope they don’t come to the end of the fast and say, “What is chicken? Yucky!!!!” 🙂
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