Epiphany is my favorite word.
Long before I became a Christian epiphany, defined as an “illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure,” meant learning and wisdom. Epiphanal moments were cherished.
I had them watching Oprah, laughing with friends and reading good books.
Decades later, I learned there was actually an Epiphany Day. What a beautiful discovery.
It was a long time after I discovered Epiphany Day that I learned it is actually deeply rooted in the birth of Christ:
the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
The original epiphany was the beginning of the story for those of us adopted into God’s family.
Just this week, 20 hours between midnight and dawn have found me awake and caring for a sick kiddo. Warm baths, cleaning up sick messes, dosing out medicines night after night stood in the way of precious sleep.
In addition, there have been a dozen hours in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices with my mother in law and my little peanut when I was finally convinced she was not almost better.
Lots of buggy things got in the way of my lists and my peace of mind.
But what has poison churning in my soul is none of those things, but rather what I see in the world of my teenager and the teens around the world. It is infinitely harder to raise high schoolers today than just ten years ago. Chatting with my pediatrician about the craziness and uncertainties in the culture and the world, and lamenting my ineffective search for answers, he said, “There are a lot of people to claim to have answers, but at this point they are really just opinions.”
Drugs, graphic images available 24 hours a day on hand held cell phones, distresses taunt and haunt from every visible corner. Not to mention a gazillion “sexual identities” available and supposed to be acknowledged and accepted.
I am a very simple “In the beginning God created them; male and female He created them” kind of a gal. While our doors are open wide to teenagers of all beliefs and walks of life, I yearn for simpler days and less pressure on our kids.
Social media bombards endlessly.
Pressures mount daily.
Already pondering and praying about these things, I was forced out of complacency in early December. A friend across the country asked for prayer when her son was in lock down at school. A young man hung himself in the gym and when the paramedics came to get him to the hospital, no one wanted the students scarred by the image. The boy in the gym was taken off life support a few days later. Within 24 hours of praying for that another friend across the state asked for prayers for her dear friend whose son had been killed in a car accident.
Sometimes it feels like filling my lungs deeply with fresh air is impossible, because the strain and fears I have for our kids has me so constricted…
I decided I would revive a practice I have used before of fasting on Fridays. I know what specifically I am fasting and praying for…sometimes I choose a Bible verse to pray when I runout of words…I allow myself drinks and break the fast at 6:00 pm. I use the pangs of hunger to remind me to pray and look to the Lord.
I threw it out on social media and some friends will be joining me in January, to fast on Fridays and pray for our kids.
I want to be obedient to God. Obedience to His word and His nudgings matter to me, but this life of growing in Him is not always one with clearly defined edges. In my world it can be a bit fuzzy.
Is that what He is asking?
Am I sure?
I committed to praying on Fridays…fasting and focusing on freedom for teenagers everywhere, mine included.
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. PROVERBS 24: 3-4
I know this is a good practice, but imagine my thrill when I looked on the calendar and the very first Friday of January is, of all things, Epiphany Day.
And so tomorrow, Epiphany Day, I will begin my January commitment to fasting on Fridays. I will be praying for victory for our kids. I will be praying for joy in our families. I will be praying for a cleansing in our culture and a rise in God honoring ideas and principles.
Join me? You can join our little Facebook group here.
It is time. The need is huge. If you are a parent, friend, grandparent, aunt, teacher or concerned citizen, you are welcome to join us. For some of the stories that drove me to this there will be mourning, but my cry is that by the end of the month we will start collecting stories of victory.
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”