Story - as submitted by Michelle Braud
February 1st is the beginning of what most would call the "Love Month." The stores are decorated with all things hearts, red roses are in abundance, and, of course, there's lots of chocolate. Everywhere you go, love is in the air. As cliche as all of these things are, there was a defining moment that took place in my life on February 1st that was far from cliche. It was after a Monday Night Prayer meeting and several of us were at the alter talking when I got an overwhelming nudge from the Holy Spirit that I had to say "yes" to. It was a desire to love people more than I have loved before. I asked Pastor Marvin to impart to me the love that he has for people because I have never met anyone else that loves people like he does. As he prayed for me, the Father's love baptized me with a love that I have never experienced. At that moment I knew some things had broken off of me but couldn't quite wrap my mind around it then. I just knew I was forever changed in literally minutes.
The next few days all I would have to do is set my affections upon the Lord and tears would flow down my face because His love was so evident. I knew He was drawing me into a fast but I had no idea how long or why but there was this extraordinary grace for it and it was like I was completely full because I was feasting on His love.
As the week went on, I began to realize that the hurt and pain from my childhood was gone, the shame from my past was no longer there and the fear of rejection was broken off. I had this amazing ability to be able to feel things that I had previously become numb to. Things I had forgiven people for no longer had a sting associated with the memory and I was given an assurance that God would use it all for His glory.
As I began asking the Lord how long this fast would be, I kept feeling like March 1st was significant and even had confirmation of that date... So March 1st it was! The thing was that I had already fasted for 30 days, two and a half years ago, so I knew it was possible. However, this fast was different because I had no food at all. I drank only water, coffee, and tea. It became evident to me that I could not fast for 40 days on my own will power, but because God has called me into the fast, He brought me through it by His strength and not my own. Then about half way through the Fast the Lord started showing me 40. He had me study about the 40 days between the resurrection and the promise of the cross. He began showing me that Noah persevered 40 days and nights, Jesus went to the wilderness 40 days and nights. The promise was at the end of 40. He said I'm well pleased even if you stop now, but there is grace for 40 if you want it. Again I said "yes" and God continued to expand my relationship and understanding of Him. He imparted into me more things that I could write about in a single article.
One day I asked God, "How is it that when I only asked for loving your people more that all of these other things were broken off my life? " And The Lord said "because you asked for the right thing". Just as Solomon asked for wisdom instead of personal gain, you asked something that was my heart. And where my love is, there can be no rejection, no fear and no shame. I have been made free and made full by the love that God has given me. I wondered why this didn't happen sooner and now I know: God is ready to give us so much, He is literally holding in His hands—we just have to ask. Matthew 7:7 says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." God has had this gift for me all along, I just had to reach out and get it. I urge you, if you want something from God, and I'm not talking about material things or treating God like a bank, if you want to go into a deeper level with Him and have something that draws you closer to His heart, that is waiting for you. Reach out and receive what God has planned for you from the beginning.