Firstfruits began with an idea: How could women’s needs to gather with other women, experience God’s love and go forth more centered on their own giftedness and purpose be met? Then the Holy Spirit stepped in and something powerful happened!
In the beginning … Firstfruits began as a vision for a women’s ministry whose purpose was to gather women to experience God’s love. And as a result, be transformed!

As word spread about this unique opportunity, other parishes became interested in hosting a Firstfruits gathering. It became apparent to the founders of Firstfruits that this “gathering” needed to be moveable. We became known as a moveable feast of spiritual opportunities for women.

143

I once bought a box of Conversation Heart candies and on one of the candies was the number 143. I thought it was a typo. I have come to learn that it stands for I Love You. “I” being one letter, “Love” being four letters, and “You” being three letters. Someone had a lot of time on his or her hands to come up with that. Couldn’t it also mean “I can’t run” or “A ripe pea?” All sorts of things.

I like to think it refers to a verse in the bible, John 14:3, the ultimate valentine message. (Go look it up.)

I thought of this because it’s that time of year again, the very pink and red time of year. It’s supposed to be all about love and romance and heartwarming sentiments but let’s face it, Valentine’s Day can be heart crushing too. I remember my days in college when I lived in the dorms and I’d walk past the front desk and see all the floral arrangements that were delivered from boyfriends far away and alas, none had my name on them.

More recently, my practical husband and I decided to stop with the cards and the last-minute stop at the gas station for flowers on the way home from work. Because after thirty-eight years, we’ve said “I love you” in as many ways as possible (whether we meant it that day or not) and heck, every day is Valentine’s Day right? (Note the sarcasm in my typing.)

The heart is a mysterious thing. It’s a very powerful thing, but at the same time it can so easily be crushed. It holds our deepest desires, our dreams, and our passions, but so often keeps them hidden under doubts, fears, and insecurities. The heart seems to have ears and it can easily respond more quickly to the world’s voice rather than the Creators voice unless we train it.

The feminine and the masculine heart are very different. They both however were created to reflect the image and likeness of God. They are designed to bring life not only physically to our bodies but emotionally and spiritually to our souls, if we allow them to, if we awaken them.

This Lent, at Firstfruits, we have an amazing series for men and women called Awaken Your Heart’s True Desire. Carol and Tom Sullivan will take us on a journey of discovery through the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge for the men and Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge for the women.

Here is what Carol and Tom have to say about the series.

Carol:

“My feminine heart reflects God’s own heart!!! The deepest longings of my heart tell me and the world something about God.  God has wired me in such a way that how I naturally live out my feminine ways reflects many aspects of God.”

My heart longs to be romanced … God longs to romance us and to be loved by us in very deep, meaningful ways.  My heart longs to play an irresistible role in a shared adventure … God desires to co-create with us in this adventure called life.  My heart longs to unveil a beauty my own entirely. God desires to be uniquely revealed through beauty of all kinds.”

“God put these longings in my feminine heart because they are some of the same longings that are in God’s own heart!  Messages from today’s culture wound our true heart. This causes us to become controlling and dominating and to not live out the image of God that we are to reflect.”

Tom:

“My masculine heart reflects God’s own heart as well.  There is something deep and true and universal to the masculine heart.  My deepest desires tell me what my masculine heart is all about.  What are the true longings of my heart that make me come alive?”

I desire a battle to fight.
I desire an adventure to live.
I desire a beauty to rescue.

“But today’s reality is that, for most men, their true hearts and desires have been lost, distorted (think ‘macho’ or ‘wimpy’), or driven into hiding.  I invite you to give yourself permission to uncover your true heart, the heart God intended for you.”

So God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27 (NRSV)

“It is so exciting to know that we each, men and women, reflect the image and very nature of God in this world. Join us at Firstfruits, as we explore together what this looks like in our daily life as men, women, and beloved children of God. Start a journey with us towards the recovery of your own heart!”

Carol and Tom Sullivan

I hope you will consider joining us for this series starting Thursday, March 7 and ending on Thursday, April 11. The sessions run from 6:30-8:15pm. Each week there is a men’s group led by Tom and a women’s group led by Carol.

There is also an Introductory talk on Thursday, Feb. 21 from 6:30-8:30. You do not have to attend the introductory talk to attend the six-week series.

For more information and to register for either event go to Firstfruits.info/Events or contact Joan at  .

143,
Joan

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Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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