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.

Coming Home

I remember how excited my parents got when I would come home from college to visit, especially my mom. I still have pangs of guilt when I think about it all these years later because those visits for me weren’t so much about spending time with my family as it was spending time with my boyfriend, my friends, shopping, and sleeping.

One of my visits, in particular has stayed with me because of an unusual request from my mother. I was running around getting ready to go out that night. I was removing the pink foam curlers from my hair and deciding which Levi corduroy bell bottoms to wear when my mom came in my room and said “Joannie, sit down, I just want to look at you.” That bothered me. I didn’t have time to just sit with her. What was she thinking? But I did it. And what I felt has followed me to this day.

It wasn’t until years later when my own children were college age that I truly understood what was behind my mother’s somewhat odd request. A deep longing to just gaze upon and be with someone you love so deeply. When children are grown and out of the nest, a mother’s life is full of imagining what her kids are doing, what is happening to them, how they are coping. There isn’t the everyday reassurance they are safe, happy, and healthy like when they are under your wing. The world has so many traps. To have them actually in your presence brings much needed relief from the worry and gives your heart someplace to unload all the stored up love.

That longing of a mother for her child is a fraction of the longing God has for you and me, his children.

Lent starts this week. There is a song we often hear during Lent called Hosea. It’s one of my favorites. The repeating refrain goes like this:

Long have I waited
for your coming home to me
and living
deeply our new life.

God is longing for you to come home to him. To be safe from the world’s traps in his presence and let him unload all the love he has for you. To find new life with him.

This Lent, come home.

Give up all that keeps you away. Fast from the things that come between you and time for God.

God is asking you to sit down and let him just look at you this Lent. Don’t ignore this unusual request. Pull up a chair!

Joannie

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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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