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.

Hope and Happiness in Him

I had the privilege of speaking to a group of women from St. Alphonsus parish Saturday morning. We met at the Conservancy for Healing and Heritage in Greendale. What a lovely place. (See the picture above)

As the brochure says, The Conservancy for Healing and Heritage is a 36-acre parcel of land whose centerpiece is a 35-foot deep, spring-fed kettle lake. The lake is flanked by a steep glacial moraine covered in hardwoods. The forest floor is alive with wild flowers in the spring and wild mushrooms in the fall.

To top it off there is a beautiful little chapel as you enter the Conservancy. That is where we met.

All this is hidden away near 74th and Rawson Street in Greendale.  A space where people can come and “just get better,” says Susan Rabe, CEO of the Conservancy. And who couldn’t use a good dose of “better?” Upon completion of the grounds there will be hiking trails, a gazebo, bridges at tree top level and a healing garden complete with a gently flowing waterfall cascading over rocks right outside the chapel’s towering wall of windows. A place to retreat, exercise, celebrate, and learn.

A big part of the mission of the Conservancy is to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual healing through nature. Studies have shown the positive effect that natural environments can have on reducing stress and the many benefits to our general health from that reduction in stress.

I have to say my natural environment the last week hasn’t exactly reduced my stress. There is something unnerving about snow falling before the leaves do. It’s disordered. And watching the Trick-or-Treaters stomping through snow to get their Kit Kats leaves me very stressed! It’s not supposed to be this way.

The talk on Saturday was titled “Hope and Happiness in Him.” It was based on Lysa Terkeurst’s book entitled It’s Not Suppose to Be This Way. The subject matter focused on how to find unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered.  Have you ever been shattered by disappointed? Have you ever thought to yourself, “It’s not supposed to be this way?” Disillusioned by the reality of a challenging situation that seems to have no end in sight?

We all have. The unexpected strength to rise above all of life’s disappointments lies only in Him.  As Lysa says in her book, it lies in viewing disappointments as Divine appointments. Looking at our current challenges as just what our soul needs to intimately and radically meet God.  And accepting that when we are shattered beyond repair maybe God wants to use the dust to create something completely new. Beyond what we can imagine.

That is how we begin to find hope. And a life with hope is a joyful life, a healthy life, and a better life.

A Kit Kat life.

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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