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.

I Wasn’t Dreaming

Forty years ago today, I woke up in the Point Hotel in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. My best friend, Mary, was in the bed next to me. A long white dress and veil hung in the corner. 

In six hours, I would officially break the hearts of many girls in this small town. I was marrying the hometown sweetheart. It was a picture-perfect sunny fall day. My husband’s grandma and grandpa lived across the street from the church. I got dressed at their house and when it was time to head over to church, grandpa stood in the middle of the street to stop traffic so I could cross.

I remember it like it was yesterday, standing in back of church with my dad as the heads were turning, the music was starting, and his arm was sliding into mine and he whispered, “Ready?” 

The details of that day are still so vivid. My favorite, seeing my macho husband-to-be crying at the altar. There was however one detail that went unnoticed until many years later and has proven to be the most important.

Without a formal invitation and relegated to the background, God joined us that day. As it says in the Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes 4:12. “A threefold cord is not easily broken.” Our threefold cord was woven that day and hasn’t snapped yet in spite of years of wear and tear.

Marriage is work. Let me say that again, marriage is work. And sometimes situations arise that make it impossible to stay married. But when things can be worked out, inviting God into the work with wisdom from above can make all the difference.

God’s wisdom has taught me to pray before I speak. To be grateful for what I do have rather than what I wish I had. To focus on the gifts and the goodness in my marriage. And to realize that true and lasting change starts with me.

Not only has the third person in our threefold cord provided wisdom over the years, He has provided blessings galore and sometimes in the form of chicken marsala. 

In a group Zoom meeting yesterday morning I mentioned that we were celebrating our fortieth anniversary that night. Because of Covid we were just going to order out dinner and eat at home. After the meeting one of the women said she would like to make dinner for us at our house. At first I thought she was kidding, but when I realized she wasn’t, I was left speechless. 

I dusted off the box of china we received as a wedding gift. Put some candles on the table and told my husband to meet me at the dining room table at 7:00. And don’t wear shorts! (I didn’t pray before I said that.)

Stacy and her daughter, Loralei, came over to cook and serve us a four-course meal that included stuffed mushroom appetizer, salad, chicken marsala with mash potatoes and vegetables. I told them I felt like I was in a dream, and that I hoped I didn’t wake up before dessert! They went for a walk to give us some alone time to eat, then came back to serve dessert and clean it all up. It was an amazingly delicious meal.

Their actions were such a powerful display of selflessness, kindness, and pure goodness…the face of God. There He was again, powerfully woven in our lives, providing this gift. 

Was I ready that day when my dad asked me? Ready not to just walk down the aisle but ready for what lie ahead? No, but God knew that and has faithfully traveled the aisle with me ever since.

Next to God my greatest comfort and support over the years has come from the friendship of other women. We need each other. That is what Firstfruits is all about.

I hope you will take a look at the amazing offerings we have scheduled starting in October and will consider joining us. Firstfruits.info.

Maybe I can talk Stacy into a class on making chicken marsala, and dreams come true.

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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