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.

Lessons From a Virus

In some ways I am feeling responsible for the Corona virus outbreak.

I’ve heard it said that when you pray to God for things like more patience, courage or perseverance, he doesn’t wave a magic wand and poof, you are patient, brave or the Energizer Bunny. Instead, he gives you opportunities to practice those things, to acquire them through discipline, resolve and grace.

Well as you recall, I have devoted this Lent to giving up control. I earnestly desired to grow in my ability to hand things over to God, to “set it down.” To shift my default button in life from fear and control to acceptance and gratitude. What better opportunity to practice that then a Corona virus pandemic!

I have really struggled this week to write a blog. There is so much that has been occupying my socially isolated mind that it is hard to distill it into a couple paragraphs. I fluctuate between the intense sadness and seriousness of it all and the intense absurdity of it all.

Our granddaughter Maggie turned six on March 19. So Papa and I dropped her gift off and stood outside while she opened it. (See the pic). Then we drove right home and hunkered back down. Absurd. But so grateful we are celebrating something happy. Many aren’t and that is the serious, sad part in all of this.

In an effort to provide a temporary distraction from the four walls you have been staring at I want to share some random thoughts, lessons and humor I found so far in this enormous opportunity God has given me to practice letting go of control.

The first thing to go was the need to control my day. I had nothing to control really, but I tried. It took me days to just stop thinking so much about what I should be doing and just be. To let my day unfold. Remarkably, at the end of the day, what needed to get done, got done.

I noticed a letting go of my need to have my husband live up to my expectations. (Don’t let him know that). The prospect of being with him in the same space all day, everyday, for an unknown period of time with no escape was the terror I needed to be able to let go, to lower those expectations. I found myself softening in my usual habit of ruminating and hanging on to offenses for a long time. Much to my surprise, I found myself being able to forgive and forget much quicker. I think this is going to be a lesson that will stick. At least I hope so since I am getting a lot of practice:) Besides, it really feels good.

Here are just a few other random insights I have had:

  • I never knew how entertaining bird feeders could be.
  • I noticed the sun when it peaked through the clouds today and it made me gasp.
  • Hair dye, make up and even bras have strangely become optional.
  • My husband does have more than one T-shirt. He wore it day two. I guess he has more time on his hands these days to dig deeper in the drawer.
  • Food tastes better, and I look at toilet paper with awe.
  • I wonder if it’s a coincidence that this all happened during Lent.
  • I wonder if it’s a coincidence that so much of our conversations at Firstfruits in Weekly Word or Well Time has centered around trust and surrender and living our faith in stronger and more intentional ways in the months leading up to this?
  • I REALLY miss you all, my tribe, my sisters, my supportive community. I didn’t realize until now just how much you color my life.
  • I was never much of a hugger but I think I will be once we can get within six feet of each other again, as long as bras are worn.

Take good care,

Joan

P.S. Sr. MacCanon Brown called me yesterday and said the members of her homeless sanctuary family are in desperate need of food. Firstfruits will purchase some items from their list. If you are interested in making a donation to help pay for the food please go to the Support page of our website and then click on the Donate button. Be sure to put FOOD in the “Add a Note” comment section. Thank You.

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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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