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.

Old Shoes

The picture above is what I woke up to this morning. And no, that isn’t my husband. Although I have seen that look in his eyes when I tell him I took some of his golf shirts to Goodwill.

The picture is my friend Mary’s Huskie named Naly. Mary and I are high school pals who roomed together for four years of college and now find ourselves reminiscing about those good old days and struggling to remember details, especially names. A lot of our conversations go like this: “Do you remember that gal with the really long hair in high school, she was so cool. Oh yes….what was her name? Darn it, oh it’s killing me. Didn’t she hang around with that other gal with the longer hair, oh what was HER name……?” It goes on and on like that for quite sometime until we can just let it go and drink more wine.  I love getting older.

Mary is like an old shoe. And I mean that as a deep compliment. You know the feeling of slipping on an old shoe that is molded just right to your foot. The comfort and happiness it brings is priceless. That’s an old shoe friendship and that is what we have.

In an effort to shake off the cabin fever that I had been suffering from following the stretch of frigid weather the last few weeks, I decided to call that old shoe friend and invite myself to spend the weekend at her condo in the suburbs of Chicago.

And she said “YES!” That is what old shoes do. It felt so good to have a change of scenery, good conversation, and a hairy four-legged companion by my side. (See the picture) Just what I needed.

Mary is one of the “Elizabeths” that God has blessed me with. In the book of Luke in the bible we read of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was pregnant and that her baby was going to be the Son of God. Not a typical day. The next thing we read is the story of The Visitation when Mary leaves her home in haste and travels to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. And what a visit it was. We read of the joy they both experienced with each other and the supportive and affirming words from Elizabeth. Just what Mary needed following life altering news. She needed to be with someone who “got” her. Someone she could share her fears, doubts, joys, and faith with. It made all the difference.

We all need Elizabeths in our lives. Women who “get” us. Women we can journey with as we navigate the twists and turns of our faith walk. That walk is meant to be done in community. It’s too hard to do it alone. God knew that so he made us with a deep desire for relationship and a deep desire to feel like we belong. Denying that desire can leave us empty.

Making connections and filling that emptiness with social media has become the norm. The epidemic of busyness makes that a necessity. But it’s not the same as a face to face visit. Don’t underestimate the power of a visit. The healing power of a visit.

Many women have found that healing within the Firstfruits community of women. It starts with the decision to take time for yourself.

The last few months have been particularly challenging for me on a number of different levels. I knew God was calling me to slow down, listen, and take care of myself. Reach out to my community. Seek the healing I needed from the women He has blessed me with. I did just that and feel so much better.

Are you ready to slow down, listen, and take care of yourself? God has a community waiting for you, a place you belong. Come and visit us.

Your Old Shoe,
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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