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.

There’s No Place Like Home

I received a bag of M&M’s this week from Kathy, a faithful blog reader! As you know if you read last week’s blog, I can eat chocolate guilt-free this Lent. It isn’t on my list of things to fast from. At least that is what the Holy Spirit has told me.

This Lent I am open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I am fasting from my own idea of how this Lent should unfold and feasting on the creativity and the clarity that the Holy Spirit offers.

Last week I was convicted of my habit of entertaining negative thoughts and was encouraged to fast from that and instead cultivate gratitude and turn my thoughts outward in prayer for others. I’m finding this has become a habit and very easy to do. It feels so good.

This week I heard a gentle, yet distinct call to come back home. It was a call from the Father. To fast from my self-sufficiency and feast on God’s desire to take care of me.

We are studying Henri Nouwen’s book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, in our Spiritual Scholars book group at Firstfruits. We all could relate to the younger son who “left home for a distant country.” Why is it that we have such a hard time just believing and resting in the amazing promise of God’s provision? Of God’s unconditional love? Why isn’t that enough?

Our age-old fears of rejection, abandonment, being disliked, disregarded, or ignored cause us to take matters into our own hands. Or maybe we become discontent and lose hope or lose faith that God knows what is best for us and follow our own will rather than the will of the Father.

We set out from the home God longs to provide for us with Him and look in all the wrong places for the fulfillment and the love we so deeply desire.

As Nouwen says, “I leave home every time I lose faith in the voice that calls me the Beloved and follow the voices that offer a great variety of ways to win the love I so much desire.

Have you left home spiritually?

Sometimes we think we are home. We do all the right things, we follow all the rules, it appears we have given much to God. But really there is a big piece missing because we haven’t given Him our heart. Do we know the tender embrace of the Father? Do we know the forgiveness of the Father? Do we know the Father? Or are we bystanders? Willing to go only so far. Not quite home.

The spiritual life seems to be a series of bag packing followed by a coming home. Thankfully, by the grace of God, we can come to our senses and head back home over and over again. And sure enough, when we do, the Father waits with open arms. He never gives up on us.

Lent calls us home.

So, I’m listening to that gentle call this week. I’ve come back home. At least for now. I’m safe in the Father’s arms. It’s a great place to be. There is a sense of well-being, forgiveness, calm, rest, and now a full bag of M&M’s!

Doesn’t get much better than that.

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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