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.

Who Are You?

What does it mean to be the Beloved? This was our topic at Well Time at Firstfruits this past Wednesday morning. We looked up the definition of beloved and it said, “greatly loved; dear to the heart.” One of the women in the group said that word has never been in her vocabulary.

Probably quite a few of us could say the same thing. It’s not a word we would regularly use to describe ourselves, although we should. Henri Nouwen in his book The Life of the Beloved states that the reality of being the Beloved is the core truth of our existence.

There is no better or more accurate way to describe our identity. We are, above all else, the Beloved of God. So why is that title so foreign and uncomfortable for us? I think it’s because it’s just too hard to believe.

Nouwen goes on to say that the greatest trap in our lives is self-rejection. We so easily fall victim to the voices that tell us what we aren’t, those voices that remind us how often we fall short and screw up. And convince us that everyone else is doing just fine. He sums it up when he says “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the Beloved.”

Do you hear that voice? It’s a gentle voice and comes to us in countless ways. People that have taught us, cared for us, or encouraged us. Simple, tender moments with those we love. The rush of joy or momentary deep sense of well-being that floods through us unexpectedly.

We need to listen more carefully. Nouwen says, “Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert.”

If we can become the Beloved, if we can believe and let that knowledge really sink into our every day words and actions, think how different life would be. None of the world’s voices could touch us. We would be free to live and love abundantly and with great joy. And be able to give the greatest gift of all to others, the gift of their Belovedness.

This week I challenge you as I challenge myself to claim the truth that you are the Beloved. Broaden your vocabulary!


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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