Shortly after adoption expanded our family from two children to four, I remember collapsing onto the floor in the kitchen one afternoon and bursting into tears. As I sat there on the cold tile floor, I wondered how on earth I could do this.
Lord, is this really what we’re supposed to be doing? You’ve got to give me more strength for this! I absolutely cannot do it on my own.
That day was a turning point for me. I certainly wasn’t at rock bottom, but I was drowning. I needed to cling to Him tighter. I had to, or I wasn’t going to survive.
As I ugly cried on the floor, being cared for by my precious preschool-age children, God whispered the word firstfruits into my ear. Pausing from my tears for a moment, my mind began working like a Rolodex, trying to comprehend how it applied to me and my season. Firstfruits? I asked, confused. Help me understand what You mean, Lord!
I knew that firstfruits are offerings of the first and best crops to God, which is often spoken about in the Old Testament. It was an offering given in acknowledgment of God’s abundant blessing. Definitely not giving Him what is left over, but rather giving Him the best of the best first.
What was I giving Him? The leftovers.
The leftovers of my time, my energy, and my heart. He was reminding me of the need to put Him first. Above everything. Though I was going to Bible study every week, I wasn’t really spending time with Him. My quiet time, my devotions, my reading of the Bible and prayer time—it was sporadic and hurried. My heart was for Him, but I was in survival mode and He’d somehow gotten left behind in all the craziness and exhaustion that had become my life.
I was being tossed like a ship in a storm. I felt alone and overwhelmed. I was exhausted by the new challenges we faced as a family. I knew nothing could separate me from the Lord, that He was stronger and more powerful than this storm, but I was lost in the wind and waves. What I realized that day was that I needed to have the right perspective of Him. I needed to lean into the Lord and live in a posture of humility. My eyes were opened to the necessity of being bold in prayer, regardless of how I felt. I needed—no, I had to take the time for Him or there would be nothing of me left. I was encouraged with immediate relief knowing that giving Him my firstfruits would not only keep me off the floor but would also help me become an unconquerable force because I would be living in His power.
Well, I didn’t have a lamb or crops to give, but I certainly had my firstfruits of time. I was so sleep-deprived and exhausted from Imani waking multiple times a night that there was no way—no way—I could get up earlier. I knew mornings were out. I felt the Lord direct me, saying to give my firstfruits during naptime. Rather than scurrying through the house cleaning up, doing laundry, and tackling the constant stream of dishes, I was called to first sit and be with Him. Then do my tasks after.
And it changed everything.
I don’t mean to say that everything became sunny all the time, but it was suddenly manageable. My attitude was better, and I had a full grasp on things. Jesus loved me back to life. My season changed. Somehow I was receiving a divine amount of ability and productivity. The Lord was multiplying my time, renewing and energizing me. I could see His hand in my life as my patience grew. Grace was extended toward our family and kindness was electrified. Magnified.
I was more attentive and loving, and my tasks were not only being completed but being executed thoroughly, and well. And through it all, I confidently leaned on Him, knowing it was in His power, not my own, that it was all getting done.
My day is genuinely so much better once I’ve started it in the Word and in prayer. My attitude is better and I’m more focused, more joyful, less likely to snap at my kids and husband. My family even notices it.
Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:9–10 NIV
As my time magnified, the way I saw things also changed. I began to realize what an honor it was to care for my family. Keeping the house picked up didn’t make me a glorified maid; it was my privilege to take care of them in this way. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I suddenly turned into Mother Teresa or walked around with a halo over my head, never complaining when the kids spilled their milk for the fourth time that day.
I still pray daily that God would work in me to give me a good attitude, patience, and strength so that I won’t lose my temper with my family because things aren’t as perfect as I wanted them to be. But as my time of intimacy increased, my whole being began to blossom with fruit.
The storm that I felt was going to drown me instead made me stronger because it led me back to Him.
This busy Mama of Six (Four from Ethiopia) is a writer, Speaker, and Blogger at TeresaSwanstromAnderson.com. Teresa is a lover of setting a beautiful table, passionate celebrator of the every day, and believes in instilling the love of God into her children’s hearts…and into the hearts of women everywhere. Her brand new book, Beautifully Interrupted is now available here.
20 thoughts on “Firstfruits”
Thank you for giving me “permission” to not have my worship time as soon as I wake up. I always equated first fruits with very first thing. Then I would end up skipping worship at all if I missed that window. My baby is 9 months old. It’s been an adjustment. Still learning the new mom role along with all the others and how to juggle. I’m sleep walking for those first 2 hours anyway. Consistency and priority is key. Thanks again!
Wow, thank you for sharing a portion of your life with us Teresa! This is exactly what I needed at this very moment. I’m living through a pretty tough time right now, both my husband and oldest daughter are living through mental illness, one recently hospitalized. It’s so tough watching two of the most important people in your life suffer but I believe in Gods sovereignty and His unfailing love! Your story just reminded why I feel so overwhelmed and drained, I need to run to the loving arms of My Savior each and every day and there I’ll find rest and the strength to walk through this journey! Thanks for the reminder!
Thank you for you reality and honesty!!
Beautiful how our Father meets us in the secret place. Thank you for telling us about your journey.
Thank you for sharing. I’m going to go order her book right now.
I’m so excited! I pray He uses it to interrupt you greatly!!
May the Lord interrupt you greatly through it!!
Awesome. I too become over whelmed with life. Good reminder of who is in charge.
Gosh…it’s so hard to remember sometimes, isn’t it?! I cringe admitting it, but it’s something I quite honestly have to give back to Him daily!
I feel like this is exactly what the Lord is teaching me right now. I feel overwhelmed with work, homeschooling the kids, and keeping up with the house and a million other obligations. I keep wishing I had more hours in the day because there is NEVER enough time for all of it, and I get snappy with my kids when they interrupt me when I’m trying to concentrate on a work task. But I kid you not, for the last few weeks I’ve been dwelling on this exact word: firstfruits. And realizing that my day goes so much better when I put the to-do list on hold to spend time with God. It seems counter-intuitive, but I accomplish more (and feel more at peace) when I give up some of my time. This article feels like a confirmation and a reminder to not let that priority slip away.
Ahhhhhh! God is SO FUN when He does that! Love that He was already whispering Firstfruits over you!
Thanks for sharing your story. God does ask for our “firstfruits” He spoke to me about 5 years ago and told me to meet Him each morning at 4:00am Seriously! But when I began to do just that He began a work in my life. He does give strength to the weary and He does set the Captives free! You ask God to show you what He wants from you, give it your ALL and He will give you His Everything!!! Have a wonderful God-filled day!
So Blessed to Serve,
Yes and amen!! It took 2 years of “naptime devotions” before He interrupted me again and asked me to get up before the rest of the family and begin my day with the Word.
I love that when our kids come down each morning, they see me spending time with our Father before doing anything else! Adore that He’s whispering the same thing into you!
What an inspiration!!!
Just what I needed for today!
Isn’t He good like that? Always knows just what we need, when we need it. ; )
Thank you for sharing this story. It ties in with what we have been studying in Sunday school. If we honor God with our our best, he will provide in ways that we didn’t even imagine. I could see myself in this story. I love a clean house, I could spend my day cleaning. I have so much on my plate, sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I know that this is speaking directly to me because I need to spend more uninterrupted time with God. He deserves the best.
I love where you said, “He deserves our best”…yes and amen!! I think it’s so relatable because we’ve all been in crazy survival mode at some point or another, right?? So thankful He loved me back to life.
Very inspiring story and uplifting
I pray He uses it greatly!