First Love is the fulfillment of a dream to connect women to Christ and to one another. Our desire is that women would be able to personally experience the love and beauty of Christ. In a culture where performance, fear and self-centeredness run rampant, we believe that the only way to true freedom is through the infinite work of Christ. As we choose to pursue knowing Him, rather than simply knowing about Him or doing things in His name, we will become truly alive.

We will post a new devotional journal monthly. The best way to view this is as a guide for intentionally approaching Scripture. Like having a work-out plan for the gym, approaching Scripture with purpose will yield the most heart- transforming results.  

 

Picture a woman going to the gym for the first time. She is excited about the results she is told she will get if she goes consistently, but once she walks through the front doors she becomes overwhelmed with not knowing where to start or how to work the machines. So what does she do? She jumps on a treadmill for twenty minutes and soon becomes disenchanted with the gym all together. Unfortunately, many women feel this way about Scripture. When they open their Bibles, they don't have the tools or a roadmap of how to approach it and they quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged. Subconsciously, many begin to believe that they just don't have what it takes to hear from God directly through Scripture.

 

We want to change that! Our devotional journals will guide you through scripture in an intentional way so that you are empowered to 1) hear God speaking directly to YOU through what you are reading and 2) take ownership of the passage in a way that transforms your heart and actions. You will find that all content is centered around what God is telling YOU in the passage rather than what God is telling US about the passage since our purpose is to support the Holy Spirit's revealing of the Scriptures to you personally. 

We also post a weekly YouTube video that empowers women to live out their purpose on the earth.

Embracing a Risen Life with Christ

about Joelle

YOU CAN'T TRUST SOMEONE YOU DON'T KNOW.

 

I grew up a preacher's kid. Holla! But in 2016, my foundation as a follower of Jesus was shaken when my brother was diagnosed with cancer. Although I had been a follower of Jesus my whole life, the next two and a half years would challenge everything I thought I had believed about God. In February 2019, with the passing of my brother, I found myself struggling with a debilitating fear of dying---my trust in a good God was all but gone. Over the next several months, God began to show me how my walk with Him relied so much on what other people told me about Him, what I heard about Him in sermons, or read about Him in devotionals.I had not truly gotten to know Him for myself and had not experienced many personal encounters with Him. When life's storms came, I didn't have a relationship with God strong enough to withstand the destruction they brought. You see, I realized I can't trust someone I don't know. I can't trust God to be good and loving even when hard things come solely because other people have told me that He is. I have to get to know Him for myself and have my own revelations and encounters with His love. 

I REALIZED I WASN'T THE ONLY ONE. 

I realized that I was not the only one who relied on other's revelations of God. But why? Why do we not approach the throne of God boldly like it talks about in Hebrews? I have found that there are many reasons, but the two biggest ones I see are intimidation and fear. When I say intimidated, I mean that for many women, we haven't been given tools to approach God and to grow our relationship with him. We are told to spend time with God, but have no idea what that actually means or how it could really look. We fear that we don't have what it takes to really know God because maybe we aren't holy enough, don't have the right personality, aren't in church leadership, or haven't been a Christian for very long. And so we shy away from the one thing that Christ died on a cross to restore---a deep, authentic, loving, personal relationship with YOU.

So this is my heart and mission: to take the intimidation and fear out of women knowing God for themselves and to empower them to live fully present to their purpose on this earth.

about Candace

When Joelle asked me to write a little about myself there was one thing that kept coming to mind – I’m normal. I’m a normal woman just like you. I’ve experienced hard things and successes. I’ve made decisions I wish I could change. I’ve struggled with eating disorders, shame (loads of it), depression, insecurity, a miscarriage, and bad fashion choices. I could easily be found in your circle of friends or maybe it’s you that I’d identify with.

Here’s the thing, God has become my place of freedom. He’s released me from shame. He’s showing me who He created me to be.He is helping me walk in joy and shake off a troubled heart. God is growing my relationship with Him, teaching me to hear His voice, and developing a trust in Him. Like I said, I’m a normal woman. (What?!! These things aren’t just for the special, hyper-spiritual people?) My Friend, I want you to know that freedom, joy, fulfillment, and an amazing relationship with God are for normal women.

 

My heart is to encourage the everyday woman in her relationship with God. He wants to hang out with you, love on you, and talk to you about stuff. (And not just important stuff. I talk to Him about what to make for supper. Apparently, I struggle choosing between frozen pizza, boxed mac-n-cheese, and tacos. How did you guess I have kids? Two of them and a wonderful husband.)

 

I would love to grow in Christ alongside you and do life together: the ups and downs, the ugly cry, the I-think-I-peed-my-pants laugh, and everything in between.

about Sarah

I went to Virginia Tech and lived in Blacksburg for many years after graduation (Go Hokies!!). When you live in a college town, the first two questions people ask you after your name are "what are you studying?" and "what do you want to do after you graduate?" So, I was an English major that ended up going into college ministry. Though I haven't been in formal ministry since moving to Richmond almost 5 years ago, I still have a passion for discipling young people. I enjoy connecting with women and helping them reflect on what God is doing in their lives and how they can take steps to respond in faith. Homeschooling and keeping up with 3 kids takes up the majority of my time and sanity. With whatever energy I have left, I also enjoy gardening, reading, dabbling in photography, and will be starting seminary this fall (pray for this tired mama!). If you're into the Enneagram, I'm a 9, and I feel like that will tell you a lot you need to know about me :)   

I joined First Love because I resonate with its mission to empower women to know Jesus, not just about Him. He wants to have relationship with us and that means He is present in our lives and speaking, even though we don't always realize it. We need to be equipped to hear Him, as well as have faith in this seemingly crazy idea that an infinite God cares deeply about us. He is so invested in us that His own Son willingly died to bring us back into relationship with Him. One of the most comforting things about God's invitation to be in relationship with Him is that He promises that we are NEVER alone. In fact, He lives in us and we become one with Him. That gave me great comfort when I was walking through an intense season of anxiety and I was experiencing panic attacks without knowing what they were. Since I didn't understand what was going on, I thought no one else would either. I felt alone because I could not express with words what I was going through. Having a Savior who is so present as to be ONE with me, comforted me because He would not only understand what I was going through,He was walking through it with me. No matter what we face, God completely understands it, cares for us in it, and walks with us through it. Never fear that you are the only one, that no one understands, or that you are alone. The promise of Jesus that we find in His name "Emmanuel", is the good news that God is with us, and nothing can EVER separate us from Him!!

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