I remember the moment this whole book began. I had been pacing on the back deck, while on the phone with a friend. After we hung up, I stood there and let the heat sear through the bottom of my feet. The debate about whether or not to take on a project—a project to write someone else’s book, tell someone else’s story—was raging in my mind and I was frozen in indecision. This wouldn’t be just any book, but my very first give-it-all-you-got, write-every-word, pour-out-your-heart-and-soul book. As I pondered, a breeze whisked by my ear. “Brandi, offer Me your first fruits.”
I recognized that Voice. It was the same Voice that had called me out of a wandering desert. It was the Voice that had whispered into the shadows where I hid, reaching beyond my pain, calling out to my soul. The Voice was the same one that had brought me great healing and led me into the light of freedom. That Voice.
I pondered that whisper for days, burning my feet in the process.
Instead of giving me the microphone and asking me to tell my story, God was asking me to offer this freedom to someone else and help tell her story.
It would take sacrifice.
And that made it sacred ground.
“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him, ‘With this gift I acknowledge to the Lord your God that I have entered the land he swore to our ancestors he would give us.’” Deut. 26:1-3
That conversation on my back deck was three years ago and I have since written someone else’s book as an offering of first fruits. But now, looking back, it was nothing like I thought it would be.
I expected it to be about my abilities. My ability to till the soil and plant the seeds, my prowess in tending my fields and finally harvesting a bounty. It was none of that and so much more than that. First fruits isn’t about the harvest.
It’s about the sacrifice.
This concept about offering your first fruits can be seen in the Israelites as they cross the river out of the dessert into the promised land. Once inhabited, they are instructed to plant crops and take their first harvest before the priest to declare in remembrance all that God had done. A remembrance of their struggle, their desert wanderings, their battles, even their desperate doubts—and it was to be a remembrance of their redemption brought by sacrifice.
I too have all of those. I wandered the barren desert—starving for hope. I struggled with doubt and hesitated to leave the familiarity of slave-hood. I doubted my true identity as an heir with Christ, an heir to any real promise. And I too, was redeemed by my Savior’s sacrifice.
So this first book is less a declaration about my win over shame; and is more a declaration of who God is as The rescuer, my rescuer. He reached across my walls of shame, pulling me out of my shell. He gave me a voice, a firm place to stand. Offering of my voice to someone who needed a voice is not about me. But is about our faithful God who’s sacrifice is our redemption.
“So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and powerful arm, with overwhelming terror, and with miraculous signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey! And now, O Lord, I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground.” Deut. 26: 6-10
Bringing this first harvest to the altar, laying it down in remembrance is holy. And quite personal I might add- I’ve written this particular post now 5 different times. But as hard and uncomfortable as this place is, it is also one of the most beautiful places I’ve stood. Because this sacred place of sacrifice is also the place of declaration.
“You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to Him, that you will keep His decrees—that you will listen to Him.” Deut. 26:17
I didn’t write the book for harvest sake. Nor did I write it just to gain the experience. I wrote it as a declaration of who I am.
I am redeemed.
I am free.
I have been called by name, for such a time as this.
I am His.
But then God’s declaration came to me from the other side of that altar and in this sacrificial place of communion, I find myself undone.
“You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. The Lord has declared today that you are His people, His own special treasure, just as He promised, and…. He has declared that He will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as He promised.” Deut. 26: 17-19
This offering of first fruits is not about doing. It is about being.
Friends, I am crazy excited. Starting next week I will take excerpts from my new book and chat a little about them. I. Can. Not. Wait. You won’t want to miss it- because at the end of August YOU will be invited to join me LIVE as we launch this very first book into the world!