by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2013
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life… (Phil 2:14-16a NIV)
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (John 17:15-18 NIV)
“…but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14 NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
There is a facial crème I have been using for almost 30 years. I found it in a health food store while in my twenties searching for something else. It was 80% aloe vera with some vitamin E. It sounded healing and healthy so I tried it. Almost thirty years later it remains my favorite crème for daily use and it is no longer easy to find. Every time I need more, it must be special ordered (so I order a one or two year supply at a time).
Usually it is a local mega health food supermarket which helps me refresh my supply. This is not my favorite store. It has an amazing product selection, but is large and busy, with an often-crowded, more challenging parking lot. Though I can function well anywhere, I prefer the smaller, quieter environments, with a more small-town feel. In addition, many of the products they carry for health and healing stem from companies with new age, Eastern religion or other alternative non-God honoring roots. I can feel it in the atmosphere. It is not my choice of where to be.
Almost out of the crème again, recently I tried ordering online to eliminate this errand from the never-ending to-do list and to avoid going to this store, but the online supplier was unable to procure the product. I dropped by another newer local health food grocery which has the quieter environment I prefer, but they were unable to order it through their distributors. Alas, this meant a trip back to the larger chain store.
Yesterday, I knew was the day for the errand to be done. Monday is one of the days I usually work in an office and so it would be on the way home. Following nine hours at my desk I was tempted to skip it. After all what did waiting another day matter? However, I felt the inner nudge I have learned to be the Holy Spirit urging me to take care of it. Maybe He knew tomorrow I wouldn’t have time… Whatever His reason for “now”, I have learned whenever possible not to ignore His nudges. He always knows best! (Just last week standing in a store next to shelves of coffee on my way out of town for a few days, I felt the nudge to purchase some. I discounted the nudge because I knew I had at least a week’s supply in the cupboard at home. Yet when I returned home after being away, I discovered it had every last bean of coffee had been used up by family members who had cooked a few more pots than usual! Suffice to say – follow the Holy Spirit’s nudges. He DOES know better, even when we think we do!)
Traffic getting to the store was heavy. I had forgotten. It is located at the entrance to a large business park and at 5:30pm the flow of people trying to get out and home plugged the intersections. However, I knew I was not to give up and turn around.
Inside the store, I found the shelves and place where help was usually found re-arranged. I didn’t like having to bother someone to write up this order. How much more I would have liked to bless the store with an easy off-the-shelf purchase which didn’t cause someone to have to stop what they are doing, write up what I needed, make the call to order it and then follow-up with me when it arrived. Oh well. Onward. There was no employee to be found in the usual spot. “Holy Spirit, where is the person You want me to ask.” I rounded the end of an aisle and there she was – the woman who has often helped me with exactly this order over the years. It was likely she did not recognize me, but I recognized her. She always had a smile and a positive attitude – she never made me feel as if I were putting her out. She had consistently made the experience very pleasant. (“Thank you, Lord!”) We walked to her order desk and she began to take down the information. The Lord caused me to notice how darling she was dressed, layered for the varying temperatures which can occur in a grocery environment. Now the Lord nudged me to tell her how cute she looked, especially with the cropped vest, which He had pointed out to me as I followed her to the ordering area.
Her response was unexpected. She thanked me and said she was committed to never growing up, indicating she thought she was dressed more youthful than the woman of probably my age that she was. The Lord pointed out the delicate gold cross around her neck and urged me to be bold and respond something like “We are called to always remain as children of God in order to inherit His kingdom.” The woman looked at me with an odd expression and the muscles of her face became tight as she sought to hold back tears. She told me this statement meant more to her than she could express. It was exactly what she needed to hear, precisely on this day and time. She continued that though she enjoyed her job, sometimes she felt from a faith perspective as if she were drowning there. I shared that from my perspective it was no wonder, for in her job (like many of us) she was on a God assignment – in effect a missionary on assignment in a “foreign land”. The Lord led me to continue to tell her how over the years for me she had always been His Light in that place.
There was more bubbling up inside with which to encourage her, but visibly she could not take anymore. She was at work and had to keep composure, yet if I said more she would lose it. Already her lip was quivering and tears were visible. It had been a hard day for her. She had been hurt – again. God knows by whom and how many times. God had sent me – yes, to order crème – but in that moment also to be a vessel through whom He let His balm of love and truth flow through to ease the pain and bring refreshing to one of His beloved daughters. He knew how she had been attacked yesterday and what she had needed. He had sent me to deliver it without knowing I was being sent.
This is who we are to be to each other – vessels always ready through whom He can flow His love and truth which will refresh the weary, usher in healing to the broken and always, always only by the power of His Spirit turn hearts toward the Father and the saving, redeeming power of Jesus.
I was on an errand for moisturizing crème, but it was not just an errand. It was a God-appointment. This is how God desires to use each of us every day – His Spirit guiding, directing, leading and placing us where we can do His work in what could be considered the most mundane of places. But this is where we live out our physical lives – in the mundane which is neither dull, nor boring, but blessed. Each of us has an assigned place to be – a place where there will be darkness as well as His Light and we are called to shine like stars that others may come to know the freedom, joy and peace of His way. Therefore wherever we are, we are His missionaries on assignment. Wherever He leads us, we are ambassadors representing the truth of His eternal Kingdom of love, justice and mercy in a culture which in large part does not know Him yet. Each of us gets weary. Always being “out there” in the world, but not of it we can become spiritually dry. The Holy Spirit moves us in and out of each other’s lives, our paths crossing sometimes just momentarily so that we can bring that refreshing and encouragement to one another. By it we each receive that extra measure of His strength needed to keep going.
May the Holy Spirit guide you today in a way you are palpably aware of His presence. May He increase your ability to hear His voice (and feel His nudges). May He show you even in the dark places where He has called you to be and go which were not your will, that He is using you even in these hard circumstances. Rejoice and be glad! Jesus has suffered, died and conquered death and every adversary! He will get us through! And He is using you where you least expect it (if you will let Him) to be His love, truth and refreshing to a dry and thirsty world.www.eaglesnestfoundation.org
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She has just released her 5th full-length worship CD of original songs called GOD SEEKER, to give word and melody to our desire for Jesus to be Savior and Lord and to declare ourselves God seekers as compared to the gold-seeker mentality which predominates society (searching for life’s answers anywhere else besides in the Lord God.)
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music with audio clips are available at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro on itunes and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Fulgaro/14919192923?ref=ts&fref=ts where Elizabeth also posts worshipful prayers and teaches how to turn worry into worship for more of God’s power in our everyday lives.
Fulgaro is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
Through Eagles Nest Foundation which Elizabeth founded in 2007 she provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org for more information.
Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible. Thank you for your prayers and support!