by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014
The recovery process, whether it be physical, emotional or for some other unwanted difficult circumstance is not a straight line and neither are the emotions which accompany it. There are waves. Sometimes these waves are tumultuous and threaten to take us under. Sometimes we are buoyed up by them so His joy is not something we must choose to receive, but a gift gladly and easily embraced.
The fear, sadness and even grief which is constantly around the edges trying to sneak into our minds to pollute our hearts during difficult seasons is for that which we had hoped would be which may be no longer. This morning once again, I have been doing battle with such thoughts which had begun to gain traction in my mind with the objective to infiltrate and destroy His peace. All in all it had been a hard morning, and yet it was occurring in the midst of a multitude of blessings. I needed to get back to the blessings and asked the Holy Spirit to help restore my mind to His blessed perspective. He did.
When we consider our lives from God’s perspective, it shifts our focus from what we thought we wanted here to the continuum of from here through eternity in which we find ourselves once we become believers. Each day is just another step forward closer to the time when we will be with Him forever. For now, His Spirit is with us every moment of every day and can be seen extraordinarily active in every single aspect of our lives when we choose to take notice. He accompanies us and blesses us to see how He is working through all things (all things!) in our lives and the lives of those around us. He is at work through the evil and the good, the hard and the happy to draw all people to Himself. His view is always toward eternity and His fervent, never ending desire to have us with Him.
In this place of exile into which we were born and where we shall stay until the day He calls us home, there will always be evil and bad things, because it is the nature of this realm under the dominion of the evil one (the anti-thesis of God’s good). Our ancestors chose to believe their own way and follow the adversary’s advice (thus making him their leader) instead of God’s. Our physical, ever-mortal existence is the consequence of their choice. And yet, our loving, all-good God sent Jesus and gave us His Spirit so we can be restored to life eternal with Him. This is His destiny for us!
Our Father Who is in heaven (holy is His name!) and His Son, our Brother, seated at the right hand of Father and interceding for us, want us restored to the place in heaven for which we were created. And in all things the adversary chooses to use for evil, God is there with His supreme power, looking for ways (and succeeding) to bring eternal good out of it now and waiting to wipe every tear away forever.
Thus when we face difficulties, we are not surprised. We know our God is with us through them. We know if we will let Him, He will use us as His ambassadors every step of the way, to give more opportunity to see Him—suddenly realizing He is real and realizing it is He for whom they hunger and thirst. When life does not go the way we hoped, we realize that all is passing away and we too are on a journey to a greater glorious existence in His presence with Him forever, where there will be no more evil, illness, hardship or tears.
11…if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you…28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose….31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…34…Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:11b,28,31,34b-35,38-39 NIV)
When we truly consider who He is and how we dwell presently in this place, which is not the fullness of His plan for us, we more easily can let go of everything to which we cling, that is of this world. We are called to be in the world, but no longer of it. We appreciate everything He provides for whatever role He allows it to play in our lives. But we do so keeping our eyes always on Him, walking on the waves by His power into His waiting arms of safety and unconditional love. All the while we seek to remain unattached to that which is passing away while holding onto Him that remains.
Thus for me, most days of this cancer journey where it has never been a matter of survival, but a matter of recovery, it is easy for me to keep my eyes on the One I love and simply chose to be at rest in His perfect care, provision and timing. He has given me good work for this different season and I choose to be thankful, for He is in it. I also know that even when I cannot see, if I will rest in Him and listen for His plan, moving into it as His Spirit enables, life—however it is in this stage—will be glorious!
Most days the taunts of potential negatives do not bother me at all. I feel very blessed even in this unexpected season. Our God—glorious God!—has given me good work to do. He is having me work on a book manuscript. It is an overwhelming task, which means I must remain completely, gloriously God—dependent for the manuscript is impossible to complete unless the Spirit does it through me. And so this is where my focus is—most of the time.
In addition, when I consider the life He has given me, I am overcome with thanksgiving. Beyond even the indescribably immense blessings of spouse, family, and God-fearing friends, He has enabled me to not just sing, but record over 100 original worship songs and two patriotic songs. How incredible this is! If I were never able to sing again, He provided a way in advance for those songs to already be in a form which enables them to keep doing His appointed work whether or not I can ever sing them again. Oh my heart almost explodes in thankfulness and awe at the majesty and mightiness of our God!
However, there are also hard days like the morning, when the throat is raw and concern and grief begin to try to seep into that place of deep peace I have in Him and through Him. It is that dangerous place of the “what if’s”. What if my voice never recovers and there is always pain to speak? And for me who for years has been singing countless hours per week songs adoring my Lord, so that this ongoing adoration of Him through song is a fundamental part of my lifestyle, once in a while the prospect of never being able to sing more than the 4 notes below the piano’s middle C, puts me into a downward emotional spiral.
For me writing is both occupation and therapy. So when thoughts tinged with despair and grief at the potential began to ooze into my consciousness this morning like a toxic cloud, I sought to grab these and take them captive to the Truth of Christ by writing them out. In so doing, it became clear that these sneaky thoughts were a distractive strategy from God’s adversary to keep me from the goodness the Lord has for my day. The Lord has promised me healing and whatever that looks like it will be good and God will be able to continue His Kingdom-wide goals for growth through it! Amen? Amen!
More than that, the adversary was trying to push me down enough mentally, so that I could not work on my God-assignment! Last night while reading a book on the Holy Spirit by Archbishop Luis M. Martinez for an upcoming class, our Lord pierced my heart. He touched me in a way I was weeping with love for Him as He simultaneously gave me a little bit more of His heart for all people. I cried out for Him to use me in a particular way because of His profound, unending, yearning love for every person. And in that same instant, He also affirmed that working on this book manuscript is His next crucial step for Him to use me in the way I was asking. He confirmed for the umpteenth time that working on this is one of His purposes in this season of less activity with others and more quiet listening to Him. Yet, if the adversary could press me down enough in my thoughts, I would be consumed by the despair for the potential but not necessarily real, and be unable to listen for what the Lord wanted me to write.
Truly, each time I have gone to Him not impatiently, but simply inquiring and said, “Lord, I know You have promised healing. When will the time be complete and the voice restored?” His response to my heart has been an immediate and firm, “Write the book.” Generally, that is all the reassurance I need that the lack of return of normal vocal abilities for speaking and singing is part of His perfect timing and not a sign of how the rest of my mortal life with be. In other words, His message is constant that this season is a gift.
This morning in an effort to try to get my head back on straight with eyes on my Lord, so that He could lift me again above the waves which threatened to suffocate, and instead cause me by His power and help to stride atop them, I began to write out a worshipful prayer, “So thank You for this day, Lord. Thank You for exactly how it is and exactly where I am in life and the good God-things You will bring through it.”
The moment I began to write out the prayer, He gave me an amazing double gift, restoring me to full thankful joy. His peace filled me once again like a refreshing river on a morning where the dry desert’s heat had been scorching.
First, my eyes inadvertently glanced to the bottom of the page on which I was writing in the new journal He had had me purchase last week and this morning told me specifically to begin using. The Scripture printed there on the page where my pen happened to be releasing its ink as I scrawled the prayer was:
He who has begun a good wok in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6)
Oh my goodness, Lord! Another confirmation of Your promise of restoration! Sweet, sweetness from heaven and gift undeserved!
Secondly, He caused me to pause and notice that the song which began “shuffling” through on my MP3 player at exactly that moment was “Thank You For Today”, which contains the same message as the prayer His Spirit was leading me to declare. The Lord was confirming through Himself the rightness of this attitude of prayer and that I was safe in it in Him.
“Thank You For Today” is a song for the upcoming healing worship CD, which Lord—willing shall be completed and released by the end of 2015. Recording for this CD began in February 2014 because that was the timeframe the Lord laid very specifically on my heart. Already in August 2013 when He had me schedule the studio for February 2014 to begin recording, He had known that the songs He had me compose for this project would be ones I myself would lift back up to Him as I walked out my own healing journey. Kind, compassionate, loving Lord!
This healing worship project in response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting was begun earlier than I would have done normally. August 2013 I was beginning work on a second CD project of new worship songs for Christmas. (It is called “Bells Call To Worship” and will be released in November this year.) Normally, I would not have started a new recording project before the current one was virtually finished. But God knew I would not be able to begin the project in August this year. He knew long before I did that I had cancer. And He knew He would enable the project’s begin, but not enable me to record any of the final vocals singing the lyrics prior to surgery.
Thus in the week before this year’s mid-August cancer surgery, my friend Grace asked if I would like it if we used her smartphone to record the two of us worshiping together to a few of the new healing songs. In this way, during my recovery if there was a period of time where I could not sing, I could listen to us singing the songs and let the lyrics go forth as my prayer to God, feel the fellowship of her walking with me on this journey and allow the lyrics to wash over me and strengthen me during the waiting for His perfect timing of restoration. What a God-inspired idea! “Yes!” was my response. And so just days before the surgery this is exactly what Grace and I did.
Indeed having these rough versions of the songs with our voices has been a huge blessing to me during this healing process. However, as of this morning it had been about a week since I had listened to them.
Before any discouraging thoughts had even entered my mind today, I stood in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and the Lord clearly nudged me to put on those four songs along with a song my friend, Susie Williams, sent me following surgery which the Lord had her compose and record called “Jeremiah 1”, as soon as my husband went to work.
After my husband left, I sat down to write, but the despairing thoughts began to grab my attention. I remembered what the Lord had said and put on His songs. Though all of these speak deeply to me (because they are my prayers to Him), this morning in His perfect provision, our Lord orchestrated the song order and timing of when each played to give me this additional great gift. He had known how the adversary would try to pull me out of His peace and distract me from His purpose. Already before the onslaught He was there nudging me to do that which He knew would help me get back His focus. As I began to write out the prayer, “Thank You, Lord for this day” He caused the song “Thank You for Today” to echo and affirm the message.
Oh our magnificent Lord. You are always about Your healing work at all times. My heart is swelling with Your encouragement from Your gifts. No promise has been forgotten or misunderstood. You will complete the work You have begun in me—not just physically, but especially in mind and spirit. You are not done and I am so grateful for I am ever so in need of You grace and help!
As I conclude writing these thoughts to share with whomever He intends, I am back to working on His book manuscript assignment in all quiet and with great joy! My heart is singing the lyrics of “Thank You for Today”
THANK YOU FOR TODAY
words & music by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2014
2) No matter the day You are beautiful to me,
Your grace and mercy pouring out in sweet victory.
Some days my heart hurts for what must be endured
But Your love and plan is greater than any storm.
Thank You for today
Thank You for every blessing
Though storms may roar and fires burn close
You are there through it all. Your love’s secure.
Your love’s secure.
2) No matter what comes, You are beautiful to me
Your cross shows the way, through pain to victory
The road can seem long, the test of trust is great
But with eyes fixed on heaven I give You praise.
And I am so grateful for every person through whom our Lord has worked to bring encouragement in this season where sometimes there is a propensity to get weary. In times like these there is a need for someone to come alongside and help keep our arms lifted in praise to our God, such as did Aaron and Hur for Moses. There have been many of you!!!Hopefully you know who you are. This morning, Grace Miller, Susie Williams and Susan Kopp, I want you to know it was you He used, pouring Himself through you to refresh me and I am grateful. Thank you for being His willing instruments and Lord, thank You for being and remaining always and forever our awesome, victorious, glorious God.NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold. This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com www.eaglesnestfoundation.org
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
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 audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which 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. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org