Only Jesus Remains– 3.Christmas Pearls

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2020

Oct 22-Jan 6 reflections from upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas

Christmastime can magnify loss. It can focus harsh, unwanted light on how out of order life seems to have become. In this place hearts are vulnerable. Maybe even quivering.  Yet, if you allow it, it is here Holy Spirit can work on your heart until it becomes as a shimmering pearl.

Pearls are precious. And rare.  Coveted by many, they are lovely to gaze at, roll between your fingers, or string into a strand to decorate your neck. Yet these exquisite, iridescent gems of beauty are not born. They are not created in one fell swoop.  They are formed.

            Much like diamonds, their formation occurs over long periods of constant inescapable discomfort.  Pearls become because of hard circumstances endured with seemingly no relief. Pearls come to be in lonely places of suffering and pain.

            A grain of sand finds it way unwanted into a living oyster.  Into the oyster’s most delicate parts. The oyster now invaded by something unpleasant which irritates and agitates and which it can neither control or eradicate begins over time to put layer upon layer of mother-of-pearl (nacre) over that which is unwelcome, hurtful and oh-so-bothering. Ever-present discomfort! The nacre does not get rid of the sand but transforms it into something priceless while the oyster learns to live with that for which it could not have wished.

            Oysters over their lifetimes often produce more than one pearl out of more than one grain of sand. What work of beauty does God want to produce in you during this hard time? What exquisiteness does He long to bring out of your long-suffering, where He lovingly covers that which you cannot change with layer upon layer of His priceless nacre until out of it He has made a pearl of great price? It is only Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit who take your hurting heart and transforms it day-by-day and insight-by-insight into a precious pearl which gleams, glimmering and reflecting increasingly the beauty of who and how He really is.  It is only He who can change you interiorly in awe-some ways for your comfort, purpose, joy and His praise for all to see.       

            Will you allow God to make pearls of your pain or let what is bothering or troubling you remain agonizingly untreated and unglorified?  Let this Christmas be exactly what you need it to be right now. The grain of sand is not going away. Invite God to come and do the inner work so out of the unavoidable pain He surprises even you with the exotic pearl of unimagined beauty and usefulness He makes out of it.

Lord, create out of these hurts a pearl of great price which can be used to reveal You to the world. I submit to Your process and know You will be with me through every moment of difficulty.

45 Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls,

46 Who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46

17 Gold and glass cannot equal [Wisdom], nor can it be exchanged for jewels or vessels of fine gold.

18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; for the possession of Wisdom is even above rubies or pearls.

Job 28:17-18

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Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

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