A Pause for Gratitude and an Update

Lord God, thank You for Your perfect magnificent Way.  Your love and care for us astounds.  We are in awe of how You work out all the details in each of our lives so each person receives what he or she needs from here to eternity. We can be at rest in You and rejoice because of the magnificence You are. In Jesus' name, Amen
Lord God, thank You for Your perfect magnificent Way. Your love and care for us astounds. We are in awe of how You work out all the details in each of our lives so each person receives what he or she needs from here to eternity. We can be at rest in You and rejoice because of the magnificence You are. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

It’s time for a cancer progress check-in. First the practical, then a reflection on God and His mysterious, wonderful way.

When last I wrote, the May 2015 ultrasound and scan (which were in the hopes of declaring my body cancer-free) showed some type of slight illumination on the scan which was not confirmed by the ultrasound. In other words, there was iodine uptake of some sort or a false positive of iodine uptake the neck and thyroid area, representing the scan detected some bit of thyroid tissue or thyroid cancer remaining. To be cancer-free the scan should have been completely dark. However, the ultrasound, which was to reveal potential masses growing where there should be nothing growing, indeed revealed nothing. So the ultrasound was terrific to which the scan added a question mark. Thus they could not say, “cancer-free” because they could not be sure. Perhaps there was something still there which was not yet large enough for the ultrasound to detect. Perhaps it would grow enough to be detected. Perhaps the scan had been a false positive of iodine uptake and there was nothing going on there at all. Perhaps….

The end result was a decision by the endocrinologist who oversees my care for me to have ultrasounds on the thyroid/neck area every few months to see if anything had grown enough to now be visible on the ultrasound or to gradually ultrasound by ultrasound confirm that actually no hidden cancer is growing there at all.

August 2015 was the first of these ultrasounds and indeed there was nothing there at all. So in January or February 2016 back to the blood draw and ultrasound I will be sent to do it all one more time. Meanwhile I have complete peace. Nothing in this life is sure except that eventually none of us are getting out of here alive so I have moved on. God knows the number of my days and I’m good with that.

However, I am grateful to God that in His grace He has seen fit to continue to provide vocal recovery—a recovery through recuperative, rehabilitation efforts by multiple experts, which now seems as if it will deliver an eventual result which enables me to have a stronger singing and speaking voice than ever before. I am abundantly grateful! For without the Lord showing me the way to Dr. Krzysztof Izdebski, who then has overseen my care with the others (notably Lucy Beck and Amy Lesico), there would have been no recovery. And while the ability or inability to talk easily or sing at all does not define quality of life, it is a gift to be able to use my voice!!! Though not fully restored yet and though for some unknown reason it is still painful to create sound vocally, my speaking voice finally has times when it sounds “normal” to me and like it used to be and I am beginning oh-so-slowly, but firmly (thankfully and joyously) to sing again. Oh how I have missed it!

For years I have used my voice almost exclusively to praise the Lord I love. It was something I truly took for granted for it was so easy. I simply opened my mouth whenever I willed it and song came forth. After six months where my post-surgery singing range was 3 tones (do-ray-mi-ack!!! no more sound!!!), and following over 9 months of active, daily vocal-therapy-specific exercises for improvement overseen by these wonderful people in whose care the Lord has placed me, what a gift to be able to do this again!

It gives me profound joy to announce that as of July 24, 2015 I returned to The Creation Lab in Turlock, CA to begin recording the lead vocals for the upcoming worship CD, “You’re My Healer”. This was my first time back to the recording studio since the same week in July exactly one year prior in order to make sure I completed recording the background harmony vocals for the “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” worship CD (released December 2014) in case I could not sing following the August 13th surgery—which I could not.

The Lord’s plan is awe-inspiring on so many levels. Though the cancer had been growing silently for a number of years, it was found and diagnosed in mid-July 2014.  A year earlier in August 2013 as I was in the studio with Michael Everett, Mark Davis and Brandon Davis laying the initial tracks for my second CD of mostly original Christmas worship songs (“Christmas Bells Call To Worship”), the Holy Spirit nudged me firmly to talk with Mike about booking the studio for February 2014 to begin recording another new full length worship project of original songs, but this time it would be songs with which those who were seeking healing from the Lord could worship Him. Interiorly I was thrilled the Lord was asking me to do this because the February dates marked the 10th anniversary of my friends Andrea, Lori and Nicole praying over me to begin hearing new worship songs from heaven during our Bible study worship time in February 2004 as well as the day after their prayers when I “heard” the first new song. What an incredible, truly God-given way to commemorate the event!

Of course, I obeyed, booked the studio and began listening for His new melodies and lyrics in late 2013 for this new healing worship project.  Along the way I did mention to the Lord how aware I was that He was asking me to write lyrics for something I had never experienced myself. Certainly, I had been ill before. But since coming back to faith in Christ as Savior and Lord over 20 years before, I had not had to endure an illness which required me to lean on Him for His healing.

The timing of the scheduled initial recording of the songs in February 2014 became even more impactful when my close, close friend Andrea was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer on January 14, 2014 exactly one month following the first Carols at the Capitol event which she had obediently put on in response to an assignment from the Lord. I knew and know here is not our final home, but only a place of temporary fallible living (and eventual physical death). However, Andrea’s diagnosis and prognosis was so close to the February 2014 recording date, that it definitely effected how I listened for His lyrics and caused me to select certain songs I had composed earlier to be added to the “You’re My Healer” project.

Indeed, in a way only the Lord could have orchestrated, in February 2014 we laid the initial tracks of a few basic instruments for all the songs for “You’re My Healer”. However, after this strong start, progress on “You’re My Healer” stopped. This was not our lack of focus, but the Lord’s plan.  I did not know it then, but He did not want me to have time the remainder of spring 2014 to work on singing my final vocals for the project. He already knew I had cancer and would be officially beginning my own healing journey by mid-year. The singing of these songs was to be during my own journey.  However, He had wanted the music ready.

Is it not amazing as my voice now slowly has been recovering, that these songs are already prepared musically, just waiting for me to vocally recover enough to sing them in the studio? Is it not beyond belief that He has ordained my voice to be added to this worship project while it is still recovering when this project exists to accompany others on their own healing journey as they seek to lean on God through it? Only our Lord could have set this up. Who knows all and thinks this way but Him?! Wonder of wonders!

Especially the first few times in the studio starting in July 2015 it was excruciatingly hard. I drove the 1.5 hours each way sometimes to do one song each time. It was hard to sing, hard to move from pitch to pitch and hard to form the sounds required for each of the lyric’s words. Certain consonants and vowels were still quite difficult.

Though standing behind the microphone to record is always humbling and one has to fight a fear of inadequacy or insufficiency, these times it was intensely more than ever before. And the sound which came out was not exactly as I would have wished! However, I knew this was how my Lord wanted His music done—singing through my healing for those seeking healing to join in.  As always, I prayed both before we began and interiorly as I was offering Him the worship songs one by one into the microphone.

These were His songs, which He had given me to sing. Like all the other worship projects which have preceded “You’re My Healer”, this one was also His not mine and I knew what He enabled me to do would be sufficient for His purposes. He had told me clearly it was time to begin singing again. I had obeyed. I trusted Him. My singular request on all of my worship projects is not that people would experience my voice, but that through my obedience to His call for me to release these songs, that He would imbue the songs with the power of His Holy Spirit so that all who listened and sang along would be touched by Him in the way they each needed to grow closer to Him day by day. It was my prayer for this one too. JOY!

In addition, I was once again blessed by Michael Everett, who in his role as producer was oh-so-gentle with me, working with me in the short bursts of singing stamina I had to make the recording of the songs as easy on me as possible.

As of September 25, 2015 the final lead vocals for all 11 songs have been completed. There remain only two harmonies each to add to the last six songs and my work on this project is done. God is so good! He has been so immeasurably kind to me! His provision of this healing has bordered on miraculous because it didn’t have to go this way.

In addition because of what I experienced in the first weeks following the 2014 cancer surgery, there will be another new worship project produced in the next month. It will be an improvisational piano-only worship CD of original music called, “Worship When Words Are Too Much”.

Directly following surgery, I tried to listen to worship music and offer the lyrics heavenward as I always, always do. However, following the cancer surgery this was more than I could mentally accomplish. My body required so much energy directed towards the immense physical recovery that there was no mental energy left with which to engage with the words. In fact, the lyrics made it so I couldn’t listen to the music because the message of the words automatically began to draw me in, but it was simply too much for me. Thus as I began to recover (and during that time I could not sing at all), He began to give me little melody lines which have developed into worship music where the offering is music only with no words. Each song has a theme—a basic worshipful thought behind it which I contemplate as I play the song instrumentally. For instance for one the theme is “His peace”, for another “trust”, for another “at rest in Him”, etc. My prayer is that since all this is done in obedience to His promptings that His Spirit would be on this new music so it would touch those who hear it His way to accomplish His healing, restoring purposes in them (as only He can.)

Both these music projects will be available latest February 2016, the 10th anniversary of stepping out in faith and beginning to record original worship music in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s instruction with Michael Everett at The Creation Lab in February 2006. Wow….what an amazing journey.

Meanwhile I continue seeing Dr. Krzysztof Izdebski and Lucy Beck, two specialists who continue to guide me toward fuller and more complete vocal restoration. They are kind to me. They are patient with me. They guide me expertly, willingly using their God-given gifts to help me and help others. When I could find no help, the Lord led me specifically to them. For Dr. Krzysztof Izdebski, Lucy Beck and Amy Lesico (who helped me for months with speech), I am grateful beyond what any human words can express—both to the Lord God who gave me the gift of connection with Dr. Izdebski and for how the Lord has used him and those to whom he has referred me for vocal song and speech therapy to enable my recovery (a recovery which would not have just happened on its own). There would be no good speech or song from my voice if they were not willing to do the work the Lord has given them!

I am also profoundly grateful to the Lord God, who in His plan decided to allow me to suffer a cancer which is curable. I know my eternal destiny. I am confident in it. I know here is not God’s long-term best for me. Yet, I do so love serving Him here and for the moment He has granted me more time to do this. (He knows at what instant—any instant—when my time here is done.) So I am thankful for now, for this moment, and at rest in how His way from here to eternity works.

Yet through this cancer journey our magnificent Lord God also has affirmed yet another aspect of His often incomprehensible way. Our Lord most definitely uses us for His kingdom work wherever this life takes us. Wherever!  And I am thankful!

It is not only how He takes what the enemy means for evil and uses it for good, but how He uses it for His more. He makes out of the ugliest places an assignment –a God assignment—which is part of furthering His kingdom and making it known on earth as in heaven. He uses our most undesirable circumstances out of which to write a God-story, raising beauty from ashes and anointing the heads of many with His oil of joy and gifts of salvation and abundant inner peace, all from an increasing knowing from the inside out of who and how He is.

Therefore wherever life takes us (and we know this will include suffering, unfairness, evil, hate and injustice because this is earth where Satan rules, not heaven), becomes a critical part of accomplishing His Great Commission, that He would be revealed to all people and every individual would have the opportunity to see Him and begin to know Him as both Savior and Lord.   There are also God-assignments which take us into trenches where despite the hardships we personally endure, He can flow through us to be His triage unit and safe place for recuperation and strengthening for all those who have been wounded (which includes every one.) It is when we are on these God assignments, which He has made of the hard places and spiritual battlefields which take us places which we would never have chosen for ourselves, that He uses us to spread the fragrance of His truth (by the power of His Holy Spirit) which contrasts so sharply with the stench of the wisdom of this world.

There are those who are seeking Him even if they do not yet even know His name. Inherently interiorly they know there is more for us in life than is apparent even though they don’t know what (who) it is and how to find it. It is God they seek because He created us for this intimate connection with Him. We are incomplete without it—without HIM—and deep down inside we recognize the lack.

There is an intrinsic incompleteness, a discontent and dissatisfaction until we find our fulfillment in adopted sonship and daughtership in Him, restored to the place in His eternal kingdom for which He created us. This is an aspect of the darkness our Lord speaks about and how He is the Light of the world.

He is the Truth. Looking but not knowing how to find Him or having begun to know Him yet not knowing how to pursue the fullness of relationship with Him—this is the darkness, sadness, depression, discouragement and lack of hope into which Jesus came and into which the Holy Spirit still desires to come to others working through us.

Thus sometimes the places we have to go in life are dark. We do not want to be there. We wish we could be somewhere else. And yes, often these hard places are an aspect of this fallen world and not at all like the heaven He has planned for us. It feels more like the desert wilderness than the Promised Land.

Yet, He is with us there too and we must be attentive to the assignment He has for us there. We are not the Light of the world. But we are lamps He has made to carry His Light into the dark places—the truth about life now, life eternal, God in it and through it and the living and active Holy Spirit here with us now with His gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

Like in Isaiah, our Lord is calling—whom shall I send! He is looking for response: “Send me.” How will they see His Light if we don’t go on or if we are filled with so much fear and despair that He Himself must send those to help us and we are incapable of being used by Him to be His love, truth and comfort to others?

Rarely is it so one-sided. Usually we have times of both: times where He can flow through us because our trust in Him is strong and times of being utterly human where we forget He is there using us there and that we have a hope and a future promised (a good one) even if that promise is heaven sooner than we thought we wanted.

Our hope—the hope of Jesus—is that death is no longer the end. It is in this promise we rejoice. It is in this promise we can stand strong in the storm which seems to envelope us in darkness and tries to steal what we thought we had. Our Lord is the Light to our future. Nothing and no one can steal this destiny. When we grasp this by His grace and choose to rely on it, the Holy Spirit can flow through us as the river of Life that He is, especially in the dark and dry places, to touch the world.

On a very practical note, in my own journey into the dark places of cancer eradication and recovery where I continue to pray to be His light, there have been many wonderful, caring, self-less prayer warriors (family, friends and others where sometimes we have not yet even met face-to-face—you know who you are!!!) who have been oh-so faithfully with me by His Spirit the whole time covering me in prayer. I am grateful beyond ability to adequately express it. Such selfless giving to pray for another! I can never pay you back. Thank you so very, very, very much for praying for me so faithfully all this time!

As you can see, I am here to formally report your prayers are answered and better than you may have been able to imagine. He did not answer your prayers for immediate, instant, complete healing. It has been oh-so-gradual and therein lies the last point for which I am thankful because the gradual healing has been the greater blessing.

There are multiple aspects to this. He has taught me to enjoy the quiet even more than before through the months of inability to speak in most situations. He has taught me that often fewer words need to be spoken. He has allowed me to clearly hear the difference between chatter and what my grandmother called, “good talk”.

However the most powerful aspect of the blessing of gradual healing over immediate healing is that through it He has graced me to come to know individuals whom I never would have met (because I never would have needed to ask the Lord to help me find them). Between us, we have been blessed to pour into each others’ lives in incredible, indelible ways. I never would have known these individuals who are literal gifts to me and for whom I now pray daily. My life would have been less without them. They have made my life richer and I would not have wanted to miss knowing them. Oh the wonder of His magnificent ways from here until the day He finally calls each of us home.  His way is perfect. I am grateful. Let’s rejoice!

Selah!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:1-5,9-13)

16 the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.  (Matt. 4:16)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matt. 5:14-15)

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  (Isa. 6:8)

END

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
 

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 info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Good Report Not The Best and All Is Well With My Soul

Lord God, how great You are. Your view is so much greater than ours. You are in the small without losing view of the large, the critical, the vital, the eternal. We are so blessed to be able to simply take up our rest in You and in all things let You lead us in the way You have for us to go--despite any hardship or difficulty--for Your glory. For Your glory, Lord, oh yes. Let it all be for Your glory! In Jesus' name Amen
Lord God, how great You are. Your view is so much greater than ours. You are in the small without losing view of the large, the critical, the vital, the eternal. We are so blessed to be able to simply take up our rest in You and in all things let You lead us in the way You have for us to go–despite any hardship or difficulty–for Your glory. For Your glory, Lord, oh yes. Let it all be for Your glory! In Jesus’ name Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

We tend to like it when things in our lives come in neat little packages where the contents and boundaries are clear. This gives us a false sense of assurance so that we think we know where we stand and can anticipate the outcome. We tend to like stability and constancy. We do not tend to like it when things are unclear or unsure because then we feel as if on shifting sand, not knowing if we will be able to remain standing or will lose our balance and fall. And oh how we don’t want to fall. We want to keep standing. We want to keep going and not be knocked down. We want to live.

Yet when we consider this perspective of being most comfortable when we think we know how things are going in light of God’s perspective, we recognize this very human point of view has no credibility. We realize once again that it in the Lord that we have our hope. It is upon His promises alone which we can rely. His promises do have manifestation in our lives now because He is Emmanuel – God with us. Yet in truth it is once we have passed from this life to the LIFE which is to come (through Jesus) that the fullness of all God has for us is realized and we never look back.

Life here does not always come in the nice neat little packages which we prefer. We often do not find ourselves in circumstances of certainty, but uncertainty. Additionally, the reality is that even when we feel comfortable because there is a façade of certainty in our current situation, that which we think is certain is not certain at all. There are no guarantees except that there will be issues and struggles in this life. Eventually there will be physical death for each of us. And if we have chosen to realize and acknowledge that we need the grace and power of God to be with Him forever (because we cannot make this happen ourselves), then through Jesus as our Savior, Lord (Boss, Leader, Master) and Guide, in His perfect timing we will find our way to this forever home for which He made us, where there are no more struggles or tears.

Given the stark reality that nothing is certain, (except eventual death on a date not known to us) what are we to do? The answer is pure sigh of relief. We have the exquisite pleasure of abandoning ourselves to the will of God. For He promises that He loves us with an everlasting love, never leaves us or forsake us, carries us through the hard times which are part and parcel of this life, gives us His strength for the journey (and His joy is our strength) and uses us in all things so that others would know Him more.

We are journeying through. Here is not our permanent home. It is not the fullness of our destiny.

At first this realization can be hard. Often early in our faith life with Him the emphasis of our prayers is on asking the Lord to save us and heal us here in our temporal bodies with our temporal concerns. These are good and right prayers!!! And…eventually these prayers will seem to go unanswered when the moment comes that He has planned to bring each of us home to Him forever when He no longer answers prayers for temporary healing.

Actually, it is not that He has not answered. It is that He is giving the greater answer, the answer of complete, total and eternal healing and the gift of fullness of destiny forever with Him, the angels and all the others who have gone before where evil has no more power and can have no more negative effect.

Thus, though it is uncomfortable until we get used to it, uncertainty is the norm and eventual death is definite. We are not in control. We can never know for certain what will happen next. There are always unlimited factors which could come from a variety of directions which could affect our today as well as our tomorrow.

So what are we to do? Does this mean God has less power than we thought or that He cares for us less than His promises seem to convey? No. It means we have had our focus on that which is lesser and temporary and He is working towards helping us now but He never loses sight of His supreme focus, which is on all things eternal. We are moving through this fallen, hard place toward eternity and He is ensuring this journey never ceases.

Where does this leave us, if we choose to grieve for the stability we thought we needed to live in peace and realize uncertainty is the norm during this life? It leaves us needing to grab hold of Him more and leaning on Him as our unmovable, unshakeable Rock. In Him and His eternal ways with the promise that death is no longer a danger to us is our hope (because He has won the victory over death). In His plan to flow through us as His instruments so that more would know Him and be able to choose Him for eternity we find our purpose. By reliance on Him to get us through this life and usher us into eternity and use all for good along the way no matter what the adversary tries, we receive His peace which surpasses all understanding in all our circumstances now. By letting go of our need for a deceptive sense of control and choosing to be at rest in whatever comes because we know who He is and what He promises we receive His joy and we are swept up into an ocean of contentment and fulfillment no matter what is going on around us.

Remember, to rely on Him does not mean we are expecting He will protect us or those we love from every evil here. Often He will do this in answer to our prayers and simply for love of us, but not always. His eye is on His gift of eternity. He is bringing us through here. He is using us here. And it is temporary. We repeat so we remember: here is not our home. Heaven is where we will dwell forever with Him and all those who have preceded us through death’s door into His promised eternal Life. To rely on Him is to trust Him to accompany us and use all things and let nothing we go through go to waste.

Another fact of this life is grief. We grieve because we love and miss those who have gone ahead of us into His presence. This is normal. He created us to love. Grief means we have loved and cared and this is good! (And hurts beyond what can be put into human words.) We grieve because we wanted Him to answer every prayer here the way we wanted and to usher in the fullness of His eternal kingdom now so that pain, suffering and injustice would fully disappear now, not just in little bits when the seemingly few of us work towards it in seemingly minute ways in His name. We wonder why it can’t be the way we want and think would be best (after all He is all powerful) and grieve when it is not.

Yet in that moment when we finally embrace how His way really is, in it we find that freedom, peace (from Him), joy, contentment and fulfillment we have always sought. This remains with us in good times and bad. It does not make what is hard easy, but it gives it meaning, purpose and we understand it is temporary and we are confident in and clear about the eventual, ultimate good which is to come.

You may wonder why all this rambling writing now, today. Many of you have accompanied me on the cancer journey of the past year and know that there were scans and tests galore this past week, which had the objective of establishing whether or not the cancer was gone. Thyroid cancer is one where it is very possible that via the treatments I have undergone they can say—“cured”. That would be a nice, neat little box, wouldn’t it? Unlike remission where it’s okay for the moment but we know it the cancer may return, cured is done, over and never to return in that form. Nice. Neat. Preferred? Hmmm….in light of God’s perspective discussed above actually that is not necessary.

In fact, a report of “cured” is not quite what I received when my endocrinologist called with the report this afternoon and all I have written is to help you understand why in spite of this all remains extraordinarily well with my soul.

The report was a good report, but it was not the definitive “cured” report. The doctor shared (praise be to God) that the very thorough ultrasound of my neck where the goal was to find and evaluate every lymph node came back clear. It looked great. However, in the whole body scan there was one slight, tiny, faded “perhaps-something” around the center front of the neck. It is not a lump. It has no substance or form. Scans don’t show that, ultrasounds do and the ultrasound showed clear. The scan measures where radioactive iodine was absorbed into the body (as it is always absorbed more by thyroid tissue and thyroid cancer tissue.) Normally any areas which would indicate remaining thyroid tissue or thyroid cancer tissue would glow brightly! In this case there was nothing which lit up that strongly, but there was a little something faded which was oh-so-slightly illuminated. What does this mean? It did not match the ultrasound, so it is probably nothing….or she said it could be something. At present we simply don’t know. Even if it is a remnant of tissue reacting with the radioactive iodine, we don’t know if it is thyroid cancer or just remaining thyroid tissue. What to do? We wait. In three months we go through procedures again and see if there is increased glow or if it is definitely no more….or something else.

Yes, it would have been nice to be able to write “cancer-free” in this blog entry today. But I feel no anxiety at the report. First on a completely practical level, I have been told since the beginning that any remaining cancer following surgery would grow so slowly (because by its nature thyroid cancer is slow growing), that I would likely die of something else before that cancer would ever truly become a threat. On the greater spiritual level, there have never been any guarantees about this life and how long it would be—only the one to come.

Thus, first, thank you for walking with me this far. Next, please do continue to pray for complete temporal physical healing. (I do love my life and working for Him here.) His answers to your prayers have sustained me! However, please pray more that I would hear His will moment- by-moment and be able to keep eyes off self and always have the courage to walk into whatever places He can use me. My greatest desire for a long time simply has been to be used by Him in the way He wants for His eternal purposes to reveal Himself to others the way He knows is best for however long He ordains for me to live this temporary life. Period. This has not changed. We have today. Actually, we have this moment. It is all we have. Pray that I would be a vessel He can consistently use His way no matter what. And I will pray for you as well. There is nothing better than being in the will of the One True God. There is nothing better than having let go of all we thought we wanted and letting Him have His way with us. This is the way of awestruck wonder, where the supernatural supreme God shows up in our every-day. It is the way we become authentic followers of Christ. It is the way of His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as in heaven….for His glory, for His glory alone. Can I get an, “amen”?!

END

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
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
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 albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Music can be purchased and audio clips heard 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 elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

True Treasures From Trusting God

Oh, Lord God, Your sovereignty causes us to drop to our knees in awe. How inscrutable Your ways. Your superiority is supreme! There is no one and nothing greater than You. Majestic, all-holy One, thank You for Your good plans. Thank You for how evil is and remains conquered. We are so grateful. We cannot find our own way. There is no true purpose beyond Yours. Take our lives once again and have Your beautiful way through all circumstances with us. How we desire each moment of our lives to have Your eternal effect. We love You.  We are lost without You and so, dear Shepherd, lead us and we will follow wherever You go. We are Yours. In Jesus' name, Amen
Oh, Lord God, Your sovereignty causes us to drop to our knees in awe. How inscrutable Your ways. Your superiority is supreme! There is no one and nothing greater than You. Majestic, all-holy One, thank You for Your good plans. Thank You for how evil is and remains conquered. We are so grateful. We cannot find our own way. There is no true purpose beyond Yours. Take our lives once again and have Your beautiful way through all circumstances with us. How we desire each moment of our lives to have Your eternal effect. We love You. We are lost without You and so, dear Shepherd, lead us and we will follow wherever You go. We are Yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

This morning was an ultrasound to check on the status of lymph nodes in my neck 6 month post-radioactive iodine treatment and 8 ½ months post thyroid cancer surgery. It is the first of a number of appointments to check whether the surgery plus treatment have indeed addressed last year’s thyroid cancer in a way they can state I am “cancer-free” and healed.

I was not stressed going to the scan. Yet I did not look forward to it. More than anything it was one more reminder of the brevity of life, which doesn’t cause me to fear death but sometimes makes me sad because I enjoy working for our Lord here so much and sometimes cannot quite fathom heaven. (Sometimes I have to apologize to our Lord. Do I love Him more or the work He gives me to do?! Oh, Lord, help it to be all simply for love of You!)

No question, this calm in the face of tests which have the possibility of bringing unwelcome news was due solely to my faith in God. Though He can heal every disease, the calm I experienced was not because I was sure He would miraculously heal me of everything which came my way. Certainly, He can and does miraculously heal. However, eventually every one of us will face physical death. Even those Jesus healed (about whom we read over and over again in Scripture) eventually died physically. Our bodies are not made for eternity. They will wear out. It is simply a matter of how and when.

This is not a negative mindset. I don’t dwell on it. It does not depress me. It is reality. As a Christian, I know death may be the end of our temporal physical lives, but it is the door from life to the eternal all-good Life with God for which we were created.

Thus though our Lord provides for us and heals us in answer to prayer many, many times, I have no expectation for our Lord to constantly deliver me from illness. He will for as long as it is His will. On the contrary, clearly at some point (it may be earlier or later) we will each die, and there will be suffering along the way. Such is the condition of this life in this world, which will never be heaven.

Jesus is our perfect example. Where the Father wanted miraculous healings to reveal the reality of who He is, these occurred. However, even Jesus died at the hands of evil and in the eyes of worldly wisdom His physical life was abbreviated grossly from that which might have been considered a normal lifespan. Yet through this sacrifice, our Lord ushered in salvation for the world. Unspeakable goodness worked through evil! He will work goodness through us as well.

Rest assured I do not seek early physical death. (One of my grandmothers lived to 100. Lord, may I live till 100 too?) I am blessed here. Indeed I would mourn if evidence showed likelihood my physical life would be over soon. There are people here I love and there is such good, purposeful work to be done for our Lord here in addition to unabashed worship of Him. But I am not afraid.

No, the reason for my calm in the face of tests is that I trust Him, whether I am physically healed or not. I trust His plan and His will, no matter what it is—death to Life, longer life here, sickness, or health—whatever!

This is my mindset lying on the table as the sonogram begins. The technician clicks and clicks again over and over, scanning places which are beyond the scope of the area I had expected. Why is she marking so many areas? Fear tries to begin to creep in. What if she found something? Oh ugh! Really?! My trust is in the Lord, and yet there is still such a mental battle! Really?!

I realize in that moment, that once again I have a choice. I can let myself fall into anxiety or I can receive this as one more reminder God is in control, He alone knows what is to come from today until the day He takes me home. I do know and believe He will use all in my life for eternal good in the lives of others and my own –even cancer—if I will let Him. Jesus went to the cross that we might live FOREVER. If He allows more cancer, then He can use it as a vehicle through which more people He loves can be helped to choose His kingdom. I need to trust Him and be at rest in it.

I don’t believe there is more cancer, but I do in this moment want to be reconciled with the possibility and in His peace no matter what. I do not want to feel anxiety. I do not want to feel fear. These are not constructive to my Lord using me in this place and oh, how I want to be used by Him in all places at all times!

“God, to You alone I give once again my life. Lord, I have given you my life before to do with as You will, but here I am turning it over to You again, and this time I mean it on a deeper level. Where before there has been a part of me which has wanted to ask You not to cause my life to have to go through the dark spaces and places as You use me, this is no longer the case. My life is Yours, Lord. It has never been my own. Lord, use me for whatever days I am here for whatever you want. Put me wherever I can have the greatest God-effect for You. There are many dark places which would not have been my choice, but I lay all those at Your feet and bow to You. Use my remaining life according to Your perfect will and I will glorify Your name forever.”

In the face of authentically offering myself to Him once again, the inkling of fear loses its power and leaves. A blanket of His peace descends upon me there on the table in the sonogram room—a gift from Him in the midst of what is not earthly fun. I am swathed in His peace and even joy. Bliss. True contentment. Purpose. Love. I am blessed there in that place without measure (as He blesses us every place that we let go and let God).

I am in His will. It is right. It is good. The prayer was good. I meant it. I am at such peace in Him, through Him, by Him and for Him.  True riches this side of heaven!

And undoubtedly there will be future moments where I will have to turn myself over to Him yet again. *Sigh* The humility of our humanity. Lord, how great Thou art!

END

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
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
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 albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Music can be purchased and audio clips heard 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 elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Not My Will But Yours

Magnificent One, how mighty You are with ways which exceed our comprehension.  You have lifted our sight from that which is here and now to understand our true destiny in You for all eternity. We do not merit this gift and yet You offer it to us. You bless us here. You accompany us through every hard thing and yet we are merely journeying through.  Master Shepherd, thank You for leading us through many valleys of the shadow of death, providing for us along the way and using all, all, all things for eventual good.  Our trust is so great in You, that we delight to do Your will no matter what. Speak, Lord, Your servants are listening.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In Jesus' name Amen
Magnificent One, how mighty You are with ways which exceed our comprehension. You have lifted our sight from that which is here and now to understand our true destiny in You for all eternity. We do not merit this gift and yet You offer it to us. You bless us here. You accompany us through every hard thing and yet we are merely journeying through. Master Shepherd, thank You for leading us through many valleys of the shadow of death, providing for us along the way and using all, all, all things for eventual good. Our trust is so great in You, that we delight to do Your will no matter what. Speak, Lord, Your servants are listening. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In Jesus’ name Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2014

Today begins the process of radioactive iodine treatment which doctors feel strongly is the next step in “cure” of the thyroid cancer discovered July 14th and surgically dealt with on August 13th. I am thankful the treatment exists, sorrowful the only conventional treatment option is to put a substance into my body on purpose that in and of itself can be cancer-causing (potential leukemia down the road), and disconcerted at the prospect of putting something so unhealthy into my body on purpose though the hoped-for outcome is better health.

I am one who does not treat the body un-healthfully on purpose. I exercise, avoid artificial sweetener, do not drink soda, eat sugar and drink coffee in moderation, avoid most junk food, use mostly whole grains, eat my vegetables and even make and drink fresh vegetable juice. When the birth of our second daughter was delayed two weeks beyond her due date, I was able to safely postpone the idea of induction until natural labor set in. For all three births of our children I was tremendously blessed to be able to give birth naturally with no drugs or IV at all. Bottom line, it is not my will to take anything radioactive on purpose! But it is the advice of my doctors of the next best course to ensure the cancer is gone and when I pray, the Lord is not telling me to refuse it.

Our lives are not our own. They have never been. This brings me back to Jesus and one critical aspect of the example He gave us. Though being equal with God the Father, He set aside His own will to fully do the will of the Father, meaning Jesus did not pursue His own ideas and plans, but looked to the Father, listened for HIS will and did it—even to death on the cross (and as I recall, this was so massively not His will, Jesus asked to be relieved of the task and sweat drops of blood due to anticipatory physical stress).

Not my will but Yours. This has to be my heart’s cry. I need to thank God for today and every blessing which will be in it. I need to thank Him that this procedure exists and for His perfect will for my life.

Nowhere does the Lord promise life in this world will be easy. Nowhere does He promise ongoing bliss instead of hardship. This world is not our home. With Him forever in heaven is. But here is our place of decision. Will we stop, turn and recognize our need for God and Jesus’ gift of reconciliation with Him? Will we let Him use us for His purpose to reveal Him to the world His way wherever this life takes us (both the places we are glad to go and those which cause us to cringe)?

I say, yes, Lord, yes. Have Your way! Is there anything better than to be used by God for His purposes? How could there be if He is really Most High?

Ultimately there can nothing better than the will of God for each of us. We cannot assure our own future. Death is coming. We are less than God. God as all-good Creator and Master of the Universe, who in His essence is love, has much better plans than we do. He must.  He has the power to take what the adversary means for evil in our lives and use it for great good with eternal effect if we will pick up our crosses and follow. When we follow our Master Shepherd, He uses us as His vessels through which His goodness flows, just as He did Jesus. He wants to be seen in this world. He generally does not choose to manifest miraculously in the sky. He chooses to use us. But that means a submission to His will with an inner quiet born of trust in Him. Jesus said not My will but Yours, Father, and through Jesus’ obedience the Father provided the way for all who desire it to be reunited with Him forever in the destiny for which He created us. Because Jesus laid down His own will, death is not the end, but a door to all which has been promised to those who choose to believe and follow.

None of us are Jesus, but we are each a part of His Body which He uses His way as an expression of the fullness of Himself to a weary, discouraged, despairing and dying world. None of us will live forever here. These bodies are not meant to last, so yes, I will do what I can to ensure my health, but no matter what I do with each passing day I am nearing His time when I leave this body behind and take my eternal place with Him and all those who have gone before. Only He knows when that day will be. Only He knows what lies in between. My hope is to believe that through all things if I keep my focus on Him and listening for His will and following where He leads that He will, will, will bring eventual good through it because this is His promise (and as One whose name is Truth, our Lord cannot lie).

Cancer is a potential aspect of life’s journey which was not on my to-do list. It is not something I am excited about. But I am excited about what my Lord can do through it—what He promises to do through all our challenges and battles. He promises to become known to more through them and along the way we are strengthened spiritually as well which increases our joy and His effect. There is goodness through the storm when we choose to keep our eyes on Him, seeking always to see His eternal perspective instead of our limited temporal one (even though some days it is hard to feel anything good, let alone comprehend it). As always we are returned to the choice to trust in Him especially when we cannot see and do not understand.

So, Lord, I confess a bad attitude about this procedure. Please forgive me. With renewed conviction I declare, dear Lord that my trust is in You alone. I cannot control any outcomes but You can. I ask dear Lord, that if it be Your will, this procedure indeed kill any remaining cancer so it can be said as the doctors described, that the cancer is cured. I ask also dear Lord that the radioactive iodine would not affect my body in a negative way which causes undesirable consequences down the road. But more than anything, Lord, I thank You for the gift of every day and Your perfect plan for my life. Thank You that You not only love us but give us good purpose every day of our lives until You ordain the day to bring us home. Thank You that with You nothing is wasted. Thank You for the promise of the life for which You created us after our physical death through the gift Jesus accomplished on the cross. Thank You for coming and giving us Your example. Lord God, I will keep my eyes on You and by Your power and grace You will help me to walk on top of the waves through all storms. The storms will be there but so will Your strength and grace to get through it until You call me home. Lord, my trust is in You. I lay down my will and say not my will, but Yours. You are all that I want and all that I need on this journey home. Thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Thank you for all of you having been praying for me. May the Lord bless you and keep you and use you for great good through all life’s storms from here till eternity!

Note: in 2010 I composed, recorded and released a song on my first Christmas worship CD, “Christmas Worship” about the beauty and necessity of choosing to submit to the will of God focusing on the Christmas story as inspiration.  Here are the lyrics, which help me even today make my prayer to be in His will and not my own:

NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS music and lyrics by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2010

1. Mary and Joseph knew You were God. Humbly they bowed, You are Lord. They trusted, they worshiped, gave up their lives. Not my will but Yours.

Chorus: Not my will, but Yours. Not my will but Yours. The manger, the cross, resurrection. Not my will but Yours.

2. Mary and Joseph far from home. No place to lay their heads. They trusted, they worshiped, laid down their lives. You led to Bethlehem.

Following Final Chorus: Now in my time of decision, will I choose my will or Yours? Yes, I lay down my life this Christmas, and say, “Not my will, but Yours.”

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isa. 26:3 NIV)

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38 NIV)

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:35-38 NIV)

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome(1 John 5:3 NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV)

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
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.

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 elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

 

 

The Lord’s Perfect Timing

Lord God, how You amaze us ongoing with Your majesty and Your magnificent all-loving ways. We can dance like children before You rejoicing for all things truly are in Your hands at all times. Thank You for caring for us so much. In Jesus' name, amen.
Lord God, how You amaze us ongoing with Your majesty and Your magnificent all-loving ways. We can dance like children before You rejoicing for all things truly are in Your hands at all times. Thank You for caring for us so much. In Jesus’ name, amen.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

I turned in my keys this past week at the financial advisory firm where I have been employed part-time since January 2013.  It was somewhat sad for me, because I enjoyed working with and supporting such good people and God had so divinely orchestrated how I had come to have the job in the first place.  And yet, I also had felt led to pray for months that God would send the right person to take my place, because even before the cancer, I knew eventually I would be leaving.  The financial advisor for whom I worked, Rob, and I had even discussed where he would look to find another assistant when it was time for me to go.

He had made a few contacts, but they had not panned out.  When I originally had contacted him and his wife, Carolyn, in December 2012 in response to their ad which the Lord had brought to my attention, he had been searching for a while for the right assistant with almost no viable (qualified) candidates amongst the plethora of ad responses. He really needed someone with industry experience (which would include understanding of the terminology and systems) and a heart for his particular practice style (with strong ethics and personalized customer care) in a quiet office environment.

On Tuesday, September 16th following the ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist initial appointment and 2nd post operation appointment with the surgeon I forwarded Rob and Carolyn a detailed update which explained why I still could not come back to work.  In it I also felt led very specifically to release them to find someone else if they did not want to wait.  I knew Rob’s business. I knew how essential it was to have an assistant if he was going to get his job done as a financial advisor!  So I wrote the following at the end of my report:

“If you and Carolyn decide it is no longer workable for you to wait for what now looks like could be as long as mid to late October and that you need to implement other sales support, I understand that as well.  It is troubling to me, to have left the two of you unexpectedly in the lurch like this.”

When I had left the office at end of day August 11th after my final day of work before the August 13th surgery, I had had only one fleeting inkling I would not be returning to work there—ever.  As I was packing up to go that Monday afternoon, the Lord whispered “take the mug with you”.  On the office desk I shared with Rob’s wife, Carolyn, I kept a mug for periodic cups of tea. The mug had been a birthday gift one year from my friend, Lori Duffy. However, the thought to take the mug with me had been so fleeting, I had neglected to grab hold of it and had walked out the door forgetting to take the mug with me.

I fully expected to be back at work by the beginning of September.  At my pre-op appointment, I had asked the surgeon precisely this question. How long would recovery be—until one could resume normal activity?  He had told me 2 weeks.  Okay then. This seemed short, but he must know. So that is what I had arranged with Rob and Carolyn. Then at the first post-op appointment the recovery time had expanded to four to six weeks for the body to recover.  Yes, in two weeks one was no longer as couch-bound, but recovery was indeed longer (which only made sense). 

However, in all the pre-op preparations, though there had been mention of the risk of losing the ability to sing or speak completely, no mention was made of the potential lengthier recovery period for vocal ability.  First, when I saw the ENT specialist and had my second post-op appointments back to back in mid-September, had both surgeon and ENT finally confirmed it was normal to still have pain when speaking at this point and that vocal recovery could take any number of months. Each person was different.  This was in addition to the pending at-some-soon-to-come-but-as-yet-undefined point there would need to be time set aside for the radioactive iodine treatment(s) to be completed to kill any residual cancer cells in the thyroid area of the neck.

The indeterminate length of time for vocal recovery added onto the still pending further cancer treatment changed everything and caused the Lord’s word to me from late May or early June that there was something coming which would cause me to be unable to work full-time for a while, to be more clear. Right after diagnosis my dear friend, Amy Knight, had given me a word from the Lord, that this was to be a special season where instead of forging ahead step by step as the Lord instructed, walking with Him by my side, I was to be at rest with my head on His shoulder, not forging ahead, but letting Him go ahead and do the work while I simply remained at rest in Him.  As the surgery approached already in my heart I felt the confirmation that the Lord through this was giving me a divine pause. This would be for His purposes. He would take me during the quiet without so much of the everyday rushing around into a deeper understanding of Him and He would give me time to write more of Him for others, so that more would come to know Him as God (Savior and Lord of all). 

After the first 2 weeks of recovery, when the surgeon’s initial answer to my question meant I should have been ready to return to work, I was neither ready physically, vocally or emotionally. I was just beginning to be upright almost all day and able to amble around.  It didn’t feel as if the season of “divine pause” was supposed to be over yet. The surgery was over but it did not feel as if there had been enough time for it to be used yet in the way He had laid on my heart.

Indeed I still had to remain removed from most activities including work.  And now He began to do the things in my heart and through enabling more writing which I had sensed were the purposes of this season beyond eradicating cancer.  His peace overcame me. He was orchestrating the recovery. He was even delaying vocal improvement and removal of pain in order to slow me down. He wanted this time with me. I wanted it with Him and He had ordained it.

Our Lord was doing a bit of re-arranging. It was the time for new seasons for a few of us. 

Rob responded to my September 16th email the following day.  It was just as the Lord had been impressing upon me. Rob embraced the confirmation he might need to find someone new, because he needed the support.  A financial advisor cannot study client finances and make good, clear recommendations nor monitor economic and client conditions for updates when time is consumed with office administrative functions.  However, when there is no administrative support, the advisor must cover these activities first (which eliminates the advisor’s ability to do the actual advisory job).  He asked me to stay in touch. This blessed me because I have enjoyed my affiliation with the practice and the friendship with Rob and Carolyn.  I would miss being a part of the practice and each other’s lives.

I received Rob’s September 17th response while at our El Dorado County home where there is as yet no internet. Thus all email communication must be typed into my cell phone which can be time-consuming and cumbersome—two fingers at  a time, with a well-intended auto-correct function which continually corrects the words I type on purpose to other words which can completely change the meaning of that which is being communicated.  For these reasons though I wanted to send Rob a prompt response re-iterating I understood and wishing him all the best, I delayed. The plan was to send an email reply when I returned to where I had internet availability and could reply via laptop.   However, I kept getting distracted from writing and by Saturday or Sunday, the Lord was letting me know that instead of just an email He wanted me to send a dish filled with little plants which would not die immediately, but continue to grow along with a card of well-wishes for my response.  I knew exactly which florist business I was to patronize and looked for opportunities all weekend to drop by.  I wanted the delivery for Monday! I wanted Rob to know I appreciated his email and understood and supported his decision to look for other help.

However, it was very late Tuesday morning, September 23rd before I realized I could order the planter online from this florist because dropping by was not working.  I was quite disappointed to see that the earliest possible delivery was Wednesday. This meant almost a week from the date of his email until Rob had my response.  This seemed horribly unprofessional and rude.  Oh well, this was what the Lord was leading me to do at the florist business with whom He had led me to place the order.  So many times in the past there had always been a reason (and a good one) for His timing. Invariably I wanted things done faster than He enabled, and yet, as God (duh!) His timing was always perfect. I placed the order and requested a card be sent.  I asked the Lord what to request written on the card. The following is how I felt led. It was concise enough to fit and seemed to say it all.

Rob & Carolyn, thank you for the privilege of being part of your God-ordained practice. I am praying for the Lord’s just-right person to assist further. God bless you! Elizabeth

I had no idea that in that week while I was silent, Rob and Carolyn had already begun their search for a new assistant. To both their surprise, Carolyn had run across a resume for a woman with 10 years’ experience supporting an independent financial advisor in a similar office set up.  She was even familiar with the same software Rob used in his practice. Contact was made and an interview scheduled.  When Monica came in Carolyn interviewed her at length and then Rob interviewed her too.  She had been working for an advisor who had sold his business. The advisor who took over ran it in a different style which was causing clients to leave, resulting in an income cut. She also found the style difference so great that she was not comfortable working with the new advisor.  She was searching for a new, “safe” place (with a style match in how the advisor worked with his or her clients) where she could put her skills to work and truly make a difference caring for clients and providing critical administrative support to an advisor as she was accustomed (and trained!) to do.

This is exactly what Rob needed!  Both he and Carolyn sensed Monica might be who God wanted.  In fact she seemed almost as if sent by God because she seemed such an unbelievably perfect fit.  Initially, they had planned to go through quite a screening process to make sure they had the right person. However, they both had God’s peace that she was the one, so Rob called Monica on Wednesday, September 24th and made her an offer to work full-time at the practice.  This was a big commitment. I had been part-time. But Rob and Carolyn were stepping out in faith in the way they truly believed God was leading.  Monica accepted the offer and Rob hung up the phone. 

Within seconds (not even one minute had passed) there was a florist standing in the foyer of the practice with a planter to deliver. No one had ever sent Rob anything before, so he thought the delivery must be for one of the other businesses in the building.  Nope. Carolyn told him the delivery was for him.  Rob couldn’t imagine who it could be from. He opened and read the card. It was the planter I had sent.  The following words on the card jumped out at him, “I am praying for the Lord’s just-right person to assist further.”  He was stunned and overcome. Both he and Carolyn were.  God had timed the arrival of the planter with the message for which He had given me the words, to be at the precise moment He knew would confirm and make clear that hiring Monica had been the right thing to do because it was indeed His plan. It was His perfect will for all of us, for through it He also confirmed for me, that my season working there was truly done.

What blessing! What care from our Lord, that He would delay the sending of the planter with the message, so that He could orchestrate its perfect arrival.  Yes, our Lord is in what we define as big, but He is also in what we misinterpret as small. He cares about it all because He always cares for all of us. Amen? Amen!

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
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
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 elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

 

Choosing To Give Thanks In All Things

Magnificent One, to You alone do we lift our eyes in all circumstances. Our trust is in You alone. And so to You in every storm, we give You thanks for the answers You will sovereignly bring to our prayers, for we know You are all good and love us and love those we love more than we ever will. Thank You for being our God. Thank You for loving us. We remain in prostrated awe. In Jesus' name, amen.
Magnificent One, to You alone do we lift our eyes in all circumstances. Our trust is in You alone. And so to You in every storm, we give You thanks for the answers You will sovereignly bring to our prayers, for we know You are all good and love us and love those we love more than we ever will. Thank You for being our God. Thank You for loving us. We remain in prostrated awe. In Jesus’ name, amen.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

When we choose by walk by faith not by sight (which is what God asks of us), then it is because we choose to believe in God and what He says in His Word. This means we believe Him when He says that the visible was made out of the invisible and the invisible is greater.

1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

When we choose to walk by faith and not by sight it means we believe our destiny is not this life, but the fullness of the life to come.

31…If God is for us, who can be against 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 8:31b,35,37-39)

And nothing, nothing, nothing can steal our eternal destiny from us.

In addition, even now God as all powerful Father, He promises to hear our prayers and answer when we are seeking to follow Him—trying to listen, discern and obey Him moment by moment to the best of our childlike abilities like Jesus did.

Most of our prayers either concern requests related to prolonging our natural life or the lives of others and or minimizing the suffering (poverty, hunger, persecution, slavery, physical abuse, illness, etc.) which are part and parcel of this life on earth (which is not and will never be heaven.) These prayers are good! He responds! And yet injustice and suffering remain.

Our Shepherd is ever faithful to His promise to lead us through the shadow of the valley of death. He promises we do not have to worry—He will provide for us perfectly, and He will use all for good in light of eternity.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. It not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:15-27,31-33 NIV)

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Ps. 23 NIV)

11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” (Ezekiel 34:11-16 NIV)

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. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Yet, our Lord does not always answer our prayers our way. In His sovereign omnipotence and omniscience, His supreme, all-encompassing view does not always match our childlike, limited one.

Consider Jesus. He sets the example and this example included the cross.

Sometimes it seems as if for us the cross may have lost some of its original impact. The horror of it can seem as if gilded because through it Jesus made possible our reconciliation with Father, adoption as sons and daughters and return to Him for eternity. Yet the cross was a heinous, inhumane tool of torture used to murder the Son of God. The time of our Lord’s passion was nothing but ugly.

Those who loved Jesus could see nothing beautiful, wonderful or good His death. It was unjust, did not make sense and seemed the end to all their hope.

Some of his disciples had recognized Jesus rightly as the Messiah.   At the time of the Savior’s coming Israel was under cruel Roman persecution and rule. How the people longed to be free under their own rulers again. Oh, to be their own sovereign, independent nation! The understanding was the Messiah (which means God’s anointed—chosen—One) was to come and save them, to re-establish a kingdom, which in their limited childlike view they took to mean Israel’s independence as a kingdom on earth.

Of course, we know the end of the story. God had something greatly superior planned. Through Jesus He planned to offer everyone—not just the Israelites—entry into His eternal kingdom, which is not of this world.

At the crucifixion however, this was still not apparent. It did not enter their disciples’ minds that His death was the key to His resurrection, which was the key to the Door of heaven opening for all of us. From all they could understand, the crucifixion looked like the end, not like a beginning.

What they saw in the moment was something completely different and incomprehensible. Jesus was betrayed by one on the inner circle. When Jesus was arrested the other apostles must have felt as if something was horribly wrong—and it was. Evil was in the air. And by all accounts it looked like evil was winning. Jesus did not stand up for Himself. He didn’t reveal miraculous power to defend or save Himself. The people at large turned against Him in a seemingly impossible, preposterous way—asking for the life of a known criminal to be spared instead of Jesus.

Everything was the opposite of what it should be. Where was justice? Where was God? And all too quickly the situation spiraled out of control even more. After being tortured almost to death, Jesus had to carry his cross up the hill, where He was disrespectfully stripped, mocked, and hands and feet hammered to the cross with nails, so that he could hang on it for hours until death.

The Messiah was dead. Rome still ruled. Nothing had changed except now it was worse. The long-awaited Messiah had come and come and gone.

This was the most horrendous evil act perpetrated by Satan of all time. This adversary of God worked through God’s own people to kill His Son.

And yet, God was not done. In fact, as horrific as this act was, Satan had played directly in God’s hands. The Father knew what the adversary would do. He knew what the people would choose and so He chose before time began to weave together His plan to use that which the enemy definitely used for evil for the supreme good of all humanity. It’s almost as if the Lord could be heard, “Watch what I’m going to do with this, Lucifer! Through your own plan, I am going to remove all who will choose it from under your wrong dominion. I will restore them to My kingdom—the kingdom for which they were created. Yes, through your heinous act, I’m going to redeem the world.”

Thus, indeed, through it all, our Lord reigned (and reigns)! The way the Lord answered the prayers at the time did not look good! And yet, when we now consider what God has done, we recognize that His way was supremely good.

Thus we cannot expect our Lord’s answers to prayer always will look like it seems they should either. We are also His creation and not the Creator. Like any young child’s view in comparison to the parent, our children-of-God eyes have limited comprehension. We are not (and never will be) God.

This does not mean God the Father is glad for injustice, or doesn’t care when we suffer, or is ambivalent when evil seems to have his way. God is love! This place into which we are born was not His original and best plan for us. It was our ancestors’ choice because they choice their own will (and followed Satan’s leadership), instead of trusting in and submitting to God. We are born into exile. Jesus was sent to rescue us, providing the way out and home……(All praise to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, forever and ever, amen!)

Our Lord waits in the eternal Kingdom to which He calls us to wipe every tear away.

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”…6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” (Rev.21:1-5a,6-7 NIV)

If this is all true, then Jesus is already our Victor. It means every battle we are currently in He has already plans to overcome and use for good which cannot be thwarted—even by supernatural evil—for the adversary is less than God’s infinite more. If we have lost those we love from this world, His promise is that we will see them again. If they seem to have left without knowing and choosing Him, we must remember we do not know what went on in their minds and hearts in those final moments. We must lean on the truth that God loves us and every person more than we do and keep our eyes on Him. Only He knows.

Therefore, if we truly trust God, then we can already now thank Him for that which is to come. We can thank Him now in faith and trust which means confidence for what He will do for every prayer request which is on our heart. This is not because His answer will look like we expect, but because His answer will always be extremely, eternally God’s.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? …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 8:31-32,34b-35,37-39 NIV)

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ..15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:1,15-20 NIV)

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
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
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 elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

He Stills The Waves

Glorious Lord, no matter the storm we are safe in Your care.  We revel in Your magnificent, all-loving, glorious, eternal way. Thank You for Your reign, how You love us and are involved in every aspect of our lives.  You are all that we want and need. Majesty, it is You we revere and adore. In Jesus' name, Amen
Glorious Lord, no matter the storm we are safe in Your care. We revel in Your magnificent, all-loving, glorious, eternal way. Thank You for Your reign, how You love us and are involved in every aspect of our lives. You are all that we want and need. Majesty, it is You we revere and adore. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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.

Chorus

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
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
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 info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org