A Blessing in the Storm

Lord, You are my hope and my song. Through all things You are there working out Your good, eternal purposes and my trust remains in You.  You are unstoppable. Your plan never fails. Thank You for Your great, great love for each one. In Your blessed name, I pray. Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2017


Yesterday was a watershed day for us. For the first time in over a year there was a relief from some of the difficult challenges which we have faced. Up until then it has seemed as each new thing or worsening thing has just piled up on what was already there. Yes, I do have thyroid cancer again—or perhaps still. (The semantics here are unimportant.) The cancer simply is and we have been in the process since Monday of working with professionals to design and move forward with the best course of action. However, it has been more a bit more complicated than that because for seemingly unrelated symptoms right before Christmas an abdomen CT scan was also ordered and its results were also given to us on Monday. There were two unexpected items which showed up on the scan for which additional scans were recommended. One could indicate the thyroid cancer has spread to my lungs. The other could indicate an additional whole new cancer in another area of the body.

Reports like this when initially received tend to temporarily make it hard to breathe. We have to pause and take stock, remember nothing is a surprise to God and decide how to move forward.

For me the only option is to trust in God. I had my years when I didn’t believe in God and thought I had to figure it all out myself. To live without faith is to live dependent on the hope of random luck in the midst of unavoidable injustice and unfairness. It is to live in a hope which is based on nothing solid and which eventually fails.

My husband and I have been in a fierce and unrelenting storm since Christmas 2015. Some of what we have experienced includes, lies, manipulation and betrayal from someone very close to us and loved by us who has had an extreme change in personal ethics and character, my father’s death, my mother’s sudden serious health challenges, our home broken into (door literally broken down) and robbed. Simple things like having to replace a refrigerator and dishwasher were not simple. Once purchased, they took a solid month and lots of phone calls to get installed. Then between Thanksgiving week and Christmas came the trifecta,  Revelation of the much greater extent of the lies and degree to which we had been used by the person we had trusted (which hurt the most), my husband was let go unexpectedly from his job of 11 years and I was told that my annual ultrasound showed abnormal lymph nodes, meaning a likely resurgence of thyroid cancer.

Through all of this God has been with us. We have been very aware of His provision and care.

There can be a mistaken notion that the existence and presence of God guarantees heaven on earth, but that simply isn’t true. Jesus is our example. He is the Way, Truth and Life and no other. Jesus in His singular pursuit of Father’s will ended up persecuted, tortured, mocked and executed. (And He was God’s only begotten Son!) As believers, we have an obligation to consider our expectations and make sure they are in alignment with the will of God.

I would like to believe in a God who gives me everything I want when I think I need it and Who protects me from everything which is uncomfortable and unpleasant. It’s nice to have these wishes, but they are not based on the reality in which we find ourselves. This is not how God, who is fully and always fathomless, infinite Love, created reality to be.

There will be storms. There will be an end for each of us to these temporary temporal lives. Through it all the Lord cries to our hearts, “Peace. Be still. Do not be afraid.”

Thus in spite of such a hard year, we have been crushed, but He has been our resiliency. By an understanding of who He is, what He promises and the divine, eternal purpose He is working through all things, we have been strengthened to stay upright and keep moving forward one step at a time into whatever is His will for us.  He has been and remains our only solid ground.

This is a critical piece of the understanding needed. To trust God is not to pretend He will answer prayers our way or that we suddenly will experience only what we perceive as good, just and right from here to eternity.

We are following Jesus. Our Master All-Good Shepherd has gone before us to show the Way. Now He leads us from where we are to the brink where He Himself will serve as our bridge from all that has been into all which will be. There and only there will all tears be washed away (by God the Father Himself). For now we follow.

 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 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. (Psalm 23)

He will lead us to walk our own paths of pain through dark valleys, carrying our own unique crosses for here is not the perfection of heaven. As the enemy tries to crush, kill and destroy, the Lord uses all this to draw us closer to Himself, to prune us to be more like Him and more fruitful for Him, to restore and heal us from all that wounds us, equip us to be better ambassadors for His kingdom, and flow through us (when we let Him) to reveal Himself to others for His heart is for them to be with Him forever as well as us. This is His focus. This is His vision—to use all things in this fallen realm through which to do His work of revealing the reality of who He is, what Christ did and the gift of the Spirit now so that others can choose to be in His flock and be led home as well. The Lord is always and through all things about this work.

We can choose to come to rest in His promises from here to eternity (which is to be with us and use us through hard things, not to keep us from these) and walk through them sensing His presence, comfort, provision and work through them, or we can choose worry, fear and despair. It does require a choice just as choosing to believe in Him so we can become His adopted children eligible for His eternal inheritance requires a choice. The choice is not one-time. It is ongoing. The choice is not easy. It would often seem nice if we didn’t have to choose and all could simply be easy and lovely. Again—that’s not how it is.

Thus my husband and I though feeling very pressed down upon by all that has been going on have not been destroyed by it. We understand all this is part of this life. Our prayer has been and remains that the Lord would work His immeasurable good through it, similar to what He did through Jesus’ obedience and submission to the difficulties of His earthly life which eventually led to a horrific death on the cross: Lord, not our will but Yours. Lord, we trust in You and that You will enable us to get through whatever comes. Use us wherever this takes us to expand Your kingdom. Flow through us that people would encounter You more. Do not let one hardship go to waste. We offer these to you to use as is best for the coming to faith and deepening of faith of all the world. None of this is by our strength or goodness, but by Yours. Use us as Your vessels and we know and acknowledge eventually our work and offering will be done here and You will call us home. (Bliss!)

Yet, in the midst of the ongoing storm, He has given us a gift. Yes, I have thyroid cancer again. Yes, it may have spread and that needs to be evaluated. It should be treatable. (Praise You and thank You, Lord.) Yesterday, we received two gifts which instead of causing us to have to choose faith even though we were being pressed down upon more, lifted some of the weighty happenings in our lives. One day after being told I need to be prepared to consult Stanford or UCSF to get an interdisciplinary team together to help me deal with a potentially complex cancer situation, we were informed that the likelihood of a second, different cancer is remote. In addition, my husband was offered a job. God willing, he will get the firm offer sometime this afternoon and be able to wait to begin until after my surgery.

God continues to bless us. He has been with us through the fierce storm of the past year. This storm in many regards is not over—including my pending cancer surgery in late February and further diagnosis, and in regards to the one we love who for now has forgotten who he is. But how thankful we are for relief of a bit of the pressure. Though we have been praising and worshiping Him throughout, it does make it easier to dance before His throne. We are grateful

Thank you to each of you who have prayed for us.  We appreciate you beyond words for He is about the business of answering and doing so gloriously.  Please continue to partner with us in prayer as we will also partner with you in your journey that through ALL things, He will be made known and visible in the way He knows is best and that daily beyond what we can see He will cause there to be eternal good effect in someone’s life because we chose to walk the path before us trusting Him.  To our Lord be ALL glory!

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)

The End


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, Accredited Financial Counselor and financial coach with a heart for helping people understand their money and steward it God’s way. 

For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit 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.   

Embracing the Journey Home

We delight in Your grace-filled leading as You take our hand and guide us through life's seasons. Gentle Jesus, You accompany us along every step and never let us go as You walk us to eternity.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011   www.holyspiritpress.org   www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

29The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is their gray head [suggesting wisdom and experience].        PROV. 20:29 (Amplified)

In 1546 renowed German artist, Lucas Cranach painted a picture called, “The Fountain of Youth” depicting a large outdoor bath where people who entered the waters would be restored to youth.  There is a legend that Spanish conquistador, Ponce de León came to Florida searching for a fountain of youth.

Almost 500 years have passed and nothing has changed.  Most of the population in North America continues to fear aging and death and searchs for any solution which will preserve youth and lengthen life.  We don’t want to even look older, using dyes and formulas to postpone for as long as possible the time when our aging will show via grayer hair.  We consult surgeons, go on exercise programs and try new cremes all with the objective of preserving youth.

This is not God’s way.  God asks us to steward our bodies – to take good care of them so we can do the work He has for us so long as He ordains for us to live in the body.  But our focus was never to be preservation of that which was not meant to be preserved.

Though God delights to heal us when we ask Him, it is still only for a season.  Every person that Jesus miraculously healed physically has long since died.  With God it is all about the utterly complete healing of the heart – not for a moment, but for eternity!

Our physical lives here are but a breathe when considered in light of the eternity of eternities to which God invites us where we will live in unimaginably close, deep fellowship with Him.  We were never meant to be here in our physical bodies forever.  God loves us too much to give us immortality here.

For every person there is a time and a season for living and a time and a season for dying.  Only God knows the hour of our pre-ordained birth, has the plan for our lives and already has set the moment for our going home.

Yes, our GOING HOME.  This life is not our home.  Despite all its goodness and the manna He provides to get us through, this is our exile.  It is our place of wandering in the wilderness (as the Israelites did) until we find His way.  Once we discover Jesus is the only One who can lead us home and begin to follow Him, then life here becomes our assignment, guided by the Holy Spirit.  Our home is with the Father and the Son in heaven, where there is no pain, illness, or sorrow and where our mortal bodies will be replaced with glorified perfect ones.  For now we are ambassadors for the Kingdom of God living in a foreign land.  We miss (and grieve for!) the temporary absence from our lives of every person who proceeds us into eterntiy, but until it is our turn we are on assignment.

We are exhorted to be in the world, but not of the world.  The adversary rules the air here; he is the prince of this world. This is due to the choice of Adam and Eve, who chose to follow Satan’s advice over God’s instruction. God allows the entire family of humanity to live with the consequences of our ancestral parents’ choice.  Yet He uses these consequences for eventual good.  He uses them to give us clear choice.

God is sovereign; His Kingdom is here now.  Jesus declared it.  But He waits for our free will choice to join His Kingdom forces instead of continuing to follow the way of the world, which is not His.  He will not overrride our free will.  He only wants us in His Kingdom if it is His Kingdom we want.

We need to gain a new perspective.  We need to stop wasting so much time and worry trying to stop the everyday, year by year external changes which are inherent to our physical existence.  Since our birth there has not been one day we physically have stayed the same as we were the day before.  Why do we spend so much valuable energy trying to “stop the clock”.  Yes, life is precious here.  No, we do not want to pass from this life to the next even an instant earlier than God Himself ordains.

We need to embrace the journey and see it as such.  We are on our way.  We are on our way back home.

This does not mean we shouldn’t dye our hair or go to the gym.  It is the motive with which we do these things, which is of significance.

It is time to stop viewing physical death as an end and see it instead as the doorway God created it to be.  It is the passing from this life to the next.  It is a moving from the good world God made in which we are to live out our physical lives into the indescribably great world of His Kingdom in heaven.

Life is a continuum from here to eternity.  Physical death is not the end, so long as we are following Jesus. This is God’s promise.  This is an element of the infinite joy of the Lord, which is His gift to us.  We can live free of fear of death, because “death has lost its sting” and has been “swallowed up” by Jesus’ victory.  It is one of the most basic tenets of our faith: Jesus’ death on the cross conquered death once and for all, opening the way to reunion with the Father in heaven for each of us who choose to follow Jesus.  We are no longer condemned to a life which ends in death.

Through faith in what He has done and all His promises, we become God’s ambassadors.   We understand we are free from the threat of the finality of death and no longer fear it.We understand He is protector and provider until the day He calls us home, so we lay worry aside.  Our lives look different because of what we now know.  His peace and joy bubble up from within us because of increased understanding of the journey of life in which we find ourselves.   But if we do not receive His promises as truth, if our outlook on life does not change as a result of finding Him as Savior and following Him as Lord, then we will have failed in our mission as Kingdom ambassadors, because our lives will not bear witness to Him and the difference of His Way.

He knows the perfect balance for each of us.  He knows what each of us needs to do in order to steward our bodies to be as strong and healthy as He requires in order for us to do the work He has for us until He calls us home.  His Spirit is the witness to His will, constantly whispering guidance to us, if we will listen.

We need a new attitude.  We need to rejoice in every grey hair and wrinkle.  It is a sign we have lived.  It is a badge of honor that our work is not yet done and He is allowing us to continue, though we are one day closer to eternity with the King of kings.

Let us embrace the good work of each day which He gives us to reflect His kingdom.  Let us be at peace (in His peace) with the journey and the signs of the journey, which in His perfect timing will lead us home.

1 Cor. 15: 51-57 (Amplified)

51Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed)

     52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed).

     53For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death).

54And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory.

     55O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

     56Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power [i][upon the soul] through [j][the abuse of] the Law.

     57But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

ECC. 3:1-14 (Amplified)

1TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:

     2A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,

  3A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,

     4A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

     5A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

     6A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,

     7A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,

     8A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

     9What profit remains for the worker from his toil?

     10I have seen the painful labor and exertion and miserable business which God has given to the sons of men with which to exercise and busy themselves.

 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live;

     13And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor–it is the gift of God.

     14I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so that men will [reverently] fear Him [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is].

Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]


PLEASE view the new music video for “RESTORE” (with choir) on youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piQYnPY1vIA&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL     (Made by upcoming, Holy Spirit-filled film director, Olivia Mowry.) 

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 For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.