Friday, December 9, 2011

Holdin' On

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

(If you recieve this by e-mail click the blue title link to return to
A Devotional Mosaic to see the video included in the post)

Habakuk 3:17 - 19 
Though the fig tree does not bud
   and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
   and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
   and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior.
 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
   he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
   he enables me to go on the heights. 

I talked to an old friend yesterday, visting with her is always a gift and a treasure. We live far away from one another but there was a time when we lived in the same town and were as close as family. During that time she went thorough one hardship after another and suffered from terrible depression and various mental issues.  She said last night that she had come to a realization of how that time had given her the tools to be able to deal with the death of her brother. He was a truck driver and I remember the day that she received a call that he was missing. His truck was found empty, but he was missing. Horrible weeks followed of wondering where he was and what could have happened to him. He was found dead in the desert it broke her heart and she was angry with God.  I remember wondering after all she had been through. How much more Lord,  does one person have to endure. Her life seemed to me like reading the book of Job.  Last night I shared with her that she is my mental picture of what it means to be an overcomer.  This was her response. "I did not do anything Margot. I only kept breathing, the rest God did"

Maybe thats you today your holding on, barely breathing. You look around you and feel like you have fallen sort in every area of your life. Don't give up.

My friend now ministers to international students. She shared how she took some to see the holiday lights and stopped at a beautiful Nativity display and got to tell the story of the birth of Jesus because they had never heard it. She has one of the students this time who is is from Pakistan. He is a believer which is very rare. His family has a rough hand carved Nativity because there are none to be bought, so they made one. She shared how they set aside a room in their very small house just to worship, pray and study the word.  My friend said of this student "he knows that his life could be very short because of his faith in Pakistan but he does not hesitate.. nor hide who and what he is." She has the pleasure of seeing the great wonder in the eyes of her students. Her great heart ache these days is that of coming to know and love these students as sons and daughters to in only 6 months putting them back on the plane to return to their homes.  Many of her students are Muslim. This week two of them have asked if they can go to church with her. She is through her life demonstrating the kindness of Jesus. She marvels at how God used those difficult times to prepare her for the things she is doing today. There were so many times when she wanted to give up and tried to take her own life.  She said in our conversation yesterday "I think always God prepares us for the vision he has for our lives. Sometimes we can see the distant path and sometimes we just go around the corner and be surprised" She will be traveling to Egypt and Pakistan in the new year to visit some of the students who have become like sons to her.  She looks forward to meeting their mothers. God has done such a transforming work in her life.  Perhaps you will join me in praying for her and these international students. That the seeds of kindness and faith that she plants in their lives will grow up to become mighty trees of righteousness.

She is right - we don't often know what it around the next corner and how the hard things we are facing today are building in us and inner strength and a dependence on Jesus that will allow us to minister hope to others in the future.

I know that there is often a weight that proceeds writing theses posts. Some of it I think is a spiritual battle, the enemy would love for me to give up and stop writing. (Please pray for me as I endeavor to be faithful to the Lord in this task.)  Sometimes I think it is a weight that God allows me to feel so I can write the message that is on His heart for you.  I know when I pray for people - God allows me to "read their mail to him" He allows me to express what is stuck inside of then. He gives me the words to express the cry of their hearts. They stand there weeping and ask me after wards how did you know. How do you understand." Some of it is the things I have been through or am going through. Mostly it is just God. It is like I am the elevator operator and my job is to take those people to the thrown room of God and lay those prayers before Him. I think that gift is overflowing here some how today. I admit this is a step of faith for me - to write, and believe that this is specifically for someone who is struggling. I don't know who you are or why I am writing this today. Don't give up - press in to Jesus. Hold on - let Him hold on to you. 

Today I think there are some of you feeling like you are a hopeless failure.
That the things you have tried to do seem to shrivel up and blow away.  I think about the words of Rich Mullins " I beat my head against so many walls... I'm falling down... I'm falling on my knees."

The prayer that rises up in my spirt as I write is this one and so I will pray it for you and with you. 
 (I think as an intercessor God often allows me to feel the weight of others burdens. This weight of failure seems so heavy. Don't believe that lie - God is not though with you yet. He is doing a transforming work - you are the clay in his hands, soon you will become that vessel that he is creating out of a lump of clay that does not look like much now but will be unique and special and beautiful when he is done. I don't know who this is for today but I pray God will meet you and minister encouragement and hope to you in some very deep way today by what I have written. )

Prayer: 
Jesus I need you - I can't do this life on my own.  My self sufficiency is a sham and my neediness seems so great. I feel overwhelmed in a sea of sorrow. I call out to you come and fill me. Let your Spirit overflow from my life.  You know the things I am facing in this season and what they are working in me to prepare me for greater fruitfulness in the days, weeks and years ahead. In this moment I can't think that far ahead. Come and hold me in your ams of love. Help me hold on to you,
I feel like I am barely breathing. I'm tired of beating my head against so many walls. When I feel like I'm failing and falling down, I choose to turn to you,  to fall on my knees. Thank you for helping me see how much I need you. I thank you for the difficulties that have caused me to draw near to you. To hold on, when every circumstance seem to scream, God has forgotten, that His answers are late.  Lord, I'm holding on to you, your timing is perfect. Thank you for letting me see how much I need you today and every day. I choose to trust you - give me the grace to walk through this day, give me the strength to follow you. Hold me Lord, I'm holding on to you.






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2 comments:

  1. My dear Margot, the strangest thing just happened. I was reading about your one year birthday for this blog and thinking. I decided to look for some of the songs you posted and for some reason choose "Holden On". Imagine my surprise when I realized it took me to this post you had written in December. I read the post all over again. It means even more to me today. You see, today is Michael's birthday. My heart always aches especially on this day. God is so good to me. In all the craziness of my life he has given me all I need when I need it. Isn't that a blessing.

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    1. Wow - The Holy Spirit is amazing. That on your brother's birthday the Holy Spirit would lead you to this particular post.
      My prayers are with you. I know how you miss your brother. I know he would be so proud of you.

      Love you, Margot

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