Wednesday, September 12, 2012


A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” 
Philippians 4:4

I can get myself stuck in the idea that when I am struggling or wrestling with something that I have something to say. When things in my life are at rest or peaceful I find myself thinking "Where's the adventure or the story in that?" This week if I have struggled it has been in what to write about. I realize that in one week I finished a major project for our prayer loft. I'm not sure how it came together as fast as it did. I suppose most of the other things I was working on were put on hold and every free moment went to things that needed done to creating the Nautical Theme for this installment of the prayer loft. There were a lot of other things that I did not work on - that I will need to get back to working on. I suppose in I am feeling that oddness of having completed a big project. I had a very focused week of creating. The goal was clear and the vision in my head was broken down into the steps I needed to accomplish to make the whole thing happen so that others could experience the project.

Running or working on a project is the easy part for me - the other side of the finish line is hard for me. I'm not real good at celebrating or resting and I feel sort of directionless and don't know what the next project will be. I realize that resting and celebrating and watching others experience the thing that formerly only existed in my head is also important. Its funny, people have only had one week to experience the Nautical Prayer Loft and my mind is already thinking about the one that I need to have done for December 5th for the Advent season. The challenge with the new one is that I need to include others in the process. That will be exciting to try and involve some other creative folks.
We even talked in staff meeting about starting a Creative Arts Worship Group to work together to create inspring worship elements for our services. Sounds like fun. I suppose it is a different kind of creating for me one that the focus is not me creating something, but me gathering and encouraging others to take part in the process of creating things that will help others worship God. We want to become our own expressions of worship not just be copying what every other church is doing. What would God create and express through each of us if we allowed him to really use the gifts and talents that he has given us. If we took the time to seek him, and know him and spend time at his feet, what would spring forth from that place of delighting in him.

Its funny this whole ship and nautical theme has been something I have been living for a number of months. I've felt like God has shifted or released a number of the mooring lines. I have felt the tossing of the waves more. So I have been experiencing the Lord's guidance as the lighthouse that points the way and warns me of dangerous unseen rocks. I have looked to him to be my compass or my true North. I have come to him with my life and asked him to be the captain who steers the wheel and turns the ship where He would have it go. So now in looking back I can see how this whole thing as been brewing and stewing in me over the past several months. I will say to you like I have said many times before that creativity and fruitfulness comes from abiding in Him. Apart from him we can't do much of anything.

The other thing that I have around me are people like my pastor who, will talk with me about the crazy ideas in my head and help me to affirm that God is wanting something done. People who will say here's an idea take it and run with it and see what God will do through you. Its a mutual kind of thing when we act as a sounding boards for one another and affirm the gifts and callings in each others lives.  There are times when my role is behind the scenes, when I am more instrumental in fanning the flames, and encouraging. I won't be the one in the lime light or the one that others will turn to and say hey great job. This project I do get to be that person but in that place I want to recognize others who helped me. My youngest son spent the afternoon cutting out letters and helping me hang them on the wall. My family puts up with my whirlwind of my projects and helps with the other chores and things around the house so that I may focus on a project. My husband was willing to come home from a long week of work and help me with the big ladders to hang the flags for the project. I have wonderful friends like Nicole and Tonia who were around on the day when I was doing the finishing touches were gracious enough to come in countless times to see how this little change looked. They added in their voice, of yes that works, I love it, or no, there's something missing, you need something more. I realize that I am very blessed to be surrounded by some wonderful people.  Those mentioned are the ones that were around in my week of creating but there are so many others who have encouraged me in the previous months while this project has been stewing. I did not even know that it was stewing. I have just seen the Lord help me to understand his leading in recent months through nautical ideas. There have been many people who have encouraged and prayed for me. Some like my friend Ryan or Lisa who actually notice when I'm having a difficult day and take a moment to stop me and ask if I'm ok. I have facebook and blog friends who will respond to things I write and extended family that is wonderfully supportive.
I have plenty of reasons to be thankful and to rejoice.

It is important to rejoice and to remember those who have contributed, often with out even realizing that their word, or brief kindness has made a difference.

I need to wrap this up, I have music lessons and a busy day ahead of me.

Lord, bless and encourage these readers. Help them to draw nearer to you. I pray that they would see your creativity spill out in their own lives, through the particular gifts that you have given to them. I pray that you would cause them to be life giving people and to be surrounded by life giving leaders and people who will build them up rather than tear them down. I pray you will create life and community around them that brings glory to your name. 


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