Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xis for Xerxes' New Queen

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

I have been doing a lot of soul searching today. I have been using my own version of creative therapy. I got a blank sketch book and a black sharpie marker and some colored markers. There is stuff that gets locked inside of us that we just can't seem to put our finger on. I hate the unsettled feeling of not knowing where I'm heading. I feel the stress of it when I am between major projects. This is a major life change of direction - let me tell you it has been unsettling.

This one is a little out of control
Anyway I have included some of the drawings that I have done as I have been trying to wade through the swirling sea of possibilities. You will notice that the drawings are not dark and hopeless but they feel a bit out of control and there is a swirling sense of change and a fair amount uncertainty.  Anyway this is a journey to discover God's path for me.  I'd love to have this figured out yesterday. Seems it is a process. 

I'm the kind of person who locks stuff away, then I throw away the key and the path back to those places is often long forgotten and overgrown with weeds. I find it almost takes a trigger of sorts to even get back to most memories. 

For years I have approached life by looking around at what needs to be done and trusting God to help me do it. The problem is that I have a lot of skills as a result and it is now very difficult for me to see what the real gifts, passions, talents and calling actually are. I have probably ended up doing things that perhaps God had intended for others. I have allowed faithfulness and loyalty to trump anointing a calling. Now tools like spiritual gifts tests are kind of messed up for me because I have done so many things. I score pretty high across the board which in the end does not help one to narrow the focus of their life. 

At this point I am probably most interested in Art Therapy but it takes a Masters Degree and I would have to finish my Bachelors Degree first. It will be interesting to see how well three years worth of credits from thirty years ago will transfer. I did apply today to one school that offers a Bachelors in Christian Counseling.  They seemed to think any work I had done that was above a C should transfer. I recall doing mostly A and B work, well except in math and logic.  So my thought is that perhaps I could employ a very creative art approach to my Christian Counseling practice.  The Christian Counseling path would take me 2-3 years to complete. 

I've been asking God for new dreams because the old ones are broken. 

I found a quote I liked today. "At any point, an artist can change the painting. So can you. You are the artist, the designer, of your own life." ~ Gerrie-Ellen Johnston

My other thought was Massage Therapy and adding to that practice creative art things to help people with stress and problem solving. That is a 9 month program. 

At almost 52 the idea of going back to school for 4 - 6 years for a Masters Degree would put me at age 58 to start may new career. If one hopes to retire by age 65 that leaves me only 7 years to work and pay back loans if I don't get grants and scholarships. 

So I probably should have been thinking this way by age 30 but I've been busy helping people and trying to support my ministry endeavors with art work sales and music lessons. Maybe you've noticed I'm pretty stubborn and don't give up on things easily. Actually I have a tendency to pick things that are on the brink of failure and try to save them. Why? Because people say it can't be done and I do like a challenge. Those things have made me stronger and from an eternal perspective I have made a difference in the lives of many people. Just nothing that translates or looks like much on to a resume.  

So anyway today I was supposed to write about Xerxes New Queen - please tell me you know who she is. It is a real Cinderella story. The King must replace the previous Queen who I wrote about for letter V. He decides to invite the most beautiful women in the realm to the palace and he will choose one to be his new queen. So a beautiful young Jewish girl lives with her uncle. It seems her parents have died. She does not have a fairy god mother to fix her up with a bibbity bobbity boo wave of the wand. But her uncle encourages her to go but not say where she is from. She of course it the belle of the ball and does become the new queen. It is a tremendous story of courage that can be found in the book of Esther.  There you have it, Esther is our bible woman of the day. I encourage you to check out that story if you've not read it for yourself. 

I have one more drawing in my transparant approach to blog writing. It is what I will call the poison flower of fear. These will all make great activities to use in my coaching / counseling at some point. You will notice my box of fear is really not that big. I've worked through most of these things at this point and I generally recognize them when they raise their ugly head. I've traced most of it back to its roots and have figured out why those things are issues for me.

I guess at this point I don't want to live behind the walls of my own making. I would rather be transparant about my struggles. I have been surprised to find that lots of other folks struggle with the same stuff and its somehow helpful to know we are not alone. 

Anyway I was praying on Friday and the Lord said go get a sketch book and markers and start doing these drawings. 
Some are things I see in my head others are things that start with words and then images grow up around them. 

Maybe you are stuck - most people don't function from their creative side of the brain so you might be surprised what answers you find there if you sit down with paper and makers. Anyway I am finding this process to be helpful and I am feeling much more hope and peace where I was previously feeling anxious and discouraged. 

I liked this quote from the International Art Therapy Association

"For that reason art therapists are trained to recognize the nonverbal symbols and metaphors that are communicated within the creative process, symbols and metaphors which might be difficult to express in words or in other modalities. Art making is seen as an opportunity to express oneself imaginatively, authentically, and spontaneously, an experience that, over time, can lead to personal fulfillment, emotional reparation, and transformation. This view also holds that the creative process, in and of itself, can be a health-enhancing and growth-
producing experience."


  1. Reading your post reminds me of the focus Holly Gerth's website ( She often talks about God-sized dreams. Here is a link to her site.
    Pam at 2 Encourage

    1. Thank you Pam that was just what I needed today. Thanks for sharing Holly Gerth's site.

      Blessings, Margot

  2. I love your art book. I think I'll try that too. While reading your post I thought of the scripture I read this morning: Romans 12:5-8 in the NIV and then I read it again in The Message. I love the way The Message elaborates. I envy you your many talents and gifts. Don't stress over what you need to focus on--all your gifts came from God. Just joyfully do all to His glory.

    1. Thank you Jess,
      I am coming to a place of peace and it is pretty much bloom where you are planted. Thank you for "Don't stress over what you need to focus on--all your gifts came from God. Just joyfully do all to His glory." I was blessed and encouraged by them.

      Blessings, Margot


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