November 3, 2020
Celia van Maarth
…Help us, Lord our God, for we RELY on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”
2 Chronicles 14:11
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
Every year, I add my word to my “reminders” on my phone so that in the middle of each day my word pops up, reminding me of God’s presence and to invite Him into my day.
In 2020, I decided I would put my focus into growing my art business and I chose the word TRY. I would become brave and TRY out new ideas. I would TRY to stop overthinking the outcome.
A few weeks later, I was checking in with a friend complaining about my lack of progress. I wasn’t too sure expanding my art business was worth all my time and energy. After that phone call, the Lord made it clear to me that I needed to change my word from TRY, to RELY.
In February we were in the Forty Days of Prayer study, and on page 89…I wrote “force me to RELY on You; I wanted “to want” to have a heart (like Nehemiah did) for my family, friends and community. I began to have a deep desire to abide in Jesus, and to study, mediate, and memorize the Word.
As March approached, I wrote in my journal that I wanted the Lord to declutter my life. I felt the need to prioritize my time to be with our grandkids that were living with us temporarily.
Then, just a few weeks later, COVID hit! At the time, there were four adults and two kids under the age of 5 living in our small home. We had, of course, so much to be thankful for. My priority changed from working to helping care for the kids and to get them out of the house so others could concentrate on school and work. What a blessing…even on cold, rainy days to visit nearby parks and see the God’s beauty and order in creation. I was reminded that He is in control and I can RELY on Him, even in times of uncertainty, chaos and strife on earth.
During quarantine, it was humbling and painful at times to remember that I could not change circumstances or people…no matter how hard I might want to TRY! Then, in May, our home became an empty nest with just two of us at home now. I am currently on pause with weekly art classes. Still, I am thankful for a productive year in my spiritual growth, as I continue to learn to RELY on the Lord in all areas of my life.
Further reading: Colossians 3:2; Psalm 119:18; John 15:9-10;
Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 12:2; Matthew 6:33; Romans 10:17
Thank you for encouraging our Soul Sisters in leadership to begin this year of 2020 with our study on prayer. We want to keep coming to you and humbling ourselves, seeking You and Your grace. By your Spirit, we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, our Friend Jesus say “Follow Me.” We can RELY on your grace to lead us by Your Spirit, and to love you with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as our self. Remind us often to abide in You and Your love and to be aware of Your presence in our life. Thank you that we live in the unshakeable Kingdom that will have no end. We give thanks and praise to you Lord, Your faithful love endures forever.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen
(It’s probably too long of an entry to include this but this…but)
For most of 2020, this song has been the Hymn that plays in my mind
Hymn: How Can I Keep From Singing?
Robert Lowry (1869)
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho' far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Thro' all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?
(My favorite version was sung by my husband leading worship in church in 1984 but I don’t have a recording of that)
This version is done by Audrey Assad