year: where our hopes and dreams coalesce with God’s intentions for us


As we enter the second week of this new year, hope, if not energy enough, is still fresh and alive. Maybe our hopes and dreams will coalesce with God’s divine intentions for us? Perhaps this time we will stick to our resolutions, goals and plans? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Maybe this will be the year when our life alters in all the best possible ways. Such are the optimistic murmurings of our hearts and the fleeting thoughts that cross our mind. Because change of the positive kind is usually welcome, even when it might also bring demanding things to our attention.

It helps to have one small, achievable thing to focus on as a year begins. For me, it is a yearly God-given word that suggests the theme and shape of the days and months to come. My word varies each year but every one builds on the next like holy stepping-stones. Although it takes time and hindsight to see and appreciate it.

When God whispered this year’s defining word to me I gasped in surprise, because last year I had actually grumbled inwardly, wondering why God wasn’t giving me a more salubrious word like joy, instead of the challenging ones I tend to get. Turns out He was listening carefully to me. Who knew?! 😏

I began pondering if there was more under the surface of this delightful word than I might know as yet. In digging deeper into its potential implications, I am seeing my word “joy” as a sweet grace gift and also no less of a challenge to me than any of the rest.

This is a year

This is a year where I long for joy to break open my low, jaded
and wary soul, pouring itself freely as sweet libation from
heaven, one that can drip lightly through my days and surprise
me with a fresh downpour sometimes, that will make me gasp
like a child splashing in puddles or standing under a waterfall

This is a year when fear can take a backseat and holy courage
will flood, hold sway, shape my thoughts and conform me more
closely into the image of Christ by a healing of heart, a move
of God and an inner work from Holy Spirit that continues here
without limit, as I learn to yield, surrender and do my part

This is a year when healing will begin and pain will no longer
define my days. Instead, I expect to move forward more
than looking back, casting the past behind me, as I learn to
grasp fresh hope, grace and opportunities that God has
lovingly prepared for me to accept and embrace by faith


Hope you’re keeping as well as possible, my friend. Sadly, like many others, our household has succumbed to flu. :/  Thankfully, this post was mostly written in advance. Praise God for His timing and grace to enable me to share it today!  🙂

Do you have a word or major focus for 2018? Please share in the comments below. I love to hear from you. ❤

16 thoughts on “year: where our hopes and dreams coalesce with God’s intentions for us

  1. Dear Joy,
    This is another one of your poems that fills my heart with so much encouragement! I wanted to copy a portion that was especially touching–but then it would have had to be the whole thing! Yes, to asking God to move me forward onto HIS path, to see HIS joy hidden in each day, to find HIS courage when I am trembling, and to let that childlike heart burst open again. Thank you for preparing this in advance, so that God’s Grace could share it with all of us today. You are so much in my prayers now! May He bless you with more of that very healing you write about. Love and Gentle Hugs to you my friend! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, I’m so glad this spoke to you. You’re more than welcome to copy out (or copy and paste) the whole poem if you want to! I share the earnest pleas of your heart, sweet friend, and know just how hard such a seeking can be when life’s myriad challenges try to throw us off course. May we trust God to allow our “childlike heart(s)” to “burst open again” to the holy JOY that only He can bring! We’re truly thankful for your prayers, which are having a great effect on the healing of our flu-ridden bodies. Phil is getting better each day and I am not as unwell as we feared I might become. Sending gentle gratitude hugs, prayers and love to you! xoxo 💜

    • Thanks for sharing this post with your readers, Michael! I raise my mug of Earl Grey tea and say “cheers” as an agreement toast to your hopeful words. May God’s JOY reign in 2018! 😊💜

  2. I’m thankful for your words today, friend. I hope you are feeling better. Prayers for healing for both you and your husband. We don’t have the flu here but both My Dreamer and I have been down, either with very bad allergies or, I suspect, bad colds. Thankful for a warm, cozy bed and hot drinks! Blessings on your week, dear JOY!

    • Hello June, I am thankful for you being here! Your gentle presence is a sweet grace gift to me, as are your prayers. They are definitely bearing fruit because my man is almost back to normal and I haven’t crashed as much as anticipated. Both great reasons to rejoice and be awed anew by the power of prayer and the loving response from our Father God! I’m sorry to hear how you are struggling too. You have my empathy, sympathy and prayers, dear friend. Yes, life’s little luxuries and daily necessities combine to make us grateful for the heavenly provision we receive. May your week be blessed with improved health and strength, with a good measure of JOY thrown in! xo 😊💜

  3. I’m so sorry that nasty flu bug is visiting your home, Joy. I pray both of you will fully recover! I love your word for this yearI This description of how you want to feel when God sends you joy warms my heart – “one that can drip lightly through my days and surprise
    me with a fresh downpour sometimes, that will make me gasp
    like a child splashing in puddles or standing under a waterfall”
    Thank you for encouraging my heart today! Love and hugs to you!

    • Thank you, Trudy, we hope so too! A full recovery with no lingering side effects would be wonderful! I’m quite smitten with my new word for this year. It’s full of promise, isn’t it? I’m glad those lines from the poem encouraged you, dear friend. Your words never fail to move me in a similar way. But it might be a while before I can catch up with your latest posts again. Love hugs returned to you! xo 😊💟

  4. This is so beautiful, Joy. Especially this:
    “pouring itself freely as sweet libation from
    heaven, one that can drip lightly through my days and surprise
    me with a fresh downpour sometimes, that will make me gasp
    like a child splashing in puddles or standing under a waterfall”

    I’ve been meditating on Psalm 63 and oh how it speaks of our Word for this year. Praying that He teaches both of us to yield and surrender – this so fits with the imagery in your poem:

    The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water;
    he turns it wherever he wants (Proverbs 21:1).

    • Dear Anna, oh yes, Psalm 63 is so apt in the way it reminds us to seek and glorify God. And in finding our joy primarily in the Lord, we will discover it elsewhere as well. Yielding and surrendering are very much the way ahead. As I’ve been wrestling with worries about my writing and my life in general, God keeps whispering to surrender it all to Him. Each time I discover a fresh area of concern, He tells me to keep offering it all up to Him. Maybe one day I will truly get the message and do it automatically! Our hearts and lives are destined for glorifying God, but we so often get tripped up in the minutiae of it all. Bless you, sweet friend. xo 💜

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