Dream Invitation for 2017: Feast on Joy!
by Lisa Brittain
Rather than make a list of resolutions at the start of the new year, it’s become a personal tradition of mine to deliberately pray through the last two months of the year asking God for His new word for me in the coming year. My spiritual word search begins with a desire to seek God’s face and to find out from Him where He is leading. This new word (or words) gives me a focus from which I will continually pray and seek His face in the days and weeks ahead.
There’s no formula to it. I really can’t explain how it happens. It just seems as I ask Father God there’s a word or possibly a short phrase that repeats over several weeks. The word is highlighted in conversations, devotionals, sermons and really just about everywhere. In turn, I receive this word as from Him and ask Him to reveal truth and teach me through it.
I want to be clear, and I most assuredly want to avoid coming across with a flippant aire; this is God, my Creator and Sovereign King speaking a word into my life. He is good for sure, but following Him is not always easy. I tremble to think I would lead anyone into a half-hearted attempt at picking a “fun” word that sounds good for their life experience in the next year.
Maybe I should clarify by sharing my word phrase for 2016 — ‘acceptance with joy.’ It was a hard year for me personally. I was challenged in my faith possibly like never before. It was a year of learning to ‘accept with JOY’ the most delightful aspects of marriage, family, work and ministry while at the same time teaching me to trust God with life situations I never hoped to face. It was wonderful to ‘accept with JOY’ the challenge of dreaming, planning and organizing a women’s retreat with a group of women mostly younger than myself. The opportunity to lead Bible study, teach the Bible, and disciple groups of women were life giving and valuable in my year of ‘acceptance with JOY.’
However, by choosing intentionally to ‘accept with JOY’ my husband being out of work beyond 2 years, and all job loss entails, his physical struggles due to Parkinson’s Disease, and my mother-in-law bed-bound in hospice for more than two and a half years now just to name a few, I have grown exponentially in my intimacy with my Father, God. I have come to know, experientially, my true identity as a daughter of my God — adopted at great cost to Him personally. I left 2016 hoping to not travel that same path again, though extraordinarily grateful my Father trusted my growth in Him to allow me to walk that way.
To say I was excited to pray and listen and receive a new word for 2017 is probably a great understatement. I was anxious. I began asking early like a child counting down the days until summer vacation. Finally, near the beginning of November, I noticed three words — a short phrase was sticking out to me. The phrase, “Trust and follow Me!” At the time I was reading through the Gospel of Mark. Those are words of Jesus, and I felt sure I had my words for 2017.
And then, right on the eve of the new year I had a dream. Here it is…
I saw myself dressed in a long, flowing white robe. On my head I wore a solid gold tiara wreath. It was dainty and intricately woven with leaves and berries of solid gold. I remember feeling (in my dream) excited, chosen, privileged, and beautifully adorned — even giddy with anticipation.
I held in my hands invitations. The paper was pure white and elegant yet simply stated. I felt honored with the privilege to greet the people who walked into the grand foyer. Additionally, I had been given authority to invite anyone who came near me to the banquet. Banquet does not adequately describe the grandeur of the scene. In truth it seemed to be more of a royal wedding feast!
All of a sudden I could see Him, the Bridegroom was looking at me. Looking on I could only see His back, but He was Jesus. He too was clothed in white — pure and strong. I could feel His delight in me, and then He spoke. His eyes met mine as He invited me, “Feast on JOY!”
And then I awoke with the realization and an expectant JOY. Jesus, my Bridegroom, invited me into His delight. Yes, these are the words for me in this new year — 2017. “Yes, Lord, I will feast on JOY with You!”
Lisa Brittain is an avid follower of Jesus. Her passion is taking women by the hand and introducing them to intimate relationship with Jesus in prayer and discipleship. Also, she is married to Randy. They are empty-nesters except for their 3 rescue pups – Nole, Liberty and Victor. You can see more of Lisa's writings on her blog: eyesonjesusandshine.wordpress.com