i never thought it would happen.

{ Warning: This post is a little long, but I haven’t written in weeks, so I’m giving myself extra words. Please stick with me. It’s worth it. }

For the past ten years, I have had a word for the year. Just one word. I don’t exactly remember how or why I started doing this, but in 2008, I did. The word for 2008 was reveal, and it was born out of the prayer of my heart. You see, we buried my precious Papa on Christmas Eve of 2007, and his wife of 74 years – my Granny – was lost without him. And so I began praying for the one thing I wanted more than anything else. I wanted God to show me how to minister to my sweet Granny. Reveal, God, please.

Since then, each year God has given me a word. And each year the word comes to me in an unusual way. And each year there is a story with the word. Well, actually there are lots of stories as God weaves the word into the tapestry of my life throughout the year… sometimes in the most beautiful ways and sometimes through the pain as in this past year.

In 2010, my word came through my pastor’s first sermon of the new year. In 2012, it came as we were exiting the Christmas musical at Homestead Heritage. In 2014, Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer gave me my word during the Ohio State versus Michigan State football game. The word for 2015 came while hiking in the Grand Tetons, and 2016’s word came while we were burning brush on our farm. But… this year, my word came from Brad. Literally.

I never thought it would happen.

For weeks I’d been stressing over my word. I’d made list upon list. Writing words. Crossing them out. Googling synonyms. Nothing felt right. Nothing stuck. I danced all around what I knew was in my heart, but a word Would. Not. Come. Even though I already knew my Scripture for the year, I still had NO WORD. Then on December 28, Brad and I were riding in the car, and I was complaining about my lack of a word. He just listened, not saying anything. Emphatically and dramatically I demanded he should be helping me with my word, even if I’m likely to not take a single one of his suggestions. { He knows this by experience. }

Then he calmly says, “I know what your word is.”
Fine. Spit it out.
“Respond,” he says.

And he nailed it. It was exactly the word I was looking for, and I have no clue why I couldn’t come up with it on my own. And it makes me even crazier to think that I’m picking his word to be my word, but when it’s right, it’s right.

You see, Brad knew that I so wanted to change some of the current challenges in my life. I wanted my word to be about making that change happen, and of course, happen the way, how, and when I want it to happen. But Brad reminded me of a quick formula I’d forgotten.

E + R = O

Event + Response = Outcome

The truth is, any control I think I have over the events in my life is simply an illusion. I can’t control the events, but I can own how I respond. Life is going to continue to hand me {and you!} difficulties and challenges, hard relationships and disappointments. I can blame the event… or even worse, the other person… or I can choose my response. When I don’t like the outcome, I typically want to blame the event, but what I really need to do is be responsible for how I respond.

2018, whatever you throw at me, my prayer is to RESPOND in love { Galatians 5:13 }. And I know my response can and will change the outcome… Every. Single. Time. And, even more importantly, I know God will work through my response to change outcomes into opportunities.

Can you identify a single word that sums up what you want for yourself in 2018?

It can be something tangible or intangible. It can be a thought, a feeling, or an action. The key is to find something that has personal meaning for you. This word may not make sense to anyone but you, and that is okay. This is YOUR word.

This little word can have big meaning in your life if you allow yourself to be open to the possibilities. And here’s one thing that is totally interesting… Sometimes a word will pop into your brain, and it will not make any sense to you right now. Give it some time. Let it percolate a bit. I have often found that God speaks to us in very unique ways. Maybe this is a word you need to hear but just aren’t ready for it yet. Again, be open to the possibilities.

Over the years, many of my friends have joined me in #justoneword, and I love hearing their stories about how their word influenced their year. I’ve already heard from many about their 2017 words, as well as new words for 2018: Hope. Embrace. Stand. Believe. These friends’ faith spurs me on!

Want to join #justoneword for 2018?

  • Choose your word… or let it choose you!
  • Find a Bible verse that fits with your word and speaks to your heart.
  • Share your word! Post it on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #justoneword and please tag me! You can also email me.

And BONUS! For all of you who participate by sharing and tagging OR emailing me, I’ll randomly select one lucky winner to receive a special treat from me with their word. I’ll make you a custom journal with your #justoneword! You must use the hashtag #justoneword and tag me so I won’t miss your word. If you email me, I’ve got you covered.

11 years of #justoneword …

2008: Reveal
2009: Trust
2010: Brave
2011: Redeem
2012: Unsettle
2013: Transform
2014: Chase
2015: Story
2016: Blaze
2017: Warrior
2018: Respond

Much love, a big hug, and Happy 2018!

2 thoughts on “i never thought it would happen.

    1. What a great choice! When we set boundaries, we give God room to work in our lives. Trusting He will do just that through your faithful obedience!

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