Response to a Word

Approaching the fifth year of PC3s My One Word experiment, I already had a couple words wrestling in my mind as we turned the corner into 2011.  And I was getting all too sure about one in particularuntil God waved the flag of a completely different word in front of me.

I knew it was my word because it made me uncomfortable.  I’ve found that’s how it typically works, at least for me.  (After all, making the changes necessary to become the person we want to be rarely comes easy…)

I had been set on “authentic.”  I really liked this word.  I’d been thinking a lot about spiritual formation, and it occurred to me that God created me exactly as I am, with purposeful design, and He is the one doing the work inside to make me, well, spiritually formed. If I’m ever striving to be someone I’m not, if I’m ever painting pretty pictures instead of being transparent about who I am, then I’m not allowing Him to work with the real me that He created.  I’m creating a roadblock to spiritual formation without even knowing it.  This word would be a reminder for me to just be realat all times, in all circumstances.  It would also incorporate a quest toward a more authentic relationship with Christ and even a more authentic relationship with my husband.  Right on, word!  You rock!

This was all well and good until the annual My One Word sermon.

Mike casually mentioned that he and his wife chose a singular word this year, collectively, to promote the “oneness” in their marriageand that’s when it hit me.  Not necessarily that I want Trey and I to share a word (as an English major, writer, and former editor, sharing words is a whole new level of oneness we’re just gonna have to work on).  But I realized that my words have always been about me, the kind of person I wanted to become or the things I needed to focus on to reach a particular destination of character. And while that is, to a degree, the point of all this, it made me reflect that for the first time, this year, my identity includes being a wife.  And that involves another person.  That involves working on who I want to be in light of the fact that “I” am now a part of this new entity that God established on our wedding day in 2010.

Thoughts reeling, the Proverbs 31 “wife of noble character” came to mind.  Should my word be “noble”?  Whoa.  Easy, tiger  OK, what about “submit,” the primary role of the wife that we learned about in premarital counseling?  Through this process of me trying to design my word is precisely when God’s oven dinged, and He served me this hot little word prepared especially for me: “respond.”

Something clicked, and that was it.  As a biblical concept, men were designed to initiate and women to respond.  The husband’s role is that of leadership, the wife’s is that of a helper.  Looking toward this first full year of marriage, who I want to strive to become is the wife that God intends me to be.  (Authentically, no less.)  This includes keeping myself in a position to respond. To trust in my husband’s spiritual leadership and his leadership of the two of us in general.

“Respond” also encompasses my walk with God.  When there is something He asks me to do, when He puts a calling on my lifehow do I respond?  Do I respond at all?  Do I respond only on my terms?  Or do I respond with trust, obedience and gratitudeno matter what?  So far in this journey is a truth I have landed on, a board in the water on which I have planted two hopeful feet: If I truly trust His authority in my life, if I maintain an authentic relationship with Him, I have no choice but to respond.  It can be a scary thing, committing ones submission to Gods guidance (like when He gives you a word you hope He doesnt rock your world with).  But I know there will be spiritual formation in the process.  And I can’t wait to see what He asks of me in 2011.

Emily Glenham

4 Responses to “Response to a Word”

  1. Cindy Rack says:


    Thank you for sharing this. Do you mind if I copy and paste it into word so I can reread and reflect on it? I am always a “take charge” person, as a matter of fact, it is a joke in my family because my nickname is “charles in charge…” yet “responding” has struck a chord with me.

    I guess I kind of respond to God because when I want to move ahead with something, I put my hand out and say “ok, God, you know this is something I think is important, but I have it in an open hand. If you think it is a good idea too, then I’m counting on you to show me that and if it doesn’t pan out, then it must be you have something better in mind for me.” So I like to think I respond to God, but I’m not so sure. I know I could be better at “responding” to my family instead of “expecting.” You’ve given me a lot to think about. thank you…

  2. Charlotte says:

    I heard about this “One Word” on KLOVE yesterday. I have always tried to pray over my children daily and when I heard the speak on the radio talking about praying one word over her children, it really spoke to me. I have been seeking my one word for myself as well as my two children. I love this idea and have committed to pray this and write it in my journal during this new year.
    Thank you for this blog…I will be returning….Charlotte

  3. MARIE says:

    I love your article. This is my first time doing this. The concept is new to me. But my one word, since I live alone and children are grown; plus I want to concentrate on my work @ home job is going to be FOCUS. It’s too easy to flit from here to there, especially working @ home. so FOCUS on whatever task I am performing @ the time will be good for me.Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kimberly says:

    I read this “one word” concept and thought it was the best thing ever!! I took a good week or so to think about what one word I would pick because seriously I truly could pick like 10 for myself…but I came up with a common, basic word that encompassed what I want to do this year and can do it with this one word and it is FAITH!! I have this indescribable pull to something that I feel is much greater than me…this is new for me..started about 6 months or so I am letting my heart and my FAITH be my guide and see where it takes me!! I am a busy mother of 7 children, Labor and Delivery RN, and wife of 17 years who is finally starting to realize that perhaps I have become lost playing all those roles and just simply want to find me again. So with some baby steps and FAITH I hope to get there….one day at a time!!