One Word

As my granddaughter, Lexi, was sitting on our kitchen counter on the morning of her fourth birthday she was discussing with her parents the upcoming birthday dinner which was to take place that evening.  (Her family is living with us, while waiting to move into their new house.) Though the extended family had celebrated her birthday the previous weekend, her immediate family was going to celebrate with her that evening – her actual birthday.

It has been our custom, through the years, to celebrate each family member’s birthday with “one word” sharing. We share a word that to us describes the birthday person. Then, we explain why we chose this word.  Knowing we would not be available to join the family that evening, Lexi (still on the kitchen counter) said, “Nana and Papa, since you won’t be at my dinner tonight you can share about me now if you want.”

I love (and learn from) the vulnerability of children.  We smiled, and easily found words of encouragement to share with her.  It was easy to find words to describe her sunny disposition as she sings through life.  I think I used the word “sunshine,” or perhaps the phrase “joie de vivre” (joy of life.)  I can’t remember- as there are so many fitting choices.  I was reminded, by her request, how much this little tradition means to her.  And truthfully, no matter who we are, I believe it is always meaningful to hear people share encouraging words about what we mean to them.

For some unknown reason I woke up at a ridiculously early hour the next morning.  As I lay awake, I wondered if it might “encourage” God if I shared my word(s) for him. I know God doesn’t need courage put into Him (encouragement,) as He is perfect – but He does tell me He wants to hear from me…he wants to know how I feel about Him – incredible as this seems.  Though He always has been (so it was not a birthday) I began – and shared with Him word after word that described Him to me… Almighty, glorious, Father, rock, wisdom, timeless, eternal, disturber, comforter, magnificent, creator, redeemer, friend, strong, tender, perfect, joy, light, huge, meeter-of-every need, power-beyond-what-I-can-fathom (some “words” must be hyphenated)… I fell asleep with a smile on my face.  I hoped God was smiling as well.

Today I am across the ocean from my “normal” habitat.  This was the view from my morning prayer walk.  IMG_4430 Honestly, God’s creation is so amazing I could scarcely find the words to pray…so this particular morning I just sang praises.  Despite the less than perfect tune, God filled my soul with joy. Whether the view is from a dark room at night or whether from a meadow overlooking snow covered mountains – God is worthy of praise.  What are some of the words you would use to describe God? Likely, He would love to hear them.

  The Lord is my strength and my song;

        he has become my salvation.

    He is my God, and I will praise him,

        my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Ex. 15:2

   I will praise you as long as I live,

        and in your name I will lift up my hands.

    [5] My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;

        with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:4-5


  Praise the Lord, O my soul;

        all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

    [2] Praise the Lord, O my soul,

        and forget not all his benefits–

    [3] who forgives all your sins

        and heals all your diseases,

    [4] who redeems your life from the pit

        and crowns you with love and compassion,

    [5] who satisfies your desires with good things

        so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  Ps 103:1-5









Share This:


  1. Becky Brunson Settimio

    Aunt Jeanie, I love your writing and you are always an encouragement to me. Much love,

  2. Rhoda


  3. Lori Seavey

    Jeanie – I love reading your words! Where was this spot?! It is breathtaking!

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks so much Lori. This was taken in Geneva.

  4. Elizabeth Thompson

    I love this, Jeanie. Sometimes I get so caught up in what I need from God that I neglect the most important things in our relationship: gratitude and kindness. He deserves to hear praise and thanksgiving from me–not just demands and complaints. Thanks so much for the reminder!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

Follow My Blog Via Email

Stay in the Loop, Sign up for New Post Notifications!

Recent Posts