What in the World are Re-words?

What exactly are Re-words?

The easy answer is re-words are simply the name I’ve given to words that begin with the prefix “re-.” Words like: renew, refresh, restore, rebuild, return, recover and relieve.

The answer I like best is re-words are HOPE words. I prayed re-words for four years and it changed my life. 

Now every time I travel and share my story, eyes light up when I get to the part about the re-words. Afterwards, it’s all the ladies want to talk about. At retreats I hand out slips of paper with re-words and ask the women to pray about their word; the response is overwhelming­­­­:

“You won’t believe how God answered my re-word prayer!”

“I’m going to start looking for re-words in the Bible.”

“My re-word was God’s timing for me.”

“You should write a book about re-words.” (I am.)

I began to recognize and pray re-words during a season of excruciating loss, desperately in need of a major redo. Suddenly all I saw were re-words.

Skeptics would say I was merely experiencing what’s called the “frequency illusion,” the syndrome in which a concept or thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. 

Call it what you want, but re-words cropped up every time I opened the Scriptures, so I don’t think it was an illusion; it was the Holy Spirit showing me how to pray. 

Then there were the billboards, TV commercials and Pinterest posts. The advertising world is replete (sorry, can’t help myself) with the promise of re-words. Here are a few re-word ads I’ve seen lately:


  • RESET RELEASE RELAX – why we do yoga
  • The 3 R’s: Rehabilitate, Rejuvenate, Relax!
  • Reduce, Reuse, Relaunch (SpaceX)


Consider the promises from drinking just one bottle of kombucha:

ALL THIS from 12 ounces of fermented tea? Huh.


What’s the big deal with re-words?

I’m convinced these are words for our times; they pulse with hope for discouraged and struggling Christians as well as the culture at large. 

Re-words RESONATE.

Of course they do; people are broken and need to be repaired. They experience loss and long for restoration. Their pain makes them cry out for relief. They run from their problems and wonder if it’s possible to ever return home.


People need God even if they don’t know they need God. They need redemption.

How to Re-word your life 

Years ago my 15 yr old daughter asked me to step outside so we could talk privately. Kind of a big deal, because she was hard into her teenage years and rarely ever made eye contact with me, let alone wanted to have a heart to heart. I leaned in.

“My friends and I want to move to New York. But before I go, I have one thing to ask: if I go, will I be welcome to come home for the holidays?”

(Insert moment of shocked silence while I caught my breath.)

She’d been running away from home emotionally for several years, but now she was considering the real thing. It’s interesting that as she weighed her decision she thought ahead to her most favorite time of year, anxious to know whether her decision would bring that all to an end.

I knew exactly what she was asking:

This forgiveness thing you’re always talking about – can I trust it? How bad can I be and still be welcome home? Is there any kind of return possible after running away? Will I still be your daughter?

Of course. Why would one prodigal who the Father has welcomed home again and again, refuse another prodigal?

With arms wide open, from Genesis to Revelation, the Father issues His invitation:

Return. I will restore. 

RE-words produce an emotional response because they’re at the very heart of God, an echo of heaven, a faint sound in our spirit that reminds us of home, pointing us back to the Father. We want, need a do-over, a fresh start, a new beginning.


It begins in our thoughts.

Graham Cooke says, “If our thinking has brought us to a place we don’t like, then surely it is time to have a new thought.” Rethink. Reconsider. Reimagine.

Similarly, changing our thoughts leads to changing our actions.

Saint Benedict put it this way: “Always we begin again.” Restart. Rebuild. Repair. 

Changing our thoughts and our actions changes our lives.

be renewed as you learn to know your creator and become like Him.” Col 3:10.


Above all, remember who He is and who He says you are. 

You’re the only thing in this world created in His image. Your humanity is a reflection of His humanity. Your laugh is Jesus’ laugh, your tears are his tears. You are in Him and He is in you. When you return to Jesus, you begin to look like Jesus.

Return to Him.

Ask Him to restore. 


Father, home is where you are. Thank you for pointing the way back when I am lost. I am so grateful that even when I wander away from you, you welcome me back. Your posture towards me is always ‘arms wide open.’ When I return to you, you return to me. All because of Jesus.
Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, Please share.

9 thoughts on “What in the World are Re-words?

  • August 9, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Wonderful post. Every re word I see brings a memory of you my friend.

    • August 12, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks, Donna. Appreciate your kind words!

  • August 9, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    Great reminder that causes me to reflect on the Hope I have in Jesus and the ways He restores, redeems and refreshes my soul. Thank you for sharing your gift of expression.

    • August 12, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment, Donya!

  • August 24, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Susan, how incredibly needed … your book coming on re-words. I look forward to reading it.

    • August 24, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Julie, how much I appreciate that affirmation! Pray for me, please! Thank you.

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