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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 23rd June 2015

#TellHisStory: How To Get Your Praise On

praise god, doxology

So I admit, I did stop right smack-dab in the middle of the highway.

I did, in fact, first check the rear-view mirror for traffic on this little section of Iowa highway. Then, I pressed the brakes, grabbed the camera from the passenger seat and snapped a quick photo through my car window.

The sun was right there, shining up the barn with its two-word edict– Praise God.

praise god barn

The words were a glad tiding for a weary traveler on her way home. And how often do we cruise right on by, white-knuckling life, forgetting to take the road paved with praise, straight into the heart of God?

In this life, I chronically forget to thank God for giving me the good parts. And I forget to thank him for carrying my through the scary parts, and for dragging me out of the dangerous parts–especially those times where my fingernails left deep, stubborn marks in the dirt.

I forget to thank him for doing the unasked-for things. I don’t even know the half of it.

I don’t always know — until I’m looking in the rear-view mirror — about the Lord’s behind-the-scenes coordination of the best decisions that I never made — but that came to pass anyway, praise Jesus.

I forget that in entering his courts, I might just want to have a little thanksgiving in my heart. And this: God makes His Big Self comfortable on the praises of His people. He is enthroned on praise!

And when I get to Heaven someday, I hope that He will take me by the hand, straight into the throne room, and ’round the back side of that throne. I pray that He’ll point a holy finger toward a whole set of tags sewn right into that throne. And I want to see the tag that says this: “This Section Made by Jennifer.”

Except that I forget to praise. I drive fast, past the good stuff.

But on this day, I stopped. I snapped a picture, and when I got home I tracked down the guy who nailed that happy directive on his barn.

I put out this inquiry on my Facebook page:

8498035742_1f73030185_z

Within minutes, I had Wayne Searcy’s cell-phone number in my possession.

He picked up on the second ring. “Dr. Searcy here.”

Turns out, the barn owner is a veterinarian, serving farmers in his part of Iowa.

So I asked him about his barn and that big sign, hanging like a beacon for the weary traveler, and he said the two words, “Praise God,” seemed like the best ones to hang over a farm … and over a whole life.

“You know the words to the song, I’m guessin’,” he said, then started in:

“Praise God
from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above Ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

praise god, doxology

“Yessir,” I said. “I do know those words. I’m trying to live by them a little more every day.”

I scratched down his words onto my yellow legal pad, just like I did for years and years as a news reporter. “Farmers are extraordinarily dependent of God’s grace,” the good veterinarian said. “And we are all a blessed people here. The Lord ought to be praised.”

Praise, he said, was what was in his heart, so it seemed a good idea to put it on his barn, too.

Maybe you’re like me. And you’ve got a mind to do the same thing — to get your praise on, to put a bit more hallel in your heart.

I hung Dr. Searcy’s Praise-God sign right here on my blog. (And maybe my favorite farmer will put one on our barn. 🙂 )

And maybe we start our own praise party in the comments. What do you say?

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
Amen… 

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart; therefore forget not to say often, I have all I ever enjoyed.”
~ Lydia Maria Child

“I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.”
Ann Voskamp

“Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.”
~ The Apostle Paul

Your Turn: Name three things you’re thankful for today!

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It’s always a joy to gather here every week. The linkup goes lives each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great. And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! I’m currently traveling and unable to pick a new featured writer for the week, but we’ll be back to normal in the coming week. Looking forward to reading your stories!

xo Jennifer


  • felicia harris

    I’m thankful that I stopped by here today. I’m thankful for that barn sign as a “gentle” reminder to just “Praise God.” Praise Him in the bad times as well as the good times. Praise Him all the day long.

  • I love Ann Voskamp’s reminder to daily list 3 things to be thankful for. It has changed the way I love my life, what I count as blessing, and how I see God’s glory shining through in the mess. I love the words of the farmer/vet. Praise God seems like the best words to have over your life. Yes. Yes. Yes. Praise God.

  • I know that barn! =)

    I think that’s the one thing I envy most about those who have grown up in farming- the unquestioning dependence on God. As a “city kid,” I often try to do things myself and rely on my own power to get things done… but my farm-boy-born-and-raised husband reminds me that everything’s in God’s time, and His hands hold it all together.

    Great reminder for me again this day!

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  • Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    I’m thankful for health, big red barns and for friendships that remind me to look to Jesus <3

  • Kaylie Hodges

    What a great perspective. I love that you actually called the guy too! I just started my 1000 gifts (I know, late to the party), but it really is revolutionary to cover everything in life with praise for His Goodness. So I’ll join you Doxology and sing it loud with you!

  • Mary

    Love the God moment in your ordinary even if it means stopping right smack dab in the middle of the road. I am thankful for my family, the beauty that God blesses me with from sun up to sun down and how God meets me right where I am no matter what ready to and out grace over and over. Have a blessed week!

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  • Veronica

    Praising God right along with you. I am so very thankful for my amazing family, for being pre-approved in Christ, and for the breathe to be able to sing and speak words of praise today and every day. Love that red barn and sign!

  • Oh, how this post blessed me today! Praise God…YES, dear Lord, how I praise You!! The three things I am most thankful for are…1. Your wonderful salvation plan that extends to even me! 2. My dear, sweet husband and the 27 years of marriage you have given us together…looking forward to at least 27 more! 3. Our precious son You sent to us after 12 1/2 years of infertility struggles. God, You are GREAT, and I praise You!!! Thanks, Jennifer, for this wonderful story and for sharing the beautiful picture on the barn. It sure brightened my day. 🙂

  • Kristi Woods

    What a sweet, sweet, makes-me-want-to-hollar-some-praise post. And how neat of the vet to put that on his barn! He’d be my vet if we lived near. 🙂 This was my favorite line –> “Praise God,” seemed like the best ones to hang over a farm … and over a whole life.
    Praise Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost indeed…for a whole life.

  • Hi Jennifer … I just LOVED that you tracked down the vet … what a sacred connection, what a compelling story. Just imagine how many countless souls that sign has impacted.

    Just so cool …

    Thanks for hostessing!

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  • Jennifer,
    How cool…you found the vet and then shared this story with us all…Thank you! And you reminded me of how we used to sing the Doxology every time the offering was collected at the church I attended as a girl…blessings on you as you speak at the conference 🙂

  • loved this post! Love Iowa men (my husband, born and bred – wears plaid, a lot of plaid) – so glad you got to talk to the vet! I’m grateful today for Iowa, my husband, and California (Not in that order) – blessings, sue

  • Laura Hicks

    What a great post! Loved it. I’m grateful for: 1.The strength God gives me to get through each day. 2. That even when they don’t understand me my family still supports me. 3. My health.

  • What a power punch of a post, Jennifer! I even read it to my husband as he stood nearby. I love the barn and the story. I will remember this for a while.

  • I love to praise God. I praise Him for AC that works in this Arizona heat wave. I praise Him for family. I praise Him for the awesome time of prayer in the park this morning with two gal-friends after our workout!

  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Now you’ve got me singing that song, Jennifer…
    3 things–a fun day in Seattle even tho we had to go visit the doctor–coffee by a cool fountain
    and tourists galore
    Being able to give a needy man $10 ’cause he needed a ‘leg up’ (his words).
    Sweet peas and carnations–the pepper, spicy smell of them.
    There ya go.

  • Constance Ann Morrison

    I’m so glad you found Dr. Searcy and told his story. I’ll be sharing this post with my prayer group ladies. It’s too easy to get stuck on the intercession part of prayer and neglect the thanksgiving! Thanks for this reminder.
    I’m thankful for a walk in the moonlight, butterflies on blooming milkweed, and new friends.

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  • Love this, Jennifer! I’ll be keeping an eye out for that barn the next time we are in the area. At our house, during dinner, we like to go around the table taking turns saying what we are grateful for. It’s such a good way to get our conversation headed in the right direction. Thanks for letting us join in the fun here!

    Praise God my son, Cooper, finished his cancer treatment. Praise God for lazy summer days. Praise God for the rosie cheeks of healthy little boys!

  • bluecottonmemory

    Stories like that are such keepers! I grew up singing that song! 3 Praise things? An answered prayer, a new daughter in law who loves us, God’s amazing provision!

  • Thank you, Jennifer! Such a great reminder to stop and be thankful! It’s just waaaaaay too easy to get wrapped up in our goals and to-do lists and forget to notice the beautiful moments we can be thankful for. My three things? 1) My children who just came back from camp loving the Lord like never before! 2) My group of special ladies I am honored to call friends and that I get to meet with every other week. They have given me such encouragement lately! 3) That Friday evening I will be on the beach!
    A 4th, please? For people like you hosting link-up like these! 😉

    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  • Kim’s County Line

    My three praise things (among many): ripe wheat against a sunset sky, fireflies flickering across the yard at dusk, birds singing outside my window this morning. Thanks for hosting, Jennifer. I appreciate you.

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  • You have me standing up on a chair and singing, Hallelujah, Jennifer. Thanks for this post and for that picture. Priceless. My 3 things? 1. Ratatouille I made last night and ate on the balcony with my family last night. So good I thought I’d gone to heaven. 2. Shopping trip with my girl. 3. Cool week here in Izmir.

  • Thankful for birds singing and open country fields and fluffy white clouds- country life is a gift, and I’m stopping to offer thanks. Thank you for the reminder to praise Jennifer, I needed it. Praise brings good perspective.

  • I love that. I long to live a life “extraordinarily dependent on God’s grace.” What a beautiful sentiment! Thanks for hosting!

  • Kamea Hope

    Love this, Jennifer – everything about it. What a beautiful reflection on God’s goodness to us! To choose just three blessings that I am thankful for is a challenge, so I’m going with the most immediate… 1. Access to medical care – spent half the night with my daughter in the ER, and am thankful to have somewhere to go for help and answers. 2. Access to education – Earlier that night I celebrated my son’s grade 8 graduation. 3. God’s miracle of healing – redeeming our brokenness for good! He is so very good to us! Loves us beyond measure!

  • I’m thankful for men like Dr. Searcy and people like you, Jennifer, who remind us that there is still some good in this world – and, to quote a little furry-footed fellow, it’s worth fighting for. I’m thankful for God’s blessings and provisions, and mercy that is new every morning. Have a blessed day!

  • Janet

    I love this, Jennifer – everything about it… that you literally stopped in your tracks to snap the pic, your vision of God’s throne built on our praise, that you looked up and interviewed the good doc, what he said, what you said, how you wrote it up, and the challenge to us – In the middle of all of the hectic things in our lives, we really need to stop and Praise that Mighty God we serve! Whoop whoop!

  • Janet

    Oh! And I’m thankful for YOU, I’m thankful for my daughter’s language, and I’m thankful for a sunny day without rain. There’s more but the list would get too long. 🙂

  • Read every word – and LOVED it!! My recent story was on Sunday, Father’s Day. My husband is hard of hearing (VERY HARD OF HEARING!!) and also has dementia; so I usually have to say things several times, and LOUDLY enough for him to hear. We talked the night before about our plans to go to our daughter’s house RIGHT FROM CHURCH…so he would probably have gotten there before I would. So, I am sitting in fellowship hall at church and our daughter calls, asking “Where’s Dad?” He did NOT show up at her church or at her house…I tried to call but did not reach him. I called our apartment office and they said he had stopped by and said he was going to his daughter’s “thing”…so I expected him to be there. But, still had no confirmation of this. I continued to drive to her house, hoping he would be there; but too anxious and worried to really pray about it…at the light before arriving at her house…I LOOKED BEHIND me and who should be in his car…my husband was at the light right behind me!! I said a quick “THANK YOU GOD” as tears welled up in my eyes.

    Yes, we need those signs to “Praise God”; and to give Him thanks in ALL THINGS! And, when we are too anxious or worried to pray, His Holy Spirit will intervene and our prayers will be heard through Him.

    Thank you for sharing your words; thank you for the opportunity to share mine!!

    AND: I am thankful for friends I can hang out with and do crafting; I am thankful for a sunny day even though it will be HOT again; and I am thankful for my online friends that I connect with through e-mail, Facebook and blogging…so many more things to be thankful for; but these are three!!

  • Ha! I so would have screeched to a stop in the middle of the road. I love that your praise farmer is a veterinarian who helps care for those who can’t care for themselves. For kicks I looked up “veterinarian.” It comes from the Latin word veterinarius that means “of or having to do with beasts of burden.” It reminded me of the “beast” that carried the One that carries our burdens. Praise God.

  • Bethany Boring

    I’m thankful for my health – celebrating 3 years of double brain cancer REMISSION this month! Thankful for the times I find myself laughing on the kitchen floor with my three young boys and thankful for hotdogs (I know – but it’s the very thing that brings peace to my summer crowd…I hate it but thankful for it). 🙂

  • Susan

    Today I am thankful for the strength and ability to mow our 1-acre yard with a push mower; for the hummingbirds buzzing outside my office window; and, for the hope that overflows me with joy and peace in HIM.

  • 1. Thankful for the blogging world where we can be reminded to give God praise! 2. Thankful for a husband who actually wants his co-workers to meet me. 3. Thankful that my daughter is in Guatemala living with orphans (that one’s a little harder, but praising God!).

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  • I love that you called the owner of the sign…what a good reporter…chasing down the story! Praising God today that He is active in our lives…my life.

  • 1) I’m thankful for God’s companionship in this journey. What would I do without relationship with Him? 2) I’m thankful for my family, for His faithfulness to my husband and I, our daughters and sons-in-law, our grandchildren. 3) I’m thankful for His Word and His promises.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    A praise party–what a great idea! I’m especially thankful these days to live close to our two sons, daughters-in-law, and one granddaughter, after many years apart. Watching her grow is such fun! I’m also thankful for the blessing of old friends. Recently we reconnected with folks from our previous residence. Such a delight! Overall, praise God for relationships–the privilege of doing life together with people we love.

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