How to Get Your Praise On

February 22, 2013 | 51 comments

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 barn, sioux county

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. You have no idea what a mess I’d be otherwise.

I space off the fact that every good thing is a gift from above and he saved me wretched self from stupidity. (Come to think it if, the Good Lord is still doing that.) 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 by 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.

In Iowa, you can do this sort of thing:

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 area.

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.”

“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.

I’ve got a mind to do the same, to get my praise on, and put a bit more hallel in my heart. And I hung that Praise-God sign right here on my blog. (And maybe my favorite farmer will put one on our barn. 🙂 )

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen… 

“The private and personal blessings we enjoy … deserve the thanksgiving of a whole life.” ~ Jeremy Taylor

“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

 


 

by | February 22, 2013 | 51 comments

51 Comments

  1. Nancy Kourmoulis

    Beautiful!! These words – ““Praise God,” seemed like the best ones to hang over a farm … and over a whole life.” Praise God – over a whole life – His mercy and grace in, on, and through it ALL.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Dr. Searcy told me had put the barn quilt up first, and then decided that he ought to put up a few words that meant something to him. Those were the two that came to mind. So we went to his shop, and painted a 16-foot-long sign. I like how that veterinarian thinks.

      Reply
  2. Sharon O

    He sounds like a wonderful old doctor who we all would love to share a cup of coffee with and just listen as he shares stories across the table from us.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Agreed, Sharon. I would love to hear more of his stories.

      Reply
  3. deidrariggs

    I love it that you went right home and found out who owned that barn! You are always true to who God created you to be. Finding the bedrock of the story — whether on a barn on your way home in Iowa, or a barn in Bethlehem, so many years ago. XXOO

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I thought of you today, when I was writing the headline on this post. 🙂

      Reply
    • kristenchasingblueskies

      My sentiments exactly, Deidra.

      PS: I miss you.

      PPSS: And even though I’ve never met you, Jennifer, I miss you too. xo

      Reply
  4. Lori

    Just want to say thank you for blessing me with your words today. Off to get my praise on!!!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Woot! You look beautiful with your praise on, Ms. Lori!

      Reply
  5. Jeff Braun (@JeffDBraun)

    I need to get some farm animals, just so I can take them to Dr. Searcy. Thanks, Jennifer, for putting that great song in my head and heart today.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I’ll sing the Doxology with you, my friend. Do you want the melody or the harmony? 😉

      Have a great weekend.

      Reply
  6. Lynn Morrissey

    A well-researched, well-told story, reporter Jennifer. I love it: Who owns the praise-God barn? Could we not have a praise-God house, a praise-God hobby, a praise-God wardrobe and wear His garments of praise, wherever we go? It’s the one thing we could wear unabashedly, because we don’t bring attention to ourselves, but to Him. And, sadly, how often is the opposite true in my life, where I’m wearing shabby ingratitude garments for all the world to see? God has had to really “work” in my life on a grumbling attitude. I’ll never forget the first time He did that when I came home to raise our daughter years ago, and I grumbled shamelessly about having to leave a career. As an antidote to battling this complaining spirit, I started keeping a joy journal, where I began praising God for all the blessings, theretofore unnoticed, and also for the trials in which were hidden gems in darkness. I’ll tell you, Jennifer, everything changed. I didn’t have a praise-barn, but a blessed heart, big as a barn, because I realized just how much joy God had packed into my life. But as you did, I had to slow down, take note, and investigate the source of joy. The source is *always* Jesus! I LOVE this post. Please thank Dr. Searcy for pointing us to the Source and for, himself, having a big-as-a-barn heart for the Savior!
    Love you,
    Lynn

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Lynn… Yes! I want me a praise-God house and a praise-God heart and a praise-God life! Your comments always, always make me smile. They are so rich. Love you, too, Lynn.

      Reply
  7. Michelle DeRusha

    You are a true reporter at heart, Jennifer — I would have NEVER called the owner of that barn. I work myself into a cold sweat every time I have to do a phone interview! {and I’m so glad you did make that call, because this story is a beautiful one!}

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You can take the girl out of the newsroom, but you can’t take the newsroom out the girl. All those years of cold-calling strangers did me some good, I suppose. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words.

      Reply
  8. Helen Murray

    Wonderful! I can’t imagine anyone doing that here in the UK. They’d be arrested and asked to take it down. Praise the Lord for Dr Searcy. Thank you for this.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      That makes me sad to hear, Helen. However, you are living letters, right there in the UK, proclaiming his Good News with your very life. God bless you, Helen Murray!

      Reply
  9. Jen Sandbulte

    Jennifer – being a farm kid myself, I LOVE this. In a world where it’s so easy to see the “darkness” I love that you sought out the LIGHT. Love watching God move in your life. I’m telling ya… he’s up to something! Coffee soon?

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Jen … Coffee. Soon. Please. I want to hear about COMPEL! I heard it was amazing.

      Reply
  10. David @ Red Letter BelieversD

    Praise God for the creatures here below! I’m going to say that while scratching behind Buster’s ears tonight!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      🙂

      Did you remember to give ol’ Buster his blessing tonight? Always a joy to see your face here in the comment box, Sir Rupert.

      Reply
  11. Michelle Eichner

    So very true! I’m making an effort lately to record the praises in my own walk. I’m pretty good about seeing God’s goodness in others, but need to remember His goodness in my personal growth.

    I didn’t know you were in that corner of IA. I graduated from LeMars Community High School. 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      No way, Michelle! I teach at Dordt College in Sioux Center, and I live about a half hour north of there. Do you come back to LeMars often? Would love to hug your cute self!

      Reply
      • Michelle Eichner

        It is hard to get there! I missed my high school reunion. 🙁 If I get there, you better believe I’ll look you up!! I’d love to hug your inspiring self and share some coffee. Til then, here’s a virtual hug 🙂

        Reply
  12. Robyn Kelderman

    Dr. Searcy’s testamonial signs don’t end there! He also has two scriptural references on top of his cattle shed in LARGE letters. Love that it is in such a prominent spot for many travelers here in NW Iowa! He is a great man 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Right you are, Robyn! Dr. Searcy and I talked about those signs, too. I’m so glad you mentioned them, as I didn’t get that into the story here. Really glad you’ve dropped by.

      Reply
    • Doc Searcy

      Thank you for mentioning the scripture references. God blesses us greatly thru his Holy Word. I think displaying scripture references is a wonderful way to encourage all to receive the blessings of scripture and live Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
      Steward of the “Praise God” Barn (Doc Searcy)

      Reply
      • dukeslee

        Dr. Searcy! What a pleasant surprise to see you here in the comment box. Your barn has gotten a lot of positive response, and I’m guessing you’ve inspired folks to praise God more in their everyday lives. Thank you for your witness, and for being a “steward of the Praise God barn.” You inspire.

        Reply
  13. Dolores E. Torres-Green

    How AWESOME!! Just what this farmer’s daughter needed today! 😀 thank You Sweet Jennifer and Dr. Searcy!! 🙂 ♥

    Dolores

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Great to have a farmer’s daughter here in the comment box. Love when you pop in, Dolores.

      Reply
  14. Dayna DeLaVergne

    Jennifer, I’m trying to decide what I love more–Dr. Searcy’s sign or your story about the sign. And I LOVE the Doxology! It’s a tradition around here to burst into it when we receive great news. Gratitude has been shown to have positive effects on our health too!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Dayna, I love that you’ve got a tradition of breaking out into that song. We do too! For real! We’re kindreds, I tell you.

      Reply
  15. Kristin Hill Taylor

    I love this! You may be in Iowa, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if you’d been in Kentucky! I also adore how you’re still a reporter, chasing the story, and so beautifully telling others about it. I’m so thankful to have discovered your blog – I’d want to hang out if you lived down my small-town street here in the Bluegrass State. 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      And I want to hang out with you, girl, praising God in or around barns in Iowa or Kentucky or anywhere else I could meet your sweet self!

      Reply
  16. Jean Wise

    Love this post – its message and its writer. I write for my local newspaper and just grinned ear to ear when I read how you investigated who own the barns then called me. My daughter is a vet so again I identified with this story. But most of all the wonderful positive focus of God – just loved it. You made my day today with this message

    Reply
  17. Megan Willome

    I love that he talked about farmers (i.e. the people he serves).

    Reply
  18. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    Well, you just put a piece on here that brings those tears to my eyes again – especially in the moment between you and the good doctor. The Lord shines anointed praise from your words!

    Reply
  19. Sylvia

    Thanks for the “glad tidings to a weary” stayer-at home this week! The picture and post really make a good perker-upper!
    On our barn we have… a cross. But that looks so joyous. Maybe we could find a happy spot for a Praise God too. (?) 😉

    Reply
  20. Janet from FL

    I like how he just put up what he believes in a big sign on his barn. I never thought of putting up a sign on my garage. Maybe you could start a movement, with people putting “Praise God” signs on their homes/garages, cars/vans, office cubicles … and share pics of them on Facebook. You’ve got me thinking…

    Reply
  21. lolita

    How I thank Lynni for directing me here. Thank you for this post. I struggled too before. I grumbled at every little thing that beset or things that I thought were disruptions of an orderly life…. but little knowing that in Praising God at all times and in trusting in His promises daily, in the midst of it all, chaos or order, there is peace and contentment. It changed my attitude and it also changed the people around me. It is infectious.

    PRAISE GOD! I now call myself “Yaddah!” I pray that He will always poke at me if I shed those garments and don grumble.

    Glad to jump in here, Jennifer.

    Lolita (from the Philippines)

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Lolita, It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m glad Lynn directed you this way. Praise changes us from the inside out, doesn’t it? I appreciate your witness.

      Reply
  22. Lynn Morrissey

    Lolita, I’m so thrilled that you took the time to read Jennifer’s post–all the way from the Philippines! =] I just knew that you would love what she had to say and how she said it! I hope you will keep coming back. I always love your joyful photo, and I can’t imagine your wearing anything but “Jesus Joy”!
    Love
    Lynni

    Reply
  23. rebecca

    Thanks SO much for sharing this! I know doc very well 🙂 (I work for the searcy’s @ the clinic)! Thanks again

    Reply
    • Doc Searcy

      Thank you for pointing out my trusted wife is part of my inspiration as well as dedicated employees.

      Reply
  24. Marilyn

    Awesome story, awesome man!! I also have the pleasure of working with Doc thru the salebarn! When he and Donna talked about doing the project after the quilt was done I thought it was a wonderful idea.

    Reply
  25. Nancy Ruegg

    The bright colors on Dr. Searcy’s barn add a sense of joy to that “Praise God” sign, reminding me: Praise and joy are complementary, one fostering the other. As I praise, my joy increases; as my joy increases, I want to praise all the more!

    Reply
  26. laura

    Oh, Jennifer, I just love this. Wishing I could give you a big hug right now–you brave girl after my own heart! And this: “Praise God,” seemed like the best ones to hang over a farm … and over a whole life.” Amen. Just amen to that.

    Reply
  27. Sweet Blessings!

    I just found your blog..and it is definitely a Sweet blessing! May you continue to shine for Jesus through your writing! Sweet blessings!

    Reply
  28. Meredith

    It reminds me of the commercial on the eighth day God created a farm from Paul Harvey. If you haven’t seen it check it out.

    Reply

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