• Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Expressions of Praise


"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name." Psalm 103:1 (NIV)

It’s been a long day and I’m tired. Everything in me just wants to regurgitate an old blog this week and go to bed early. A negative whisper creeps in, “Does anybody ready these anyway?” I fight this thought knowing it’s not true. Besides, I don’t write for people anyway. I write for my Lord. I don’t have tons of money to fund ministry projects, a beautiful voice to resound praise, or even the eloquence of a poet to describe the majesty of God. What I do have is a storyteller’s heart; one that loves to connect life to God’s word so others can see its meaning and application more clearly.  This blog is my praise for that gift. It is my humble offering to the Lord for the lessons he’s allowed me to see and learn through Scripture. It takes the pressure off when I focus on just writing for him. It keeps pride at bay on the weeks when the blog is good and shame on the run the weeks when it’s not. Either way, as long as I can go to bed knowing I gave God my best, that’s really all that matters. Writing is worship for me. So tonight, as I’m tired and dragging, I still come to write because even in my tiredness, God is still worthy of my praise for the gift of this day. Really, writing is praise? Yes. For me, it is the way I say, “I love you” to my Savior. For you, it may be something very different. As I sit here thinking about how to articulate this thought, I glance down at the little bowl on the desk holding my paper clips. It’s crocheted in navy blue with orange around the lip of the bowl and green in the bottom. The orange yarn is beginning to unravel and white stuffing used for stability is beginning to show through. It’s a bit rough, but it has sat on my desk for at least 15 years and I love it. I think my son gave it to me when he was little. Yep, a quick text confirmed it.  He loved art and expressing himself creatively when he was young. While not praise, gifts like this crocheted bowl were expressions of love he shared with me and I cherish it.  Giving praise to God is a lot like my son giving me this little crocheted bowl. For his age, his resources, and his talent level, he gave me the very best he had to offer as an expression of his love. It doesn’t matter that it’s not perfect. What matters is the heart behind what was given. Our praise to God is the same. He wants the best expression of our love we have to offer in our current state. Perfection is not needed, just our best effort. Tonight, my heart is full and a smile fills my face as I type these last few sentences. I realize in a deeper way at this moment the way God meets us in our praise.  I came to my laptop tonight tired but willing to offer my Lord praise through writing. He met me here with these beautiful memories of my boy when he was little and a connection to how easy an expression of love and praise can be. “Thank you, my Lord. May all praise be yours for this time we shared together tonight.”

For Your Reflection… What about you? In what ways can you express your praise to God? Don’t let the way others express their praise be a hindrance to you. God has made each of us different. The way you uniquely offer your praise doesn’t have to be perfect or even make sense to anyone else. God knows your heart. He sees you and will be pleased with whatever offering you bring. Just bring your best!

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The mission of ECHOES OF HOPE is to move individuals toward emotional and spiritual health through the knowledge that God is speaking in our world today, offering hope through His son, Jesus Christ.

 

We believe God most clearly speaks through the Bible and offer opportunities such as weekly devotional blogs, community studies, and conferences to help individuals hear Him and apply His truth to their lives in a relevant and meaningful way.

 

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