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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Giving Up Treasure

 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Matthew 6:21 (NIV)


I came to know Jesus as my Savior at age twelve but wasn’t “all in” until my late twenties. As sometimes happens, life’s disappointments, hurt inflicted by church people, lack of knowledge, and a host of other factors lead me to believe following Jesus was simply not worth it. So, I did life on my own terms, failing miserably until Jesus once again got ahold of my heart. Life has never been the same.


Reorienting my life towards Jesus, however, was not an easy task. There were many rough edges in my character that needed addressing, tons of brokenness to heal, and the huge elephant in the room that my husband had not signed up to marry a follower of Jesus. God sure knows how to pick’em!


Thankfully, he was up for the task and slowly, intentionally like a master craftsman he began to mold and shape me into the woman he designed me to be. The process has not been easy or without its challenges, but God has been faithful to keep at it. This side of glory, I’m certain the process will never be finished, but as the years go by, I am more and more grateful for the image of Jesus that shines through. There are of course seasons when his image is dulled by my poor choices but even then, God keeps calling me back and working on me.


Part of his process in shaping me over the years has been his nudge in my soul to give up the “treasures” I unintentionally would cling to for security or recognition: jobs, homes, vehicles, titles, etc. In and of themselves, none of these are bad things; but God, who alone can peer into the depths of my soul, knew when these things were rising to places of unhealthy importance. In those moments he would come in with a gentle whisper into my soul, “Steph, would you give it up for me? Am I enough?” Of course, there was always hemming and hawing, a lot of wrestling, and much doubt, but when it was all said and done, usually I would acquiesce to the request. To my surprise, God truly has always proven to be enough.


In this latest season, I’ve felt there was actually very little left to give up. I mean, I don’t know what else God would possibly want at this point. And then, through a simple song, life was, once again, flipped upside down.


One of my new favorite artists since Christmas 2021 has been Brandon Lake. I fell in love with his song “Gratitude” over the holidays that year and since then have been absorbing as much of his work as possible. One of the songs that grabbed my attention in a profound way was “Just Like Heaven” on the House of Miracles album. If you’re interested, take a listen on YouTube…


There are so many things I love about this song and found myself listening to it on repeat over and over through the blustering January and February winter months of 2022 in the Midwest. Then as if I’d never heard it before, one particular phrase in the song jumped out and pierced me to my core. There I was humming along…


Holy, You are holy

You're such a perfect Father

I'll worship You forever


And then I heard it, truly heard it as if for the first time…

Holy, You are holy

I'll lay down any treasure

For us to be together


Immediately, the question formed in my heart, “Really? Would you really lay down ANY treasure to be with God and to do the things he has called you to do?”


I was terrified to answer.


If I say “no” then what does that say about my relationship with Jesus? But if I say “yes,” what is he going to ask for next? Tears…. So many tears began to flow as I pondered the question. “Would I really lay down anything I treasure for God?”


Rather than sit with the question, I quickly turned on some classic rock. It’s hard to focus on God with AC/DC and Aerosmith blaring in your ears. While this did help for a while, in the quiet moments, the question would still return. “Would I really lay down anything I treasure for God?”


Eventually, I allowed my heart to truly sit with the question. As I perused the past, I quickly realized that everything I’d ever given up for God, though hard, always drew me closer to him. So why was I so afraid? Ugh, I already knew why, I was just scared to admit it. For many years now, I’ve known the Lord was asking me to surrender my biggest treasure… my story.


I have shared my story very openly over the years, in certain settings, but now the Lord has asked me to put it in print, all of it. It’s always been easy for me to sit with someone face to face and share certain aspects or even stand on a stage and proclaim what God has done in my life, but this ask is somehow different. This time God has asked me to be vulnerable in a way that terrifies me. To put my story in print is to give up all control over how the reader will perceive it; perceive me. I like to think I’m a strong, faithful woman, but at my core, I feel like a scared little girl some days. What was I supposed to do?


The words of Jesus in the book of Matthew came to guide me…


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Matthew 6:21 (NIV)


IF, I give Jesus this treasure, my story, then I have to believe he will use it for his glory. And, IF he holds it in the palm of his hand, then ultimately, he holds me as well and there is truly no safer place to be. So, I did it. I gave Jesus the treasure of my story and this summer 2024, Everything: What If God Wants More Than Your Heart?” has been released. Even typing this, knowing the announcement will soon be out, sends a shiver up my spine.


I am, honestly, still a bit terrified but trusting in my Lord’s goodness to sustain me and do what will bring him the most glory with the book. Ultimately, I wrote it for him, as an act of love and obedience, so whatever comes next is for him to decide. In the meantime, I’d ask that you please join me in praying for the process and that he uses the book to draw others to himself through it.





For Your Reflection…


Laying down our treasures is NOT easy. What is important to know is that the Lord will never ask for something for no reason. If he is asking for you to surrender one of your treasures, maybe he has something greater in store for you.


What treasure are you desperately clinging to that God may be asking you to give up?




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