Private: blog

what shall i render unto the lord?

[got nine hours?  read this blog post first:  let the redeemed of the lord say so.]

today is my two-year life-turnaround anniversary.  GREAT.IS.THE.LORD.  …and greatly to be praised!

around this time last year, i spent a number of days reflecting, praying, writing, crying about what the lord saved me from (a foolish, destructive lifestyle), and on the one-year anniversary of my rescue (:, i posted a blog to share my testimony.

here i am now, two years later, with much to praise god for.  MUCH.  my heart feels overwhelmed right now.  where do i begin, where do i begin.  that’s always the problem.

the work he did in my life in and around february/march of 2011 was amazing enough, but you know god– he doesn’t stop.  i feel like i’ve received blessing after blessing after blessing since i’ve been walking with him, …and i have to stop there to think about what i just said.

would i have received these specific blessings if i had not given myself to the lord?  i doubt it.  but did i receive these specific blessings because i surrendered to him?   i don’t think so.  right?  i don’t know how to answer my questions.  i keep going back and forth with how i’m answering.  this requires me to think deep.  shoot.  i struggle with clarity.  seriously, i do.

okay.  god blessed me even when i was not walking with him.  common grace.

…wow.  this has become difficult for me.  all i wanted to do was talk about how the lord has blessed me since my turnaround two years ago, but like… i’m running into problems.  …maybe it’s impossible for me to answer these questions.  that’s what jesse says.  i’ll rest on that.

so okay.  either way, i’ve been blessed!  PRAISE GOD!

but wait.  i really do think, though, that if i had not given myself to the lord, these things wouldn’t have happened in my life.  i just think that.  but i’m not necessarily saying because i did this and this and this that this and this and this happened.  and that is about as clear as i can be, so hopefully you follow.  (and one more thing: i didn’t do this and this and this.  god did it all.)

la la la.  point is i’ve been blessed.  so let me share with you what year two has looked like:

FIRST of all: now, after two years, i’m still blessed to have an ongoing relationship with jesus.  PRAISE GOD!  like i wrote in last year’s post, any time before 2011 when i tried to be “close to god,” it wouldn’t last.  nothing would really change.  i could pray or read my bible or repent for maybe a couple days, weeks, or months, but it would never stick because ultimately i just cared about myself.  but things are different now.  i hunger for him.  i depend on him.  i want to worship him.  i find joy in him.  and i don’t know how to explain it other than to say “god.”  he did that.  he is doing that.  …so that’s the biggest thing right there.  still makes me super excited.  and joyful.  i’ve been living joyfully for two years now, and i wouldn’t trade it for anything.

second: jesse schlicher.  <3.  he married me.  BIGGEST BLESSING EVER!  on earth, that is.

this is just perfect to me.  well, perfect period.  because god did it and he’s perfect.  (:  but i love how he gave me a full year to spend with him alone before i met jesse.  i was removed from all my friends, i had no boyfriend or love interest, and the only family i had around was my brother and his wife (which was an awesome year spent with them!)  but for the most part, it was just god and me.  …and i was satisfied.  of course i wanted to be married, but i was perfectly content with the way things were.  god was enough.  i was in love.

and exactly one year later (and three days), god brought jesse and me together.  this makes me smile pretty big.  i feel giddy.

ohhhh, what do i say?  i want to go on and on about jesse, but that deserves its own blog post.

but praise god, for real.  man.  this marriage, it’s from god, no doubt.  now, like i was saying/thinking earlier, this (meaning marriage) is a “blessing” i could have had without surrendering to god; but whoa, i’m glad that i didn’t go that route.  i don’t want to know what my marriage would have looked like living outside of god’s direction.  scares me to think about it.  but the lord blessed me with a beautiful marriage.  BEAUTIFUL.  one that’s christ-centered.  one that’s obedient to the lord.  one that’s light, happy, and too much fun.  (and i know it’s only been six months, but i feel like i’ll be saying this same thing a year from  now.  …and twenty years from now.)

THIRD:  my church.  god placed me here.  i don’t know.  just sayin’.  i think that’s interesting.  he placed me here.

but this church: a blessing.  in what way?  welllll, i don’t know all the ways yet, and maybe i won’t ever, but the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that this church is stretching me.  new church means new people; and if you know me, uhh… yeah.  but it’s all good.  the lord has introduced me to some really great people who have poured into my life so richly already.

…i’m wondering what else he has in store for me through this church.  that’s all.  just wondering.

it’s a great church, though, and i feel blessed to be a part of it.  loves god’s word.  humble.  far from religious.  very real people.

and those are the big things (my opinion) that i’ve been blessed with this year, but please believe, there are many others.  i’m still working as a court reporter (love my job!), it only snowed twice this year, there’s a starbucks in my town, i live right outside the city, i have a house and a husband who lets me decorate it, etc., etc., etc.  i am BLESSED!  GREAT.IS.THE.LORD!  …and greatly to be praised!

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note to sarah:

when you read my blog post last year, you left this comment.  i read it a couple days ago, and it made me happy.

Sarah Hensley on Mar 07, 2012

Ivy, it is such a good thing that you are telling what God is doing in your life!! Just think, this past year is just one year– very significant– but it has come and gone, and there is so much more life yet to live and to see God continue to work.
Now… as for this next year… I am hoping the next thing God has in store for you is to meet the love of your life! You are like a precious gem… somebody out there needs to enjoy the beautiful (inside and out) and hilarious- good-times- woman that you are!!

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