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Me, Myself and I, Before, During and After – Part 7

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About a month ago I started posting what I thought would take two weeks to cover. I sure was wrong. (1*) Instead, it took eight weeks. But what else can you expect when the subject has been by far my most important?

After that first posting of this group, the title became Me, Myself and I, Before, During and After.

In other words, Me, Myself and I, (Miss Marianne Eighteen-Year-Old Houstoun), Before (when my heart was empty), During (when questions were forming), and After (the outcome from Christ tapping on my shoulder, answering those questions).

God interrupted that emptiness and darkness of my life, giving me a new beginning. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) made sense! Why? Because that’s what took place.

I hope I haven’t come across as some young, weak, young teen who would take on anything that brought peace. Nope. Almost the opposite. I had goals, was one who went that extra mile, daring to do whatever. Looking back, I see I was a bit too proud in who I was. I was just empty of how to have peace along with all I could do.

But that week, biblical truths were opened up to me for the first time. I understood the true meaning of sin, of repentance, and I got to feel a true sense of being loved. (2*) Yes, it was thirty-two years ago, but it still feels like yesterday. I never get tired of pondering all that took place.

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Of course, sin was still hiding inside, but, with prayer, a new heart was there to drown the sin with grace and forgiveness. Even when my ignorance and weakness were apparent, God guided me. Reading His word and learning much from the church I began attending did wonders.

My eyes still get a bit damp remembering how God held me even when I allowed sin to take over, causing my unplanned pregnancy, (3*) or when my brain-damaging illness occurred a few years later. (4*) The many ways He continually showed me ‘I love you’ were still strongly felt.

This is my first time in these thirty-two years that I’m sharing this for others to read. Why? To help people understand what it means to be ‘born again’ or, better wording, ‘born from above.’

Every Christian’s walk with God starts in different ways, at different times in life, but all show one thing: God planned it. He also plans what takes place afterwords for you as well. A few dramatic events have caused me to learn much about how He is there at all times, giving me faith for tough times I’m assuming will still occur.  

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God has put me here, in this place and time, with my life experiences, in order to tell others about what He has done and is doing in my life. My memoir will be out, Lord willing, early next year in hopes He uses my story to help others, showing them God is there for His children though thick or thin. 

 Psalm 62:8 – Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time.      

As some of you know, I’m one who listens to Christian music, and I like to think it’s because He began unlocking my heart as I was listening to one. (5*)

This song means more lately being I feel it fits with—as the song title shares—“My Story.” I guess you can say am one of those people at the end. 

 

 

1* – First of these eight postings

2* – My last posting where AFTER showed up.

3* – Unplanned pregnancy story can be found.

4* – Brain affected illness

5* – Read about that special timing of a special song

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Me, My self and I, Before, During and After-part 2

My last writing ended with ‘If I could only use one word to describe my overall high school life, I think I’d use the word…’   but then I didn’t share that word. (1*)
Well, it’s time I tell you what it is.

Lost 

Lost means having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place or direction.
distracted – distraught – desperate – hopeless

This week I’ll describe one of two different ways I began feeling lost at eighteen.
The first occurred on the day I thought was to be the most exciting: GRADUATION !

gradYep, time to graduate from high school. YIPPY ! I felt so ready to take on all that was ahead. The graduation ceremony went great, with a fancy dinner for many of us afterwards. After that, just a few of us girls went to one of my friend’s home to have, what I thought, a cool and simple celebration night.

 

 

 

This should be fun. All us ladies, officially out of high school, gabbing away for hours. Maybe all of us grads will have some beer, too. Hay, I’ve graduated. I can do that.

I couldn’t wait. That is, until the few of us girls got in my friend’s car. As soon as the last door was shut, out popped…
“Wooohooo! Ready to party!” one of them hollered with the others cheering her on.
She must just be talking about us cutting loose a bit more than normal. I’m game! I’m sure I threw in a few “Yay!  Here we go!”
“The guys will be there right around the time we show up,” one of the graduates said, “Hey, Samantha, did your older brother get the drinks he said he could get?”

I began realizing how that evening was turning into something I didn’t expect. What took place was exactly what you see in a movie where the parents go somewhere overnight, trusting their daughter will be fine having a few girlfriends over. But then it turns into a wild party. I began thinking to myself a mile a minute.

Oh, my. What’s going. On? What am I getting into? I thought just us girls were getting together?

“Time to party away,” my so-called friends said as we got out. My ‘let’s party’ face I showed sure was different than my thoughts as I saw many senior boys, plus more girls, showing up.

Speaking of partying away, I was blown away! I never thought some of these people I considered my friends would be doing anything as wild as this. I had never done anything like this my entire high school years.

I felt I was invisible, floating around all these people, watching them eat, drink, and be merry. I wasn’t friends with them all but knew most from school. All were flirting big time while showing off any extra skin they could. I had to hide my shock with a fake smile. After all, I didn’t want to look ‘square’ and seem like I didn’t want to belong. I had to look cool and act totally comfortable with all that was going on. Hour by hour went by.

I can’t wait till this is over. I cant’ wait till this is over.
What I will never forget was seeing different guys pulling different girls behind different doors, knowing it wasn’t just to compare final test scores.

12 o’clock – 2 o’clock –
I wish I drove myself. Come on, clock. Go faster.
The entire time I felt like running away, but couldn’t, so I just acted like I was having a ball, pretending I was drinking, even acting a little buzzed.

clock 1

 

 

 

 

2 o’clock to 4 o’clock
I looked at my watch every five minutes.

Finally! Time for this movie to come to an end. You can probably picture what took place. The parents come home unexpectedly early that next morning. It was the best thing I had seen those last six hours. As all were silently grabbing their personal belonging, after hearing two angry parents hollering as they stood inside the door pointing outside, I was most likely the only person secretly smiling ear to ear. I loved that ride home.

FINALLY ! That pressure was off! The worst night I’ve ever had was over! I left that party having stayed sober, clean, and a virgin. I felt so stupid realizing that most of my friends weren’t really the type friends I thought they were.

How dare they all do that?  Man, I’m so glad to be home! But those thoughts, sad to say, were balanced off with feeling cut off from them all. Should I loosen up a bit? Am I too goodie goodie?  

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But I knew from then on I’d be uncomfortable around any of them, wanting to avoid any conversation about that night, and relieved there was no plan to see any of them soon.

I did not write one word about that night in my journal feeling it was a night I did not want to remember. I often now wish I had, wanting to read those thoughts that my pillow soaked up those next few days. But you know what? I really didn’t need a journal at that point. No way will I ever forget that night.

So the word ‘lost’ fits in right here because after that night I felt lost. Those people went off my ‘true-friend’ list. I felt a bit empty. – like the definition said, I was bewildered as to place or direction. Distracted; distraught – desperate – hopeless. What I thought would be my best day, turned out to be my worst – I was lost.

Next – how this time I felt lost lead to the next.

Click here to read last weeks post. 

Thank you, Lord – 4

Thankyoulord1

My next ‘Thank you, Lord’ is a bit different this week. (1* for last weeks) It’s not about Gods fatherly care during my unplanned pregnancy. It’s about my brain damaging illness called encephalitis I endured in 1990. I thank God, through all these years, how He planned a particular day to occur. A very tough day, yes, but God knows how thankful I am for the way He started this life changing ordeal in the most caring way.

I’ll now show most of the first post I shared that, Lord willing, will be in that first chapter of my next Memoir. At the end you will understand more why I ‘Thank you, Lord’ fits right in.

– God’s Timing is Perfect –

My very first journal from years past will begin to explain.
Note – This writing was done years ago after only two of our four children were born.

August 14, 1991
This one day of writing could take up to ninety-nine-million pages but I will try to shorten it. Cassie is now four, and Trina is almost fourteen months old. Hubby is twenty-seven and I am twenty-four. Lord, thank You that we are all still together. This year – oh, this year. The main dealing this last year has been about my physical and mental problem. Herpes Simplex Encephalitis Meningitis, an acute inflammation of the brain. Five or six weeks, total, in two hospitals. About three weeks in each. I thank God how He had me where I needed to be when I had my seizure…

Now let me explain. There was so much snow where our apartment was on that winter day in 1990. I had to take my baby in for her six-month check-up the next day, but being that it was a fifteen- to twenty-minute drive away, I felt it best that my kids and I just spend that night at my parents’ house, since they were only a few minutes from the doctor’s office. A much shorter and safer drive indeed. I don’t recall spending the night there even once after getting married a few years before this day, but that one night was a must.
The following morning, I enjoyed chatting with my mom, as she so easily showed how much she loved being a grandma. My older sister, whom I rarely ever saw, stopped in for a few minutes to get something. it was great gabbing a few minutes with her as well.
“I’ll just change Trina’s diaper right now before the girls and I leave,” I told my sister and mom as I was on my knees, leaning over Trina, putting a new diaper on her.

But something happened. Totally unexpected, out of the blue, I was suddenly hit with a seizure. I was told later that I had began shaking, and collapsed on the floor while biting my tongue. I threw up a bit as well, so I was told. My life-changing event hit me right then and there that snowy afternoon. My mom took over the girls while Janis came over to see what was happening to me. She knew I was having a seizure and that calling 911 was a must. I have no recollection of any of that. The next thing I do remember, though, is feeling totally confused when I woke up.

“What’s going on?” I’m sure I tried to ask while thinking a mile a minute.

Why are these two strange men lifting me up and putting me on this—this board thing? Who are those ladies looking at me? And what about those really little people? Why are these big guys taking me out of this house? Whose house is it anyway? And why are they putting me, lying down, into this big weird car?

I had absolutely no idea what was going on. What I did know was how odd it all felt. To this day I can still picture it all and feel it as if it was last week.
I, again, must have fallen asleep, for the next thing I remember was waking up, lying on my back, with more strangers looking at me but now inside this totally odd building. You’re right, a hospital.

Even more strangers looking at me. What are all these things sticking into me? What in the world is going on?
This particular blog post won’t get into what it is that happened to me; I’ll continue that as weeks go by.  I just want to share what that difficult time in this, literally, mind-changing ordeal, showed me.
– God’s timing is perfect.
I mean think about it. Being a stay-at-home mom, a majority of the time I did just that; stayed at home. What if there was no doctor’s appointment? Chances are the three of us would have been in the apartment alone.
What if the snow wasn’t there? Most likely we still would have been at home. Or worse yet, in the car driving, or perhaps in a store with strangers all around.
But God had plans, and the timing of His plans couldn’t have been better. He had reasons for me scheduling my baby’s check-up appointment for that snowy day, causing me to then be at my parent’s house.

It is obvious God knew to position me at my parents home at the perfect time. Why do I say this? My sister who I rarely ever saw was – get ready for this – a respiratory therapist at that hospital! And it turns out, my other sister came to the house before I left. And guess what, she too worked at that hospital as a respiratory technician. I have no doubt that my sisters helped ensure that I received quality treatment. My mom, bless her heart, was the perfect one to care for my girls with all this going on as I was taken away. God sure knew what He was doing and who to have where and when.

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God sure knew what He was doing and who to have where and when. God’s timing for it all was down-right perfect. God knew He would put me though one big trial but in the best way possible.

I pray you can see, as obvious as I do, that God, was in charge. God still hears me often think Thank you, Lord, for holding me tight.

1*  – Last weeks Thank you, Lord -3  

Thank you, Lord – 3

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Thank you, Lord, that I am going through an unplanned pregnancy. What? That doesn’t sound right, being I was only nineteen, living with my parents, no school, no job, a dramatic soap-opera-like relationship that ended, and to top that off, already a bit overweight. Where does thanking God fit in?

 My older posts explain what took place leading me to where I am now. And with all that’s been covered, how in the world does thanking God fit in?  (1*)

The main reason is because about a year before all this mess took place, God had graciously saved me, causing me to feel the true, deeper guilt for what I allowed to occur. Because of that, I knew I was forgiven. God saw my repentance, and showed me, in noticeable ways, He was my Father. Even though I still felt uncertainty about what was ahead, ‘Thank you, God’ began to grow. I could tell He was the one behind a few things that were happening. The first one I’m most thankful for was shared in my last posting, explaining, thankfully, why an abortion did not take place.

Second on my ‘Thank you, God’ list has to do with what most pregnant women know too well: morning sickness. I know, I know. Not the best subject.monring sickness

I was gaining more knowledge on what to expect the first few months of pregnancy, and so day after day I waited for that nauseous feeling to hit. Happy to say, I didn’t feel very much discomfort. I was so wrapped up in all that was going on, deciding to cut off the relationship that caused this ordeal to occur, I probably didn’t pay much attention to whatever else was, or wasn’t, going on. (2*)

 Day after day, week after week, and month after month, I – drumroll, please – did NOT have morning sickness! You read that right. No throwing up at all. One or two times I had this tiny feeling inside that I might get sick, but nothing ever came of it. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not like when I woke up every day I felt I could tap dance or do somersaults. Far from it.

There was this one time, mid-afternoon, when a little bite of canned peaches, as soon as I swallowed them, showed they just didn’t want to stay down. But to me that didn’t count. You should have seen the look on my doctor’s face when I told her how it had been going. She knew this type news was rare. As weeks went by, I began to feel a bit guilty when, after telling other moms, ‘That’s not fair!’ was their first response.

When what was supposed to be my morning-sickness phase had passed, my ‘Thank you, Lord’ thoughts began to form a bit differently. By this point, God had often heard thanks for making things happen, like showing me love through family and friends. But something changed a bit. Thanks to God had begun for Him making sure things did NOT happen.

I couldn’t help but share this in hopes to encourage all to not just be glad something did or didn’t happen but, instead, think ‘Thank you, Lord ‘ 

1* – click to read how this entire story began

2* – click to read post on when relationship ended. 

Thank you, Lord – part 2

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There are a few different ways ‘thank you’ is used. Here’s one.

Thank you – Noun –

A conversational expression of gratitude. Telling someone you are grateful for something that they have said or done

Who is that someone I’m referring to? God.

In the midst of my unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of nineteen, I couldn’t help but feel more of a need to cling to God. It was a must. My heart, soul, and mind would have overflowed with guilt if I did not feel His forgiveness of my mess up. Thankfully, as months were going by, peace began to form inside me as I soaked up the fact that God isn’t just my Lord and King, but my Father. It was impossible not to have ‘Thank you, Lord’ thoughts as I saw His hand here and there while my tummy grew.

Full love and support from many was noticeably expressed, and I never took that for granted. But a few other things were showing up that I gave God credit for. I’ll share a different one on each post for a while, being that they’re worth more than a few sentences to describe.

I’ve already shared in one of my first posts what the first one was, but at the time, it was far from being listed in any ‘Thank you, God’ category.  (1*) The following excerpt is from my book. See if you can guess why I’m thankful to God for what took place. 

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During all the page flipping, it felt like I was a spy who was taking forever to find an important number.  I can’t believe I’m doing this. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I guess I’ll look under ‘Pregnancy Test.’ Okay, let’s see. Oh, there’s one. Planned Parenthood. This sure wasn’t ‘planned,’ but I guess I have to ‘plan’ something if I am.

That was the first one I noticed. After all, that’s what the bold wording is supposed to do, right? Make you notice. Well, it worked. I was so nervous pressing those numbers.phone

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ring.

Hmmm. No answer. Darn it. They must be closed. I’ll try another one. I’ll flip back a bit and do it more in alphabetical order. Let’s see, Crisis Pregnancy Center. This sure is a crisis for me if I’m pregnant. I have to try this one.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring.

Oh, please. Oh, please be open! PLEASE be op…

“Hello. Crisis Pregnancy Center. How can I help you?”

Please tell me I’m not pregnant.  Just seeing if you are open today. Really? Right now? Thank you.” Click.

_______________________

I still thank God, thirty years later, for having that first place I called be closed. Why? Click here to find out. I encourage you to, for It explains why having an abortion wasn’t far from my thoughts. By reading it, you will discover why I thank God, to this day, for not allowing anyone to answer that first phone call. If someone did, well…I don’t even want to think about it.

A Mans Heart

More ‘Thank you God’s to follow.

Encephalitis – Time to Make Some Sense

Before continuing my story on the brain-affected illness called encephalitis that hit me hard in my early twenties, some brainpuzzleillo-workedtwenty-six years ago, I want to give a brief overview of what I have covered in my posts thus far. (*1)

I had an unexpected seizure on December 20, 1990, causing me to spend over two weeks in the hospital. It took the doctors a few days to realize I had been hit with encephalitis, an illness that affects the brain and, often, other parts of the body.

After being there eight days, I showed the first sign that there was hope, hope that my brain was on the long road of improving, hoping to get as close to normal as possible. However, it wasn’t going to be easy.

After two weeks, I was physically almost back to normal and ready to finally leave that hospital. But because I still needed much work to improve the function of my brain, I was not able to go home. Uncertain what most things around me were used for, let alone what they were called, it was obvious I could not yet go back home and be a wife and mother of two small children. After all, how could I if I wasn’t even sure what being a wife or mother even meant. That second hospital, to focus on my brain’s ability to remember the many necessities in life, was a must.

But, before I get into explaining what took place after getting to that second hospital (*2), I first will share a bit more about my illness. With encephalitic, it depends where in the brain this illness hits to what effects will show, and to what extent. Thankfully, because of where it hit, it didn’t affect me as hard as it could have if it had taken place elsewhere. Because of where it did hit my brain, two of my senses were noticeably lost: my sense of taste and my sense of smell.

So there I was, not only forgetting what food was called, where and how in the world food even came to be, but not being able to smell it either. Even if food—or anything, for that matter—was brought right up to my nose, giving it one strong sniff, I smelled nothing. Add all that to losing the best part about eating—tasting—you then can understand why I lost some weight, being eating didn’t make it to the top of my list of things I wanted to do.

Remember my story a few posts back about me getting excited about McD’s french fries and ketchup? 2975f38df60b37e9d172ba700c2da448

Read it if you haven’t (*3), because as you read, you’ll notice I loved them because I remembered them!  I did not say I loved them because of the taste. How could I if I was unable to taste them.  I loved them because I remembered those long things with red stuff on them.


Losing my sense of smell also made no sense to me (no pun intended.)

amazing-facts-about-your-sense-of-smell-722x406Food, no. Soap, no. Perfume, no. Flowers a few people brought me, no. My then seven-month-old daughter’s dirty diaper, no. But it wasn’t really that bad. I mean, why would I miss the smelling of things if I wasn’t able to remember what I missed or what they had smelt like before. Make sense? (Pun intended.)

  But, overall, that part of life in that hospital wasn’t all that bad. I was still like a little kid, trusting all those doctors who told me what to do. But I was also an adult who was doing my darndest to show improvement, knowing there was a normal-thinking twenty-three year old wife and mother named Marianne, soon to be found.

To be continued.

1* Click to read how it all began.

2* Click for info on my second hospital.

3* Click and find out what was so great about Mc D’s.

Happy Labor Day

 

2Laborday

Being that today is Labor Day, I Can’t help but share one of my favorite verses.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)

This Bible verse stood out to me many years ago and has influenced my greatly in even my daily doings. As years went by, I saw that verse show up more in my journal.

Sure, it might take me considerable time, sweat, thought, and a soar back, but it’s usually worth it.  Yes, I have to remind myself not to just do enough to get by (Okay, I admit it. I  occasionally for lunch just grab a granola bar and a banana when I’m feeling a bit too lazy to actually MAKE something) but to do it with all my might. The benefits have helped me overcome my fears for the unknown and become motivated to work hard.

Let me encourage you all to fit this verse in with your daily tasks, small or big. It sure makes you appreciate when you see God’s help, and sure helps you… love that pillow even more when your day comes to an end.