life

Blessings Wrapped Around My Unplanned Pregnancy -Part 6

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“I love all the weight I’m gaining in this unplanned pregnancy I’m somehow enduring as a nineteen year old,” said no one ever. Or at least I for sure was not thinking that thirty years ago during the pregnancy I endured at that tender age. So why am I bringing that up now? To share one more way God showed He was helping me though that pregnancy.

After sharing a few weeks back why I was thankful for my doctor, (1*) I’ll say here how all my visits to her were going fine as my tummy was noticeability growing. As months had gone by, all had been going a heck of a lot better than I had expected. The story I shared last week is a perfect example. (2*) But the visit during my seventh month with her caused my mouth to drop as she told me some unexpected news. Let my soon published book – God and My Pillow – explain.

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A bit overweight, big sweatshirts were my normal attire. And, of course, we all know the weight gained during pregnancy isn’t such an enjoyable fact to accept. But out of the blue, after I got my routine weight checked, she said, “No real worry, but I must say you are not the weight you should be by now.”
“Oh, great. I need to watch my weight? I’m gaining too much?” I asked.
“No. Actually, you haven’t gained the amount of weight that is normal. You need to eat a bit more for that baby. Are you dieting at all?” she asked.
“No. I’m not eating tons of junk, but not dieting.”
“Well, just eat more good food. More than you have been,” she instructed. “From now on, each time you come in, I want to see a few more pounds than the normal gain you should be showing. Understand?”
Understand? With the biggest grin, I understood.

Subway-Turkey-Italiano-Melt-620x345On the way to each doctor’s visit from then on, I stopped and grabbed a good old foot-long Subway sandwich across the street from the doctor’s office. After all, I had to make sure I would show the most weight gain possible, right? Since I currently live in the same area, I still giggle inside every time I drive past that Subway.


 

As I shared in last week’s blog about God’s puzzle, this is one more piece of that puzzle I’ll never forget. Now sure, many may not instantly feel like giving God credit for being told they need to eat more, but I couldn’t help it. I felt He wanted to take that extra weight off my back (pun intended) of feeling fat during those last few months. I was already a bit over weight when I first got pregnant, so that visit was one of many other ways I felt God used to keep me hanging onto Him during the entire pregnancy.

I encourage you to ask yourself if it’s hard to find any joy in anything. Try to think of, as soon as you can, anything that brings a smile to your face. Thank God for it! Let me encourage you not to delay thanking God when you find any simple unexpected joy-filled news. Or how about those little things you unexpectedly come in contact with – even if it’s just that simple Subway sandwich.

Ephesians 5:20 – giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

Can’t help but share one simple thing that would sure cause one huge  🙂  to show on my face today, as it did with what my doctor told me that day. To get new followers ! Follow me now to read more stories of how God carried me though this ordeal along with another savior  trial I’ve gone through.  (3*) Thanks.

 

 

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Blessings Wrapped Around My Unplanned Pregnancy – part 5

puzzleHave you ever gone though an extra tough time in your life while at the same time sensing a few extra nice things taking place as well? That’s what was happening to me years ago. I realized later that each situation was a peace of a puzzle God was slowing but perfectly putting together.  He wanted me to see that each piece was formed by Him, made to fit picture perfect together. I’ve been sharing a few of those pieces with you lately, showing what had taken place during my unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of nineteen. ( 1*2*3*4* )

Of course I could share week after week every piece by piece of that puzzle but, thankfully, it would take forever to finish. But I can’t help but share one or two more, knowing my soon to be published book, God and My Pillow, will show the rest. 

I’ll use an excerpt from my book to show another piece of that puzzle.

One week now until Greg would fly up from California. One week left to pretend there was no huge change about to happen in my life. An entire week to enjoy me, myself, and I. No one I had to hang around with. No one I had to force myself to be comfortable around. Only me, my pillow, and, of course, this child I was carrying. God was so helpful even in that area. No morning sickness at all. Yep. I repeat, no morning sickness. Sure, an occasional slightly nauseous feeling, but nothing like I had been warned about. Well, maybe once — I repeat — once. It, however, was ever so quick and simple that I never really considered it one. It was late in the afternoon after eating a can of fruit I was craving. Peaches, to be exact.

Peaches

Obviously I didn’t crave them anymore after that—how shall I say it?—quaint time leaning over the sink, letting those peaches pop back out. Seeing canned peaches in stores now always brings back that memory.

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Shall I assume the words ‘NOT FARE’ are going through a majority of those who have experienced a pregnancy?  Finding anyone who only had one almost-morning sickness is hard to come by. I’m sure not complaining I was one of those few. That entire pregnancy was nothing close to what I was warned it could be like. I guess God just knew I couldn’t deal with everything like that while smack in the middle of a heart wrenching soap opera.

Next week’s story ties in with this weeks, showing how God used even food as a tool to show He was with me. Did you have any common unpleasant expectation you thought you’d have to endure that God spared you from? I’m curious what it is! Please oh please, share 🙂  

Next week you’ll  find out why only one certain Starbucks sign I occasionally see makes me giggle inside.

1*  –  2*   –  3*   –  4*   – Click to read the other signs God showed He was holding me.

 

 

Me, Myself and I, Before, During and After-part 5

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My last sentence from my last post –  God decided that evening, during that song, to unlock someone’s heart: mine  – I will now explain.

We all have our favorite songs. You know, the ones that really get you thinking as it digs deep into your heart. The one that opens your eye to a very important part of yourself and may even cause a tear or two to form. Why do I bring that up? That happened to me thirty-two years ago when I was eighteen at a college age Christian retreat. (1*) But one thing was different. The song wasn’t what changed my thinking. The singers voice, words, or music weren’t digging into my heart, soul, and mind. Jesus was.

Shortly after she started singing, for some strange reason I began picturing in my mind a man’s somewhat generic-looking face behind my shoulder, looking straight at me, quietly saying a few times, “I love you.” 

What in the world? It kind of looks like Jesus is saying that directly to me!

Hard to explain, but it was as if  He was giving me a little tap on the shoulder, getting my attention, letting me know He loved me. I repeat, hard to explain. 

 Man, oh, man, something is totally happening!

Now, just for the record, I’m not at all one to encourage the world to let emotions take over. Our emotions can be so misleading. I wasn’t as aware of this fact back then as I am now, but I still knew enough to know that it wasn’t any overly exploding emotion that caused all this. I just know one thing: something happened.

What’s happening? Nothing’s really great about this lady’s way of singing, and it’s not like the words of this song are really an emotion grabber. So WHAT’S GOING ON?

So many Bible facts I grew up with, plus the things I had been hearing those last few day about Jesus dying for sinners, finally clicked. He died for MY sins. It was as if God put a key in the door that opened my heart, allowing me to see how undeserving I am of that love. Right then I felt like dirt. Right then I felt I needed His forgiveness for how sinful and selfish I had been those eighteen years. 

I then began feeling this full load of sin taken off my back, being replaced with forgiveness and love. I felt broken, but then repaired. Man, what a refreshing feeling. Sure, I had never killed anyone and was, for the most part, a clean-cut girl, but now I knew that wasn’t enough. Finally, the few things I had heard from other believers and some of the messages given that week made sense.

It was as if some light that I was trying to find finally sparked! I was face-to-face, looking at that light. 

I finally began understanding what this ‘new heart’ thing meant! Wow! When that song was almost over I leaned over and whispered, “Willma! Something special just happened! I feel different,” while digging down by my feet thinking, WHERE’S MY CAMERA?

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To be continued.

1* – Click here to read my last post.

Ephesians 3:19 – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

Me, Myself, and I Before, During, and After

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Deciding what to share when describing what growing up was like has got to be one of the hardest decisions. Last week’s writing I, for the most part, showed how I had a good old normal upbringing, or what I felt was normal anyway. (1*) Sad to say, a diary I started at age twelve showed how my heart put too much importance on finding a boyfriend.

Oct 1981 (Began my freshman year – 14 years old)

Can’t believe it’s been five months since I last wrote. Here’s a quick update. I took summer band for four weeks, met brothers Tom and Jeff. I was sort of with Tom until August, then Jeff and I realized we both wanted to have a relationship-type of thing. (Yep, I’m only fourteen) Went to camp, finding out Scott liked me again. Back to Jeff. He’s a sophomore, cute and sweet. I do admit, he does have his faults…

And about life now. I love high school!  I met so many new people. All those guys!  I love wearing different clothes every day. (Last week I shared how I went 1st through 8th grade wearing a uniform, so of COURSE I loved that change.) 

I’m working at Winchell’s Donuts now. It’s great! I feel guilty, though, every time I eat something there, being I’m on this calorie kick lately.

I’ll now fast forward to bits and pieces from my final writing my senior year.

May 1985 (end of my senior year – 18 years old) 

I graduate in twenty-nine days. I now know life is not easy at eighteen. I have my own car, went out with Jeff for nine months, attend Occupational Skills Center for a TV Communications course, work for Doug Fox Travel, and I love being an official Ball Girl for the Seattle Mariners. Will go to Highline Community College come this fall, and, of course, more confused about the darn love life.

I’m on my journey to understanding Christianity and what Jesus can do for me. Eyde and Willma are very religious now. Thankfully they aren’t too straight, though.

Is living with love important? I believe it is, but with each year passing, I still feel I’m going at it wrong. I think I depend on it too much. God will reward me, but when? I feel I am a great person. Why not now? Love does not come with a $145 prom dress, or when dancing with your prom date during a slow song. What’s the answer?

All through high school, guys were not just occasionally on my mind, but pretty much 24/7. Okay, maybe not a full twenty-four hours every day. A few hours went to studying, practicing my saxophone, or selling donuts when I worked at Winchell’s, but aside from that, deciding what guy to like took the majority of my thoughts my freshman through senior years.

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Reading all my writings in between these two have their ups and down. Family issues, friendship issues, who-I-like/who-likes-me issues, band, soccer, video/camera projects, and work issues. The list is endless of all I had going on inside my brain that made its way into my journal. But If I could only use one word to describe my overall high school life, I think I’d use…

To be continued.

1* – Click hear to read last weeks blog.

The Word ‘Thankful’ All folded Up -Part 1

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Think of an extra-tough time you’ve gone through. Okay, maybe not the most joy-filled request.

Now, look at the definition of thankful: 

1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful – grateful and appreciative

2. of, relating to, or expressing thanks – a thankful feeling – thankful words

Curious why I’m asking you to think of an extra-tough time, as well as defining what thankful means? It’s to help you understand what got me—as years went by—to be closer to actually being thankful for these two, somewhat life-changing hardships I’d gone through.   (1*) (2*)  

Thankfulness. Do I want you to think that from day one I was filled with thankfulness when my teenage pregnancy soap opera started? Or, do I want you to think I was overflowing with thanks shortly after my brain-damaging encephalitis hit, that had me unable to even understand who God was TO thank? Am I saying that that one question, ‘Why, God?’ was nowhere to be found during both of those times? Of course not. As a matter of fact, if it could have been visible, “Why, God?” would have been bubbled over my head more hours of the day than not. I bet all of you reading this have had that bubble at least once, and that it seemed, at the time, impossible to pop.

God, having saved me when I was eighteen years old, was who I gave so many thanks to, as most things went by pretty smoothly that first year before these two time periods began. This verse fit perfectly:

Ephesians 5:2 – Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

But bang, things changed. I was so young in my Christian walk when I was hit with the first of these two trials. There had only been one year of God’s word and guidance before that larger-than-life trial occurred, followed by the next one only a few years later.

Being thankful for trials, along with understanding what God’s providence even meant, were both still hard to fully understand. It was hard to even find a little drip-drip-drip of thankfulness for either. Yes, I did sense God’s Fatherly care in both, but thankfulness that He decided to have me need that care sure wasn’t standing out. The word ‘thankful’ was folded up as many times as possible, put in the back pocket of those jeans I never wore.

back pocket

I knew God was holding me, but the fact that He had reasons for it all was hard to find as those early years went by.

Hearing those common words, ‘God has reasons,’ caused me to think ‘But what ARE they?’ That question was glued in my thoughts as every day, week, and month I was pregnant went by, and especially after every day, week, and month after my illness went by.

As time did go by, however, I—how shall I say it—started wearing those jeans I seldom wore, sensing something going on in that back pocket. Something was unfolding.

James 1:12 slowly began making sense.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

To be continued.

1* First trial –  Unplanned pregnancy

2* Second trial   – Brain Injury 

The Hardest Phone Call to Make – part 2

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One last re-showing of a few past blogs to get all up to par of where I’m at with my story. This piece shares writing directly from my book about my unplanned pregnancy which I dealt with when I was nineteen years old. The title is God and My Pillow because those are the only two who really knew all of my heart, soul, and mind during this difficult time. My last post shared what got me to finally make the hardest thing I’ve ever had to make: a phone call.   Click here  to read that post.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ri…

“Hello.”

It was him. It hit me hard.  It’s him.

“Hello.”  Does he recognize my voice?  “Is this Greg?”

“Yes, it is. Is this… Marianne?” I could tell from his tone of voice that he was surprised.

“Yes, it is.”

“Oh. Well, hello.”

Should I talk about the weather for a spell? No.

“If you’re wondering why I’m calling, I’m… I’m  calling to let you know… I’m pregnant and that the… the baby is yours.”

Silence.

“You’re–pregnant?” A little space between those words.

“Yes.”

Silence. I knew I needed to allow him a little time to breathe and come out of shock, but finally I had to say something. I said, a bit slower than normal, “So, what are you thinking?”

His answer showed that he didn’t know what in the world to think. I was rather bold, and told him right up front that an abortion was not an option. I could tell he was disappointed, but thankfully he didn’t make a big deal about that decision.  A sudden trap, I’m sure he felt.

We ended the talk by agreeing to go through this together, but that he would wait to hear from me on what I decided to do. I was a bit sad that there was no bold, mature, adult response like, “No matter what, I’m right by your side and will aim at making this the best thing for us both. I love you and will do anything that’s best for our baby. I’m eager to meet your parents, to show them I will take care of us all.” Instead, he had a more of a “yeah, whatever” attitude. I just told myself that it was better he be that way than have some selfish, mean, I don’t care attitude. He agreed it was his responsibility to do something, even if it meant we would get married and keep the baby.

Me? Getting married? Now? I knew I didn’t want to decide right then over the phone, so I told him I’d get back with him in a few days. I hung up, telling myself the talk went pretty well. But I also found myself needing to find something good out of everything lately.

After hanging up the phone, I felt like hiding from the world for a while. My thoughts of deciding what to do had begun, but they were too hard to share with anyone.hommes-naiment-chez-femmes-fuir

I could give the baby up for adoption and have no connection with Greg; have the baby and not get married; or have the baby and get married. I didn’t want to hear from anyone right then and I didn’t feel like deciding. I just wanted God to tell me.

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Why am I sharing this particular part from God and My Pillow? To make up for not including more here of what followed with Greg. It’s better to wait to read what I like to call the soap-opera part of my book. I feel it’s best for my book to show how God carried me through this entire ordeal, from beginning to end, with this young man.

My story is written to help readers understand how God may decide to put you through your own soap opera, one you’re not sure you can survive. I want to show you He can, and will, get you through it, holding you tightly and never letting go.

 

(1) Click here  to read my blog prior to this one, and/or click here  to see how this entire story began.

 

 

What? I’m 50?

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Ready for a few questions? What do you think of when you put the numbers 5 and 0 together? Obviously 50. 50 minutes, 50 cents, $50, 50 pounds, 50 whatever. Why am I asking? Because this last April 1, just a few days ago, I turned the big 5-0. Wish I could say APRIL FOOLS, but I can’t. It’s true. I’m 50 years old.

Now, I could say I’m not 50, but 18 with 32 years’ experience. Or, I’m not 50, but 49.75 plus shipping and handling. But nope. I’m at peace to say I’m now 50. It’s a nice round number that slides off the tongue easier than 49. But the better reason is there’s much of life to look back on—and yet, there’s still so much more ahead. I really don’t mind being 50 because, to me, it just means one day closer being with the Lord.  

I want to share the most valuable thing I’ve learned these last 50 years: growing closer to Christ has been the best part of getting older.  The words to one of my favorite songs explain some of the reasons why, being as I shared in the past how the words of songs can mean so much to me. So heck, why not?  It’s just another perfect time to share another song. (1*)

God of All My Days by Casting Crowns. (Even the title makes it fit perfectly for my birthday.)

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Each time I hear it, I overflow with thankfulness, being reminded I am one of His chosen. That one fact has brought me more peace as each year has gone by. He’s carried me now for many years, as every day, some how, some way, shows me I am one of His.  He’s been, like the song says, the God of all my days. Or, to be exact, 599 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 13 hours, 13 minutes and 20 seconds…and still counting.

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Pass along one of your favorite songs. I’d love to see which ones stand out to you.

1* Check out this older post that explains my love for music.                                                         

2* Click here and listen to Loving My Jesus by Casting Crowns. Believe me, you’ll see why this song stands out to me.