life

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.

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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.

 

God’s Timing Is Perfect Even If It Means Ice Cream Might Melt

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I’d like to share another time when God showed me His Timing Is Perfect. (1*) (2*) One day three years ago,  back  when our budget was a bit too tight,  I tried to get back into house cleaning as I had done years earlier.

“Oh, great,”  I willingly but not so energetically thought, “Once again I’ll somehow get my name out to find new customers.”

While I was doing all I could to connect to possible customers, God was hearing me often ask for His guidance in how to connect with who.

About one week after I started giving it my all, one fall windy evening something took place. As I was pushing my grocery cart with four filled-to-the-brim bags to my car, I saw something a bit odd: a tow truck behind someone’s car parked in the disable spot with the truck driver talking to an elderly lady. I slowly walked by, hoping to hear what was going on.

“I can’t get your car to start,” said the tow truck driver, “Where would you like me to tow it?”

“Oh, my! I don’t know what to do,” was one sad elderly ladies answer, “Just tow it to my place and tomorrow I’ll have to try to figure out what I’ll do next.”

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, one of my favorite verses, came to mind. I began pondering.

One thought came to mind while trying to ignore the fact that the ice cream in one of my bags was melting.

“Um…excuse me but I couldn’t help but hear what the problem is. I have a suggestion.”

“Please, tell us!”  they both replied.

“Right across the street,” I said while pointing, “is the auto repair place I take my car. I know them well. They are closed now but how about you tow the car there, we both leave a note, and in the morning talk to them about your car. I’ll also offer to take you and your food to where you were headed, assuming it’s close by?”

Both mouths dropped.

“And if you have no way to get it after it’s fixed, maybe I can take you back to pick your car up.”

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“Wow, You mean that? You’ll really help me. You’re an angel!” the elderly lady said. “Oh, thank you so much!”

“That sure sounds good to me,” said the truck driver.

After dropping the car off, getting her and her food in my car, we both chit chatted a mile a minute. All went great as I took her only a few miles to her place.

“Can’t wait to see her face when she sees my plans,” God must have been thinking, because it turned out this dear lady lived at a retirement apartment complex. No way was I going to let her carry all her stuff up to the 4th level.  As I walked into that building, seeing a few elderly people walking around, one even needing a walker, a thought began to form.

Hmmm – I bet people here could sure use someone to clean their places. I just might look into this.

I asked the lady her thoughts about that while in the elevator.

“There sure are people who would love for you to do that. You’ll get quite a few! I promise.”

That next day, when picking her up to go get her car, I had a poster all ready to pin up in the main office’s wall, informing those living there about my cleaning service. That evening I got my first of many calls! God must have been grinning each time I answered the phone those first few days. Why?  Because I kept thinking that Gods timing of me coming out of that store was perfect, and that helping that dear older lady was far more important than keeping some ice cream from melting.

1*  Click here for God’s Timing Is Perfect #1 – Even when you’re scared.

2* Click here for God’s Timing Is Perfect #2 – A little love story.

Why Start a Blog?

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Ever ask that question, why people start a blog? Here are a few of the many reasons I found:

1- To market or promote something

2- To establish oneself as an expert

3- To connect with people with similar interests

4- To make a difference

5- To stay active or knowledgeable in a field or topic

6- To make money

I’ll now add the reason that caught my eye: 

7- To help others.

Why did I notice that the most? Because that is the reason I have.

These types of blogs are written to help people going through similar situations as the writer has experienced. Many parenting and marital blogs are written, along with health and financial guidance. Many topics can fit into that ‘help people’ category. Everyone wishes to find blogs that encourage, guide, help, and even bring a smile. Well, that’s my goal.

One verse I strive to follow is from Matthew 7:12, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

Being as I craved encouragement from other Christians during my unplanned pregnancy, those who truly could understand, I want to do unto others who are also looking for that. Thus, my blog.

I needed to read about Christians who felt like giving up but hung on. Thus, my blog for others needing that kind of encouragement. I wanted help finding a possible light at the end of my tunnel. Thus, again, my blog is written to bring that light to others.

Throughout many years, different women were asking for my story to help themselves, a family member, or a friend. Finally, after many requests, my story got underway to become a book. (*1)

I started my blog to help you, the reader, feel a face-to-face connection if you are going through these same type of ordeals. (*2) (*3)Even if it’s not an unplanned pregnancy, or a very tough illness, but something else is causing you to be anxious or worried, I hope my writings can help. 

One piece of hope I want to share in this post comes from a verse that was brought to my attention through a book I’m reading. I remember this often for the two ordeals I went through. Much peace it’s given me.
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Unexpected events can sure pull us out of our comfort zones, dragging us in a way that might hurt for a while. We could be one that feels very little, if any, speck of peace. Just try to remember, God’s plans are perfect. He understands and has reasoning for it all. That fact alone can help us re-animate our lifeless dreams. Clinging to God, who holds His children tight, gives rewards that can be astounding.

An unplanned pregnancy,  a brain damaging illness, or any tough trial is not the end of your life; it just might be the miraculous beginning.

I am going to be bold and ask anyone who’s willing to share this post/blog with your followers. Share it somehow, some way, believing it just might reach someone who needs encouragement or a listening ear.

Thank you.

*1 – Click to read what got my to start my book.

*2- click to read about my unexpected pregnancy.

*3 – Click to read about my getting hit with the illness Encephalitic. 

Two Phone Calls That Showed Me God’s Plans – 2

One day, thirty years ago, I had to make one important phone call that possible would be the beginning of a major change in my life. (*1)

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Pressing that last phone number to call a place I’ve never heard about caused my heart to pound. That place? Planned Parenthood.

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

Hmmm. No answer. Darn it. I’ll try another one. Let’s see. 

Flipping backwards a bit through the phone book I found another place: Crisis Pregnancy Center.

I have to try this place. If I’m pregnant, then it sure will be a crisis for me.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring.

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

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

I can still picture that building and how I felt as I drove up. But more so, I can picture the look on my face once I learned what the pregnancy test result ‘Positive’ meant. I also learned what feeling numb felt like. After a short spell, the lady asked, “Is it okay if I ask you, now that this test shows you are pregnant, what you think you should do?”

I took a deep breath, feeling like I needed to be strong and not fall into a pit of despair.

“Yes, you can. I…I think I should get an abortion. I can’t be a bad example as a Christian. You may not understand what the Christian faith is all about, but I want to please God and be a good witness to others.” Deep down, escaping the embarrassment was a big reason as well.

Those next few minutes were priceless, as I learned the place I was in was a Christian organization. God used that one woman to open my eyes to a few facts I needed to know.

She could tell I was young and uninformed, so her showing me verse after verse of what God’s Word says about abortion was valuable. Learning how God knew this baby was forming in me, and that he or she was planned, changed my entire view on abortion.

Watching a video showing what a five-week-old in the womb actually looked like had me in tears for even thinking of having an abortion. I grasped the fact that God is my Father, He loves me, and He knew this baby that was forming inside me.

I left that building fully at peace. Yes, I knew a tough road was most likely ahead but more importantly knew God would be right there with me.

He knew what was best for me: to make that phone call when one place was open while the other place was not. If that first call was answered, I’m almost certain Planned Parenthood would have let my emotions take over and resort to abortion. God knew it was best for me to have this baby and, as I continue sharing bits and pieces in my book, you’ll find out why.

God still hears my thanks to this day, 30 years later. I cling to all that took place back then  knowing it has helped me go through other tough trials since.

cropped-open-book1.jpgI’m telling my story to encourage others going through any tough times. Things may not turn out picture perfect as we hope, but God’s plans are always for our good.

#1 Click here to read what finally got me to that phone.

Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also a member of Northwest Christian Writers Association and author of a forthcoming memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @7winnipoops7 and read more at her blog, http://www.MariMemiors7.wordpress.com.