pregnant

My ‘Thank You, Lord’ List Grows-part 1

Thank you, Lord

Thankyoulord1Three words that fit together perfectly throughout your life. I bet most of you can instantly think of a situation that stands out, your smile intertwining within those words, right?  Now, think of the toughest time you’ve ever gone through. I bet there wasn’t much smiling from ear to ear while thanking God when that story was taking place. My unplanned pregnancy is a perfect example of that. (1*)

Back then, nineteen years old and pregnant, a smile on my face was hard to find. Was I, in the midst of it all, thanking God? Far from it. My pillow got drenched with tears more often than I’d like to remember those first few months pregnant. Peace was growing, however, inch by inch, after the toughest load of uncertainty got lifted off my back. A new me began the day my almost-husband moved back to California. (2*)

It’s hard to describe the peace that was beginning to form inside: me, my baby, and God—a perfect threesome of what I needed to focus my energy on. Accepting that fact was helping this new reality of becoming a mother not so hard to face. Not peachy-keen, mind you, because there I was, not even twenty, pregnant, and believing my hope of going to college was history. I was living with my parents, drowning in an overflow of questions on how to even be a mom, far from thanking God for all I was going through. But at least all that had been uncertain now had a bit more peace surrounding it. I wasn’t saying “Thank you, God, that I’m pregnant,” mind you, but ‘being with child’ wasn’t bringing me down nearly as much.

I was feeling more positive, thanks to conversations with those from church, along with solid preaching and constant love and support shown by my family.

Verses like Ephesians 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – began sinking in.

‘All things work together for good’… Did that mean I was going to have a picture-perfect pregnancy and delivery, have the cutest baby who, once home, would sleep seven hours every night, and after being discovered, become a Gerber’s model, thus make millions of dollars? Of course not.

Paul wrote ‘for good’ to mean that the Lord intends all our circumstances, both good and bad, to be tools to help us get closer to God and grow more and more into the likeness of Christ. I may not have grasped all that right then and there, but I did sense, like I said, more peace was beginning to form as time went by. I was realizing that God allows all things that happen to those who seek after Him. The circumstances sure did not seem best for me at the time, but God designed and used the circumstances to be for my good. A hard fact to accept sometimes, but still true.

And sure enough, I could sense God by my side more and more in my pregnancy, which caused my faith to grow. Faith-it-does-not-make-things-easy-it-makes-them-possible.-LukeI began clinging to His promises more, by faith, which led me to sense more of His help, which then caused more faith, had me see MORE of His help, then MORE faith, then, well… one of those snowball effects, in a way.

I’ll share in my next writing what practical blessings stood out as months passed. This list has stuck with me now for years, still amazed at all He obviously did for me during that pregnancy, and why my pillow began to hear me think ‘Thank you, Lord’ more often.

Roman 8-39

Romans 8:39 basically tells us that nothing big or small… “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

To be continued.

The Hardest Phone Call to Make – part 2

deskphone

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.

————————————————

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.

 

 

Unplanned Pregnancy – Look Back Before Going Forward

In my next post I’ll continue sharing more of my unplanned pregnancy ordeal that took place when I was nineteen year old. Being it’s been a bit too long since I last touched on this topic, today I’m going  back a few posts to my last writing on this subject. Or, if you have not read any about my story, then why not just click right here to start reading from the very beginning of my soap opera and see how God has intertwined though out it all.

The Hardest Phone Call To Make – part 1

deskphone

So one day there I was, Marianne, nineteen years old, recently begun my new walk as a Christian with Christ right by my side as I was full of energy to face the world. The next day, however, I was that same nineteen-year-old who was now faced with an unplanned pregnancy, wanting to hide from the world.

I was relieved after telling my parents the day I found out, with an abundant amount of love from both of them softening my guilt. They showed no signs that they wanted to scratch me with any shame. They probably knew I was already holding enough shame inside.

Telling them I was pregnant still gets the title as the toughest thing I have ever had to tell anyone. Now sure, a few years earlier I had to finally tell the boss where I had been working for about four months that I was six months younger than the legal age to work there, with the result of instantly being fired from my job. That, however, was nothing compared to telling my parents I was pregnant.

Thankfully, the love expressed from my parents—along with my six older siblings—was the start of feeling that God was helping me at the beginning of this tough road I was now on.  I wasn’t encouraged enough to feel total peace in telling the entire world, however. Just my family knowing—along with my pillow, after it had soaked up my many thoughts by this point—was all I could bear for a few days. And then I told my best friend. That talk proved to me even more why she was my best friend.

I knew it best I talk to the pastor at my church, but being a Monday I found out I was pregnant, I decided to wait unit Sunday to talk to him face to face. Wondering how to tell my pastor filled much of my thoughts. But telling someone else filled up even more: the father. I became almost impossible not to think of how and when to tell my ex-boyfriend. Most of me didn’t want to tell him but I knew the smaller part of me was going to win. I had to tell him. Even though our relationship ended a few weeks before the thought of taking a pregnancy test even existed, a phone call was a must.

“Marianne,” my mother mentioned a time or twenty, “just call him and get it over with.”

bad newsI couldn’t use ‘I’m too busy’ being as I had no job or any time-consuming hobby to use as an excuse. And no way was I in the mood to just hang out with friends to fill up time. I tried my darndest to delay calling him as long as possible. Thomas Jefferson’s saying ‘Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today’  got pushed under my rug. Finally, towards the end of that week, I gave in and (gulp) called.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ri…

“Hello.”

To be continued.

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)

images

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.

The Best Christmas Poem Ever

 

background-4

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are you.

I bet we all can recall this poem, knowing people have fun making changes to it.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
My love for you
Will always be true.
or
What I feel in my heart
Is true love for you.

Oh, how adorable. Then, of course, people have fun making it silly.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sunflowers are yellow.
I bet you thought
this was a romantic poem.
These are just gardening facts.

Being it’s the Christmas season, I’ll share part of one I bet we’ve all heard:

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.

Wonder why I’m bringing up poems during this holiday season? Because I thought it was the perfect time to share a poem I made as a gift for my husband one year. On Christmas Eve twenty-three years ago, my husband, myself, and our two adorable young daughters, Cassie and Trina, were spending time at my husband’s parents’ home. Time to exchange gifts. Of course, our daughters had to open up theirs first. It’s always fun seeing the excited looks on little kids faces as they begin unwrapping. You should have seen the look of anticipation on my face when It was my husband’s turn to unwrap his gift from me.

“Here, honey,” I said, while handing him a simple, small envelope, “your turn.”
I’ve always been one to do things a bit differently whenever I give a gift, and this one to him was a perfect example.

“What’s…what’s this? A card?” he asked as he opened the envelope, pulling out this Marianne-made card. No computer back then to whip one up as people can do today. Nope. After opening up this envelope, he pulled out the simple folded piece of paper with words I had written on the front.

“Just make sure you read it out loud,” I said. He then began.

fullsizerender-2

He read it again, with a more serious look on his face. Then he looked up and saw me smiling from ear to ear. Looking on the inside of the card he saw the picture I put together that helped explain the poem.

 

fixed-x-mas-card1

 

Slowly, he began smiling.
“You mean…are you…are you pregnant?”

The atmosphere in that room ignited with words such as “Really?” “Wow!” and “When’s it due?” And then explaining this wonderful news to our daughters came next by using the well-known saying, “There’s a baby in my tummy.”

Telling my husband I was expecting was a gift he sure wasn’t expecting!
That simple card with that simple poem turned out to be the best gift that year, and not just for him, but for us all.

The Door and the New Me – part 2

open-doorway-with-light

In my last writing I talked about that front door of the house I grew up in, and how it, my last few years there, symbolized new beginnings. I stepped through that door as one Marianne Houstoun and came back a different Marianne Houstoun. The second time opening that door wasn’t as joy-filled as the first time. (read my last blog HERE) This time I walked inside in such a way I never thought I would.

From kindergarten through high school I had lived in that house with my parents, siblings, and even a dog for most of those years. Thankfully, career dreams began forming my junior year of high school, and when I graduated I was determined to make that dream come true. To top that off, with the new me described in my last blog, I was ready for the world. “A career, with God by my side… LOOK OUT, WORLD!”

That is, until the following summer. I wanted to get to where I was going one morning in the blink of an eye, just to get it over with. But I also wanted it to take forever to avoid the what-ifs. The place I went to that I never thought I’d have to go. Reality hit me hard during the hour I was there, because that’s where I discovered I could no longer pursue my dream. As I drove home in a daze, I felt part of me was gone. Once home, I experienced the longest time it’s ever taken me to open that door. Me, myself, and I had left that house, but me, a rough road ahead, and my unplanned pregnancy is what slowly opened that door.

I was flooded with disbelief. “How could I have messed up like this? I’m pregnant. Why me? God, You heard me cry many times for Your forgiveness for giving in and losing my virginity. But… but why this now?” 

images

Opening that door meant It was time for me to start telling the world—or at least my parents.

I knew my life was going to change when I opened that door. The only speck of peace I had when stepping inside was knowing God was still right there next to me, like it was that special door-opening-day the year before. 
But this time His fatherly arm was around me a little tighter

We all know the Lord’s plans can be difficult. However, we have to remember, as hard at it is sometimes, He will turn tough times of trials into possible blessings. Yes, blessings. Facing trials are difficult, and times do come when it feels like we’re drowning. That is, however, an essential part to grow, to mature.

Romans 8:24 is one of many verses that can encourage us.                                                     (Make sure you pay attention to the word ‘all.’)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

If you haven’t discovered this already, you will learn that as time goes by after tougher times occur, God’s plans are perfect and His fatherly, everlasting love is there to help. When God cradles us in His arms, He might not erase the tears right then and there, but believe me, His reasons are perfect as to why we need to be held. He has many things He wants to offer if we cling to Him through that fearful, tearful time.

My Fourth-of-July Thought That Didn’t Finish

My Fourth-of-July Thought That Didn’t Finish –

53b362cc9c1a3.image

         A fun-filled family-and-friends Fourth of July. Say that ten times fast! This year’s celebration is now over and I’m sure many of us have stories to share. There’s one story I sure have but it’s not this year’s forth. Let’s go back a few. One certain Fourth of July thirty years ago was great, or at least I thought it would be.  But that one night of fireworks was sure different from all the ones before and all the ones after. As people were having a blast, literally, with fireworks, I asked myself this one certain question that certainly changed my life.

      Why is my period a few days late? Hmmm. That couldn’t mean I might be preg. . .

         That question stopped halfway through the last word—pregnant. My heart began to pound a bit faster. My thoughts continued. No, I can’t. Pregnant? Could I? No. Please, no. I have plans. I have goals. I can’t be pregnant.

          I wasn’t only thinking I might be pregnant, but instantly felt that if I was, I’d then be stereotyped as someone who just doesn’t know what she’s doing, and might be looked down upon by many.

          But I’m a Christian. I can’t. 

         Yep, being a Christian made me feel even worse with the possibility. Twenty-million questions were forming as I faked a smile while watching everyone else having fun. 

         “Marianne, you want to light this firework?” I was occasionally asked as I sat on one of the picnic chairs.

         “No, thanks. You guys are better at that. I’ll just sit here and watch,” while wishing I wasn’t thinking about what I was thinking about.

         Even though I was surrounded that Fourth of July night with dear family and friends, those thoughts I was having made me feel totally alone.

         The worry I felt that night placed me in the shoes which, sad to say, many go through. But back then, in 1986, I knew very few who had. That night, however, made me begin to realize how even God-fearing Christians can mess up, being that I was, at age nineteen, one of them. An instant new perspective on life began that Fourth of July.

         So why am I opening up with this story? To share what God did for and to me through this ordeal, in the hope to encourage others, no matter whats going on.  I want my story to help others realize that clinging to Him can help wipe those tears, even while perhaps bringing the best surprises their way.  

         My memoir, Lord willing, will be out sometime in the near future to show how God carried me, His child, in His arms through it all.  No easy walk, mind you, but He held me tight throughout.