Unplanned pregnancy

A Glimpse Into My Memoir

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Time I share a piece from my memoir called God and My Pillow.  Why? I’m excited, that’s why! I’m in my next phase of getting my memoir into the hands of people I want to encourage as they go through their own unplanned pregnancy. My other reason is to give my fellow readers a small taste of what took place when I was nineteen years old, a new follower of Christ, thinking I was ready for the world before I discovered I was pregnant. I want to get your curiosity to grow more and more to the point that you think, “I HAVE to have her book in my own hands when it’s out.”

Note – this takes place close to one year after God graciously saved me, having attended a Baptist church that year.

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As months went on, church was still great, and I was getting closer to the people there. But besides that, nothing kept me from taking the offer Debbie, an older friend of mine in California, made. 

“Oh, Debbie, I really don’t feel like wasting time with such useless classes. Plus, home here with Mom and Dad sure isn’t full of fun,” Plus, here in town, my sister Janis’s five-year-old daughter, Brenda, was very ill and it was questionable how long she had to live. Perhaps only a few months.

“Well, you could come stay with me for a while and see what happens,” Debbie said. “I’d love to help. It would be cool, us sharing my apartment.”

 The phone cord kept me from bouncing on my bed.  “Hey, I love that idea! Why not?” We discussed how to make it work and how, after finding a job, I’d then help pay the rent. Perfect plan! I knew, of course, how I’d need to find a church, knowing I needed God in California just as much as I needed Him in Normandy Park, Washington.

      I felt mature enough (as I bet most nineteen year olds do) to leave home, and got all excited thinking about the possibilities. The timing was perfect, as I was finishing my second quarter and the beautiful spring-like feel was at hand. My parents were not so gung-ho, but being that I was nineteen, they couldn’t stop me and, thankfully, they trusted me. They felt I wouldn’t be stupid enough to do something foolish. My brother Bud, living close to where I’d be, helped my parents feel more comfortable with the plan.

Finally…

I can’t believe it. My last night at home. I’m sure it’ll all go fine. It has to go fine. It’ll be interesting living with Debbie, but she’s so sweet. I bet she’ll help me find a job since she knows what’s around there. Weird leaving Seattle, but I can’t wait to see what it’s like living in California. Hope I find some cool place to work. Maybe cuter guys are there, too. Wonder how nervous I might get being on my own to find a church. Glad I’m all packed so I can start driving first thing in the morning. Pretty sure I have that big map in the car already. (Yep, no cell phone Google Map back then.) 

God, please help me know what I’m doing.

I was ready to take off in my own little car the next morning.

God, gas, and a bag of chips: check. Map, clothes, toothbrush, Bible, oh, and, of course, my pillow: check. Goodbye, house, goodbye, Mom and Dad. Goodbye, you little town of Normandy Park. Hello, new world!

 

calif.


 

A taste of what took place when I was nineteen years old. Oh, I’m sorry. I mean nineteen years young, when I began a trip that changed my life.

The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up – part 2

back pocket

In my last post, (1*) I wrote about the word ‘thankful’ and how that word didn’t fit too well inside my heart as I underwent my two extremely tough afflictions. (2* & 3*) No one found me relaxed on a recliner, smiling ear to ear while thinking, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so thankful God is having me go through this incredibly tough time.” Nope. Thankfulness was tightly folded up and hiding in the back pocket of my jeans.

After each ordeal took place, however, my mind knew God was in charge. I began realizing more and more that as things were getting better, I was actually thinking of pulling that Thankful sign out of my jeans and putting it on the table, but of course still folded up. As more positive things began to appear through each ordeal, I actually unfolded that paper. Sensing God’s help via family, friends, doctors, and the like, I finally decided to unfold the paper and read it each time I walked by. More thankful thoughts were growing in size and frequency. I finally got a magnet and —drumroll, please— stuck that Thankful sign up on my refrigerator!

I wasn’t becoming thankful I was pregnant, or for my month-long stay at a hospital. Not yet anyway. Thankfulness was there for feeling Christ was supporting me, caring for me, and letting me know He wasn’t just King, but my Father.

I was growing in the understanding that God is the One who puts us through what comes our way, good or bad. I was on the road that was planned by Him, whether smooth and serene, or unpaved, or one filled with countless sinkholes. I still felt a bit shattered and broken, not able to do what I had planned in life, but finally understanding that God’s plans are perfect, and that He was going to use me somehow, some way sure helped. 

Peace was growing inside as each year went by, and a few verses began to stand out.

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Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. 

Attached is a song – The Very Next Thing – by Casting Crowns, which shares how I had began to slowly feel as time went by, using words such as…

– With my very next step – be on the road that was planned by you

– Lord, wherever you’re leading me – that’s where I want to be

Even though I did not know which direction that path was going, thankfulness, tied with peace, permanently got pinned to my heart and I was eager to see how He might use what He put me through to serve Him.

Finally, doors were opening and I began to see what His plans were. 

– to be continued.

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 

Thank you, Lord – part 2

Thankyoulord1

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

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

Who is this someone I’m referring too?

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 went 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, God’ 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.   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.

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.

Unplanned Pregnancies – Then vs. Now

Pregnant
What was a typical day like for your average nineteen-year-old thirty years ago? When you woke up, you were glad there was nothing electronic close at hand to open up the world to you. You, alone, away from it all…perfect. Once awake, you’d turn on your favorite radio station or you’d rewind your cassette to hear your favorite Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, or Lionel Richie song again.

You were thrilled your parents got that extra-long phone cord so you could, at last, leave the kitchen and walk into the bathroom to talk to your friends.

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“Well, then call me as soon as you get back home. I have to tell you something,” or “If no one answers, I’ll call later. Just make sure you are by a phone when home,” were statements often said.

 It was hard to decide which one of those six stations to watch on that big, boxy TV.

You loved grabbing the delivered daily newspaper your parents had on the kitchen counter to check movie times.

Later on, it was time to put eighty-nine-cents-per-gallon gas in your stick shift before picking up a few friends, grabbing ninety-nine-cent double cheeseburgers at McD’s before watching the movie called Star Trek lV, or The Voyage Home, that cost a whopping $2.75 to see. That’s what life was like for me when I was nineteen.

Until, that is, I found out I was pregnant. (1*) Life was so different back then, and I felt so alone. I’m certain many women feel like that even today, but because of the way we now have such easy access to helpful information, I think it’s safe to say, thankfully, that not quite so many feel as alone as I did.

cell phone

 

There were no cell phones back in 1986, so, when sitting in my car, away from the world,  I couldn’t secretly look up information on where to get a pregnancy test.

 No laptops, I-pads, or cell phones to tweet #unplannedpregnancies. No opening up your laptop to type in www.crisispregnancy.com, either. No putting in ‘first trimester’ to get a long list of websites covering the subject. I would have loved to have found a Facebook group for Christians going through an unplanned pregnancy, or Twitter to find encouraging verses and quotes. But no. I felt like I was in my own little world, not able to connect with any Christians who had been, or were, going through what I was experiencing. I now know that if I did not have my church family during that time, I would have gone bonkers. But still, there was no one to Skype with who could look at me, face-to-face, and say, “Let’s talk. Believe me, I know what it’s like and how you’re feeling.”

on computer

Unplanned pregnancies can be dealt with quite a bit differently now than thirty years ago. Now, you can get info about anything from anywhere. Heck, you can even get your best help or support from total strangers all around the world! I’m sure I would have been getting information and insight from my I-phone, I-pad, or I-mac. (Yes, you can call me an I-fan!) There are also more organizations that have opened their doors for needed tests, information, and support.

For years, I put off writing my story being as so much had changed since I was pregnant. Then it hit me. Unplanned pregnancies are still that: un…planned…pregnancies. They were the same back then as they are now: an unexpected shock to women, followed by overwhelming emotions and stress for all involved. Once realizing this, I then decided—with encouragement from others—to write my book, showing what I went through. (2*) Yes, the means of getting helpful information about this type of pregnancy may now be different, and the number of people you are able to connect with who are going through the same thing can sure help one feel less alone, but overall, we’re still the same. Back then and now, our hearts and minds are where our feelings and thoughts are stored.

And God’s the same, as well! That’s the best fact. He has not changed how He carries those who follow Him. He sure carried me then and He sure carries His children now.

Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Sure, He might now use that perfect website to guide you in what help or information to get.  I just know I’d never change what He used to guide me to what was best.

The good old yellow pages. (3*)

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1* – Click here to read what it was like when I took the pregnancy test.

2* – Click here to read what got me to write my book

3* Click here to find out how the yellow pages fit into my story

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.