– Three Important Questions – Part 1

 

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Have you ever been to a conference? Have you ever spoken at a conference? Have you ever had a deep-down inside question finally answered after a conference? Why do I ask these three questions? Because after this last weekend, I can say ‘yes’ to all three. Let me explain the first two.

Sure, I’ve been to conferences before, but this was my first time going to one in my area for people who have suffered from a brain illness call encephalitis. This was my first time I got to meet many who, like me, look fine & dandy on the outside, but who’s brains sure don’t work fine & dandy on the inside. No way was I going to miss this conference, especially since it would be given by that encephalitis website I found years before. (1*)

Being I’m one who lives here, six or so weeks before, I was asked to be the opening speaker, sharing whatever I felt is best about my illness. As I pondered and prayed, a few days later I said yes.

I had what I was going to say all figured out before I drove to the hotel. Peace with how it was going to end, however, was not totally there. I planned to share what I went through with my illness, ending it with how I was determined to work ten times harder than most people need to in order to meet a few big goals I’ve had.  I wanted to encourage them by having them see that if I could do it, they could too. All I was thinking about while driving to the conference was how I wish I had a little extra spark to end my speech with. Then this song came on.

 

 

“That’s it! This song has encouraged me this last year. The words are perfect! ”

I pulled over, pulled my phone out, and pulled out the words of that song. (I love google.)

songFrom start to finish, I was finally at peace with what I was going to say.   The wording of that song, I felt, was the perfect spark needed to explain my main point of telling my story. And when someone the next day told me how that song was perfect to hear, I grinned ear to ear.

 

 

God sure heard my thanks to Him for, again, timing things perfectly. This time it was the timing that perfect song came on.

But before I end, I want this song to encourage you as well. Do you feel like you are on empty? Do you feel like all your efforts just don’t mean anything, and that nothing good is coming out of all your attempts? do you find that question “When God?” forming? If you know what you are doing is truly worth it, pray for God’s guidance and perseverance as you keep giving it your all.

Galatians 6:9 — And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Romans 5: 3-4 — And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

1* – Click here to read how I found that encephalitic support group.

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Three Important Questions – Part 1

           – God Knows What He’s Doing –

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I bet we all know people whose lives have been dramatically affected by health issues, a financial crisis, or marital/family problems. I also bet many of you can say you yourself have gone through major trials such as these.  The important thing to remember in the midst of each and every crisis is that God is in control.

My favorite way of putting it is that God knows what He’s doing. He really does. He is not surprised by the events, and He is not unsure how He is going to take care of His children. Sure, it’s easier to put our trust in Him when things are going great. We must, however,  remember to think that way when it looks like everything is falling apart.

The words of this song explain it well.

 

He’s shown me through the two storms I’ve endured that He never left my side. (1*) (2*) The Lord telling me “I’m with you,” I may not have heard with my ears, but sure heard in my heart. Tears were there, as I’m sure most of you have had, but, as the song says, every tear you’ve cried He holds in His hand.

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.

Phil 4:19  —  And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ

Notice in both verses we read the word “ALL.” It doesn’t say “some” or “most,” but it says that He will meet all of our needs. It doesn’t say how He will meet our needs, and I have found from experience the way He does it is often not what I expected. But the bottom line is that we all must cling to the fact that God is faithful.  He does what He promises and what is best for us.

1* – Click here to read the first posting of my first trial that my book is about.

2* – Click here to read about the second life affected trial

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

God Knows What He’s Doing

           – 5 Pregnancy Facts During That Eighth Month –

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My due date was getting close. My new life as a single mom was right around the corner, and before I knew it I would be holding my very own daughter in my very own arms. I can’t help but share a list of a few pros and cons surrounding me that last month.

1- Sleep – Sleeping at night was getting ridiculously uncomfortable. I flat-out did not look forward to going to bed. I’m sure my pillow could sense the un-comfort I was feeling, and if it could talk, would probably holler  ‘STOP MOVING!’

2- Clothes – Not wearing maternity clothes in some near future was my little dream. By no means was I going to miss wearing them. I couldn’t wait till they all went back to the thrift store that I most likely got then from.

3- Weight – Being a bit over weight before I was pregnant, I really did not like my size at eight months. Any mirror close by that last month was not my best friend.

4- Information – Learning all I could about labor, delivery and nursing was a must. I’m sure if websites were available back in 1987, Childbirth.com would have been my best friend.

Time now for the last yet most important fact

5- Church family – Let a few paragraphs from my book explain.

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       I was so thankful that my church was a true family of believers. Great messages, great fellowship. As my tummy was slowly but surely getting bigger, my love for all I was learning was growing as well. My church family helped me hang on with my family situation at home. Friction that had been going on for years between my parents was growing. Thankfully, I knew my soap-opera life wasn’t making it worse. I actually think it might have been helping, as it got them thinking of other things instead of what was wrong between them.
       My siblings’ lives, too, were all going in different directions. It seemed most were all hoping they could find greener grass elsewhere. Christ wasn’t included on their road in life. It was good that I could escape not only on Sundays, but at the Wednesday evening prayer meetings too. Sort of a mid-week refreshment. It’s scary to think how less peaceful I would have felt during that time if I didn’t have a great source for spiritual support and friends.

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Picture1-1Of course the first and far most reason for church is the gathering of believers to worship our Lord.  But the group I was honoring God with was also a must for me during my pregnancy.

Let me encourage those who do not attend church on a routine basis to do that. One of the many reasons is that when trials come, a support system that’s crucial could be right there. When in need, you will want your brothers and sisters in Christ to uphold you in prayer and assist with practical needs as well.

 

Galatians 6:2 encourages us to do just what my church family did for me.

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Click here if you are curious how this entire story began.  

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

5 Pregnancy Facts During That Eighth Month

                     – Two Adults Who Molded My Thoughts – 

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This post, similar to my last, shares another important lesson I learned during my unplanned pregnancy. (1*) But this one is a bit different. I take that back. It’s a lot different. My previous story was about one young boy I was around for a couple months who taught me a few things about me becoming a mother soon. This one is about two adults in my family I’d been around all my life that applied to me becoming a wife someday. Those two people? My parents.

Notice I said “applied to” being married, not an example to being married.

When I was a younger teen, my parents’ relationship wasn’t that positive. Yes, they showed love to me and my siblings, but displaying their love to one another was not so apparent. Having one or more of us kids around helped them find more to talk about than just the weather, what’s for breakfast, or where’s the mail. But, as year after year went by, joy, peace, and love between them was hard to witness.

“I’m sure not going to bring up little pet-peeve issues with the man I someday marry,” I began thinking in my young teen years. “Whoever he will be, him and I will not do any useless complaining or whispering a negative comment just loud enough for the other to hear. No huge arguments or even simple useless bickering back and forth. Nope. I refuse.” 

These thoughts formed before I became a Christian, so after my heart did a 180-degree turn at age eighteen, that thought grew even more each time I felt tension between them. Feeling sorry for them grew as well, knowing my parents did not understand what true peace in a Christ-centered marriage was about. They were a couple who kept God on that back burner, turned off, or, at best, on simmer.

Being pregnant, knowing I’d become a parent in just a few months, had me thanking God even more that He kept me from marrying Mr. Wrong, (2*) and having me see the importance of marrying a God-fearing Mr. Right.

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My thoughts about the importance of love between parents and their children, love between a husband and wife, and love between God and the family, were growing. I’m not saying I had everything figured out with my plans ahead as a mom and wife. Far from it. But my thoughts were slowly and surely molding in that direction. He had me start putting a puzzle together of my future by having me witness what was not going well outside and inside my home.

The point of sharing all this, along with last week’s story, is to have us see that we learn some important truths from ordinary day-to-day situations. None of us can foresee what He uses to teach us. He doesn’t reveal the entire path as we step into the unknown, but He slowly strengthens our faith through our experiences. Walking in God’s will is asking Him to show us what He wants us to learn and what He wants for our lives. Our responsibility is simply to obey and seek Him today, knowing that He holds tomorrow.

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Matthew 6:33:  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (like a bit more of a peace-filled family) shall be added to you. 

 

 

1* – click here to read my last post

2* – click here to read a bit how the father is not included in my story. 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Two Adults Who Molded My Thoughts

                  – A Little Child Who Molded My Thoughts –

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How many of you have had a simple thing happen that stood out. Not a huge, mind-boggling experience, just something you witnessed day after day that glued to your heart, soul, and mind. Perhaps the reason it stuck to you was because something else you were dealing with connected some how to what you were witnessing. To see how this happened to me, read this short piece from God and Your Pillow, a book I wrote which opens up my life during my unplanned pregnancy.

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      A part-time job I got at the YMCA was enjoyable and filled up some of my empty hours. Looking after little kindergarten-aged children did a few things for me. It helped me pass the time; helped me make a little money; and helped me realize I’m going to have a child this age really soon.

       Kind of weird thinking the third one, that’s for sure. But I didn’t mind, for I was learning important things. Being the youngest of seven, I had never really been around younger kids on a daily basis. Sure, I did have a little time with Kelly’s two boys around, two years and four years old. But that didn’t count. I knew they were cute, crazy little boys, and I had fun being an aunt once every few weeks for a few hours. But seeing different kids at this daycare every day was profitable for me, realizing how parents play a big role in their child’s life.

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       I sensed something in one little boy, that his home life wasn’t that positive, and I can, to this day, still picture how his face was either sad or mad, with words to match his look. He caused me to think how I wanted my own baby to grow up instead, with sweet smiles to pass around.

 


 

I sure did my best to make that boy smile. I will be honest. It wasn’t easy being he was a bit tough to deal with. I kept to heart it was most likely because of what life was like in his home, cherishing every time I saw a smile on his little face. As those few months went by, day after day spending time with that boy, I made a vow to myself to make sure my baby would have love, joy, and peace while growing up.

And of course a few verses on this subject began standing out a bit more. Here’s a few.
Psalm 127:3-4  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.

Mark 9:36-37 – Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

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“Oh, my goodness, ” I began thinking when eight months pregnant. “I’m already starting to think like a mom.”

 

 

Is there something that you witnessed that shaped you in who you are now? It’s often things we witness outside of our home that molds how we think and who we are. My next story will show something else that stuck to my heart while pregnant. However, It’s a bit different being it’s something I learned from inside my home.

To be continued.

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

A Little Child Who Molded My Thoughts

                 – My Book, a Song, God’s Timing & You –

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Have you ever had one huge thought rolling in your mind while driving, and right then and there a perfect song starts to play? That happened to me a few years back. My thought? I was close to being done with my book’s first draft, and being I love music, I wanted to put a song at the end that would somehow help describe my story.

“What song should I put in? This won’t be easy to choose.”

There I was, driving with a Christian radio station playing as those thoughts were rolling right along. All of a sudden – “Oh, I’ve never heard this song before.” After the first verse I was glued.
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“This song’s a must! It fits perfectly with my story,” I thought as more verses went by and a few tears began. Tears didn’t form because I felt I found a song, but how each word described me to the ‘T’ in how I felt during my pregnancy. (I sure was glad no one else was in the car.) God’s timing was perfect for that song to play. To this day I, more often than not, think of that song when ever I’m on that street.

As soon as I got home I went to my computer and downloaded that song.

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While hearing it at least ten times, deciding that song tied for first place on my favorite song list, I found the lyrics and began typing those words in my book.

I’ve mentioned my book, a song, and God’s timing. It’s time now to bring up the last: You.

As you listen to this song, think about you. If you feel at all like giving up on some tough ordeal you’re going through, if you see no end in sight, and have done all that you can, then think about what this song is saying. If you find yourself on your knees and feel far away from God, you best remember He’s right there. You’re not along. Stop holding on, and, like the song says, just be held.

 

 

As my last post shared, my book is available now to share my tougher than normal trial of an unplanned pregnancy. If you, or you know anyone going through one themselves, then pass word along to them of my book, God and Your Pillow. It’s to encourage, letting them know that they are not along.

Note – I realized later that I did not have the legal okay to show the words from that song in my book. If I was determined to wait forever and a day, then maybe. But for now, I just described a bit about the song and how it fits in with my story.

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

My Book, a Song, God’s Timing & You

 – Running With My Book – Part 3 – 

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Now, where did I leave off?  Oh, that’s right. My last post ended with . . . 

My book finally was – drumroll please – DONE!  (1*)

Done. I love that word. With the book finally finalized, the next phase of publishing began: getting my book out of my heart, soul, and mind, and into people’s hands. That phase began this last winter of 2017 –  the winter whose weather was 80 percent to blame for why I didn’t run as often as I had the last four winters. Too cold, too windy, too wet too often. I blame my book for the other 20 percent. No way could I pull my running shoes, gloves, and extra-thick sweatshirt out of my closet, since that would prolong getting my book in readers’ hands. ‘Determined’ became my new middle name. 

“Hmm. I’d like a reason for my deadline. I know!  My next birthday isn’t too far but not too soon.” That’s it. I decided to work my tail off to get God and Your Pillow ready by April 1, 2018. This plan of attack was the main reason I was unable to find time to run even if the weather was okay. 

At last, decent weather, one month ago in early March of this year, plus a little free time: running shoes on, check; iPod in hand, check. I took off. As soon as my feet hit the sidewalk, as soon as that two-mile escape from life began, I realized something.

“I’m no longer thinking about what to write, how to write, who to find to do whatever is needed. Weird.” I’m sure those driving by noticed a little bit of a stunned look on my face. “There are only a few last little things to do before it—gulp—gets printed!”

Memory Lane Road Sign

Reminiscing thoughts began of what got me to start my book, how many years it took me to write it, how many people I’ve met, how much I had learned, plus more. But most of all how God had clearly shown me so much encouragement from day one. To God be the glory.

 

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April first has now passed. And I am happy to announce that even a few days before my birthday my book found a home on Amazon. (Determination can sure speed things up.)

 

 

 

 

With so many thoughts floating around that day, I had to run. “I can’t believe it. My book is now on Amazon. I can’t believe it,” ran right along with me.

Once home, I walked into the front yard (notice I said ‘walked’) and sat down on the outside stairs to let my breathing slow down before going inside. No song stood out as much as the one that began as soon as I sat. God must have known to save that song for the few tears He knew I’d have in the privacy of my fenced-in front yard. Why? The song speaks to how God was my strength, always there for me in my writing experience and that tender wind that carried me.

 

Do you have a goal? Do you have a plan? Please, let me encourage you.

You can meet your goal either in an instant or, as it was for me, after years of hard work. Give it your all, accepting the fact you might work your tail off and lose some sleep, but only to find out you’ll be rewarded with excitement.

My favorite verse says it perfectly on what to do with your goal.  

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Matt 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (like your own book in your own hand) shall be added to you.

Now sure, I still have work to do. Making the book is now done, so getting it out into the hands of readers is my next adventure. But it’s an adventure in that I’ll just pull up my sleeves, thinking that God’s pulling up His as well, as we say together, “Here we come, book world. LOOK OUT!”

 

1* – Click here to read last post.

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

Running With My Book – Part 3