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These last few blogs have sort of focused on a Me, Myself and I story.  Me, myself, and I Before (when my heart was empty), During (when questions were forming), and After (the outcome from Christ answering those questions).

God interrupted that emptiness and darkness of my life, giving me a new beginning. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) made sense! Why? Because that’s what took place.

I hope I haven’t come across as some young, weak, young teen who would take on anything that brought peace to my front door. Nope. Almost the opposite. I had goals, was one who went that extra mile, daring to do whatever. Looking back, I see I was a bit too proud in who I was. I was just empty of how to have peace along with all I could do.

But that week, biblical truths were opened up to me for the first time. I understood the true meaning of sin, of repentance, and I got to feel a true sense of grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. Yes, it was thirty-three years ago, but it still feels like yesterday. I never get tired of pondering on all that took place.

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Of course, sin was still hiding inside, but, with prayer, a new heart was formed to drown the sin with grace and forgiveness. Even when my ignorance and weakness were apparent, God guided me. Reading His word and learning much from the church I began attending did wonders.

My eyes still get a bit damp remembering how God held me even when I allowed sin to take over, causing my unplanned pregnancy, (1*) or when my brain-damaging illness occurred a few years later. (2*) The many ways He continually showed me ‘I love you’ were still strongly felt.

This is my first time in these thirty-four years that I’m sharing this for others to read. Why? To help people understand what it means to be ‘born again’ or, better wording, ‘born from above.’

Every Christian’s walk with God starts in different ways, at different times in life, but all show one thing: God planned it. He plans the best way to turn someones old-self into their new-self. He also plans what takes place afterwords for that person as well. A few dramatic events have caused me to learn much about how He is there at all times, giving me faith for tough times I’m assuming will still occur.  

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God has put me here, in this place and time, with my life experiences, in order to tell others about what He has done and is doing in my life. My book will be out, Lord willing, in a month or two in hopes He uses my story to help others, showing them God is there for others though one trial or another. 

 

Psalm 62:8 – Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time.      

As some of you know, I’m one who listens to Christian music. This song means more lately being I feel it fits with—as the song title shares—“My Story.” I guess you can say I’m one of those people at the end. 

 

I hope my story has either made you think ‘I know what that feels like!’ I sure know that feels.  And what about those who think ‘I kinda wish I knew what that feels like.’  Believe me, I know just what those thoughts are like as well. Feel free to pass a note and share your thoughts.

1* – Unplanned pregnancy story can be found.

2* – Brain affected illness

Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming early spring of 2018 book, God and Your PillowYou can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

– That ‘No WAY Do I Want to Forget’ Summer Conclusion –

                     – That ‘No WAY Do I Want to Forget’ Summer Continues –

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My last post ended with ‘to be continued’, so here I go to continue that special time I’ll never forget. Click here and catch up on what that was all about.

As I ended in my last, I finally began understanding what this ‘new heart’ thing meant! No way did I want to forget when that took place.

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Yep. I had to grab that old fashion camera of mine being this occurred years before cell phones were even thought about.

How could I not want a picture of when what I consider the most important time in my life took place: the time God graciously showed me I was one of His chosen. The time Christ opened my heart to see what my sin really was, along with my true need for His forgiveness and love.

  ‘CLICK’  goes my camera.

THE song

You should have seen the look on Willma’s face when I said, “I can’t explain it, but it felt like Jesus was sort of talking to me. I think I’m—if I understand right—saved!” Willma and me, sisters in the Lord; what could be better?

After telling her, I couldn’t wait to tell some of those who had asked me before if I was saved. 

“Forget what I said before. I’m pretty sure now I really am!”

I joyfully accepted the fact of how ignorant I was and felt a sudden hunger to learn. I hadn’t felt such peace inside since, well, forever!

As soon as I woke up that next morning, this thought instantly popped up.

What happened last night? Was it all real or did I let my emotions take over?

Those thoughts were quickly shoved aside as I felt a newness about myself instantly waking up as well. I could tell that what took place that evening before was real and how that morning was the first day of the rest of my new life.

A few hours later, as all of us campers were getting in the bus to head back home, I realized something. On my bus ride a week before, going to camp, I was filled with unclarity about religion. I had no real understanding about life, feeling rather empty inside. Real love? what’s that? But in that same bus leaving camp, I knew I was different. I wasn’t who I use to be. I was thrilled to be enlightened with what being ‘saved’ and ‘born again’ really meant. I was filled with peace, joy, contentment, and I was excited that I did find love: the love of Christ.

As we started driving away, I looked back at the campground.

Ezekiel 36:26   I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you — This became one of my first verses I loved.

So long, old self. So long, old heart. Farewell and good riddance. I’ve been set free, no longer who I use to be, and starting this new road ahead as a true child of God.

And I will give you a few songs that use the best words to explain it a bit more. This first one especially – So Long Self my Mercy Me.

And this one explains how, well… – You Love Me Anyway

And by the way, I love songs.

1* Click here to last weeks story

Does my story make you think of yours when Christ topped you on your shoulder? I’d love to hear how that special life changing tap for you went.

Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming memoir, God and Your Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

That ‘No WAY Do I Want to Forget’ Summer Continues

          – That ‘No Way Do I Wanna Forget’ Summer –

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My last posting’s title was The ‘I’d Like To Forget’ Summer Continues.  Let me explain why that title had done a total turn around being it became one I never want to forget.

My last sentence from my last post begins to explain why –  God decided that evening, during that song, to unlock someone’s heart: mine  – Its best you read it and see what was up with this song.  (1*) –  Nothing great about that song but still no way will I ever forget those few minutes. It changed my way of thinking because it changed my heart. But the song wasn’t what changed my thinking. God did.

Shortly after she started singing, for some strange reason I began picturing in my mind a man’s somewhat generic-looking face looking at me right over my shoulder, 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 of great value was taking place.

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 days 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 that night God chose to . . .

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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,” 

To be continued.

1* – Click here to read where I was when hearing that song.

2* – Click here and read why I originally  wanted to forget that summer.

 

Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming memoir, God and Your Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

 

That ‘No WAY Do I Wanna Forget’ Summer

              That ‘I’d Like to Forget’ Summer Continues

 

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At eighteen, I was having a long, boring, fewer-friends summer right after graduation. (1*) That was the main reason I accepted the invite from my friend Willma to go to a Christian camp the first part of September. The second reason was to hopefully start understanding what all this ‘born again’ and ‘saved’ stuff meant.

A full-day bus drive from western Washington to Montana, filled with twenty or so college-aged folks.

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That bus load was meeting lots of other groups from other places at that campground for about a week. The drive was a bit uncomfortable for me, having never been around so many at one time who said things like ‘God did this’ or ‘God did that.’   – I’m so glad Willma can blend right in with them. I’ll just keep smiling and look like I understand what they’re talking about.

I met more people once we got to this beautiful retreat campsite. But one question kept popping up each time I met someone new. Most asked me, “When were you saved?” or “How long have you been a Christian?” I was a weeeeee bit uncomfortable being I was totally ignorant of what all that meant. Since I was baptized when I was an infant, I was already convinced I was going to heaven. Of course, the priest at St. Francis never used the words ‘saved’ or ‘Christian,’ so being around others who shared that vocabulary was all new to me.

“I’ve been Catholic all my life,” was my answer to the first few who asked.  —That doesn’t sound right. I’d better word it more like others here do.  — “I’ve been saved all my life.” (That sure felt weird to say.) That must be better. Now I sound like everyone else.

I was enjoying those first few days, meeting nice people and hearing many interesting messages about how God, Jesus, and the Spirit apply to our daily life, many things I had never heard before. And not only had I never heard these types of messages before, but never by a college aged man standing up in front, all kicked-back wearing jeans! I learned that first evening that “normal” people can know the Bible. And to top it off, that you don’t have to wear a robe like a priest to preach. “Learn something new every day” seemed to fit right in that first evening and each day that followed.

As days went by, I liked this camp even more. These people seem rather normal. I’m getting used to all this ‘saved’ stuff, and sort of understanding a few things about it now too.

The last night there, serious yet fun speeches, skits, and songs were performed by a few groups of individual campers, along with the final message. My friend Willma an I were in one group of six, singing a humorous song with a biblical theme. (Willma is the farthest right and I’m next to her with that beautiful fluffed up hair.)

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I’ll never forget watching all the people laugh as we sang.

Our song came to an end; time to sit down.

A little bit later, another lady about my age went up to sing a Christian song. Being I was unaware of any Christian radio stations, I never had heard that song she sang, and nothing outstanding stood out about it. I even thought her voice wasn’t that wonderful, but boy, I’ll still never forget it. God decided that evening, during that song, to unlock someone’s heart: mine.

To be continued.

1* – Press here to read what had taken place before this event.   

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 the author of a forthcoming memoir, God and Your Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

That ‘I’d Like to Forget’ Summer Continues

 

       – That ‘I’d Like To Forget’ Summer –

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If you haven’t read my last post, you just might want to, seriously, since it explains an eye-opening event that hit me hard. (*1) However, a few other eye-opening events had taken place my high school senior year as well, causing my heart, mind, and soul to feel they were all going downhill.

For starters, my parents’ relationship had deteriorated. Nothing dramatically terrible, but enough to have the word ‘separation’ floating in the air. For me, stepping away from friends, as my last post explains, made it extra tough to not have a peace-filled home to come home to.

But one more thing caused many mind-draining thoughts my senior year. My best friend back then was a few years older, so you’d think I could lean on her after that eye-opening graduation night, right? Wrong. A wee bit of discomfort began on my side in telling her about things I was doing. Why? A few months before that event, something happened to her that seemed too foreign to me. She had become one of those religious, ‘born again’ people who say they are ‘saved,’ which made no sense to me. There were a few others during my senior year where this same thing had happened. But my best friend? Come on.

“That sounds nice,” I said, acting all happy for her while feeling even lonelier inside.

Whenever Willma shared some religious statement, like, “I could tell God helped me plan my college classes for the next quarter,” I just smiled and acted all happy. But I wasn’t letting it just go in one ear and out the other. I never asked her questions about it, but it did get me thinking as my journal shows. 

May 1985 (one month before graduation)

I’m on my journey to understanding Christianity and what Jesus can do for me. But now even my best friend has gotten very religious.

However, I was still going to the Catholic church, saying my “In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” while crossing myself, which to me seemed spiritual enough. 

So there I was, the summer of 1985, living in a home with a bit too much tension floating around, no one from school to hang out with, along with this uncomfortable thinking about my ‘saved’ friend. I felt pretty empty, low, and alone. The only thing I clung to was being a ball girl for the Seattle Mariners that summer. Woohoo!

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But even that was less than once a week. One emotionally draining and twiddling-of-the-thumb summer.

Then something happened at the end of that summer. – 

To be continued – 

 1* – Click here to read about that one eye opening event

 Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming memoir, God and Your Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

That ‘I’d Like To Forget’ Summer

        – That Graduation Party I’d Rather Forget –

Lost means having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place or direction.
distracted – distraught – desperate – hopeless

Why in the world did I bring that word up? Because a few postings ago my journal revealed how I felt when I was eighteen, somewhat lost in all the world going on around me. I also there shared my journal on how I felt knowing I was a solid believer and follower of Christ.  (1*)  (The best feeling in the world, by the way)

I first want to share one of the reasons I felt so ’empty’ inside after graduating from High school. It was during that summer my heart began to see life wasn’t what I though it was going to be.

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Yep, time to graduate from high school. YIPPY ! I felt so ready to take on all that was ahead. The graduation ceremony went great, with a fancy dinner for many of us afterwards. After that, just a few of us girls went to one of my friend’s home to have, what I thought, a cool and simple celebration night.

 

 

 

This should be fun. All us ladies, officially out of high school, gabbing away for hours. Maybe all of us grads will have some beer, too. Hay, I’ve graduated. I can do that.

I couldn’t wait. That is, until the few of us girls got in my friend’s car. As soon as the last door was shut, out popped . . .
“Wooohooo! Ready to party!” one of them hollered with the others cheering her on.
She must just be talking about us cutting loose a bit more than normal. I’m game! I’m sure I threw in a few “Yay!  Here we go!”
“The guys will be there right around the time we show up,” one of the graduates said, “Hey, Samantha, did your older brother get the drinks he said he could get?”

I began realizing how that evening was turning into something I didn’t expect. What took place was exactly what you see in a movie where the parents go somewhere overnight, trusting their daughter will be fine having a few girlfriends over. But then it turns into a wild party. I began thinking to myself a mile a minute.

Oh, my. What’s going. On? What am I getting into? I thought just us girls were getting together?

“Time to party away,” my so-called friends said as we got out. My ‘let’s party’ face I showed sure was different than my thoughts as I saw many senior boys, plus more girls, showing up.

Speaking of partying away, I was blown away! I never thought some of these people I considered my friends would be doing anything as wild as this. I had never done anything like this my entire high school years.

I felt I was invisible, floating around all these people, watching them eat, drink, and be merry. I wasn’t friends with them all but knew most from school. All were flirting big time while showing off any extra skin they could. I had to hide my shock with a fake smile. After all, I didn’t want to look ‘square’ and seem like I didn’t want to belong. I had to look cool and act totally comfortable with all that was going on. Hour by hour went by.

I can’t wait till this is over. I cant’ wait till this is over.
What I will never forget was seeing different guys pulling different girls behind different doors, knowing it wasn’t just to compare final test scores.

12 o’clock – 2 o’clock –
I wish I drove myself. Come on, clock. Go faster.
The entire time I felt like running away, but couldn’t, so I just acted like I was having a ball, pretending I was drinking, even acting a little buzzed.

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2 o’clock

 

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I looked at my watch every five minutes.

Finally! Time for this movie to come to an end. You can probably picture what took place. The parents come home unexpectedly early that next morning. It was the best thing I had seen those last six hours. As all were silently grabbing their personal belonging, after hearing two angry parents hollering as they stood inside the door pointing outside, I was most likely the only person secretly smiling ear to ear. I loved that ride home.

FINALLY ! That pressure was off! The worst night I’ve ever had was over! I left that party having stayed sober, clean, and a virgin. I felt so stupid realizing that most of my friends weren’t really the type friends I thought they were.

How dare they all do that?  Man, I’m so glad to be home! But those thoughts, sad to say, were balanced off with feeling cut off from them all. Should I loosen up a bit? Am I too goodie goodie?  

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But I knew from then on I’d be uncomfortable around any of them, wanting to avoid any conversation about that night, and relieved there was no plan to see any of them soon.

 

 

Another event I did not write in my journal feeling it was a night I did not want to remember. I often now wish I had, wanting to read those thoughts that my pillow soaked up those next few days. But you know what? I really didn’t need a journal at that point. No way will I ever forget that night.

So the word ‘lost’ fits in right here because after that night I felt lost. Those people went off my ‘true-friend’ list. I felt a bit empty. – like the definition said, I was bewildered as to place or direction. Distracted; distraught – desperate – hopeless. What I thought would be my best day, turned out to be my worst and empty summer. – I was lost.

Can you think of an eye opening experience you’ve been through? What did you learn?  My next writing I will explain what feeling lost lead me to.

1* Click here to read my before and after posting. 

Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming memoir, God and Your Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

That Graduation Party I’d Rather Forget