The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded UP (Part 1)

         – The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 1) –

back pocket

Time to do something: think. 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 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 a few years later when 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 most of my thanks to, as most things went by pretty smoothly that first year. 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 about a year later . .   download   . . things changed.

I was so young when I was hit with the first of these two trials. Young in age, at nineteen, yes, but I’m mainly talking about young in my Christian life. There had only been one year of God’s word and guidance before that larger-than-life trial unplanned pregnancy occurred, followed by the brain illness only a few years later.

Thankfulness was difficult to detect. It was hard to even find a little drip-drip-drip of thankfulness. Yes, I did sense God’s Fatherly care, but thankfulness as to why I needed that care sure wasn’t standing out. That word ‘thankful’ was folded up at least ten times, put in the back pocket of my jeans in that closet I never wore.

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 months, even years, after my illness went by.

As time did go by, however, I—how shall I say it—started wearing those jeans tucked in the drawer, sensing something was going on in that back pocket. Something was unfolding.

James 1:12 slowly began making sense.

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To be continued.

1* First trial

2* Second trial

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 early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 6)

 

             Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 6)

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“I love all the weight I’m gaining in this unplanned pregnancy I’m somehow enduring as a nineteen year old,” said no one ever. Or at least I for sure was not thinking that thirty years ago during the pregnancy I endured at that tender age. So why am I bringing that up now? To share one more way God showed He was helping me though that pregnancy.

After sharing why I was thankful for my doctor, (1*) I’ll say here how all my visits to her were going fine as my tummy was noticeability growing. As months had gone by, all had been going a heck of a lot better than I had expected.  But the visit during my seventh month with her caused my mouth to drop as she told me some unexpected news. Let my soon published book – God and Your Pillow – explain.

———-

A bit overweight, big sweatshirts were my normal attire. And, of course, we all know the weight gained during pregnancy isn’t such an enjoyable fact to accept. But out of the blue, after I got my routine weight checked, she said, “No real worry, but I must say you are not the weight you should be by now.”
“Oh, great. I need to watch my weight? I’m gaining too much?” I asked.
“No. Actually, you haven’t gained the amount of weight that is normal. You need to eat a bit more for that baby. Are you dieting at all?” she asked.
“No. I’m not eating tons of junk, but not dieting.”
“Well, just eat more good food. More than you have been,” she instructed. “From now on, each time you come in, I want to see a few more pounds than the normal gain you should be showing. Understand?”
Understand? With the biggest grin, I understood.

Subway-Turkey-Italiano-Melt-620x345On the way to each doctor’s visit from then on, I stopped and grabbed a good old foot-long Subway sandwich across the street from the doctor’s office. After all, I had to make sure I would show the most weight gain possible, right? Since I currently live in the same area, I still giggle inside every time I drive past that Subway.


 

I’ll never forget that talk. Now sure, many may not instantly feel like giving God credit for being told they need to eat more, but I couldn’t help it. I felt He wanted to take that extra weight off my back (pun intended) of feeling fat during those last few months. I was already a bit over weight when I first got pregnant, so that visit was one of many other ways I felt God used to keep me hanging onto Him during the entire pregnancy.

I encourage you to ask yourself if it’s hard to find any joy in anything. Try to think of, as soon as you can, anything that brings a smile to your face. Thank God for it! Let me encourage you not to delay thanking God when you find any simple unexpected joy-filled news. Or how about those little things you unexpectedly come in contact with – even if it’s just that simple Subway sandwich.

Ephesians 5:20 – giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

Can’t help but share one simple thing that would sure cause one huge  🙂  to show on my face today, as it did with what my doctor told me that day. To get new followers ! Follow me now to read more stories of how God carried me though this ordeal along with another savior trial I’ve gone through.  (3*) Thanks.

 

1* – Click here and read my last post about a perfect doctor.

2* – Click here for my first post about a another trial God carried me through
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.

 

 

 

Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 5)

                 Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 5)

Doctor blue round web icon. Circle isolated internet button for webdesign and smartphone applications.

These last posts I’ve shared how God showed me true Fatherly love once I discovered I was pregnant, trusting Him more as those first few months went by. (1*2*3*  4*)

The next time He showed that to me was my first visit to my new doctor. Yep, time I see an OB/GYN. But being this took place thirty yeas ago, unable to just jump on the internet to see a long list of doctors to choose from, I just followed who our family doctor suggested.

Driving up to that hospital still feels like last week. I can picture what that building looked like, where I parked, and how it all looked at I walked in. But most of all I remember how nervous I was. How much of my story do I tell? Will she just consider me as one of those teens that messed up? Will I like her? Will she like me?

Thankfully, as soon as I walked in I was impressed. It was spacious and well kept. I had an instant comfort in a place I was uncomfortable to be in, if that makes any sense. After filling out the paper work and waiting a few minutes at this one table, in walked the Obstetrician. I realized right then she was the first stranger I had to tell my story to. A total stranger told me I was pregnant a few months before (5*) but this is the first stranger I had to share why and how I got to know I was pregnant.

Do I tell her more than she asks? Do I act all nonchalant and come across all happy-go-lucky, casually hearing all the pregnancy facts she passes my way? For all I know, I might cause her to dread each time I’d need to come in for a check-up, let alone the day of giving birth.

Doctor and patient are discussing

Once meeting her, looking to be in her early thirties, I was relieved to tell she had a nice, warm, personality. After I simplified my story as to why I was pregnant, and after her giving a little pregnancy information, she began telling me a bit about her plan to serve as an OB/GYN in a third-world country.

 

‘Wow!’ I replied.

That then began us sharing bits and pieces of our faith, seeing that we were both Christians. Talk about instant peace! Talk about instantly thanking God, feeling again that He gave me just what I needed.

“But being I’m still here, Marianne,” she said, “I’m glad I’m now here to help you.” 

God knew it best I go through this soap opera pregnancy with a doctor who I’d have support-filled encouraging conversations with as months went by. From then on, each time I left that office, God heard me say the same six words: Thank you, Lord, for my Doctor.  Even today, that’s my first thought as I drive by that building.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Numbers 6:24-25  – The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. 

Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Why these verses? Because they are a few of many that describe how God cares, and if you need comfort, He’s there. It was obvious He was gracious, letting me feel He was carrying me on that road I was on. This time, His tool that let me know He was right there was a total stranger.

To be continued.

click 1* 2*  3*  & 4* to read past posts on different occasions God showed He was with me during my pregnancy.

click here – 5* to read when I was told I was pregnant.

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.

 

 

Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 4)

                     Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 4)

 

puzzle

Have you ever gone though an extra tough time in your life while at the same time sensing a few extra nice things taking place as well? That’s what was happening to me years ago. I realized later that each situation was a peace of a puzzle God was slowing but perfectly putting together. He wanted me to see that each piece was formed by Him, made to fit picture perfect together. I’ve been sharing a few of those pieces with you lately, showing what had taken place during my unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of nineteen. ( 1*2* 3* )

Of course I could share week after week every piece by piece of that puzzle but, thankfully, it would take forever to finish. But I can’t help but share one or two more, knowing my soon to be published book, God and My Pillow, will show the rest. 

I’ll use an excerpt from my book to show another piece of that puzzle.

One week now until Greg would fly up from California. One week left to pretend there was no huge change about to happen in my life. An entire week to enjoy me, myself, and I. No one I had to hang around with. No one I had to force myself to be comfortable around. Only me, my pillow, and, of course, this child I was carrying. God was so helpful even in that area. No morning sickness at all. Yep. I repeat, no morning sickness. Sure, an occasional slightly nauseous feeling, but nothing like I had been warned about. Well, maybe once. I’ll never forget the one—I repeat—one time I did throw up. It was late in the afternoon after eating a can of fruit I was craving. Peaches, to be exact.

Peaches

Obviously I didn’t crave them anymore after that—how shall I say it?—quaint time leaning over the sink, letting those peaches pop back out. Seeing canned peaches in stores now always brings back that memory.

__________________________________

Shall I assume the words ‘NOT FARE’ are going through a majority of those who have experienced a pregnancy?  Finding anyone who only had one almost-morning sickness is hard to come by. I’m sure not complaining I was one of those few. That entire pregnancy was nothing close to what I was warned it could be like. I guess God just knew I couldn’t deal with everything like that while smack in the middle of a heart wrenching soap opera.

Next week’s story ties in with this weeks, showing how God used even food as a tool to show He was with me. Did you have any common unpleasant expectation you thought you’d have to endure that God spared you from? I’m curious what it is! Please oh please, share 🙂  

Next week you’ll  find out why only one certain Starbucks sign I occasionally see makes me giggle inside.

1*  –  2*   –  3*   – Click to read the other signs God showed He was holding me.

 

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 book about her pregnancy, God and Your Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

 

Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 3)

 

              Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 3)

Pregnant woman illustration

My unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of nineteen was thirty years ago, but the blessings I noticed back then I still hold tight to my heart today. These last few writings I’ve shared older posts to show how God was right there with me. (1* 2*) But this week I’m using a piece from my book titled God and My Pillow, showing another obvious sign of His Fatherly love through that intense trial.


                                                     God and My Pillow

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Willma was the next one I had to tell.

“Sure you can come over,” Willma said after I called to see if we could get together. “It’s pretty much lunchtime, so I’ll start throwing a few sandwiches together.”

I pondered how to tell her as I walked down to her house, that last house on our dead-end street. I knew it was just her there, so when I came up to the door, I took a deep breath.

Okay, here I go. While knocking lightly, I slowly opened the front door.

“Hi, Willma. I’m here. Where are — ”

“Come on in. I’m back in the kitchen, right in the middle of making our lunch,” she said as I walked in. Willma was her normal, cheery self. I could tell she was ready to talk away. Out of all the things in the world to talk about, she started talking about, gulp, the future. Half joking but half serious, she said, “Hey Marianne, it’s time we think more about when you and I move out. Let’s figure out what college you or I’ll be going to. What if you go to the same one I already go to?” 

Breathe.

“We can try to get the same dormitory. Heck, the same room! Or maybe I’ll work while you go there and we’ll split the rent. I know, how about —.”

As she was talking, so full of energy, my mind began filling to the brim with thoughts. You know how you can think of twenty different things in three seconds? Well, that’s what I was doing. Sad to think how she and I wouldn’t really be able to make many spur-of-the-moment plans, as we had been doing for years. I was angry at myself for letting this happen, and a bit scared as to what this could do to our friendship. So much was being tossed around in my mind.

“Willma.” It was obvious this was the time to tell her. “I have something I need to tell you. We can’t really do that stuff you’re talking about because . . . I’m . . . I’m pregnant.”

There, I did it. Now what? What will she say? What will she do?

She stopped what she was doing, frozen for two seconds, realizing I wasn’t kidding.

“Oh. Uh, I guess we’ll, um, have to alter our plans just a bit,” she said calmly, a numb look on her face as she walked by with sandwich makings in her hands. Her look, however, instantly started changing, showing her mind forming different thoughts. I knew she would be shocked, and sure, I figured her emotions would be zig-zagging in all different directions. Thankfully, though, as I shared the entire story with her, I could tell her thoughts were getting straight once again.

While eating that lunch, I heard my best friend tell me she’d be there and how God would not let go of me. Not really hearing those types of words from my family, hearing it from her was priceless.

one teenage girl comforting another after break up

 

The more we discussed the pros and cons of keeping or adoption, we both leaned toward me keeping the baby. No decisions whatsoever on what to do regarding money, the baby’s father, work, and other matters. Just on whether I should be the mother of this baby.

 

As I was walking out that same door I came in, I felt God had used my friend as a means for guidance and a means to give me strength. My name was changed once again on my walk home. Marianne A-Bit-More-Peace-To-Keep-Baby Houstoun


 

I am one who strongly believes God has given us the Bible as our supreme guide in matters theological and practical. However, I did realize back then He will use a certain person to guide us while at the same time showing us He cares.

I’d sure love to read your testimony of how God showed He was there for you, right by your side, during a trial in your life.

1* – click here to read part 1

2* – click here to read part 2.

 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.

Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 2)

          – Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 2) –

Pregnant woman illustration

My soon-to-be published memoir shares my before, during and after unplanned pregnancy experience. Having already shared bit’s and pieces of that life changing soap opera, I now want to continue explaining how God knew I needed to sense He was there with me as time went on. 

My last writing (1*) shows God’s guidance through an unanswered phone call. It was sort of that first little tap on my shoulder from God saying, “Don’t worry Marianne. I got ya covered.” Okay, maybe not in those exact words, but looking at it now, that’s how I see it.

Here’s another one of my past writings to show God’s second way He showed me He was there. It occurred right after taking that pregnancy test. (2*)  I know some have not read it yet so it’s now a must, or if you have, then read it again to know what story I’m talking about. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

(I’ll just go grab some hot cocoa while I wait till you’re done)

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Now that you’re back, I think you will agree why, after all these years, I’ll never forget those few minutes. God made sure I, in a way, felt His own hug, showing me He too was there.

Let me encourage all who now or have gone through any trial. You may not really have noticed right then and there His presence. However,  if your heart, soul and mind seek after Him, there’s a good chance you’ll be realizing He is or had been holding you all along. And if you’re at all like me, you’ll never forget it. 

1Peter 5:6-7  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Deuteronomy 31:8  And the Lord, He is the One with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.

To be continued –

(1*) – Last shared posting

(2*) Click here to read the second way God showed He was there. 

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.