A Little Child Molded My Thoughts

                  – A Little Child 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.

My Book, a Song, God’s Timing & You

                 – 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.

 

Running With My Book – Part 3

 – 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 2

      – Running With My Book – Part 2 – 

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My last writing (1*) explained how, during a two-mile run I did every few days, most of my thoughts were about the book I was writing during that time. After a few years of writing went by, my thoughts began to run in an entirely different direction. “I’m almost done with my book. Wow! But now what?”

Run after run, thoughts turned into who, what, where, when, why, and how questions:

“Who should be my editor? What words, sentences, or paragraphs need to be fixed or taken out before I even try to find an editor? Where do I learn all the pros and cons about the different ways you can publish a book? When should I decide how to publish? Why can’t I keep 100 percent of the dollars my book sells for? (Man, was I dumb.)  How in the world do I decide all this without going bonkers?” 

These thoughts were just a fraction of how many I had. ‘Lord, please help me know what I’m writing,’ turned into ‘Lord, please help me know what I’m doing.’ 

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When not running, I was glued to Google, soaking in anything I could find on the internet to help answer these question.

 

 

Thankfully, my biggest step during all these months took place: I found my editor. “Thanks God, for spoiling me,” found a comfortable spot in the middle of all those other things pestering me as I ran.

My thoughts, however, still questioned if this was all going to work.

“Am I crazy? What have I gotten myself into? I might feel it’s totally my thing to self-publish, but does that just mean I’m totally crazy?” Thankfully, God’s sparks of encouragement kept me going, whether it was having me meet certain people, read the right website, or just keep me hearing that perfect song as I ran.

Speaking of perfect songs, it’s time I share another one. I already knew this song, but during a certain run it suddenly felt like it was written specifically for me. “Why is that lady who’s running wiping her eyes?” I’m sure people were questioning while driving by. Listen and see if you can tell why.

– Title- Already There by Casting Crowns.

This song is worded perfectly, being it was so hard for me to see where by book was going and where God was leading me. I just wish I knew how all my fears and all my questions were going to play out in a book-selling world that I have no way of controlling. Thankfully, I was reminded and assured that God is and was already there, knowing just how my book would turn out.

We all need to keep that fact in our minds. God is already ahead. His plans are perfect for His children. If you are one of His, then one day you too will stand before Him and look back at the life you’ve lived, enjoying the view, and seeing just how all the pieces fit. They may not seem to fit now, but be patient, for the time will come when they will.

Isaiah 40:31  – But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Finally, my book was – drumroll please – DONE!

To be continued.

1* – Click here to read my last posting. 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow will be out this April. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Running With My Book – Part 1

        – Running With My Book – Part 1 –     jog

Something’s going on with the book I’m publishing that I want to share. But first I thought it best I tell you about my entire jogging history. What? A jogging story? What in the world does that have to do with the story of my unplanned pregnancy? Here, let me explain.

No, I’m not one who runs mile after mile, one who doesn’t allow rain nor sleet nor snow to stop me. And I’m far from being one who partakes in those long fifteen-k runs. Nope, far from it. It’s more like two miles, a few times a week, and only if the weather isn’t too crazy. The main reason I run is to help keep my cholesterol level down and my energy level up. I will also go only, I repeat, ONLY, if my iPod or cell phone, filled with fast-paced songs, jogs right along with me. (I refuse t to hear my feet pounding on the pavement.)

For many years I only ran in the summer. (I’m an official wimp to coldness.) But, about five years ago I decided to try running all year. (Grow up, Marianne. Be tough.) Gloves, thick sweaters, and hoodies close by when needed. The pros that far outweighed the cons have kept me going. Something about running had me feeling that I was escaping life, allowing me to not only listen to my favorite music, but think of things I couldn’t so easily think about when in the house.

After those first six months ‘ran’ by, I realized one main thought always came along with me: my book.

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Thinking about God and Your Pillow encouraged me to keep writing. I mostly thought about what had taken place and where I was in my book. “I for sure have to include that,” or “No way will I put that in,” were common thoughts as my feet pounded down that sidewalk. Thoughts of how God showed He was with me in those parts of my life stood out as well

 

 

The question if all these thoughts were truly going to turn into a real book also ran along, causing praying to take part during those runs.

‘God, I need your help. I cannot, in any way, shape, or form, do any of this without Your guidance.”

And, of course, I couldn’t help but make words from the songs apply to my writing as my feet pounded to the beat.

Here’s an example – “All Things Possible,” by Mark Schultz.

Even when it feels like the light is fading (in my book writing) and I’ve lost my way,

Still I’m holding on to the one who’s making all things (my writing a book) possible.

And even when it feels like my heart is breaking, hold on. There is strength. (man, I need it.)

Knowing I belong to the one who’s making all things (even writing a book) possible.

 

Giggle if you want, but somehow it helped keep me running and writing.

I’ll share a bit more of why I’m telling you all this next time, but for now, I encourage you to think of a time you have to escape life on a routine basis. Do you? If not, make one. Not when you’re giving that needed attention to your kids, or working on your computer, making those phone calls, or any other mind-working necessity, but a time you might be away from your normal surroundings, when your mind can routinely escape for a bit.  Because, just like the song says, that time might help you hold on and help you remember you belong to the one who’s making all things possible.

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow will be out this April. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

   

Worry Turned into Peace

         – Worry Turned into Peace –

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At some point in life, we all need to learn that trials are going to occur somehow, some way, at some time. That is sure what I, when nineteen years old, began learning as more months of my pregnancy went by. As my last post stated, (1*) I shared how God was carrying me, but woe-is-me and what-if thoughts were tagging right along. As the baby inside was obviously getting bigger, worry had become my new middle name because of the uncertainty of my life ahead.

Not one person truly knew how I felt . . . that is, except God. And how did I know that? Because as worrisome thoughts began to take over, God sparked little pieces of hope my way with things that took place. (2* and 3* are a few examples)

Slowly but surely, I began feeling more peace as I was seeing more of my need for Him.

My time spent reading my Bible and praying increased, and my worries of being a mom decreased. The book of Psalms became a daily must, as many verses talk about having faith and building trust in God. As months went by, I began to see how this trial was peeling off my woes of losing what I wanted to be, but for the better by replacing them with what God wanted me to be: a mom.

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I know that’s what got me back into writing in my journal. (4*)

 

 

 

Before all this took place, I often wondered how in the world people could say they had peace inside during an extra-tough time. During my pregnancy, I learned how, because I felt much more peace as the due date got closer.

So what is the main point of telling the inside, heartfelt part of my story? 

To show others that trials have a way of digging up the soil of your heart and pulling out those weeds. Trials provide opportunities for us to find one of the secrets to a full and blessed life: getting closer to Christ.

Another reason is to show that worrying does absolutely no good. Be concerned, yes, but worrying to the point where it secretly gets you down in the dumps, forget it. Now I’m not saying all my worries were one-hundred percent gone. Heck no. But my pillow sure noticed more peace was growing inside of me, just as that precious baby was growing too.

Philippians 4:6-7   

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There was another thing my mind starting thinking about that caused many more smiles to form. Sorry. You’ll have to wait.

 

1* – Last post

2* and 3*  – two of many poofs God carried me.

4* –  When I got back into my journal

 

Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. Her book God and Your Pillow is out in April. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

How I Picture That Word ‘Pregnant’

             – How I Picture That Word ‘Pregnant’ –  

 

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‘Pregnant’ – As soon as I hear that word, I instantly picture someone’s tummy sticking out. I then think of the discomfort that goes along with that tummy sticking out. Next, I think of my first pregnancy thirty years ago and how it still seems like last week. Before that thought is even over, ‘Thank you, Lord’ comes next, since He held me though my first pregnancy’s soap opera. (1*)

As I shared in past writings, my pregnancy was physically going smoothly. That sure helped me carry comfort and peace inside my heart during those confusing months. (read a few examples here 2* –  3* of past writings)

But my pillow felt the extra mental weight of my worries night after night. And I’m not talking about worries of the delivery. (Believe me, those came a few months later.) I’m talking about the worries of what life would hold for me in the near future as a mom. Doubt, uncertainty, regret, and uneasiness, along with many questions. Continue college? When? Do I need to work? Government help? Babysitters? Can I ever move out?

‘What if’ questions were super-glued to my thoughts as well. What if people don’t want to be around me? What if there’s no Mr. Right on the horizon? What if all I get is some boring minimum-wage job? And, of course, losing weight was sure ‘heavy’ on my mind as well.

Another worry was what people would think of me: a nineteen-year-old mom, living with her parents, no job, and with no real plan to do anything. I thought I was to be an example to the world around me. So I’m sure you can see how this cloud over my life seemed like it was getting noticeably darker as time went by.

I knew I was forgiven for that sin of letting my hormones take over months before, but I still had guilt I could not hide. It made these types of verses far from being encouraging.

Proverbs 3:11 – My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction (NKJV)

Deuteronomy 8:5You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.  (NKJV)

Sure, I knew no Christ-follower is given an easy life, and I knew my pregnancy thus far was going by smoothly, but I occasionally wanted to give up, wishing I could just wake up one morning and realize all this was just a dream. 

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I kept thinking, God did not want me to see any light at the end of this long tunnel.

 

 

 

 

Are you like I was, with similar thoughts running through your mind? Any trial you’re having or have had that brought extra-heavy thoughts on your pillow? If so, let me give you a speck of hope. In my next writing I’ll share what kept me going, hoping it might help you keep on keeping on. Until then, here’s a piece from a book called Ignore Everybody by Hugh Macleod that I feel fits perfectly here.

Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. 

To be continued

1* – One of many posts that explain why it was my soap-opera

2*   and  3*  –  two of many positive times of my pregnancy

 

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.