Illness - Encephalitis

My Third Birthday and a Blank Spot

Bday cake

We all naturally think a birthday marks that special day a person was born. But I like to say I’m one who had three birthdays. The first of all three was when I popped out of my mommies tummy fifty years ago. (1*) Yep. Good ol’ April Fools day.

My second birth, September 10, 1985, was when God graciously had me start a new life with a new heart, soul, and mind, letting me know I was one of His children. (2*) One word – AMEN to being born again!

That 3rd Birthday, on December 20th, is what I’m talking about now being it’s this date another new life for me began. Twenty-seven years ago God knew it best for me to endure a certain type of brain damage. One that, in a way, had me start a new life. He knew it best that day start a total of five weeks at two different hospitals. Not much made sense to me during those weeks. Speaking of sense, God knew it best for me to even loose two of my five senses for a while. To top it off, God felt I, along with family and friends, needed to go through months of worry, fear and uncertainty. And even to this day, He sees it best to keep it difficult for me to remember who or what many people, places, and things are and/or called. You’re right, not fun. Not much fun at all. (3*)

But when every December is here, I can’t help but thank God for that day. What, Marianne? Are you crazy? Thanking God for December 20th, when that traumatic brain injury you were forced to endured began?

Yes, and I’ll do my darnedest to explain why.

Life was almost back to normal as years went by. Noticed I said almost.  Much was still difficult because my brain had been perminatley damaged. Things going on all around me were – and still are – hard to keep track of.  Pulling out many historical facts or even current affairs that many can just relax while thinking about were (are) darn-right difficult for me. Pursuing things that took much thinking to do was almost impossible as well. Just doing the necessities of being the mother of two, and later four, even with the most helpful husband in the world, was all I could grasp. What did I focus on aside from getting through day by day? The best thing possible: God.

empty-headIt’s like my brain had tons of open space back then, being so many facts and information were now gone. If I wasn’t able to fill it with all the other facts surrounding me, then I just got my simple mind loading up with Christ centered thoughts instead. Details and facts about Jesus sure weren’t picture perfect right after being hit with my illness, but I knew He was my support – who ever He was. The more I was remembering about Him, via reading or hearing, the more I appreciated His presence inside my heart. As years went by I found myself grasping onto Him more than before, feeling He was holding me more tight than before my illness. To this day I still feel that way being the fact my mind just can’t pop up different people, places, and things to just start thinking about. (I jokingly say I have a noun problem.)

I’ve learned that the best way to fight emptiness is to fill it with the best thoughts possible, and I can’t help but encourage you to do that as well.  How? 1- Get in the habit of thinking of our Lord . . . often.

Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in peace whose mind is stayed on You.

And 2- look at what’s good, not bad, with the trial you have or might be going through.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.

Remember, I love songs. This one stands out being it has those words I’m with you. They are words I often feel God tells me. As this song describes, sometimes God calms the storms in our lives, and sometimes He just rides them with us. If you remember how that very tear we cry He holds in His hands and never leaves our side, you will still praise Him in the storm . . . and even years later.

Even though a few tears of sadness from what took place may still show up as years go by, as they still occasionally show up for me right around this time each year, let your thoughts of God replace any negative thoughts that may have formed. Or perhaps you’re more like me, letting thoughts of Him, for the rest of your life, fill in that little blank spot.

1* – Birthday One  2* – Birthday Two     3* – Birthday Three                               

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available on (Amazon) – Follow Marianne on Twitter at @mariannesmemoirs and Facebook at @marimemoirs.


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