Illness - Encephalitis

When 30 Years ago Can Feel Like Last Week

~ 10 Years was a lot. 20? WOW! And now 30! Hard to believe. Read what I’m talking about and find out why I say I’m 30 years old when I’m Actually In My 50s.

I like to say I’m one who had three birthdays. The first was when I popped out of my mommy’s tummy 53 years ago. Yep. Good ol’ April Fools day in 1967.

My second one was September 10, 1985, when God graciously had me, at age 18, start a new life with a new heart, soul, and mind, letting me know I was one of His children. One word – AMEN!

That 3rd Birthday, 30 years ago on December 20, 1990, was the date that another new life for me, at age 23, began playing an important part in who I am today.

30 years can sound like forever but also feel like just last week.

God knew it was best, five days before Christmas, to have me be hit with a certain brain damage called Viral Encephalitis – inflammation of the brain.


It had me feel like I started a new life, staying a total of five weeks at two hospitals. I, along with family and friends, went through months of worry, fear, and uncertainty. And even to this day, God sees it best to not have me remember who or what many people, places, and things are and/or called. You’re right, not fun. Not much fun at all

But when every December 20th is here, it feels like it all happened just last week, and I can’t help but thank God for that day.

What, Marianne? Are you crazy?

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

Life was almost back to normal as years went by. Noticed I said almost.
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.

It’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 because of my illness, but I knew He was my support. The more I was remembering about Him, via reading or hearing, the more I appreciated His presence inside my heart. 

“Where did I put that fact?”

As years went by, still struggling, I found myself grasping onto Him more, feeling He was holding me tighter than before my illness. To this day I still feel He’s right there, often passing me little reminders, carrying me along with my, what I like to call, ‘Noun’ problem.

I love songs. This one stands out being it has the words I’m with you. They are words I often feel God tells me. 

As this song describes, God often calms the storms in our lives, and sometimes He just rides them with us. Remember how that very tear we cry He holds in His hands. He never leaves our side.

I can’t help but encourage you to 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.
Romans 8:28 –
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.

Even though a few tears of sadness from what took place in your life may still show up, let thoughts of God replace those negative thoughts. Or perhaps you’re like me, letting thoughts of Him fill in that little blank spot that showed up 30 years ago but still feels like last week.         

Marianne Petersen’s book God and My Pillow is now available on Amazon – 
Follow Marianne on Instagram , MeWe and Facebook,

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