Illness - Encephalitis

My Third Birthday and a Blank Spot

      – 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. Continue reading “My Third Birthday and a Blank Spot”

Book · Extra · Illness - Encephalitis

Three Important Questions – Part 1

 – Three Important Questions – Part 1

 

HNSA-Conference-Speakers

Have you ever been to a conference? Have you ever spoken at a conference? Have you ever had a deep-down inside question finally answered after a conference? Why do I ask these three questions? Because after this last weekend, I can say ‘yes’ to all three. Let me explain the first two.

Sure, I’ve been to conferences before, but this was my first time going to one in my area for people who have suffered from a brain illness call encephalitis. This was my first time I got to meet many who, like me, look fine & dandy on the outside, but who’s brains sure don’t work fine & dandy on the inside. No way was I going to miss this conference, especially since it would be given by that encephalitis website I found years before. (1*)

Being I’m one who lives here, six or so weeks before, I was asked to be the opening speaker, sharing whatever I felt is best about my illness. As I pondered and prayed, a few days later I said yes.

I had what I was going to say all figured out before I drove to the hotel. Peace with how it was going to end, however, was not totally there. I planned to share what I went through with my illness, ending it with how I was determined to work ten times harder than most people need to in order to meet a few big goals I’ve had.  I wanted to encourage them by having them see that if I could do it, they could too. All I was thinking about while driving to the conference was how I wish I had a little extra spark to end my speech with. Then this song came on.

 

 

“That’s it! This song has encouraged me this last year. The words are perfect! ”

I pulled over, pulled my phone out, and pulled out the words of that song. (I love google.)

songFrom start to finish, I was finally at peace with what I was going to say.   The wording of that song, I felt, was the perfect spark needed to explain my main point of telling my story. And when someone the next day told me how that song was perfect to hear, I grinned ear to ear.

 

 

God sure heard my thanks to Him for, again, timing things perfectly. This time it was the timing that perfect song came on.

But before I end, I want this song to encourage you as well. Do you feel like you are on empty? Do you feel like all your efforts just don’t mean anything, and that nothing good is coming out of all your attempts? do you find that question “When God?” forming? If you know what you are doing is truly worth it, pray for God’s guidance and perseverance as you keep giving it your all.

Galatians 6:9 — And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Romans 5: 3-4 — And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

1* – Click here to read how I found that encephalitic support group.

 

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.

Book · Illness - Encephalitis

The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 3)

           – The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 3) –

back pocket

Did you ever predict you would learn something but didn’t know what the lesson might be? That was me a few years back. After a few tougher-than-normal trials had taken place, and a few years went by, I grasped the fact that I would learn something from them, but just wasn’t sure what. Here, let me explain.

As my last two posts shared, (1*2*) two somewhat life-changing ordeals had my thoughts of thankfulness all folded up and tossed in the back pocket of my jeans. (Pictorially speaking, of course.) But God guided me to understand that He was writing the story and had bigger plans I couldn’t yet see.

As years went by, I took a few verses to heart:

Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

So, I waited . . . and waited . . . and yes, waited, as our family of four turned into a family of six. I had shared my unplanned pregnancy and illness story with many by this time. As each year passed, comments of “You should let others know about what God did for you” kept popping up. Slowly but surely, the question of why I’m thankful for these trials was beginning to get answered.

First, my pregnancy. An older post shares how different comments and requests to share my pregnancy were God’s way to get that story in writing; thus my book, God and My Pillow. (3*) Helping others going through that same ordeal is now a must, knowing God’s been encouraging me from the start.

Second, my illness. In another older post (4*) I shared about connecting with that encephalitic support website, meeting others who had gone through the same type of illness. I wound up encouraging others who were recently hit with similar brain damage. They needed to hear from one who had experienced what they were, at the time, dealing with. A book is now in the making to cover that, in hopes of encouraging those, showing how God held me and how He can hold them as well.

Hearing others tell me how helpful these efforts have been has caused me, in a way, to be almost thankful for these two events. I appreciate so much more now, knowing that if you never experienced pain, sorrow, and hurt, you would never recognize good health, the simple joys in life, and just how precious having Christ by your side can be.  

Most people have had their share of hard times and I’m certain they are far from over. But instead of being sad, frustrated, and/or angry about them, I hope my stories help others pull that little piece of paper with the word ‘thankful’ on it out of their own back pocket. 

1-thessalonians-5-16-18

 

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.
Book · Illness - Encephalitis

The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 2)

             – The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded up (Part 2) –

back pocket

In my last post, (1*) I wrote about the word ‘thankful’ and how that word didn’t fit too well inside my heart as I underwent my two extremely tough afflictions. (2* & 3*) No one found me relaxed on a recliner, smiling ear to ear while thinking, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so thankful God is having me go through this incredibly tough time.” Nope. Thankfulness was tightly folded up and hiding in the back pocket of my jeans.

After each ordeal took place, however, my mind knew God was in charge. I began realizing more and more that as things were getting better, I was actually thinking of pulling that Thankful sign out of my jeans and putting it on the table, but of course still folded up. As more positive things began to appear through each ordeal, I actually unfolded that paper. Sensing God’s help via family, friends, doctors, and the like, I finally decided to unfold the paper and read it each time I walked by. More thankful thoughts were growing in size and frequency. I finally got a magnet and —drumroll, please— stuck that Thankful sign up on my refrigerator!

I wasn’t becoming thankful I was pregnant, or for my month-long stay at a hospital. Not yet anyway. Thankfulness was there for feeling Christ was supporting me, caring for me, and letting me know He wasn’t just King, but my Father.

I was growing in the understanding that God is the One who puts us through what comes our way, good or bad. I was on the road that was planned by Him, whether smooth and serene, or unpaved, or one filled with countless sinkholes. I still felt a bit shattered and broken, not able to do what I had planned in life. But what sure helped was finally understanding that God’s plans are perfect, and that He was going to use me somehow, some way. 

Peace was growing inside as each year went by, and a few verses began to stand out.

bible

Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. 

This song shows what I began to slowly feel as time went by, using words such as…

– With my very next step – be on the road that was planned by you

– Lord, wherever you’re leading me – that’s where I want to be

Even though I did not know which direction that path was going, thankfulness, tied with peace, permanently got pinned to my heart and I was eager to see how He might use what He put me through to serve Him.

Finally, doors were opening and I began to see what His plans were. 

To be continued.

 

Have you also found the word ‘Thankful’ come out of your back pocket during a tough time? I’d love to hear about it.

 

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.

Book · Illness - Encephalitis

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.

james-1-12-2

To be continued.

1* First trial

2* Second trial

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.