Book-God and Your Pillow

Unplanned Pregnancies – Then vs. Now

Pregnant
What was a typical day like for your average nineteen-year-old thirty years ago? When you woke up, you were glad there was nothing electronic close at hand to open up the world to you. You, alone, away from it all . . . perfect. Once awake, you’d turn on your favorite radio station or you’d rewind your cassette to hear your favorite Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, or Lionel Richie song again.

Continue reading “Unplanned Pregnancies – Then vs. Now”

Book-God and Your Pillow

Blessings of My Unplanned Pregnancy Unwrapped (Part 3)

preg.jpg

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 Your Pillow, showing another obvious sign of His Fatherly love through that intense trial.


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

God, a Stranger, and Tears (Part 2)

on phone

I mentioned in my last blog how getting a surprise can mean a lot. Time to share that getting a surprise can also change a bit of your life. I had received a phone call from a total stranger who heard about my illness and wanted to talk. She wanted to hear how it had affected me, as her daughter had also come down with Encephalitis. (1*)

That was the very first conversation I had ever had with anyone who experienced the serious illness I had gone through. Indeed, one priceless conversation. One piece of information she shared stood out.

“Marianne, you should check out this certain website,” she suggested. “It will get you contact with many others with your illness.”

My mouth dropped. “Really? Others who had what I had?”

I eagerly grabbed a pen and quickly scribbled down that website on the closest piece of paper I could find. After passing our thanks to each other for sharing our stories, I didn’t even blink before typing that website on my computer. I found it!  Encephalitis Global. (www.inspire.com)

I saw titles of different letters from different people. Titles like . . .

– My Hardest Encephalitis Problems

– My Family Doesn’t Understand 

– Who Else Is Feeling Alone?

– Five Years Since I got Hit With Encephalitis

The list went on and on. After clicking the first one, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

This person knows exactly what it’s like!  (I bet I even said that out loud.) Then I checked another person’s title. I can relate to his problems, too!

Time to fit in that saying “died and gone to heaven,” because I felt like I had.                   My computer had just become my new best friend.

Business woman typing on keyboard

Slowly, my eyes were getting damp. I read more. Tears were accumulating.

Tears of joy, yet tears of sorrow. I guess those ten years of loneliness had piled up inside and it was time to pour them all out. Now sure, I did have my dear husband, children, plus family and friends, but my heart still ached inside feeling alone, so having found people who could understand caused me to let loose many tears.

Soon, however, tears of joy took over. People understand! I’M NO ALONE!

“I understand how you feel,” I replied to at least ten different people. I can’t even begin to describe how great it felt sharing parts of my story to people who understood. I felt even better when, only a few minutes later, someone replied back.

I’m talking to someone who knows what it’s like! They understand me, I understand them, and we can chat back and forth!  That website became my new companion, and I checked it out a few times every day. It felt like God was telling me, “Marianne, I know what I’ve planned for you can be tough, but I’m still with you. I love giving you surprises.”

Now, years later, I’m still connected to that website and can’t even begin to explain what a treasure it’s been reading and relating with many, even having few of those now as dear friends. 

Let me share one simple fact I learned as time went by after that call. God wants us to pray for and, when possible, comfort those in need. 

II Corinthians 1:3b-4 says – God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

At the beginning, the website helped and encouraged me immensely, talking with others who have gone through what I had gone through. Well, with years behind me, I now use it as my opportunity to encourage others. I’ve even Skyped and talked over the phone with a few, watching or listening to some shedding a few tears while giving them my ear.  I savored their thank-you e-mail letters they later sent.

About six years ago, an opportunity arrived for a few of us to begin an annual lunch gathering for those in the Northwest. Worth the drive each year, indeed.

E GROUP

And this summer, a yearly encephalitis conference will be in my Seattle area for the first time. I am ever-so thankful I can help put it together.

I’ll end here saying how I’m not in my own little world anymore, and God still hears my many thanks.

Question – Should you ask yourself if you can reach out to any who may be going through something you’ve experienced?  Believe me, it feels great if you do. Just keep in mind what Christ says in Luke 6:31 – Do to others as you would have them do to you.

I’d love it if you could pass me a note if you’ve used your rough road you’ve been on to help others.