“If that baby lives, I will eat my hat.” That is what the attending doctor told the nurse when I was born. The nurse happened to be a close friend of my parents. I was born premature at a time when most hospitals did not have an incubator nor NICU. Chances for my survival were low. But God had a plan for my life, and so the adventure of His guidance in my life began. ( Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”)
In high school, the Church Association had a contest for young people to write an essay about “Why young people are important in the work of the local church. To my surprise, my essay won the contest. It was read at the Associational meeting. Looking back I believe that was the launching point of my desire to write on the subject of helping other people get acquainted with God.
After high school graduation, I decided to attend Southeastern Junior College in Laurel, Mississippi. This small college offered a two year Bible Study program in addition to the regular two year basic college courses. Those two years of college Bible courses gave me a good foundation for further Bible study. Since giving my life to Jesus, I’ve had a compulsion to study the Bible and learn as much as possible about God.
Never seeing myself standing before a group to speak, God opened doors and pushed me through them. My high school speech teacher, Mr. Hassan, told me, “Marianna, never turn down an opportunity to speak. The more you speak the better you will be able to speak.” So, Mr. Hassan, look what you got me into!
My local church asked me to teach a young people’s Sunday School Class which I taught for five years. The pastor wanted to start a church magazine and asked me to be the editor. Each month I wrote an editorial, edited articles from church staff, and church organizations to compile a magazine. Being “editor” also meant typing all articles, running the copier, and stapling the pages to make the magazine. It was a great experience. Many church members expressed appreciation and compliments on my writing. The magazine became a blessing to the church and a learning experience to me as well.
After graduation from the University of Southern Mississippi, I taught high school in Jones County Four years. I continued teaching Sunday School, leading the youth group and editing the church magazine.
During this time, I met and married a fine Christian man whose profession was Forestry. He received a promotion and we moved to Lucedale. We lived there for ten years as I continued to study the Bible and teach Sunday School. It was during this time women in our church asked me to teach a Ladies’ Bible Study Class. Each week I prayed for God’s direction in choosing the topic of study. That experience taught me how to research and write studies specifically for the women who would come to the study.
We had lived in Lucedale for ten years when our world seemed to crash around us. The timber company my husband worked for as a Forest Supervisor sold their woodlands and left my husband without a job.
Praying for God to send us where He wanted us to be, God gave my husband a job which suited him very well. We moved to Stone County. The job offered a quiet place to learn and study. During the 15 years we lived there, God inserted new avenues of service; one on one discipleship study, teaching and speaking at churches other than my own, and most surprising of all_assignments to write Sunday School lessons for the Baptist Sunday School Board.
Writing Sunday School lessons to be read in churches all over the United States was so amazing, exciting and unbelievable! Many people wrote me wonderful letters of encourage and complements.
Then one day all the statements from my students came to pass. You need to write a book. Come Climb Toward God was published in 2013. Now the question is when are you going to write the second book? When God opens the door.