By guest writer, Emily T. Wierenga
Kasher was looking at my elbows.
“What these?” my two year old said.
“They’re elbows,” I told him.
“Oh.” He touched them gently. “I love your elbows.”
My eyes got wet and I kissed his cheeks and he ran off to play with cars.
And even as I rose, all 33 years of me, and began to go about my day I recalled a childhood of starving away my curves, hungry for the kind of love my son had just shown me.
I was a preacher’s kid who’d moved ten times before the age of seven. And there are a lot of rules and expectations when you live in a glass house. There was a lot of Dr. James Dobson and homeschooling and we weren’t allowed to ask questions so much as to say Please and Thank You.
I read about a God who sang over me yet I couldn’t hear him, for all of my loneliness. And I blamed myself for Dad not wanting to hang out with me—visiting this church person or that—and for Mum being so sad.
So I stopped eating from the ages of nine to thirteen, and it wasn’t until I turned 13 that I began to eat again—when the nurses said I was a miracle to be still alive at sixty pounds, my hair falling out and my skin turning purple.
But I would relapse again as a young married woman because I still didn’t believe God, or anyone—including my husband—could love me.
And then when I turned 32, someone prayed for me, for that little girl in me, that I began to believe it.
And one day, when I was walking downstairs, I stepped right into it. Love. Like it had been waiting there for me the whole time, and I suddenly adored the woman I was. This funky artsy introverted woman who laughed too loud and cried too quickly. I loved her.
And I believed God, and my husband loved me too, and it wasn’t for anything I had done. Rather, it was because of:
- Grace. It isn’t just a word, it’s a powerful, life-changing concept that covers a multitude of sins.
- Bearing His Image. I am—we all are—made in the image of God, who is Love. We are literally made in the image of love.
- Compassion. Not only do we need to have compassion for others, but for ourselves, because even as we are being made new—we are still broken.
We are to become like children: viewing ourselves in awe and wonder, as masterpieces, made by the Creator of the Universe.
Friends? We are a beautiful mess. And God loves us. Wrinkly elbow skin and all.
Heavenly Father, give us a glimpse of your love for us today. Open our eyes to the way you’ve always been there for us, to the way you’re cheering us on, holding us close, and wiping away our tears. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
My memoir, ATLAS GIRL, is releasing this month, and I am excited to give away TWO copies today. Just leave a comment below to win!
From the back cover:
“Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents’ rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else–anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time–in the place she least expected it.
“Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.”
Click HERE for a free excerpt.
I’m also giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl. Just order HERE, and send a receipt to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir – an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by myself and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.
ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards my non-profit, The Lulu Tree. The Lulu Tree is dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers. It is a grassroots organization bringing healing and hope to women and children in the slums of Uganda through the arts, community, and the gospel.
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.