I met Emily in person last year at Allume. I’m pretty sure she’s part angel. I know you’ll love her, too. I am honored to welcome her to the blog today as she launches her memoir Atlas Girl into the world. I continue to be in awe of people who tell their stories with courage and compassion. Bless you sweet Emily on this special day!
The cookie jar is empty.
The laundry, piled six loads high on the dryer and the boys won’t sit through homeschool. I didn’t sleep well last night and I haven’t had my coffee and all I can think about is needing to make those cookies. Because what kind of mother doesn’t have cookies in her cookie jar?
I am constantly failing Pinterest’s Martha Stewart standards. I don’t have a chalkboard with tonight’s menu on it — goodness, I don’t even have meat thawing, and it’s day-old Chinese for lunch. Again.
I’m rushing the boys, yelling, taking my pent-up mother-guilt on them, forgetting that home is not a casserole or color-coded towels or clean toilets.
Home is mommy’s arms, is Daddy wrestling with his sons on the floor, is a stack of board books piled precarious on the coffee table because your two-year-old is addicted to building towers.
I don’t have to be a great housewife in order to make a home. It’s not about my casseroles or my manicured lawns; it’s about my state of heart, and unless I am filled with peace and joy, my home will feel distant and cold.
Home is sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor and pulling your boys to you with tears in your eyes and begging them to forgive you for getting stressed out over an empty cookie jar.
Because your life is beautifully full.
And you sit there for a while, a tangle of arms and hearts.
It’s taken me 33 years to find this place with the broken doorbell and the dirty door mat. I traveled the globe searching for it. Because we’re all, deep down, searching for our Father’s house—our eternal dwelling.
Home is a place for the broken to break bread. And in my traveling I learned the comfort of a cooked meal, of a welcome mat at the door, of family’s open arms, and when my Mum got sick with brain cancer I returned to take care of her and found God at her bedside. In the eyes of a woman who homeschooled me, who baked bread every week, who made home for me.
How about you friends? Do you feel the pressure to keep your cookie jars filled, your floors squeaky clean, your laundry neatly folded and put away? Can I say something to you, if you do?
Stop! Stop, and rest. Because friend?
You are more than your clean floors. You are more than your folded laundry or your stocked shelves. You are more than the role of Mom or Homemaker or Wife. You are a woman. You are an intricately designed creation woven in your mother’s womb, whose hairs are counted by the Maker of the Universe. You are loved.[box] Our lives are not Pinnable. They’re messy, with peanut-butter fingerprints and toy cars and runny noses. And you know what? They’re perfect.[/box]
Because in the end, it’s the family that makes the picture, not the frame.
My memoir, ATLAS GIRL, is releasing this month, and I am excited to give away THREE 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.