By Emily T. Wierenga
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.
Emily T. Wierenga's Atlas Girl is quite different from the type of book I normally read, but I really enjoyed it and found it very inspirational. Emily is a wordsmith who writes in an unusually beautiful lyrical style that I first came to love in her Quilts of Love novel, A Promise in Pieces (reviewed here) - prose that at times reads like poetry.
Part spiritual memoir, part relationship story between Emily and her Mum - Atlas Girl is really a journal and a journey, a journey in which Emily Wierenga takes you by the hand and invites you into the broken places in her life. In her struggles with anorexia and disillusionment with organized religion, Emily bares her soul with complete honesty and I grew spiritually right along with her. By the time I finished reading, I felt like Emily had become my friend.
These words by popular speaker and writer, Liz Curtis Higgs, beautifully describe Atlas Girl . . . “The best memoirs combine the storytelling elements of a novel–smart pacing, tactile details, people you care about–with the deep insights and spiritual takeaway of great nonfiction. Emily Wierenga deftly serves up that rich blend in Atlas Girl, a nonlinear, wholly moving account of her life’s journey so far. Her honesty is raw, real. Her faith is hard-won. And when it finally pours out, her love–oh, her love soars off the page and makes a nest in our hearts. Brilliant and beautiful.”
Here are just a few quotes that spoke to me in a profound way . . .
"Funny how the two go together, grief and wonder, kind of like when Jesus died and his murderers realized he was God even as the sky tore."
"How does a girl tell a boy that she is damaged? That their love, no matter how poignant, strong, or special, can't reproduce? And so I told him I didn't want kids and then I starved myself as punishment. For not being the woman he needed me to be. For not knowing who I was apart from my eating disorder."
"You can't become healed, truly healed, unless you revisit the past. Unless you revisit all of those aching, pulsing places and invite God into them."
"The closer we let ourselves get to Jesus, the more we learn the way he sees. We learn the way he loves. And we learn the way he gives. And he never stops giving and we never stop receiving."
Atlas Girl will touch so many people - those who have battled with anorexia or know someone who has, those with a passion for world missions, anyone who has been disappointed or frustrated with organized religion, moms and daughters, and anyone who wants to be inspired by a real-life journey. Recommended to everyone.
Atlas Girl can be purchased online at CBD, DeeperShopping, B&N, and Amazon.
ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree. The Lulu Tree (www.thelulutree.com) 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
"I am a broken wife, mother, author, and artist. I am a pastor's daughter and a former anorexic who speaks up for the voiceless. I am a world traveler who is slowly finding her way home. Welcome, friend."
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author, and blogger at www.emilywierenga.com. She speaks regularly about her journey with anorexia and lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Trenton, and their two sons.
Meet Emily online at emilywierenga.com.
Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.