This past Friday after reading ATLAS GIRL: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look, by Emily T Wierenga, I sat on the steps that lead to my office. Thinking. Praying.
Completely blown away by Emily’s memoir.
I’m honored to be part of a blog tour to share the news of ATLAS GIRL, but for me, the book was so much more than that.
Staring at the cover, I remembered my own childhood–those family shaped places in my heart that sometimes still throb.
Growing up, I tried to hold our world together. I tried to hold us together.
In March of 1968, my mother gave birth to twin boys. My sister and I were thrilled. We’d each have our own baby to feed and dress–what fun!
But nothing stays the same for very long, does it?
Especially in families.
As our babies grew into rambunctious little boys, I thought …
If I try hard enough, I can fix my family.
I can …
Run fast enough to catch my brothers and make them behave
Lighten my mother’s load so she can smile
Be smart enough to impress my busy father.
I had no clue our family would break in almost every possible way.
When my brothers were 15, Daddy died with a brain tumor. There was a suicide attempt, mental illness, homelessness, prison, and addictions. When I was 34, I broke. I couldn’t hold my world together any longer. I experienced clinical depression and wrote about it here for Guideposts.
So this past Friday afternoon, I sat on the steps thinking.
Emily’s memoir is real and raw, and yet there’s hope and healing too.
Flipping through the pages, I re-read something I’d underlined.
“…The thing about God is, he sees the big picture. And that big picture is framed by grace and it includes us in it, and he cares more about refining our character and our spirits than he does about acknowledging our feelings. Sometimes he risks us not liking him for the sake of the bigger picture. For the better picture.”
God cares more about refining our character and our spirits …
Could it be …
The jagged places
The crooked lines I couldn’t straighten
Are somehow part of God’s bigger better picture?
Then I imagined His strong hands holding my lopsided world
And my family.
Thank You, Lord. You’ve got the whole wide world in Your hands.
So I can keep letting go.
Emily’s incredible book trailer …
ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go to Emily’s 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. Find our more and connect with Emily on her blog at www.emilywierenga.com, or find her on Twitter and Facebook.