ast week I inhaled Emily T. Wierenga’s Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look
in my precious spare moments: riding in the car; in the bleachers during baseball practice; late at night while my house slept; and finally getting up early and reading in bed until I finished.
I messaged Emily immediately because I had to talk about the book. Although I planned to review it, she offered me a guest post and a giveaway copy and that’s even better. Leave a comment to win!
What My Mum Taught Me About Church (giveaway!)
By Emily T. Wierenga
“So, I lied,” my husband says, poking his head into the bathroom where I’m showering.
And I’m thinking five minutes honey, just five minutes without the kids or anyone, just five.
“I said we had 15 minutes until we have to leave for church,” he says, “but actually, we have three.”
This happens every Sunday. Somehow, without fail, I’m always behind and shoving boys into pants they grew out of overnight and trying to find an outfit that I didn’t wear last week only I know those things shouldn’t matter, so then I repent and that makes me even later, and then there’s makeup. Because you can’t go to church without makeup–someone might see who you really are, and some weeks we’re so tired we opt for BedSide Sabbath.
Which means, stay at home in our pajamas and eat popcorn and watch “Cheese Guys” as my boys call them, or Despicable Me, because God has called us to rest.
And maybe I’m a church-rebel because I’m a pastor’s daughter and was never allowed to be. Maybe I skip sometimes because I had to be on my death bed to skip it as a kid, and maybe I’ve realized that no amount of feeling tired will earn me any rewards in heaven.
But entering rest will.
And this is something Mum taught me when I took care of her for three years. Mum, who had brain cancer, and I moved home from Korea where my husband and I were teaching English. I moved home to live in my parents’ basement and make art on large pieces of canvas. I moved home because Mum was dying and she needed me and in spite of traveling the globe trying to find the God I said I believed in at eight, when my dad sprinkled water on me; the same God who saved me from anorexia at thirteen and then again at twenty-six, I didn’t really find him until I entered her room.
Mum’s bedroom, where she slept for hours on end, the crimson blanket across the window, the sheets smelling of urine, and when I sang to her in that room, songs like Blessed Be the Name and Better Is One Day and Amazing Grace, she would always sing with me, from somewhere deep. Her eyes closed. Her feet, moving.
After twenty years of being a pastor’s wife my Mum had finally found rest and when she awoke, no matter what day it was, she always thought it was Sunday. Her blue bag packed and ready by the door, filled with her Bible and her notebook and when Sunday would actually arrive, she’d often sleep right through it. We’d push her to the front of the church in her wheelchair, and she’d droop over and I’d cry because all she wanted was to be awake in time for church.
Mum’s better now. After eight years of brain cancer, she’s better.
I’m no longer anorexic either, and the doctors were wrong. I’ve had two babies, and they said I wouldn’t be able to have any, and that’s because God is bigger than all of our Sundays.
He’s bigger than our wildest mistakes, he’s bigger than our theologies and our hypocrisies, and he’s bigger than our church buildings. Big enough to chill with us in our pajamas while we watch Cheese Guys and eat popcorn.
I used to hate church, because I had to go. I love it now, because I choose to go. And that day Mum called Sunday, it’s a day of rest for me. A day when I find myself by her bed again, singing hymns with her and holding her hand.
A day of broken hallelujahs.
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including an upcoming 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.
I am excited to give away a copy of my new memoir, ATLAS GIRL, today. Just leave a comment below to win.
I’m also giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl, today. Just order HERE, and send a receipt to: [email protected], and you’ll receive The House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing the Story in Your Soul (which the above post was taken from) – an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by myself and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.
All proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards The Lulu Tree ~ preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers.
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.