About the Author

Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, and the author of six books including the new memoir "Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity and Purpose" (Baker Books, 2015). Proceeds from Emily’s books benefit her non-profit, The Lulu Tree. She lives in Alberta,...

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  1. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope that the message will be one of hope and love and peace to those who most need it, but I also realize that I too need all those things. It sounds like a beautiful book!

  2. “The Maker of the Universe is taking care of you.” I really needed to be reminded of that today. The monster of comparison so easily ensnares me. Thank you for your message of hope.

  3. Reading how God worked through your story gives me hope that my story has not been abandoned as too messed up by God. Thank you!

    • Oh sister, no story is ever beyond the rewriting of God’s Holy Spirit… You have not been abandoned. Can you feel His arms around you today? Holding you? Bless you, e.

  4. I would love to win this book. I spend a lot of time listening to the hearts of women and this comparison/destruction is a lot of what I hear. Thankful you are sharing your journey!

  5. Thank you for your beautiful words. Looking so forward to reading more of your story…

  6. I would love to read more. A very engaging story. I would love to win this book!

  7. 2 miscarriages in a year (3 babies total), a marriage that is sucking the life out of me, and loneliness like i’ve never known. i can identify with the impulse to drive into oncoming traffic. how did you find your way out?

    • oh, my sister Sharon…. I’m bowing right now to intercede for you. Girl, sometimes life just seems so hard you can’t breathe–if I can, I can promise you: this too shall pass. That often keeps me going. But sometimes you need to call for help. For friends who can come and pray with you in person and hold your hand and bring you gifts of chocolate and wine and just reassure you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God sees you sister, in your desert, and He wants to bless you. Praying, praying, for that blessing over you today Sharon. Loving you. e.

    • Sharon,

      ((((((((hugs)))))))! Want to encourage you that you matter to your husband, family, us here at IN(Courage) and mostly to God! He made you and loves you immensely!

      Prayers that you will find comfort and peace through all this! That He will give you His calm and contentment!!

      Blessings 🙂

  8. Just stopping in to give a big (((((((hug)))))))) … I love you… I love your words of encouragement!!!!!

  9. I just picked up Atlas Girl over the weekend at the library and I am loving it so far. The descriptions are fantastic and I’m finding myself sneaking ahead to read bits and pieces because I’m too impatient!
    Sarah M

  10. the comparison game knocks me almost flat – “almost” because if i were truly all the way down, it couldn’t pound me down again… it’s like a parasite feeding on my insides, my heart, my soul, my goals and dreams and responsibilities… sucking out just enough and leaving enough residue to keep me – the host – alive so it can keep coming back for more.

    i’d looooove to win a copy of your book, and you can be sure i will share it with others.

    • oh Layla, you describe comparison SO vividly here. I think every woman can relate. The enemy longs to kill, steal and destroy our joy…. cling to Jesus sweet sister! Love to you, e.

  11. Thank you for sharing your message today. I found myself within your words, and God has given us a spirit of hope.

  12. Such a beautiful post. I always seem to stumble across your posts on Facebook exactly when my heart needs to hear them. Thank you for bravely sharing and compassionately leading.

  13. This blog title caught my eye because I have been doing exactly that – comparing myself to others lately and have been praying about it. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. Karen

    • Karen, I LOVE your humble heart sister. May Abba continue to encourage you and speak to your spirit about who you are and who He made you to be. xo

  14. Emily, I would love to win a copy of your book…to give away to someone I love. I finished my copy of your book yesterday, and I cannot recommend this book highly enough! I was swept away by your words, the longing, the pain, for your Daddy’s love. I’m there right now, as my Dad wastes away with pancreatic cancer, never having told me he loves me, he’s proud of me. I have resigned myself to the loss, but it still hurts.
    All that you’ve gone through with your Mom, and the miraculous answers to prayer. You have convinced me that God still reigns and He still hears prayer, and He still answers according to His will. I am so blessed to know He gave your Mom new life…and that YES! You did find all the love you sought for so long, right there where you began. Full circle.

    • oh Jillie, thank you! This brought me to tears. Yes, God has done a wonderful full-circle in my life… and He longs to do it in all of our lives. To restore the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2). To cause the desert to bloom (Isaiah 34). To bring life to dead bones (Ezekial 37). Praise Him! e.

  15. You are so brave to share your story…but I’m sure it will be a blessing to the many that will read it. I’ve learned that God often allows us to suffer through the mire in order to be raised by His strength and shine His light to those around us. Thank you for shining that light. Blessing!

    • Thank you Anne. It’s definitely not easy–but Abba is faithful to give me strength and courage. Bless you sister, as you encourage others! Keep shining! e.

  16. What an incredible story of faithfulness by our incredible God. I believe every woman can relate to at least one facet of your story. It will be an honor and privilege to read your full account in your book. Blessings to you today!

  17. Thrilled to have this honest, beautifully written book out there, Emily. I loved it! To all our friends here on (in)courage, trust Lizzie on this: Atlas Girl is a moving must-read.

  18. As I sit here with a broken heart these words were just what I needed to hear. Thank you.

    • oh Alisa, may Abba be SO very close to you… he says he is close to the broken-hearted. May you feel his arms wrapped tight around you sister. Love to you, e.

  19. THANK YOU for being so honest, so real, so unfiltered. And as a dreamer of being a mommy one day (5 years waiting), it’s always encouraging to hear about stories of God’s miracle of children.

    • Hannah, I LOVE your name… I am believing in a Samuel for you, sister… May the Lord encourage you today and reassure you that he HEARS your cries, and he LONGS to bless you. XO

  20. I love the story of Hagar, to know that God sees me, when at times others don’t brings such joy to my weary heart. I would love to read your redemption story and how God used it for his glory and your good!!

  21. Thank you for your transparency and honesty about your own journey and struggles. Bringing it into the light encourages others so greatly and it is in community that we find acceptance healing and love.

    • Thank you dear Kathy… it is hard to be so vulnerable, but I know the darkness has NO power over us if we step fully into the light! Love to you sister. e.

  22. Would love to read this — it seems as if it wouldn’t just apply to those with eating disorders, but anyone struggling with self-worth issues (and don’t we all, at some point?). Thank you!

  23. God searched for Hagar and she called him “The God Who Sees Me”. I am so glad I read your post today – I always thought this part of the story was sad – and now I see hope and love. Thank you. Your book – it’s full of hope and love as well, yes? Beautiful words, beautiful heart.

    • oh Janet, I’m grateful for your heart, sister… yes, my goal through my book was not to dwell on the sad, but to highlight the joy, the redemption, the hope that resulted through the sorrow… to show the light that shines through the cracks of all our narratives. 🙂 Bless you! e.

  24. It’s always good to be reminded about the “God who sees me”. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on and forget the God is interested in every aspect of my life. Thank you@

  25. I am so glad you shared your story….there are many of us (I am sure) who are too afraid to share ours because of judgement or misunderstanding of those who hear it. I praise God for your courage, and pray that He will answer my prayer for more courage to do what is right, even if its unpopular and to know that if it feels like I am standing alone, He stands with me

    • This brings me to tears Linda. Yes, He is with you! He is mighty to save! Take heart sister. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. Stand strong! e.

  26. Thank you, Emily, for being so transparent and for encouraging me today that God is watchful over us with His tender loving care. I’m so grateful your mom made it and you were gifted with two boys. Your book sounds powerful. I checked out your Lulu Boutique, but I see you aren’t opening until in the fall. I pray this ministry will be blessed and profitable for many.

  27. Thank you for your vulnerability. It has the power to bring freedom and save people from additional pain. Would love to get your book.

  28. Comparison. Such a battle for me too. Thank you for sharing! And thank you for te book giveaway 🙂

  29. Your book sounds like a captivating read! I would love to win a copy, and then share it with others when I am done. You have a powerful story and I’d love to read about it.

  30. I would love to have a copy of Atlas Girl. It sounds like a book that many of us need to read.

  31. thank you for sharing this story…today is the day i needed this reminder so much. thank you. god bless.

  32. Thank you for sharing your story…today of all days. It is a day when I needed a reminder of all the blessings God has provided for me and that they are there….even if I have to dig through all of my burdens and troubles at the moment to find them. Can’t wait to read the book.

    • My dear Wendy, yes. God is there. Even amongst all of the mess, He is there… just longing to tell you that He sees and hears you, and wants to bless you. May you feel Him today. All my heart, e.

  33. Just what I needed to read today. Thank you! I struggle with comparison a lot but am SLOWLY learning that I need to get my eyes off myself and look at Jesus continually.
    Would love to read your book!

    • oh girl, thank you for being real with me today! You are not alone sister. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… Philippians 2 always encourages me. Bless you! e.

  34. Your words spoke to my heart somehow, even though I am an older woman who has lost both of my parents. I, too, yearned for a closer relationship with my father. We became somewhat closer after my mother passed away after many years of suffering after having a stroke. It is so painful to watch your parents get old and sick, no matter your age. I miss them terribly. I can’t seem to find home anymore, and I also feel unseen and alone, even though I know how much my daughter loves me, and I pray to Jesus for hours everyday to help me find peace on this earth for the rest of my time here and a place to fit in and find a job. It seems the older you get, the less visible you are. Even to those you thought loved you. I would like to finish your book and hopefully, find some wisdom and hope for the future.

    • oh Robbie…. how this made me cry. My sister, I see you. I hear you. And I feel the Father’s heart beating through my chest for you. How he longs for you to know how significant you are… how loved you are. And you are right, this earth is not our home–we’re like aliens on this planet, the Bible tells us. But God is building us a beautiful place of glory where we’ll never feel lonely ever again. May He reassure you of your PURPOSE and your worth today dear daughter of the King. Love, e.

  35. Thank you for sharing. I live in the comparison trap myself. As a widow, I always wonder if I will ever meet another prince charming (seems to be a lot of frogs out there) and get to have children of my own. Social media does me in on some days and I have to completely back away for awhile for the feeling of everyone else moves forward and I sit on the bench waiting to play. This really spoke to a deep part of me. Thanks for the encouragement to continue to seek the Lord and remember that He hasn’t forgotten me.

    • oh Tabitha, yes, there are a lot of frogs out there… and yes, social media does me in many days too. I love how you are realizing your purpose and your worth do not depend on others’ opinions of you… rallying for you sister! Bless you, e.

  36. I am afraid I am raising a daughter is questioning everything and anything because she doesn’t believe God loves her for HER…this hurts me deeply that ANYONE could ever not like/love this very emotional 14 year old…but I am just “mom”..I would love to win this book and maybe it will inspire my daughter to eventually realize that to find the love is to love herself. I pray that she will know this sooner rather than later…please Lord, give me the words to help her see this.

    • My dear Kelly, I love your heart for your beautiful daughter. I can reassure you that we all go through these times of wondering how anyone could love/like us, especially in the teen years–oh those are SUCH hard years–but God has your hand on your daughter and I trust that He will speak to her innermost being, reassuring her of His everlasting love for her (Ephesians 3:17). Keep loving her. You’re doing the right thing. XOXO

  37. Oh my, I would love to read this book and then give it to
    my daughter who is 26 and caught up in ‘comparison’
    and has not yet found Christ as her Saviour!
    Thank you for sharing from your heart what we all really need to learn!
    Corinne

  38. Dear Emily,
    How you’ve hit a nerve. I know that moment of laying in a fetal position, sobbing, and asking God for help. The thing that I struggle with the most is believing that God loves me like He loves everyone else. I long to encourage others and tell them of His love, but for some reason find it had to believe that message is for me, too. Comparison robs our joy and is suffocating.
    Thank you for sharing a part of your story with us today. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you this fall at Allume.

    love,
    Danielle

    • My dear Danielle, I cannot wait to hug you at Allume sister. May you know how deep and long and wide and high is the love of Jesus. Love to you! e.

  39. Different story from my own, but similar feelings at the core of it. Thank you for the reminder that God is there during the tough times. The times we want to quit, He holds us up. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book & for being so open & honest sharing your story. It gives hope.

  40. I am more and more aware of how all women, not just me, compare themselves to each other and find ourselves wanting. It is always a comfort when I find out other women feel like I do, that I’m not alone.

  41. What a beautiful blog post – I love “The God Who Sees Me.” Excited to read your memoir!

  42. I am so thrilled to read about this book and can’t wait to read the actual book! As a Bible teacher of women, all ages, and a mother of three daughters, I would love to have an “extra” copy to use in my “lending library” to the many women in my life who have been or will be in these darl places!

  43. I appreciate your transparency with your life, your pain, and your survival. There are so many things we do that look good or right to the world, when really they are devilish addictions or habits or worldviews that eat us alive and destroy our relationships. Thank you for helping me see those things in my own life.

  44. I have been able to see bits of your story in different places and am thankful that you share your story…

  45. I have also traveled widely in my life and often chuckle at what I found so close to my roots, after I had been a wanderer! Your book sounds like a story I would truely enjoy reading!

  46. Emily,
    Thank you for having the courage, strength and wisdom to share your life with us. Yesterday I found myself weeping and feeling so small…I needed to be reminded that God sees me. Thank you from this mother of 7, professor, pastor’s wife who struggles with body image and feeling insignificant. Praise God for giving us others to spur us on.

  47. Love the authenticity and vulnerability with which you write. Can’t wait to read this book!

  48. Wow. I would love to read your book. Comparison is something that God has been really tuning my heart and ear to these days….why do I do it? Because I feel inadequate about something within myself and I think someone else has it all together when, in reality, noone really does. Thanks for your post!

  49. I love the way you write. Would love to read the book.

    I read some of the comments and my heart went out to Sharon – miscarriages, difficult marriage, etc. I have been there and I have to tell you that you this too shall pass. You may not think or feel it right now, but it does. Please know that I am praying for you Sharon. If you want to write, my email is
    Katjam4233@yahoo.com. I am in a new season of life called the empty nest. I know loneliness, hurt, rejection, loss and I know love, peace, joy and yes happiness. Life has not been easy for me at all but this I know to be true…. God is faithful and he knows exactly where you are and what you need. Crawl up into the lap of your Abba Father and rest your head on his chest. Let him hold you and love you. Share with him your thoughts. Listen as he will talk to you.
    Kathleen

  50. I trust completely that I am always given exactly what I need and coming across this article is your gift to me today. Thank you. I can’t put it all into words yet but the feeling of connection and hope has truly blessed me.

  51. Thank You Emily,
    For reminding me/us that we belong to Him and how that should help in the everyday trails.
    Thank You for sharing your journey in faith and the encouragement as we discover Him on our own.

    Blessings!

  52. I’m looking forward to reading your book. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty.

  53. Comparison-my old frenemy. I struggle with this one a lot. People say “Don’t compare yourself to anyone-you’re wonderful the way you are.” Then in the next breath, they’re telling you how you should raise your kids, how your house should look, what you should wear, how much you should work, what you should/shouldn’t eat and drink, and the list goes on and on and on. It gets so you don’t know who you are and you feel like the real you is disappearing and who cares anyway? No one seems to like the “real” you; they want to change everything about you.
    If I haven’t said this enough, thank you for sharing your story. I can’t imagine the courage it took. Every one of your life posts has resonated with me, and I cry every time I read one. Why? Because I see myself. I’ve been where you are in so many ways; I’ve struggled with anorexia. I’ve suffered through two miscarriages. I’ve wondered if my marriage would survive and I still think my husband will leave me one day for someone better, smarter, less prone to rage, more talented.
    Blessings to you, sweet Emily.

    • oh Kate, you sound like a kindred spirit. praying for both of us, that we’ll be FREE–abundantly and ridiculously FREE–to love. all my heart, sister, e.

  54. This is just what I needed to read today after a Sunday afternoon of feeling sorry for myself and feeling like my family’s hired hand. Thank you for the honesty in which you share this wisdom that is way beyond your years. This fellow Alberta girl (transplanted in the U.S.) is glad to have found you!

    • Hello fellow Albertan! I’m so sorry you feel like your family’s hired hand 🙁 I pray that God speaks to those lonely and wounded places and declares truth to them; that he declares Ephesians 3:17 over them… he SINGS over you and delights in you and quiets you with his love.

  55. Would love to read your book. So real and refreshing to hear this from someone whose life most would think was so stable. Best wishes, Frances Bouchillon

  56. Sounds like a wonderfully inspirational book! I know just the person I want to give a copy to.

  57. WOW! This really sucked me in – in a good way. This looks like an intensely good read. Very raw and moving (in a good way). I like you pack a punch with few words – you make your words count and that is favorite trait of mine.

  58. This really hit me hard; a tear jerker for sure. I’ve been in a extra tough place lately, feeling lost and uncertain, comparing myself to everyone else and where they are and what they’re doing. I keep asking God for His help and I know He’s there and I know He’s with me, but still I’m uncertain. I hope to find myself and my way through Him soon. Thank you for this post. It is always comforting to know there are others who feel and have felt the same way.

    I am really looking forward to reading Atlas Girl!

  59. As I read the words from the back cover, I got chills. I also found God in a deeper, more personal way when my mom was sick and dying and I was caring for her two years ago. My dad had died when I was 13. I was so sad to see my mom suffering. At the same time, I had never before and have never since felt God’s presence like I did during that bittersweet time. But my faith and trust in Him has become more firmly and deeply rooted. I would love to read your book. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  60. “Atlas Girl”, an intriguing title indicating a universal experience. Do you explore different countries? The experience of world wide adventures? Do you probe world phlosophies seeking peace? Do you analyze the person who burrows their authenticity behind the guise of a world of glamorous expectations? Do you tour the Word of God researching love, grace and mercy? Yearning for answers? For faith? What map do you travel, Atlas Girl? I will read, search and learn.

  61. Wow, I loved this! My devotions this morning were on El Roi (The God Who Sees) and I read Genesis 16… an even more encouraging and deeper understanding of this passage!

  62. I wonder if there’s a woman out there who does not compare at some point. So destructive. Bless you, Emily, for writing this book and addressing such an important topic. Thanks for the giveaway.

  63. I am captivated by the beginnings of your story mentioned in this blog post, Emily. Looking at your pictures, it is so hard to believe the trials you have endured. I am encouraged that God does “restore what the locusts have eaten.” I am caught up in the comparison game myself and yearn to be free and grateful. I struggle believing God will ever release me from my trials. Social media sends me in a downward spiral. I am about to pass my 15 year anniversary with a very difficult, emotionally abusive husband. I have many people who love and support me, including my church leadership, but, at the end of the day, I am trapped in a lifeless marriage with three young children, and I am constantly evaluating the best way to care for them. I cannot wait to read your memoir. I would love to win it, obviously!

  64. So thankful I stumbled across this on FB tonight. Funny, I just got home from an unexpected vacay and as I waited to see if I was going to get the seat on the flight, I heard they were holding a service in the airport chapel. I knew when I heard that announcement, I wasn’t getting the seat on the plane. I didn’t even know airports had chapels!! Anyways, I didn’t get the seat on the flight, but I most certainly got the message intended for me to hear in that chapel. Thank you for your message!! God bless and keep you sister!!

  65. I love that God speaks to us in dreams. I love that God seeks us out. I love that God loves us as we are – as God created us. We all play that comparison game, and we all fall short. Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for caring for mothers on the other side of the world. After visiting my son in Guinea, West Africa, this year where he’s been serving in the Peace Corps, I have discovered a love of other peoples, other countries, other cultures. Our God is big and intimate.

  66. I’m looking forward to reading your book while I’m on vacation and have time to read it all the way through. A friend shared with me the other day.”To be blessed is to be satisfied by God.” I pray that for all the women,including myself that have struggled with self image. And honestly I think most women do…. So …Be Blessed!

  67. Oh my gosh! What an amazing post! I am definitly keeping this one in my folder so I can reread it. You hit the anil on the head, I find myself struggling with comparison on a daily basis. This was a breath of fresh air. Whether I win a copy of your book or not, I am adding this to my library. THANK YOU!

  68. Your words of honesty were an encouragement to me as I, also a PK, have struggled with letting go of perfectionism, as a mom. Young or old, the temptation to feel defeat doesn’t go away easily. But we do have all we need to fight the battle! Praise God!

  69. REall loved the free excerpt and was glad i was availabe in Kindle format, so ordered it. thanks for sharing your story.

  70. I’ve been dealing with a broken heart and your book is exactly what I need. You are so inspiring. I’m definitely going to start following your blog.

    Thank you
    Cassie

    • oh Cassie, may Christ speak to those wounded places, and bring you such comfort, sister… He is close to the broken-hearted, the Psalms tell us. Love to you, e.

  71. I pre-ordered Emily’s book “Atlas Girl”. I just finished reading it, and loved it! If you don’t win a copy, buy one. If you are a young woman comparing yourself to other women and feeling less, or if you struggle with anorexia, or if you don’t have the best relationship with your parents, or if you aren’t married yet, or if you don’t know if you can trust Jesus — Read this book. Emily breaks open her heart and pours it into this book. Don’t miss reading it!

  72. I would love to read your book!
    As I’m 44 and still single, perpetually, eternally single, I see the Married women around me and wonder how they found husbands? Am I not special enough? Not pretty enough? Ugh. It’s so painful. And not helpful.

  73. Comparison…… I spent 20 years trying to be the PERFECT wife, the PERFECT Mom. Only to wake up one day to find my perfect husband tangled up in an emotional affair with a “friend”. A friend who offered to leave her husband, offered herself physically, etc.

    Comparing myself to her I couldn’t compete!! She was skinner, prettier, younger, way more exciting, since obviously she’d risk or do anything!! I so wanted to commit suicide. So. Many. Times. I still struggle with not being enough, I fight my self loathing. I mean I must not be worth much if the man of my dreams would choose to do something so horrific to me.

    Slowly realizing…….. That I should have never lived for just a man, I should have never set him up so high. Realizing that my heart needs to totally belong to the One who sees ME, and he loves and values and cherishes me, exactly as I am.

    Trusting him with my marriage is the scariest thing I have ever done. This spoke so much to all the hurt and pain that I carry.

  74. So touching. So true. I’m truly tired of comparison. I’m excited to read this book.

  75. One of my favorite verses has always been Luke 12:27, “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Thank you for the reminder today that God sees me, God knows me by my name, God knows every little minute detail about me and yet He still wants to bring me home because He loves me.
    These days seem to just go from bad to worse and I don’t know how to fix it; I trust in God yet life is in a disarray.

  76. I confess. I was not real familiar with “EmilyW” but reading two posts in one week, I feel like I’ve known her for years.
    I’m not even sure what to say except, that every woman, regardless their insecurity, their status in life, their strength or their weakness, needs to read this. This.

    Amen.

  77. Thank you for sharing your story. I have been really going through similar experiences. I’m not a PK but similar. My parents, my father mainly has been a leader in our church all my life. I have a brother and a sister and we have all disappointed our parents. My sister bad I found out we were both pregnant within months of each other. I ended up marrying my baby’s father and having another baby with him. He is not a Christian though he has attended church all his life. My brother was married and is now divorced and living with a new girl.
    I know my parents wanted more for us all. I am trying to follow Jesus in this broken world, but feeling like I’m failing nine times out of ten.
    I so appreciate all of the comments here because I realized I am not alone in this. Everyone of us is fighting a battle of some kind. The key is to “look to Jesus, the author and perfect of our faith…..”

  78. Sounds like a great book for many women!

    My problem isn’t so much comparison, but one of feelings. I need to know that I matter to people and that they love me. Just simply state that you love me and give me hugs. Don’t ignore me and act like I don’t exist.

    May God bring about healing through your book!

    Blessings 🙂