What Women Want (a memoir giveaway)

By Emily T. Wierenga


Courtney Joseph

I was drinking twelve cups of coffee a day, addicted to sleeping pills, and only eating supper.

We were newlyweds; we’d been married under the trellis in my parents’ yard, my Dad, a reverend, officiating the ceremony and the flowers in my bouquet as fake as the smile on my face. I was terrified.

I didn’t want kids, I didn’t know how to make a home—my mother made homes, I lived in them. So my farm boy and I went on a three-week honeymoon to the Maritimes, to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and PEI, and flew home to basement suite where I put holes in the walls.

I put holes in the walls because I was so hungry. I didn’t do love well. I didn’t let anyone close, because my childhood was spent moving, from one place to the next, and we always had to look the part—the perfect preacher’s family part—and I turned anorexic at nine years old. Because starving myself was easier than feeling lonely.

And here was this man, sleeping in my bed, and I didn’t know how to let him in.

And one day he came home from work to find me crying because I hadn’t eaten all day and couldn’t get the living room to look just right. We had purple couches from the thrift store and a borrowed coffee table and we lived in a basement suite. Trent took my face in his and said, “I’ll make supper. You rest.”

I nodded. “Thank you,” grabbed a bag of marshmallows, and disappeared into the office to do some painting.

After a while Trent called, “Suppertime!”

He’d made hamburgers and what he calls “fancy salad,” the kind where he grates carrots and chops onions even though they make him cry.

And I came out of that room with an empty marshmallow bag and white lips. I sat down at the dinner he’d made and said, “I’m sorry babes—I’m not really hungry.”

It was a silent meal with the sound of Trent’s fork and knife on his plate and this anorexic woman with the white lips.

I’d only meant to have one or two marshmallows but they’d filled a hole in me. And then they were gone.

And I wondered why he wasn’t, too.

How many of us settle for marshmallows when we’re actually craving food that will last?

How many of us, sisters, sit down with a pint of ice cream after a stressful day, or binge on Oreos after the kids go to bed? How many of us try diet after diet but end up filling on junk because we’re just so hungry?

I think of Jesus at the well, with the Samaritan woman. How he asked her for water—but then offered her Living Water in return. He offers us Living Bread—his body.

Because this is what we’re hungry for, isn’t it friends? A love so deep and long and wide and high it fills every crevice of our souls; a kind of love that would die for us, a kind that sings over us, a kind that walks through fire with us?

We are born longing for the kind of affection only a divine being can offer. We are born aching for the kind of fullness which comes from an everlasting love.

But it’s not a bag of marshmallows. It’s not fast fame or fleeting praise or accolades.

No, it’s a slow cooked meal and we need to wait, to be patient, as this is the kind of love prepared by a gentle pair of hands which feeds your soul.

Trent still makes me fancy salads. He still makes burgers and corn on the cob and I no longer eat marshmallows. Because I’ve tasted real food and there’s no turning back.

There’s no turning back from love.


My memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look
, is releasing this month, and I am excited to give away THREE copies today!

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 orderAtlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look
HERE, and send a receipt to: atlasgirlbookreceipt@gmail.com, 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.

Atlas Girl_700x175_2

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


**I attempt to read cover to cover all books that are mentioned at WLW. I apologize that I was not able to finish reading this book before it was time to post this post therefore, this guest post is not an endorsement of the book – but I do love Emily’s writing and heart.


  1. Kristi says

    I would love to read this! What a wonderful thing to think of God’s “slow cooked” plan for us.

  2. Sue Hovland says

    I don’thave a website or anything. I just was reading about a free book about disillusioned women seeking for food that sustains and satisfies. I too am looking for that food that is given by Jesus Christ. I want to know what its like to be really loved by someone. Unconditionally. With no strings attached or a price to pay. I have never felt that kind of love and have looked high and low, even very low to the very depths of hell looking for someone to really love me. Oldest of 7 children, I was never quite good enough and my father had conditions for love and I never met them and because I didn’t he withheld his love. My Mother worshipped the ground he walked on so I lost out there too. In therapy I’ve learned that I am the scapegoat of the family. I have the shirt that says blame it on sue and they do still. Kick me also works well for them. Husbands, there were two also ended in not really living me either. One even chose my best female friend over me and the other had a live affair with whiskey and calling me bad names. I’m no perfect angel but still it seems others find they are loved. I guess I’d really love to win that book. I don’t have much money as I’m on disability which leaves no room for extras. I’dlike to read how women feel uunconditional live from God, because love has always had a high price tag to me.

    • Jessica says

      Sue Hovland. I pray you get your hands on a copy of this book thank you for sharing from your heart. If I win a copy you may have mine. God Bless

    • says

      I was moved by your comment. I have been dealing with a similar issue of finding love, knowing what it looks like, wondering what it feels like. To share a little of my story, I grew up on middle class home with a mom who seemed to have no regard for her girls, a father whom had been emasculated by his relationships (didn’t realize this until I was grown). My sisters and I had been called every name except the one that was given to us. I became pregnant as a teen; two kids by the time I finished high school, verbally abuse relationship (my sister is in this type of marriage, as I write), oh raped (my mom didn’t believe; she didn’t believe my sister was either after we kicked in the door when my cousin was on top of her, that’s another story), was made to live with person who violated us, feeling like was not good enough. Oh, my, I apologize for the length of this. I have not been on the site in a while and I too was looking at the chance to win a book, as I am a single mom looking to breakout in the world of research, writing, and ministry (having to get pass some things first and don’t know where to start). Forgive me for the rambling. Thank you

  3. says

    Love this e…
    So thankful for you and your words and watching God work healing and love into your life and family.
    Love, K

  4. Jessica says

    Words can heal! Books with life stories help aide men and women to know they are not alone. May God bless you for sharing your story and helping others heal.

  5. Natalie says

    I would love to win this book and share it with others. I hav been looking elsewhere for happiness and know it only comes from God.
    Thank you

  6. Ruth O says

    Your words resonate with me so deeply. After I read this, I thought, YES, but she’s thin, and anorexia is okay, because it makes a person thinner. Bulimia is disgusting because it can make a person fatter.

    Immediately I realized that these were the enemy’s horrible lies. I am in a cycle of yo-yo and fad dieting, which starts with a boatload of denial and hunger and always ends with another boatload of whatever thing I can find in the house with even a trace of sugar. Tubs of frosting, marshmallow creme, baking materials, you name it. I USED to have an eating disorder. I also used to think that period of life was over, but now that I read your words and mine, I realize that I still have some issues!

  7. Sylvia says


    Thank You for sharing your heart and life. My daughter has been struggling with anorexia for two years. She is nineteen and has been traumatized by life experiences living with a twin brother who has autism. Our loving Lord God is JEHOVAH-ROHPE, Our HEALER!! My beautiful daughter truly needs to know how deeply Father LOVES her!! Our whole family is walking through a healing journey. We are seeking the Lord for direction for our daughter, son and family. Trusting Father. He is Faithful. I will be reading your life story.

    Praying God’s riches blessings over you and yours…

  8. says

    There is so much I can relate to in your words Emily. I quit eating in H.S., made a size 1/2 look fat (or so I thought), looked for love in all the wrong places, and fell flat on my face at the ending of my first marriage. Your courage is breathtaking and I am anxious to read the book whether I win it or not :)

  9. says

    I am more than 1/2 done reading Emily’s book “Atlas Girl”. If you don’t have a copy yet, you need to read this book! Emily recounts how she looked for love, while pushing away those who loved her most, and finally she begins to find love when she opens her heart, and learns to trust. It is a beautiful story, and Emily tells it well.

  10. Victoria says

    Such amazing naked honesty.. your words have plucked a small taut cord within my spirit. As the only child of a terminally ill father and an overwhelmed uneducated mother who was fighting her own demons, I spent my childhood in the thin veil of invisibility and a poverty that only the further ends of Appalachia could provide. There was a comfort in being the unseen, the unnoticed… tiptoeing thru life and only finding solace in the shadows. As a young woman, anorexia was a natural comfort zone. It took me years to even realize I had a problem. I was always too busy to eat , or just wasnt hungry. Looking back I see it had become a badge of sorts.. worn in the most absurd battle between pride and shame. Thank you for being so open and loving in your journey.

    • says

      Victoria, this is so well said… what a hard past, friend. I love your heart sister, and where God is leading you… into a future bright with healing. Bless you. e.

  11. Ivetta says

    Hi Emily- yes, only the living Bread- the body of Christ brings the life and satisfies. Nothing else. Only unity with Christ gives life, freedom and gives strength to love with His love. But people have to beware really- many Christians live here a lie and do not want to notice, believing they live Christ.
    I came from a persecution to this country- and honestly- living here is much more worse and harder- majority Christians are dead inside, despite from outside it looks so good- and enemy likes it. It is very hard to find friends, that care about Christ more than themselves. And of course, if Christ is not number one for them, they do not get what to love the neighbor is. I love your searching for the truth !
    When you gave an example how many women reach for ice cream, etc-here- it came to my mind, how it is so sad, because majority people in the rest of the world are hungry for a real food, can’t EVER even afford the “junk”. There is no need for junk if you have Christ and the money what are not wasted for it , can be donated to the ones who can’t buy their own proper food- as Jesus said- I was hungry and you gave me the food- He didn’t say- when I was hungry you eat my portion and I died from starvation because of your greed. Stay in the Truth- God bless you!

  12. Sara Penning says

    Thank you, Emily!! I wish I would have found your blog a year ago! I feel it would have helped me through some dark times.
    I have battled with eating issues probably since middle school, high school, never having a good self image. I also struggled with depression and anxiety at that time but didn’t get help until my sophomore year in college. Throughout that time I never really addressed my eating issues and the one time I did I felt belittled and was told my issues weren’t really that bad.
    Fast forward 11 years and I had a relapse with the birth of my second child. Just days after his birth I started having really bad headaches/migraines. It took awhile to figure out what was going on and to find the right med combination. During this time I couldn’t and didn’t feel like doing anything including exercising. In order to make sure I lost my baby weight I started not eating and controlling what I ate when I did eat. At the time there was very little I could control except for what I ate…or at least I thought so. It didn’t take long to lose that control. I became consumed with my weight, food, body image,etc. It was crazy how quickly everything hot out of control even though I thought I was in control. I quickly lost the baby weight plus more. I had reached a weight that I had longed to be at for years but soon I wanted to lose just a couple more pounds. If I could get down to….then I would be happy. I was just spiraling out of control so much that I was looking at treatment options about a year ago. Then I discovered that I was pregnant. It wasn’t what I wanted at the time but it was what saved my life. God protected me during my pregnancy. I no longer had migraines and I began eating again. I was eating for the baby.
    My little girl was born in March and since then things have been good. No post-partum, headaches/migraines. It took a conversation with a dear friend to realize that my little girl saved my life. God has given me a second chance at life. I’m trying to truly enjoy each day and the blessings He has given me. I’m not consumed by my eating like I was a year ago. I still have days where I wish I was smaller but I remind myself that my worth is in Christ!

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