Friday, June 27, 2014

Blog Tour - Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga

I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Emily Wierenga’s memoir, AtlasGirl. Emily gave us a choice of topics and I chose this one – 

Have you found God close to home? Or did you travel the world to do so? Tell us about where you found Him.

I have found God in many places, some close to home and some far away. Like Emily I left my home in Ontario in 1974. I was wandering in the wilderness at that time in my life, sure that God wanted nothing to do with me. So I convinced myself He didn’t exist. I had decided to just go my own way, live my life without all the rules and restrictions that had been a source of frustration to me for many years. 

I ended up in Alaska and then settled in a tiny town called Dawson City, Yukon. ‘City’ is a misnomer – there were only about 300 people living there when I first arrived, but from the first day I had a feeling that my destiny was there. So I returned home, bought an Austin Mini, loaded up all my worldly belongings and headed north with the intention of living there for the rest of my life.

I was desperately looking for a place where I fit, a place where I would be accepted for who I was, not who I was expected to be. It didn’t take long to realize that the utopia I thought I’d found was terribly flawed. The restlessness and sense of emptiness didn’t go away so I tried to mask it with all kinds of endeavours – creative outlets like pottery, weaving, stained glass, writing; relationships that usually only brought more pain; careers that were far from satisfying.

Then I met a young man who seemed to be attracted to me in a sincere and wonderful way. It took me some time to yield but eventually we became a couple and made plans to be married. It was then our lives were turned upside down as death became an unwelcome part of our reality. Four friends died in quick succession and a neighbour’s 18 month old boy disappeared and was believed drowned on the day we were married.
Those events put us on a collision course in many ways – a crisis in our spiritual journey (that we didn’t even acknowledge), a crisis in our relationship as my husband began to seek answers to the big questions of life and found them in a tiny mission church, and a crisis of identity as we tried to sort out what was real and what we believed.

The resolution, for me, came on the road to Mayo, when I gave in and asked God to forgive me for the things I knew I’d done wrong. (you can read that story here) I challenged Him to show me that He existed, and it wasn’t long before He did.

The one desire of my heart at that time in my life was to have a child but the “experts” had told us it would not happen so we had begun the process of applying to adopt. Then, one early morning I woke and was very ill, but immediately wanted to sit down and eat a big breakfast. In fact in the days following it seemed I was always hungry, even right after being ill, which continued to happen each morning.

I was stunned by the reality that I was indeed pregnant and even more amazed at the revelation that this was the thing I had asked God to do. He had proven He existed, proven His love for me, by intervening in my life and giving me the precious gift of a baby girl. She was born on a frigid night in November, 1982. And when he fixes things He does a good job – we had two more children after that.

When I realized that God did indeed exist I became eager to discover who He really was. My husband and I became regular attendees at that small mission church in Dawson and began to grow quickly in Christ. Within two years we were in Bible College and the rest, as they say, is history.

I had to wander over 3,000 miles from my home to find Jesus, then realized that He had been with me all the time.
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