in the shadows

i have no trouble seeing him in the light of day
God stands there, strong and bold, as i pass him by
pat him on the back, tell him ‘well done, creator’ then
mosey on my way, undisturbed by his tears

he’s harder to find in the shadows
darkness obscures his loving features
demons are alive and dangerous
and fear makes me tremble, fall

yet it’s in the loneliness of night when an embrace feels best
and i feel you Lord, wrapping your arms around me now
even though
it’s hard to see
your face

suburban madness

blocks of granite stand in the way of my imagination

solid sordid stacks of solitude

supposed ‘homes’

surrounded by manicured lawns and plastic flowers

which have no smell

I’m suffocated by the narrow vision of the upper class

children’s toys litter the grass

placed strategically so they look ‘used’

while inside, little ones suckle on the boob tube

every house has a fire pit–wood piled high on either side

soaked through from seasons of rain and snow

the pit is as empty as their reason for making it

the Jones’ live on either side of one another

trading glances for greetings

price tags for true value

ever building upwards, never inwards

ever feeding jealousy, not hunger

I’m suffocated by the madness of suburbia

Surreal

Today is my first book launch. It’s much like attending my own wedding five years ago; surreal. Yet at the same time, it’s far too ordinary–like going to the mall. I have to keep reminding myself over and over to thank Jesus, for only He could have brought me here, helping me to fulfill one of my life goals at 28 years of age. Thank you Lord. May your will be done in my life.

(Me reading an excerpt from ‘Save My Children’ in front of 200 guests)

Emily’s Debut Novel For Sale!

I am very pleased to announce that my debut novel, Save My Children, is now available for purchase at the publisher’s website: www.castlequaybooks.com.

Soon it will also be distributed to Christian bookstores nationwide; please feel free to approach the Christian bookstore nearest you and ask for your own copy. As of November, it will also be available on Amazon.

Save My Children
is the compelling story of a young couple who became mother and father to over 800 abused and neglected children.

Harvey and Elsie Jespersen had one desire: to provide a safe place for any child needing a family.

This is a fictional retelling of the true story of the founders of Bethany Homes for Children. From 1948-1991 the Jespersens fostered up to fifty-five kids at any given time. Their home consisted of a set of old army barracks based on 42 acres of Albertan farmland. Through hard work, determination and patience, the barracks were transformed into a place of refuge for generations of children. Refusing to take any payment except what parents could afford, Harvey and Elsie depended solely on the power of prayer. Written in honour of Bethany Homes’ 60th Anniversary, Save My Children tells of love’s ability to mend hundreds of broken children through two open hearts.

Emily Wierenga is a freelance writer and artist who has served on Bethany Home ’s Board of Directors. She lives with her husband, Trent, in Blyth , Ont., and writes regularly for Christian Week, Faith Today and Adbusters. Her book Canvas Child was a finalist in the 2006 Castle Quay Books Best New Canadian Author contest.
In her spare time she enjoys travelling and watching her garden grow. For more information, visit http://www.emilywierenga.com.

All proceeds from the sale of Save My Children support Bethany Homes for Children.

mum’s faith

i walk up the stairs, see Mum sitting by the large living room window overlooking autumn’s colours. her eyes are bright–almost too bright. her cheeks, flushed pink, like apple blossoms. her feet are up on the footstool. in her hands, a piece of paper, which she’s gripping so tightly her knuckles are turning white.

i breathe in deeply, willing away my sadness, and exhale out faith, asking God to help me cheer her up. she’s beaming up at me; i wrap my arms around her.

“so good to see you,” she says, bobbing her head a bit. then she stares into space.

i ask if i can see what she’s holding on to. she nods, but is unable to communicate that willingness to her hand so I gently pry her fingers apart and read what’s written on the paper.

Ephesians 3:20-21
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

i swallow hard. who am i to think i can cheer Mum up? her joy is rooted in the giver of miracles. she believes beyond reason. she believes when everyone else’s faith is crashing down. she believes so hard her knuckles turn white.

turning to her i say, “God will heal you, Mum” speaking from my heart, not my mind. she nods, her eyes still bright.

“i know,” she says. and smiles.

the soothing voice of rain

the rain pitter-patters like tiny feet across my windowsill. i instinctively crave stillness, to wrap myself up in a fuzzy blanket and remain motionless. why is this? is it the outward confirmation that i cannot rottatill the garden or dig up the potatoes or cut the grass? why should i need an excuse to rest? even as i lie here i’m fighting all instincts to get up and produce. but for what purpose? in the end, what will one more hour of productivity matter? yet for some reason, to this restless heart, it does. and so, my tired body and unsatisfied soul war against the other, until one gives way to the soothing voice of rain.

cloudy morning

it’s one of those grey flannel days when the sky looks like it’s just crawled out of bed and is stumbling around in its bathrobe. just like me. so i think i’ll sit here in my flannels all morning and keep the sky company.

focus on the prize

the blackness was so thick it sucked me in, a vortex of darkness. up ahead i heard the squeak, squeak of Trent’s bike, but could only see a glimmer of light from the white on his shirt as we rode along. night-time had descended on this particular trail in Blyth. it was only 9 p.m.

“focus on the prize” trent threw over his shoulder, referring to the keyhole of moonlight at the end of the trail. i chose instead to stare at the white patches on his shirt.

i’d taken trent on a date. packing a blanket, candle, two pieces of apple cake and some baileys i’d led him down this trail an hour earlier to our favourite apple orchard. there, under unsuspecting trees, we’d spread our fare while crickets serenaded us.

i hadn’t realized how dark it gets, nor how quickly.

suddenly car lights from a nearby road shone into my eyes. i couldn’t see anything save for bright shimmering dots. my bike wobbled. i prayed the car would pass quickly. it was then i realized: too much light, like too much darkness, can blind a person.

my overactive mind went further, thinking, that’s the way it is with faith. over-zealous faith has the potential to blind, to disillusion, and ultimately, destroy; similarly, no faith at all can leave one wobbling on the path, unsure of where to go. but a gentle faith, expressed quietly like the white patches on trent’s shirt, will eventually lead one home.

“focus on the prize” trent says. my prize is the quiet light of knowing Jesus; He is the candle in my hand, the white patches on the shirt ahead of me, which will one day lead me home.