Emily Wierenga’s new memoir “Atlas Girl” has many beautiful threads throughout it, especially those of redemption and growth. One of the threads that most spoke to me however was the one about finding her voice…both literally and figuratively.
When she was young, her family moved to the Congo and she recounts:
I wasn’t able to say anything…I’d stopped talking completely at 13 months when we first arrived in the Congo…words were confusing. They would tiptoe to the edge of my head but couldn’t find the door.”
Throughout her memoir she recounts moments in life that have shaped her as the woman she is today. Her experiences on mission trips, time in Bible College, taking care of her mom during brain cancer, working through her relationship with her dad, fighting the battle of anorexia and figuring out her relationship with Trent (her now husband). With each telling her voice grows stronger as you see God’s hand at work in her journey thus far.
The idea of being without a voice resonated with me. There are two things that I know I long for: to be seen and to be heard. And while I have never physically been mute in my life, there have been numerous times that words have been stopped up inside of me; unable to pass my lips or make their way through ink onto the page. Often these words were stopped up because of fear. It has taken the encouragement of others and the peace given by the Holy Spirit that I have begun to tentatively begin to try to release my voice out into the open. There are times when the fear tries to silence me again, but I always come back to the page.
Just like Emily started speaking again at some point, I have begun to step up and seek the voice that is uniquely mine to share.
Write from your own heart, in your own voice… – Louise Brown