Learning How to Eat (and a giveaway of Mom in the Mirror)

MomMirror high res cover

My friend, Emily Wierenga, has been one of the kindest online friends I have ever had. The proof is in the pudding, how she has treated me time and again. I do believe so often that we learn to be kind to others by learning to be kind to ourselves. After all, we’ve been told to love others as ourselves.

Today Emily shares with us here a little about her process of learning how to love herself – and thereby how to nourish herself. Maybe this is why I have felt so fed by her.

Notice that comments are open today, because Emily is offering a copy of Mom in the Mirror! Now enjoy — Emily:

I never wanted to be known as the girl with the eating disorder.

And now I’ve got a book with chapters and paragraphs and sentences stating that I am that very girl, the one who starved herself from the ages of nine until 13, and nine? People ask. Why so young?

But I tell them, I didn’t feel nine. I felt very, very old.

And sometimes it’s hard to remember (as I put down words like Hospital and Calories and Mirror), that I am more than that now. That I have always been more. That we are all more than our reflection.

But you couldn’t have told that to the girl with the mushroom cut and the big plastic glasses who stared into the long mirror in the dim-lit hallway while Dad typed away in his office, the door that was always closed because he was a pastor, and why do churches keep their entrances locked?

And Mum in the kitchen cooking supper in her apron.

I really don’t think it had much at all to do with eating, and does it ever? Do we sneak bags of chips or cookies or bowls of ice cream because we love food? Or because we hate ourselves?

And I think it’s because as women, as mothers, we put ourselves last so often, that we don’t believe we deserve goodness. We feel we don’t deserve beauty or gifts or to sit down and enjoy a good long meal with a glass of wine because there are children to be bathed and put to bed, and clothes to be folded and toys to be put away and, and…

And this is what I saw stretched across my mother’s face, as she stood weary by the stove in her apron. And she tried to love us the only way she knew how: by homeschooling us and dishing up heaping plates of food and sewing us clothes, but all I wanted was for her to hold me and tell me I was beautiful.

But she’d never had anyone do that for her, not her mother nor her father nor my father.

We all need someone to be love, incarnate, so we can put our faith in it.

My husband leans in on the pillows and I ask him to tell me, just one more time. “But why?” he says, this farm-boy that walked me through my relapse when I was 23.

“Don’t you know?” I shake my head.

“Tell me again,” I say.

“I love you.” He pulls me close. “I’ve never stopped loving you,” he says. “And I never will.”

I let him kiss me then.

And I’m learning to stand up for myself this way, to treat my body with kindness. And I know it has nothing to do with me. I know it has everything to do with me being a product of God’s genius. His hands molding dust into skin into breath.

He’s the one who makes me beautiful. So I sit boldly at the kitchen table in the afternoon light and eat a bowl of ice cream, my sons beside me, eating theirs, because we need to do this together, this life. This learning to eat, this learning to be gentle with ourselves and others.

Because lies can’t grow in the light.

And light is love.


I’m giving away a hard-cover copy of my new book today, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, co-authored by Dr. Dena Cabrera, and foreword by supermodel Emme. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Giving birth produces life in more than one sense. It’s the baby powder, milky-breathed spirit found in the softest limbs you’ve ever felt, and it’s the respect a man feels for his wife as he watches her give up her body for another.

And it’s the deep-rooted soul satisfying feeling of knowing you were born for more than the mirror. That you were born to see the face of God in your child, and to know, you yourself are a miracle.

I want you to have this book! Tell me ONE thing that you love about yourself, and you’ll be entered into the draw!

Otherwise, you can order it through the book’s website, here: www.mominthemirrorbook.com.

Emily Wierenga is a mom to two beautiful boys, wife to a handsome math teacher, and author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder (www.chasingsilhouettes.com) and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy (www.mominthemirrorbook.com). To learn more, please visit www.emilywierenga.com.

About me


What I Knew In My Dying Day: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post by Tara Owens
August 19, 2015
Condemnation on the Molehill
June 08, 2015
Tools for the Highly Sensitive Mother: An Introduction
April 27, 2015
The Uncouth: The Hormonal
May 12, 2014
What Mothers Me
April 01, 2014
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Motherhood and Anti-Depression
February 08, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: On the Trail
January 25, 2013
On Dancing: A Titus Update
December 04, 2012


Reply May 20, 2013

I love my eyes. Plain and simple :) They are blue and soft and inviting, and my son shares them.

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    oh corinne, i LOVE how you describe your eyes. so tenderly. thank you for sharing! e.

Tracy Statler
Reply May 20, 2013

I love that I am creative and that I find joy in helping others learn to make beautiful jewelry for themselves. Mom in The Mirror sounds like such an important read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

- Tracy

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    oh tracy, i love that you make jewelry and help others how to do it too! what a gift. bless you. e.

Marie Clement
Reply May 20, 2013

I love my hands. Not because they are slender or pretty in anyway, but because they work hard for my family. This book sounds great and much needed.

Shelly R
Reply May 20, 2013

This is a hard question for me. When I look in the mirror there is not much I love anymore. My hair with so much gray is cut short these days. My teeth crumbly because of chronic disease. My skin dull and dry, again from chronic disease. My weight fluctuating on a daily basis. Sometimes I look six months pregnant. Yes, again chronic disease. And I really hate this about myself. That I cannot just accept and love the way I look. Because the thing that I do love about myself is how I never stop caring for my little girls. My 11 year old with Aspergers and fears and health problems. I never stop researching for answers. My 2 year old we adopted who born with cocaine in her body, who now suffers the consequences of choices that were made for her. She is tiny, just 23 lbs and not much inches in height. She has food allergies, and her speech is slow to come. Her chance of developing neurological disorders is nearly 76% thanks to choices he mother made. But she has a chance now. Because I research and find answers and feed her well. And I pray for them. Fervently pray on bended knee pleading for them. This is what I love about myself.

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    oh, shelly... oh. just, loving on you. and praying for you and your beautiful girls tonight.

Melanie Grace
Reply May 20, 2013

I love that I'm always on the look-out for "special gifts" to give to others. To bless always brings a smile to my heart. <

Gretchen Louise
Reply May 20, 2013

Today, it's that I can write in words and in internet codes. ;)

Jenn P.
Reply May 20, 2013

I love my fingernails...bit them for almost 40 years and have finally, FINALLY stopped!

Reply May 20, 2013

I love the desire God placed inside of my heart for His word.

Reply May 20, 2013

The skin tone I take on after a morning in the sun and the highlights it creates in my hair :)

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    what a beautiful answer, friend! the sun kisses the world with its golden lips...

Reply May 20, 2013

I love that I keep finding the admirable in a person no matter what. :)

Reply May 20, 2013

I love my smile, even with the coffee-stained teeth :) I would love to win a copy of this book.

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    thank you so much for sharing, dear jaimie! i can see in your photo here that you have a truly beautiful smile! bless you. e.

Reply May 20, 2013

I love my hands, they resemble my mother's (who passed away in 2004). my cuticles are overgrown, there are various scars from cooking and baking. real abrasions, hard earned warrior type scars. the cause of mothering. they are capable and strong. my hands are good hands.

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    such a wonderful paragraph describing your hands, dear sara! i love that they have "hard-earned warrior type scars."

Reply May 20, 2013

I love the color of my eyes, they are hazel and are always changing.

Angela Spruill
Reply May 20, 2013

I love my sense of style. I have so often felt so uncomfortable in my own skin, and it feels good to feel free to express myself comfortably in that way. I would love to win a copy, as I am a mom of two young boys who struggles with disordered eating!

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    oh angela, my heart goes out to you... may you find strength each day. i also have two young boys... praying for you. e.

Reply May 20, 2013

I love that I have a spirit that feels at home amongst the trees and earth, the stones and flowers, and I love that I am passing that on to my sons.

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    oh megan, this is gorgeous... thank you for sharing! what a blessing for your sons.

Reply May 20, 2013

I love that I am His and He is mine. Always. It was difficult to read this today. I have always struggled and managed to pass this on to my daughters. =( Now with my 20 yo it is coming back to bite me. If I win this book my prayer is to break the cycle with my 11 and 8 yr old daughters. <3

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 22, 2013

    oh friend, praying for you, for freedom and encouragement. the Lord is the author of redemption. he can take all of our mistakes and turn them around for his glory. bless you. e.

Reply May 20, 2013

I love that I am persistent (though some might call it stubborn) :-)

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    i choose to call my stubbornness "persistence" too :) bless you leslie!

Reply May 20, 2013

I love that I desire to encourage people. Emily, you are a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

Reply May 21, 2013

I love my singing voice, how it sounds, how the vibrations move from my vocal cords through my whole body, and make me feel alive!

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    oh, yes, rochelle! i hadn't even thought of my singing voice but yes! how it makes me feel so alive! thank you for this. e.

Lori Cortright
Reply May 21, 2013

I love the way I can always find the good in people and situations - makes me smile, and I love that too.

Reply May 21, 2013

I love these stretched-thin, silvery skinned, fussy- baby-calming breasts. (Now if only I could put him down...)

    emily wierenga
    Reply May 21, 2013

    oh rachel, i remember those days... and how well you describe them, too! thank you for sharing...

Reply May 22, 2013

I love that I can make up lullabies and poems for my little girl. It is how I share a glimpse of my soul to her, just as my mother did for me. It is one of the few parts of myself I feel has remained untouched by the scars of life.

Brenda Curry
Reply May 23, 2013

I love that I'm finally letting God use me as He sees fit. I don't love what I see in the mirror these days, but life changes, our bodies age, our children grow and finally it doesn't matter nearly as much what I look like on the outside as it does what Christ is doing inside me. I would love to read your book! What I've read so far has intrigued me!

Reply May 29, 2013

I love that I am an encourager to those around me!

Reply May 29, 2013

I like my "runners legs" which are entirely due to genetic luck rather than hours spent running. ;). But I've always thought they were pretty!

I had an eating disorder in college and afterward, which has gotten better as I have birthed my children. I would be very interested in reading this book.

Ada Floyd
Reply June 14, 2013

I love that I have the God given gift to speak in public. I recognize how unusual this is and strive to honor what He has given me. I also love my physique for the first time in my life. I feel beautiful because I have finally come to accept that God indeed has made me as such. :)

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