I celebrate your beauty {Guest Post by Emily Wierenga}

Nov 27, 2012

**I am honored to have Emily Wierenga, author of the book, “Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battle an Eating Disorder”, guest posting on the blog today. I found this statistic: “up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.” Given the prevalence, you may suffer from this disorder or someone close to you may be suffering. These chains keep us from living a God-centered life. May we find freedom in His unconditional grace & love. Here are Emily’s words and please check out her book–> here. **

Wind catches the curtains in my children’s bedroom. They sleep with flushed cheeks and eyelashes long and every night I check on them before I go to sleep, and every night I feel both afraid and awed by their beauty.

I touch lips to their skin, remember how my mum prayed over me as I grew in her womb, that I wouldn’t be outwardly attractive. Because it was the heart that counted, the inner beauty, she said.

But I knew I had an appearance. I could see it in the mirror. And because my mum never gave me compliments, when I was young, and my dad was often absent, I began to believe I was ugly. Insignificant. Not worth my father’s time or my mother’s affirmation.

As a result I wanted nothing more than to be beautiful.

And for years I chased this elusive beauty until I became anorexic, until it nearly killed me.

Even now when my husband tells me I’m pretty, I wonder why he didn’t tell me that yesterday, and what makes me pretty enough today to warrant a compliment, and I’m desperately afraid of him losing interest in me. Of him never being home, like my father.

But I also have my mother’s fear of vanity. Whenever someone comments on how handsome my sons are, I catch myself saying, “I know, it worries me,” instead of, “Thank you,” and I need to stop this. By assigning fear or worry to looks, we give them more power than they deserve.

And why are we afraid? My mum thought beauty could lead to vanity could lead to an eating disorder. So then I got one anyways.

I am learning to celebrate my children in the same way I celebrate a piece of art. I do not fear the beauty found in a sunrise, in mountains, in a cathedral, in a Van Gogh. It’s a beauty that points to a gracious and loving God. So why, then, should I fear it in the flesh?

We always have two choices: to inspire fear, or to inspire love. And I want to inspire love in my children. To help them see everything in their life—appearance, talents, friends, family—as a priceless gift.

So if God has given them good looks, they need to respect those looks (by exhibiting tender loving care towards  themselves, in addition to integrity, modesty, and humility), and if he has given them extraordinary talents, to honor them with those, and so forth.

I will—and do—tell them, “You are so beautiful!” but I also praise them in other areas too, and then I remind them of where these gifts come from: “God has given you a wonderful gift with people,” etcetera.

I don’t want my children to be afraid of anything, because perfect love casts out fear. Rather, I want them to be motivated by the knowledge that the Creator of the Universe loves us enough to give us good and beautiful things.

Including our reflection in the mirror.

How about you? How do you inspire love, versus fear, in your children? How do you handle the topic of beauty/looks/appearance in your home?

Emily Wierenga is giving away a free copy of her newly released book, Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, with Dr. Gregory Jantz (www.chasingsilhouettes.com). If you or someone you know could use this book, or if you would like a copy for your library or your church, please let her know in the comments below. To order a copy of the book, please visit here


  1. Kristin @ CtheGoodness

    I just found your blog and this post definitely resonated strongly with me. Having struggled with anorexia for a decade and being recovered for 6 years now, oh how I wish books like Emily’s featured in your post would have been around during my struggles. After recently undergoing surgery, that small faint voice keeps wanting to creep back into my head, but I will not fall prey to it ever again.
    My husband and I will be pursuing a family of our own here soon and I’ll be honest that I worry how my past might be reflected or passed down to my children….and how I can protect them from going through what I went through. Reading this post gave me hope to inspire love to my future children. Thank you both for this post. Emily, I can’t wait to read your new book! I also can’t wait to have a new blog to read.

    • GodCenteredMom

      Thank you Kristin for sharing your story here, inspiring others towards victory. Prayed for you just now and for your future family. God bless!

      • chasingsilhouettes

        i love your heart, heather. thank you again for having me in this space. bless you.

    • chasingsilhouettes

      oh Kristin, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am so glad you have found healing. May God guide you and give you wisdom as you give birth to the most beautiful experience of your life–children. Chasing Silhouettes offers advice on how to raise a family in wholeness. I’ve also got another book coming out in May with Dr. Dena Cabrera called Mom in the Mirror, which I think you’d find helpful. Please let me know if you ever need to talk. Bless you.

  2. Kristin @ CtheGoodness

    Thank you both for your sweet sweet comments and your prayers! Heather, your blog is a gem! Emily, your book, Mom in the Mirror, sounds like a good fit. I’ll make a note of it to myself to check it out in May. Thank you both again. Be well!

  3. dianadenis

    I keep bumping into Emily in the most random places. but this, GodCenteredMom.com isn’t a random place, it’s an important place and Heather guards it well. So, instead of chucking this up to another random bump into you I am paying attention. I am ordering your book and I will be praying for you and for me. I suspect the Lord wants to say something to me. I’m listening.
    Thank you Heather for providing the platform for Him to speak to me. Be blessed!

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