About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

Not Defined by the Size of Our Jeans - Encouragement for Today - July 2, 2014

Emily T. Wierenga

JULY 2, 2014

Not Defined by the Size of Our Jeans

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

The moon was a slice of white in the night sky.

It looked like the rim of a coffee mug, the mug with a picture of a teddy bear saying "I love you beary, beary much" ... the mug my brother gave me when I was 13 and hospitalized for anorexia.

Here I was again, in a green hospital gown, only this time, I wasn't hypothermic and 60 pounds.

This time I was holding a baby doctors had said I'd never be able to have. He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces, his name was Aiden Grey and I couldn't stop crying. Because he couldn't stop hiccupping.

"Is he okay?" I touched the nurse's elbow as she straightened my sheets.

She smiled. "Yes," she said. "There's nothing that can be done for hiccupping — it just has to take its course," and I tucked Aiden close to my heart, because I couldn't tuck him back into my womb.

I have two sons now, and I've had two miscarriages too, and there's nothing harder than watching your body fail your baby. But God — He never fails.

He is always there. Even in the miscarriage.

He was there when I was a pastor's kid who began starving herself at age 9; when I was an 18-year-old hippie who ran away from home and traveled the world searching for faith. When I came home to a mother who was dying from brain cancer, who still sang Great is Thy Faithfulness from somewhere deep her in sleep.

In the midst of our pain, He is there, hanging from a cross, only to rise again.

When I was young I stopped eating to avoid feeling pain. Now, I'm learning to wait for the resurrection. I'm learning to trust God in the ache.

This past spring, I looked out my office window, saw snow on the ground, and my 2-year-old jumping on our trampoline.


His clothes strewn around him, and he was singing.

I laughed even as I ran to cover him, but secretly, I was envious. I envied the freedom to sing naked, oblivious to the audience of a highway running perpendicular to our house.

Perhaps this is a picture of what God's Word invites us to do in 1 Peter 5:7, where it says cast "all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

It's not easy to truly cast our anxiety on Jesus in a world that tells us we are defined by the size of our jeans. It's a lot easier to hide, than trust Jesus with our pain, or our questions about who we are and if we matter.

And I think it's somewhere in there, in that quiet place of being loved — in the mother's embrace of her baby — that we find ourselves.

The other night in a rare moment of quiet in my house, I felt as if I had stepped straight into love. Like it had been waiting there for me the whole time.

I saw the real me: a passionate, scatter-brained 33-year-old woman who loves the world deeply and laughs loudly and needs alone time. Who gets paint on the kitchen table when she's making art, who would rather write than do housework, who has tattoos, who cries when her sons refuse to listen to her.

And suddenly I knew who I was. Right in the middle of that sacred moment surrounded by Legos and train tracks.

I was loved.

It's who we all are, friends.

We're not defined by the size of our jeans. We're not the sum of our Twitter followers or the square feet of our house.

We are God's daughters, tucked in His arms, where He aches over hiccups, where He longs to carry our worries, and where He would die for us.

He did die for us. Yes, this, friends.

We are loved.

Dear God, help me know You love me. Help me feel Your caring arms around me today, even in the dark. Help me hear Your voice singing over me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (NIV)

Atlas Girl: Finding Home In The Last Place I Thought to Look by Emily T. Wierenga takes you on an emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.

Find more encouragement at Emily's blog. As a special gift, Emily is giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl, today. For your copy, click HERE, then enter your receipt info HERE, and you'll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir, co-authored by Emily and her editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.

In celebration of the release of Atlas Girl, Baker Books is giving away 10 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment on our web site, letting us know why you'd like a copy for yourself OR to whom you would give a book, if you won. {We'll randomly select 10 winners and send email notifications to each one on Mon., July 7.}

Have you ever felt your Abba Father's presence in the midst of a difficult time in your life? If so, how?

Are you clinging to fear, or do you know the kind of love that casts it far, the kind that evokes utter peace and joy?

© 2014 by Emily T. Wierenga. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Baker Publishing Group for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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