Saturday, January 30, 2010

Please welcome Mary DeMuth!

When I think of Mary, I think of a woman who not only has a bright, beautiful smile, a smile that can light up a page--literally--I think of an encourager, of someone who inspires others to be all they can be, of someone who is honest and true to herself, of someone who is real with others. That's why it's an honor to have Mary as a guest on my blog. So, please welcome author MARY DEMUTH!

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do a giveaway of her book here on my blog. Please leave a comment below with your email address and you'll be entered to win a signed copy of her latest release Thin Places.

Mary E. DeMuth is an author and speaker who helps people to turn their trials into triumph.

Her parenting books include:

Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture
Building the Christian Family You Never Had
Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God

Her novels include:

Watching the Tree Limbs
Wishing on Dandelions
Daisy Chain
A Slow Burn

She will release her memoir, Thin Places, February first. Mary’s had the privilege of speaking around the US, Europe and West Africa. She’s given hundreds of radio interviews and appeared on TV. Mary and her husband live in Rockwall, Texas with their three children. They recently returned from Southern France, where they planted a church.

Thin Places Interview

By Mary DeMuth

What trials did you face as a child?

• Childhood sexual abuse at five
• Parents with addictions
• Feelings of being unwanted
• An unsafe home
• Neglect
• Death of a parent
• Loneliness
• Suicidal thoughts
• Three divorces

It’s hard to write all that out and not feel bad for little me. But even in the recounting, I’ve been able to see the thin places in my life, those snatches of moments where God came near. That’s the message and hope of Thin Places, being able to see the nearness of God amidst heartache.

What compelled you to write Thin Places?

I felt sufficiently healed from my past, which had been a long, long journey. And in that healing, I knew I had the perspective I needed to be able to communicate my story with hope. In the past, I’d vomit my story of sexual abuse and neglect on any poor soul who’d listen, not with the intention to help her grow through her story, but to gain empathy.

But now I marvel at the path God’s brought me on, how gently He’s led me to this place of wholeness. From that abundance, I share my story. Why? Because I believe sharing the truth about our stories helps others see their own stories.

While I recorded the audio book for Thin Places, the producer asked me why I’d splay my life out this way.

“Because I don’t want folks to feel alone,” I told him.

“You’ve given a gift,” he said.

I sure hope so.

In this memoir you give readers a candid glimpse into your upbringing. Was it hard to share particular parts of your story?

In some ways, it was easy. I’ve shared my story over a decade now. What was hard was giving myself permission to say it all, to not hold back, to explore the emotions I experienced during the rapes, the drug parties, the feelings of loneliness.

Oddly, though, it was harder for me to share what I’m dealing with now as a result of my upbringing than the actual initial trauma. It’s hard to admit that I’m still so needy, so insecure. After reading the book aloud, I saw I still had areas of growth, particularly in being so hard on myself.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your memoir?

I hope they see hope.

I hope they realize how profound and surprising and radical God’s redemption is.

I hope they’ll see the irresistibility of Jesus.

Some folks wait until grandparents and parents are deceased until they write a memoir, but you wrote yours with some still alive. Was that difficult?

Extremely. In many ways, agonizing. You can be assured that I prayed through every word. I’m thankful for my critique group who walked me through the writing and my stellar editor who helped shape the manuscript into a redemptive story. My goal was not to impugn or point the finger at what went wrong way back when, but to shout about God’s ability to transform a needy, incomplete girl.

It’s never easy to tell the truth, and I know my words may hurt some. But, thankfully, I’ve sought God’s heart in this and I can rest peacefully in knowing that.

Anne Lamott says, “Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive."

Thin Places is my answer to her quote.

But why go there? Why examine the past? Hasn’t the old passed away?

Yes, of course we must move forward. We must move beyond our pasts. But in order to do that, we must mourn the reality of what happened, not bury it under a rug. I love what Sam says in The Two Towers movie about the importance of telling our stories, no matter how dark: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad has happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you.”

It’s my sincere hope that my story will stay with readers, not because of its sordidness, but because the Light of Jesus has shined so brightly upon it.

What encouragement or cautions do you have for those wanting to write their story?

First, prayerfully consider if this is something you need to do for therapy rather than publication. It’s very exposing to write a memoir. And sometimes we mistake the compelling feeling we have with publication. God sometimes calls us to write unpublished words, to get everything out on the page for the sake of our own personal healing.

Many of you have read memoirs that are self-indulgent or a poor-me fest. You need to evaluate whether you’re at a good place of healing before you embark on writing your story for everyone to read.

Do you worry that writing a memoir makes you out to be narcissistic?

Of course. Because I’m the main character! As I’ve edited, read and re-read the book, I’ve agonized over that. Now that the book’s released, I am resting. What’s done is done. And I honestly believe that the story isn’t about me. It’s about a rejuvenating God who stooped to rescue a needy, frail girl.

What fears have you battled as this book released?

Because this is such a personal book, I’ve worried about negative reviews. In some ways that’s good because it will force me to find my security and love from the One who made me, rather than the opinions of others. I’ve received some great endorsements, but also some harsh reviews. And those are the ones that knife me! Because the book’s about me!

I worry that I’ll be misunderstood. Or that telling the truth will hurt others. I’ve made a point to disguise nearly everyone and everything in the book, but of course the potential for hurt feelings is high.

I fear opposition by the father of lies. Since this is a truth-filled book, displaying authentic struggle, I have a feeling he won’t like it. I’m thankful for a specific, targeted prayer team around me to pray for protection regarding the release of this book. It’s humbling, actually, to see how God brought those pray-ers together.

Mary, thank you so much for being my guest this week. I pray your book will touch many lives for the better.

For those who would like to win a signed copy of Thin Places, please leave a comment with your email address written out like this: sandirog 7 at aol dot com. The winner will be announced on Friday.


  1. Struggles I had many... Both as a child and an adult. I was recently published in Heartwarmers, and this is a message that I believe that needs to be spread.

    Does God Make All Thing Work Together For Good?
    I remember recieving the call around 11:30 pm. With caller Id I knew it couldn't be good news from my mother.

    " Diane, your sister has been life flighted to Scranton, there's been an accident. I just received a call from the hospital. Right now she's being operated on. Thats all I know."

    "I'm on my way mom" Wasn't sure if I heard her right, but I was on my way.

    The drive was 45 minutes, and we had no idea what caused the injury. Was it a car accident? No information was released.

    We waited patiently for hours in the waiting room, until finally a brain surgeon emerged and gave us the grave news. Her prognosis was she was brain dead, with little hope of survival. A passing motorist saw her lying on the road and called 911.

    I remembered seeing her lying there in a coma, with life support allowing her chest to rise with each breath.

    I remembered watching my mother reaching for her daughters hand, and sobbing at the sight of her swollen bandaged head.

    Joni died at 45 an unsung hero who donated her organs in spite of the cruel and calculated attempts of a cover-up from a hit and run driver.

    My sister was a giver even in her death.

    Eventually police were able to gather forensic evidence which led the man to turn himself in weeks later. Naturally any blood alcohol could not be traced. He faced a one year prison sentence for the murder of my sister.

    Before the actual sentencing we received word from a married gentleman with one child, who received my sister's heart. The transplant went well, and Joni's heart had immediate function. He was very thankful for the opportunity to spend with his family. Her bone marrow, tissue, and kidneys were able to help countless others.

    It was up to me to face the judge and the man who left her on the road to die. I remember my fianal words were somthing like this "I conclude your honor with an imploring plea from my family that you will consider the maximum penalty on behalf of my sister and our family. It cost my sister her all: We believe it should cost Mr (I can't say) his all.

    Being the oldest child I didn't know what was more heartbreaking. Losing my sister or watching the devastating effects it was having on my parents.

    The judge told me what the state sentencing guidelines required him to hand down. I had all ready done my homework and was prepared for the slap on the wrist.

    The reporters who followed me out of the courtroom asked if I was satisfied. My statement was "I believe the judge did all that he could do because of state legislation, I don't believe the sentence was enough, but I know he did the best he could."

    I had been researching night after night. Something was wrong with Pennsylvania hit and run laws. There was a loop hole that was allowing people to get away with murder! When I stumbled across the hit and run laws of all 50 states (that being just one of many) -My crusade began. Armed with information and statistics I was prepared to wage war, and phoned WILK talk show host Sue Henry, and was soon invited as a guest speaker the day after my sister's killer was sentenced.

    A few days later the headlines read "Crusade to change PA- Hit-And-Run law gets lawmakers attention. Sisters death moves Velikis to close loopehole" There is a new bill that will be presented before the house in Pennsylvania Finally now I have peace. God used me and my sister as a vessle.

    The two things we did have in common were writing, and I know had it been me lying there on the road that day , she'd have been trying to do something-anything, to make this world a better place.

    Blessings, Diane

  2. Oh, Diane. My heart grieves for your loss. My family went through something similiar. In 2006 my 18-year-old cousin was hit head-on by a drunk driver. He also got a slap on the wrist. I'm glad you were able to make a difference for so many.

  3. Wow Diane, what a difficult trial! May the Lord continue to heal.

    Mary DeMuth

  4. I'm in the process of writing a novel about a young woman who struggles with depression and anxiety. I'm looking forward to reading how a real-life woman has dealt with personal tragedy. It's inspiring to see how hard times (that is an understatement) have led you to the feet of Jesus.The world needs to know that Jesus is not an ideal of goodness, or a warm feeling, or a cosmic Avatar, or whatever else it conceives Him to be; He is what He says He is: very God of very God, the light of the world.I look forward to seeing Jesus within the pages of Thin Places.
    Dena brucedenakiriataoldotcom

  5. I'm a follower and also have had personal tragedies in my life. I am so blessed to have Jesus in my life to help me through difficult times. His word is all one needs at times like that. I'd like to read this book, and would love to be entered in your giveaway. Thank you!



  6. I've never won much in my life but I found the love of my life, Jesus, and adore Him no matter the circumstances I'm faced with.

    It's refreshing to hear the story of someone who's been through so much heartache but God knew her all along and drew her to Himself. I look forward to reading "Thin Places" whether I win it or not.

    And, Mary, I applaud you for being able to take the risk of laying out your life before any and all in order to show Jesus and His great love.

  7. What a tough road. I'm praying for you and your family.

    I would love to win the book for my daughter. It has been tough here too in my family, but I can see by reading the comments that everyone has a hard time in these areas. I would say that I'm praying for the person who needs the book the worst.

    Thanks Sandi for offering it to us.

    Hugs in Jesus,
    Paulette Harris

  8. I have had some similar experiences and would love to read this book. I read an a story that was posted in the book Pearl Girls!! I would appreciate the honest way this author share her stories.

    Thanks for putting my name in the hat for a chance to win this book.


    Nora St. Laurent
    Finding Hope Through Fiction

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I wanted someone else to win...
    Congratulations to Beverly.
    And to Mary, God bless her for revealing her soul. Blessing Crystal Lindsey