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About the Author
Mary DeMuth is the author of several southern novels, including A Slow Burn, Life in Defiance, and the Christy award finalists, Watching the Tree Limbs and Daisy Chain. She’s also written four parenting books and a memoir, Thin Places. She’s passionate about the written word, teaching, and mentoring writers. Mary lives in Texas with her husband, Patrick, and their three children.
Read an Excerpt
Thin PlacesA Memoir
By Mary E. DeMuth
ZondervanCopyright © 2010 Mary E. DeMuth
All right reserved.
At four years old, long before seat belt laws, I crouch down on the floor of my father's dying Studebaker, pressing my left eye to the rusted floor where a convenient hole the size of my kneecap beckons. From time to time I look up from the floor, spying Jim-I never call him father-who wears a thrift-store cap over a bald head, dark brown fringe curls spilling out. It's the way our weekend visits go, an endless supply of quirky adventures with Jim at the helm. He nods at the hole, encouraging me with his smile to watch the street. I notice the wrinkles around his eyes.
I hover again over the hole while gray cement speeds past, blocks and miles whirring beneath my rapt gaze. I glimpse something of eternity-the ongoing universe passing me by, slowing to stop when Jim applies pressure to the brake. Later, when I share this memory, well-meaning adults spoil it by launching into a diatribe about how I could've lost an eye, wondering why in the world Jim didn't have any sense.
Eye to the Studebaker's rusting floor, I don't know God. Something in my preschool chest longs for a God who controls the rush of the street below, who holds the world's speed steady or brings it to an abrupt halt by applying pressure to a brake.
* * *
One ordinary fifthgrade day, I am doing something rudimental like fractions or spelling or reading when the secretary's voice blares over the intercom, "Will Mary please come to the office right away?" The undercurrent of alarm in her voice startles me. I pick up my things and leave the classroom. I meander, somehow knowing that at the end of the outdoor walkway a terribly dark secret will be revealed and my life will never be the same.
I walk alone down the hall, noticing the brick patterns, counting my steps. Nearly to the office, the thought occurs to me: My father has died. I'm not sure how or why I know this. Perhaps the brick-lined hallway is a thin place where the Almighty whispers me a tender warning. As soon as I see my mother's face, I know.
In our idling green Datsun, parked with its nose facing the office, my mother puts words to my intuitions. "Your father is dead."
Because my mom has married twice more since being married to Jim, I feel the need to clarify. Which father? Jim who I visit every other weekend, whose tall, lanky frame I inherited? My first stepdad who took apart engines in our living room? Or my current stepfather who recently married my mom? I know in my gut who it is. Still I ask, "Which one?"
"Jim," she says.
My mom doesn't know what to do about grief, doesn't know how to console a ten-year-old in shock. She does not touch me. Instead she drives directly to Jafco, an electronics store of the 1970s. Pocket calculators are the newest thing.
"Pick one," she says, her eyes wet, her arms crossing her chest like armor. So I touch the small metal buttons of a calculator and hand it to her. The clerk puts it in a sack, hands it to me. I know I'll be the first kid in my class to own one-the first kid with a pocket calculator and no father.
Jim's second wife is a widow now, with a bulging belly. Their daughter is born after he leaves earth, both of us fatherless.
After my father's death, I have a recurring dream that Jim lives in Africa and, although he misses me, he is happy there, tending gardens and constructing huts half a world away. I try to grab for his hand in the dreams, but he smiles until the wrinkles around his eyes fade to black nothingness.
Why do I dream Jim lives in Africa? Because no one gives me a satisfactory reason why or how he died. "An accident in the home," they say. Grown-ups whisper when I enter rooms, shoot me looks of pity. So I invent a story-a story I still use today when I feel someone's being particularly nosey. "My father fell down a flight of stairs in his home, hit his head on the cement, and bled to death." It seems logical. The steps of his Craftsman bungalow are steep, leading to the dank basement. I see the cement landing, put two and two together, and devise this viable story. It helps me endure the years until I discover the truth.
I dream this way because of Jim's closed casket. I sit near the front of the church where his coffin looms, large and cold. I remember very little about the day other than hymn singing and everyone wearing black. Faceless people hug me tight while tears run races down their cheeks. My father's widow has a hollow look, her pregnant belly nearly ready to give birth. For that day, people love me. Lavish attention on me. Hold me close. Whisper nearby. But it isn't long until I face school again where the meanest teacher of my elementary career awaits me. She scolds me once for what she thinks is cheating, sending me into the hall. "I used to feel sorry for you because your dad died, but you should be over it by now," she hisses. I come home to an empty house, do my homework, eat dinner, watch TV, and then cry myself to sleep right before I dream of Jim happy in Africa, all because I never see proof that he really died.
When I walk to school alone, I look behind me, worrying a stranger will reach out from nowhere and strangle me. I run from invisible chasers. I lock the back door behind me when I huff in from school. I am convinced I am next. If God's capricious finger has circled the fast-moving world and landed on my father's bald head, surely He'll summon me.
So I pray.
It's a strange thing to equate my longing for God with the death of Jim. Jim's casket makes me pray. Some primordial hunger inside me needs another Jim-someone to clutch me to his chest and tell me everything is going to be all right. That Jim, I hope, will be God. Late at night, with covers over my head because I still fear the boogeyman even at ten, I send little messages heavenward.
God, if You're there, speak to me. God, do You love me? God, help me to be happy. God, I need a hug.
Some nights I can nearly hear His whispers, if I crane my neck just so, as I stay cocooned in the thin place beneath my covers.
* * *
Today I struggle knowing God "loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life." I seek Him everywhere-in my insatiable need for approval from others, in my "Do you love me?" pleas to my husband, in the dark places of my mind where I convince myself I'm a worthless mess and, therefore, unworthy of meriting the affection of the Almighty. Sometimes I'm still that little girl fighting against the grief of the world, longing for a snatch of light in the midst of dark days. I no longer pull the covers over my head-an indication that meeting Jesus twenty-four years ago spurred something cataclysmic in my heart that is still unfolding. He stoops to the level beside my bed, pulls away the covers, and sets me free.
Sometimes it seems verses in the Bible were written only for me. It's like the Holy Spirit, dictating words to scribes and prophets and shepherds, one day stops, smiles, thinks of me, and says, "Hey, write this down. Two thousand years from now, Mary will need to read this. This one's for her."
So Paul listens and writes these words. Just for me. (And maybe for you too.):
For consider your calling, brethren [sisteren!], that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NASB
I am not wise. But God chooses me anyway. I am not mighty. But God chooses me anyway. I am not of noble birth. But God chooses me anyway. I am foolish. But God chooses me anyway. I am weak. But God chooses me anyway. I am base. But God chooses me anyway. I am despised. But God chooses me anyway. I am nothing. But God chooses me anyway.
I picture Him watching from heaven as I press my eye socket to the floor of Jim's Studebaker, watching God's chaotic world spin beneath me. "That one," He shouts to the heavenlies. "That raggedy one. I choose her because she knows her lack, because she knows her insatiable need for a father. Someday she'll cling to me." As I trace my fifth-grade hand over the brick wall leading to the office, He knows I am about to embark on a journey of fatherlessness, enduring the gaping hole that comes from a longing unfulfilled.
At nearly sixteen years old, I finish the journey I started under the Studebaker's floor mat. I hear about Jesus from Young Life leaders who love me-how Jesus chats with ordinary folks, goes fishing, heals bleeding women (oh, how my heart bleeds), and guffaws the religious pious. I fall in love with Jesus when I realize He commands the wind and the seas yet stoops to love the likes of me-a girl who wants to take her life, to rid the world of herself. He is the One I've been muttering prayers to under the cover of my bedspread. It is like having the President of the United States-someone far away and terribly important-turn up at my doorstep, entourage in tow, and take me to McDonald's for lunch. And order me a Big Mac and fries.
Under a blanket of stars that twinkle one icy night, I weep a prayer.
Jesus, can it really be true? That You love me? And want to be with me? Come into my life, then. Take me over. I'm a mess. I hope You don't regret it.
I cry the entire weekend, wetting my face, my pillow, my clothes with bottled up tears. It feels like Jesus is scrubbing me clean. Not the kind of washing you get from an overzealous grandmother bent on scouring the germs away, but the cleansing of a gentle stream, flowing over and through my parched soul.
Jesus washes me that night with my own tears. Or are they His?
But as the Psalmist so aptly writes, "Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting" (Psalm 126:5 NASB). My journey begins wide-eyed over a rusty hole. It continues when Jesus washes me in tears. And it marches forward still-after a quarter-of-a-century-long pilgrimage where joyful shouting comes and goes to the rhythm of this crazy, fickle life. I've come full circle, the wife of a man who is a doting father, who loves his kids well. And by some strange twist of God-irony, He gives me a daughter, my last, who looks just like me, and whose birthday, on some years, lands on Father's Day:
Two come by, year by year At least for the last nine When sometimes they collide Birth shaking hands with Death, Death not returning the favor Father's Day is never easy For the fatherless Half-orphaned, starved to the bone For Daddy love No man can fill Thirty years is a terrible lifetime To weave through days Without his hand His words His I love yous Nine years ago, she yowled hello To her Daddy So alive, she bawled and bawled He held her I melted Crumbled I will not know What my daughter Wears like a birthright Around her heart Her daddy's love But I can taste it I can see it I can marvel From the sidelines of parenthood God's father-heart knew I needed resurrection Julia's life on my day of sorrow Joy mingled with my gaping heart United in her Strange how life Can't be helped Or hindered Even when Death snatches Fathers away Resurrection is always The answer to grief New life, new yowls, new hopes Mingled with The life that was, Old tears, Old cynicisms Thank You kindly For the juxtaposition, Jesus of the resurrection, The One who weeps on Father's Day Alongside me Who pulled His beard While the world ripped His flesh And His father died to Him In that terrible moment History hinged upon You understand resurrection Invented it Wove it into my life On Father's Day When my daughter Cried her way into my arms
There's agony in that poem I do not allow myself to wallow in -that empty place in my heart an earthly father will never fill. Sitting across from some dear friends at dinner, the husband tells the story of how he took his daughter on a trip to visit a college campus. She didn't like the college immediately, which gave them time together to do other things. He does what a loving father does-helps his daughter find a college. Because he loves her. In the midst of his recounting, my daddy-ache comes back. My father never goes on college visits, never meets the man I marry, never walks me down the aisle, never frolics with his grandchildren. It's an injury that never seems to heal.
I am Jacob in times like this. Wrestling with God over my lack of a father, He injures me so I limp. The limp reminds me of God's God-ness and my frailty-the most humbling thin place. Yet it's this daddy-less thin place that reminds me that He is big enough to fill the need I've buried inside. Though I ache and will probably always carry a limp, I'm thankful the injury leads me back to Him.
Excerpted from Thin Places by Mary E. DeMuth Copyright © 2010 by Mary E. DeMuth. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction: Amazing Grave....................11
2. Mary Jane....................27
4. The Crib....................43
7. Write Away....................67
8. Like Me....................71
9. Slow Dancin'....................83
15 Suicide Poetry....................121
20. Material Girl....................153
23. Jim Elliot....................173
24. The Blythe Constitution....................181
Conclusion: Amazing Life....................209
What People are Saying About This
'When I get my official copy of Thin Places, I'm thinking of having it bound in a gold-embossed bonded-leather cover with gilded page edges. Yes, it's that much of a treasure to be cherished for a lifetime of reading. I'm tempted to request a zipper for its custom binding. That would symbolize De Muth's success at unlocking and interlacing her innermost story and soul with the Scriptures in a way that opens us all to the thickness of 'thin.'' Leonard Sweet, Drew University, George Fox Evangelical Seminary, www.sermons.com
'I've never read a more authentic and real account of trials turned to hope. Thin Places will open your eyes to the beauty of 'seeing' through those heart-wrenching times and grasping our Savior's hand. De Muth reminds us that our great God sees us where we are, and he loves us unconditionally. Thank you, Mary, for sharing the depths of your heart with us. This book is a treasure.' Kimberley Woodhouse, author of Welcome Home: Our Family's Journey to Extreme Joy, seen on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
'Thin Places, a memoir by Mary De Muth, has captured my heart. Mary is a fun and happy person, so her vulnerability in telling this painful story of childhood abuse is deeply moving. Mary writes beautifully, even poetically, and leaves the reader with a sense of hope and courage.' Heather Gemmen Wilson, bestselling author and international speaker www.heathergemmen.com
'Mary skillfully weaves the sorrow and joy of her life into a tapestry of grace and redemption. From beginning to end, her memoir is a beautiful testament to God's love. A wonderful storyteller, she takes her reader on a compelling journey.' Denny Ryberg, President, Young Life
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Another painful read! DeMuth has written an earth-shattering Christian memoir. Growing up in the 70's with her emotionally distant and neglectful mother, the author tries to understand the death of her father and the sexual abuse she endured from local boys. This is heart-breaking as she opens her life to the world with her vulnerability to such a traumatizing past. Her innocence stolen, physical and emotional abandonment and neglect, she searches for peace and finds it in moments of God's presence. A heartfelt read that could be helpful to those who have suffered in this way. Others I recommend are: THE GLASS CASTLE, A CHILD CALLED "IT", EXPLOSION IN PARIS, THE LAST CHILD
Such beautiful words to describe such deep pain, it almost feels like cheating. I opened the mail the day my book came, having anticipated it's arrival for weeks, excited to set my eyes on every word, yet apprehensive to what I might see! The fear of how it might make me feel or the thoughts I may have quickly vanish with the whimsical words Mary uses to pull you into a dark story that beams with fresh truthful light. Pain wants to be recognized, it wants to be delivered. Through Mary's pouring out of her pain, your own pain is being validated. As a valid feeling, it then longs to be set free, delivered. Then you are on your own journey to find the Thin Places in your life!
I read a book once called "Don't Waste Your Sorrow." This is what Mary DeMuth is doing with her life and now it is spelled out in this book she calls "Thin Places." I am so inspired by her searching for God and finding Him in spite of the pain of her very young childhood. This is truly a book with take home value. Read it and be blessed.
I had read the first two books in Mary E. DeMuth's Defiance, Texas series and realized that she was not your typical Christian fiction writer. They were a breath of fresh air. I was excited when I was sent a copy of her book, Thin Places: A Memoir. De Muth starts the book by explaining that she is a thin place, a Celtic term meaning "the place where heaven and the physical world collide, one of those serendipitous territories where eternity and the mundane meet". Her story takes us to those thin places in her life, some of which are extremely painful. The kinds of things that we as Christians often do not want to talk about because we just are not sure what to say: sexual abuse, parental neglect, pornography. Mary De Muth's life includes this issues and she tells her story through the pain but with grace. She had me in the first chapter entitled 'Studebaker' because my family had Studebakers and my first car was a hand me down 1960 one. Then she tells of a father that left too soon and I could relate though I was a teenager when my father died. I rejoiced when I read of her involvement with Young Life, as that was where I also became a Christian. I have not experienced the abuse she had but I felt her pain. I understood her questions, her insecurity and could relate to the frustrations as a teenager and young believer trying to understand God and his ways. De Muth is honest and though she has experienced much pain in her life the joy and comfort she finds in the Lord comes through. This is a book for anyone who has struggled with the pain of this world. It gives hope to us all that though life is hard and often we really do not understand why God has placed some experiences in our life we can rest in his grace. He meets us in those thin places.
Mary Demuth tackles some of the darkest moments in her life, sharing them openly and without pretense. Through her wrestling with these difficulties, she repaints them as opportunities to touch heaven and connect with God in a deeper, more meaningful way. Reading this memoir and sharing in these memories really challenged me to let a little more light into my own deep dark places and turn my view of those experiences to a new perspective. Her humility and openness about her experiences really touched me. I didn't feel preached at or condemned. Instead, I felt like the author looked back at me from a little further down the road of healing, calling back things she'd learned along the way. That's an incredibly valuable gift. I absolutely recommend this book for anyone who has suffered any kind of childhood trauma or is close to someone who has.
Thin Places is a memoir that touches the heart and reveals the love of Jesus in a hurting world. Mary DeMuth courageously shares her journey of rape, pain, hurt, loneliness. She makes herself vulnerable so she can show us Jesus. This is one of the bravest memoirs I have ever read. Mary reveals herself in ways that I don't know that I could and, in doing so, shows the way to a deep and personal relationship with our Lord. Parts of her story so closely resemble mine that it's like she was in my skin during those times. Through her experiences, I can how Jesus was near to me in those thin places. He got me through those difficult times even when I didn't know Him or wouldn't let Him close. Now He is near me to heal and comfort. The Jesus Mary meets and shares with us is the Jesus who loves us, who heals us, who is there waiting for us whenever we are ready to meet him. When life is at its most painful, He is there to strengthen, to comfort, to love. Read this book. It is one that will touch you and heal you.
In fiction, the story builds up to the climactic revelation at the end. In this memoir that reads like fiction, the horrendous revelation is given right up front with the impact of a kick in the stomach--only it was far worse for the endearing little five-year-old. From tragedy, finally triumph. Incredibly beautiful writing. Everyone should read this. Parents, teachers, counselors, victims of abuse of any kind.
I am so grateful to Mary DeMuth to allow God to use her through the writing of her memoir. This was such a vulnerable read that at times I wanted to look away, to afraid of seeing myself in the pages. Yet, I wanted to know how she made it through and how God had healed her innermost hurts--I needed to know. I needed to know that the pain and the hurt caused by others was visible to HIM and that HE did care. She shared the most traumatizing events of her life. She bared herself completely. She allowed others to see who she really is. A woman stolen of innocence during her childhood; abandoned by the death of her father; neglected by her own mother. A woman who still struggles to be the woman of God that He created her to be, the mother her children need her to be and the wife her husband wants her to be. Mary's life has been touched by God so wonderfully that He speaks through the pages of her memoir to all of us who have walked similar paths. He tells us all that HE is the only one we need, the only one who can heal us and the only one who can bring us through the thin places. He embraces us. He loves us. This is what Mary shows us through her story. We are not forgotten! He sees--El Roi!
A gutsy Mary DeMuth dares to speak the raw truth about her childhood. With beautiful prose, she exposes dark places she was taken against her will. The pages, marked by God's fingerprints, irrepressibly draw the reader into healing. Thin Places is for anyone who has suffered in childhood. Anyone who bears permanent scars. Anyone who has questions with no answers.
A memoire is a guided trip into someone else's world. It's a little bit like having Superman's x-ray vision. We see the pain, heartache, and struggles the author experiences in becoming a multi-dimensional person. The answer to the question "Hello, how are you?" we ask by opening the book becomes a lighted trail into the writer's soul. Sometimes, we really don't want to know the answer to our question. The paradox is this, the better the author does her work, the more compelling the words on the page, the more broken-hearted we become in our empathy with the writer. Mary DeMuth has written just such a memoir. Her premise that God can be found in all the thin places in our lives carries the story of her life from terrorized childhood through battles to maturity and to victories of healing. The story of her life proves that the axiom "As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined," only holds true when God in the Thin Places is not included in the equation.
God's grace overcomes man's depravity. Mary De Muth has revealed that thin place where heaven and earth touch. Her new spiritual memoir is an honest, heart-wrenching look at her childhood, which for adults who were abused as children, speaks not only of survival, but of meaning. Thin Places asks "How does the love of God heal our brokenness?" Mary gives voice to those of us marked by childhood abuse-the questions we ask God and the words we tell ourselves to try to understand the incomprehensible. She shows us the all too familiar coping mechanisms we've used to survive, and she gives us glimpses of hope, so that we can thrive. If you have been abused be prepared-Thin Places touches those sore places that need healing. If you work with those who have suffered abuse, then this is a must read to help heal broken lives.
Thin Places is a spiritual memoir, although not a typical coming-to-Jesus story nor solely Mary DeMuth¿s story of childhood rape and loss and their ramifications in adolescence and adulthood. Rather, it¿s a memoir of her realization that, while she found God at age 15, He has always been with her.She relates what she calls the ¿thin places¿ of her life -- moments of God's presence that nearly erase the distinction between spiritual and physical. Looking back, she finds thin places long before she knew God; looking ahead, she strives to recognize and appreciate them now as they occur. She organizes her experiences as a series of vignettes around incidents and themes -- some heartbreaking; a few veering toward testimony; all empathic and inspiring. Reading them created thin places of my own.
I don¿t know how I got so lucky, but a pre-release copy of Mary DeMuth¿s Thin Places arrived in the mail, together with a request that maybe I could read and review it and join in with the ¿social media tour.¿ So this is me, joining in.Thin Places is billed as a memoir, which isn¿t really my kind of thing. But I already knew (from reading A Slow Burn) that Mary DeMuth is a really excellent writer. She has the knack of writing about seriously sad and difficult topics with a lightness that¿s more to do with creating light than making light of anything. With words as beautifully constructed as her stories, she pulled me straight into the second book of a series and kept me so entranced that I wished it wouldn¿t end. But a memoir?The ¿thin places¿ of this book¿s title are made from those times when the world around us grows thin, where glimpses of heaven slip in through those cracks in the clouds. And the author leads her readers fairly quickly to the sort of thin place that we might not wish to go¿except, of course, so many of us have been there, been nearly there, or been comforters to others who¿ve been there.As in her novels, Mary writes about deep and painful subjects. But her writing has a beauty that allows even the most agonizing tale to let in the light. She shows how God takes those cruel memories and paints eternal glory and forgiveness into their fabric, transforming that which we¿d rather forget into a source of curious blessing.There were parts of this memoir that resonated with me, and left me eagerly looking for God¿s light in my life. I too have chased after signs, delighting in those days when it seemed like God really spoke to me, and mourning their loss when I should be rejoicing in the fact that God gave, God takes, God is sovereign, and God might give again. I too have lived with my inner critic declaring I¿m never good enough. I too¿But Mary¿s not me, and in some sections I just felt frustrated with circumstances that dictate I can¿t be more like her. The cynic in me asks, but what if this, or what if that lets Mary down. But I know that as God is in all of Mary¿s thin places now, He¿s here for me too, not making the tough places smooth, but making them thin, if I¿ll just let Him in.Thin Places is more than a memoir, and more than a teaching moment. It¿s a series of essays, built on the author¿s memories, and bound by their message of God¿s faithfulness. It¿s a call to readers to see things differently, to recognize healing, and to look for God breaking in through an ordinary day. It¿s a beautiful book, and however it was that I got lucky enough to receive it, I¿m really glad I¿ve read it.
In this heartbreakingly raw story, Mary DeMuth delves into the painful details of her past, including the loss of her father, the emotional absence of her mother, and the sexual assault that still plagues her to this day. Her honesty and her faith are refreshing and uplifting, proving that through God all things are possible.
I never cease to be amazed at God's redeeming love. That love is front and center here. When we invite him into our brokeness he restores us and doesn't let any of it go to waste.
I wish Mary had been a bit more thoughtful in respecting her readers regarding the vivid details of her sexual abuse. There are better published examples of sharing your personal truth without leaving your reader raw with lingering mental images that are not wholly necessary to inflict upon your reader. I found the neat and tidy spiritual wrap ups unconvincing, and I would not recommend anyone with children leave this book on their bookshelf for their young children to possibly read. Aside from the descriptive sexual abuse encounters, there are a few points of Mary's memoir that were touching and encouraging. I appreciated Marys candor and honesty on much needed topics among todays christian women.
Memoirs tell stories from a person's life, and for whatever reason, usually leave me thinking more about the particular person featured in the memoir. Mary E. DeMuth's memoir is different. As she artfully tells stories from her life, Mary takes the focus off the personal tragedies and hardships that she faced and points instead to how God's grace carried her through those times. After finishing the book, I sat thanking God for the "thin places"--"snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners or our world"--that He has given me throughout my life for they are treasures, just like Mary's memoir.
Redemptive. That is the primary word that describes this gutsy book. Mary's memoir is a collection of powerful and skillfully told true stories that relates experiences from her life and then draws God's threads of redemption through them. The stories themselves are raw and at times, difficult to read. But oh, out of those honest recollections, Mary relates God's ability to touch and heal and restore and make a difference in her life. And if God is doing that in her life, then there's hope for all of us.It took me a few chapters to understand the flow of the book. As I read the first few chapters, I was a little confused because I thought the format would be an autobiography that started in youth and moved forward to the present. But then she began interjecting stories from throughout her life. But by the third or fourth chapter, I finally got the idea (dense me!) that each chapter had a theme and there were long-distant-past and more-present stories in the chapter related to that theme. For instance, the theme-named chapters are names like: Pickets, Raggedy, Singing, Divorce, Reactionary, etc.Because Mary's book is largely a collection of stories about being abused and/or neglected and/or mistreated, it would be easy to pigeon-hole this book into that arena but that would be a mistake. For I can easily read my own story into Mary's memoir and I think everyone will find themselves in it also, even if they've never been abused, mistreated, or neglected. For each and every one of us wasn't loved well to the degree we desired or hoped. And as a result, we can identify with Mary's journey. All of us have experiences which cause false conclusions about life, God, and ourselves. I found myself identifying with many of Mary's experiences and then with her false conclusion and then with God's truth. As a result, there was a seed of redemption planted in my own heart and life.
Mary De Muth's memoir Thin Places touched my life profoundly. I didn't really want to read about painful subjects like child sexual abuse and all the sad things Mary had to deal with in life. But, since I was asked to review the book, I hesitantly stuck my nose in, and it took my breath away. I didn't find the depressing story I'd expected. Instead, a gift of hope and healing rose above the struggles shared through writing splendidly fresh and flowing.I can't understand why God allows some children to endure such trauma and pain. But He has turned Mary's into a story of redemption. She vulnerably admits she still doesn't have it all together, but acknowledges what God has done and trusts Him for the future. What she calls "thin places" are where she actually felt closest to God, to the eternal. Her honest sharing helps open readers' eyes to observe such places in their own lives. Everyone should be able to connect on some level, so the audience is unlimited.This book is so transformational. God is using it to minister to me through her suffering and journey to wholeness. I can identify in many ways, although I was not sexually abused. I longed for acceptance and meaning and to be loved for me_just as she did. And we both learned that only through God do we receive this gift.I tried to get through its 215 pages quickly so I could write the review, but had to slow down to pause and ponder. I will need to read it again and let God use portions as I take time to apply the lessons to my own life. I will highlight and savor sections. I had planned to pass it on to the library, but I decided I will keep it and loan it as the Lord leads and let it minister to others. I recommend every church and library order their own copies.
Yesterday I woke early, reaching for the next book waiting on my bedside table, "Thin Places" by Mary E. DeMuth. Nearly 4 hours later I put it down--finished. What kept me reading? The idea of Thin Places is the times in your life where the membrane between earth and God are stretched so thin you can see God more easily. These places in Mary's life were during the more soul-wrenching parts: being abused as a 5 year old, seeing father after father removed from her life, dealing with the sense of loneliness that came from being "in the way." She explains how these things carry on into adult life, as we all are made up of our old experiences and beliefs. My own childhood home was a place of chaos, so I'm always curious how others dealt with that. In Mary's story she is quick to show where God made something good out of the darkness of her life, so I was left with a sense of hope, not depression. I am another person who travels the road of actions based on old pain, so I related to much she had to say. I was immediately caught up in the flow of her words, as her prose has a comfortably poetic phrasing. She is honest, she shares the rawness of life--but there is no self-pity in her recounting of pain, and much can be learned simply from that. Personally, i loved the book. It was like a 4 hour sit-down over coffee with a good friend.
Thin Places is a powerful retelling of Mary DeMuth's journey through childhood abuse to adulthood. Mary has a unique ability to share deeply personal aspects of her life in a way that express her fragility and pain, yet conveys her desire to overcome the horrible circumstances she endured. She reaches for God and the reader watches her, straining with her as hope and healing start to take place, and a new strength develops out of the pain. A significant memoir.
Mary De Muth's memoir Thin Places touched my life profoundly. I didn't really want to read about painful subjects like child sexual abuse and all the sad things Mary had to deal with in life. But, since I was asked to review the book, I hesitantly stuck my nose in, and it took my breath away. I didn't find the depressing story I'd expected. Instead, a gift of hope and healing rose above the struggles shared through writing splendidly fresh and flowing. I can't understand why God allows some children to endure such trauma and pain. But He has turned Mary's into a story of redemption. She vulnerably admits she still doesn't have it all together, but acknowledges what God has done and trusts Him for the future. What she calls "thin places" are where she actually felt closest to God, to the eternal. Her honest sharing helps open readers' eyes to observe such places in their own lives. Everyone should be able to connect on some level, so the audience is unlimited. This book is so transformational. God is using it to minister to me through her suffering and journey to wholeness. I can identify in many ways, although I was not sexually abused. I longed for acceptance and meaning and to be loved for me-just as she did. And we both learned that only through God do we receive this gift. I tried to get through its 215 pages quickly so I could write the review, but had to slow down to pause and ponder. I will need to read it again and let God use portions as I take time to apply the lessons to my own life. I will highlight and savor sections. I had planned to pass it on to the library, but I decided I will keep it and loan it as the Lord leads and let it minister to others. I recommend every church and library order their own copies.
Thin Places allowed me to understand some of my hangups due to childhood sexual abuse. Mary DeMuth is an amazing author telling an amazing story of forgiveness and faith. I will definitely be reading and recommending her books.
Never has there been a outpouring of a human soul in so many words articulating the ravishes from innocence's as in Mary DeMuth's 'Thin Places.' Mary is a woman exceeding in wisdom as she understandingly and forgiving expresses so eloquently her feelings of every detail hidden in her heart. Being thrown into an unkind childhood of various proportions of devious acts of impropriety, Mary's life is strangely familiar. Now grown, her understanding with the wisdom of the love of Christ enables her to put into words her most heart felt insecurities. She forgives the hurt that embraces her inner most being. Her life is a testimony of bearing heartbreaking, unkind acts of selfishness from others to finding the unconditional love of Jesus to walk through the throws of everyday life is to properly commented. Thank you Mary for opening up your life to the lost and hurt so they may know they are not alone. LaJoyce Shrom Author of 'Revealed Secret and 'Learning About life' www.lajoyceshrom.authorweblog.com