Mary DeMuth is a fellow writer and a fellow survivor of abuse. She is on her recovery journey just as most readers of this blog are. I recently had the privilege of reading her transparent, newly published book, Thin Places: A Memoir. I wanted to interview her to find out more:
Tanya: When you were twenty would you have written this type of memoir? Why or why not?
Mary: No, I wouldn’t have written anything. I hadn’t walked very far in my publishing journey. Plus, I hadn’t experienced enough healing to be able to tell the story with redemption.
Tanya: Some Christians think that if you’re a “good” Christian who is doing the right stuff for God, then you will be protected from all harm. What would you say to such a Believer?
Mary: It’s a false conception of the gospel to think that Jesus calls us to have easy lives. We are to follow Christ. And look what He did. He suffered. He chose His Father in the midst of that suffering. Why do we think we’re owed a pain-free life when Jesus didn’t have one?
Tanya: Thin Places: A Memoir is a transparent book in which you reveal personal information, such as being sexually abused as a child, what has enabled you to share so openly?
Mary: I’m really not sure, except to say God has uniquely gifted me to tell the truth and be authentic. It comes easy to me, for some strange reason.
Tanya: What would be your advice to a reader who has also been sexually abused?
Mary: Talk about the abuse. Share it with a trusted, loving friend. Sharing your story is the first step. Then consider counseling.
Tanya: I love that you wrote about the impact that childhood abuse has had on your intimate relationship with your husband. Our sexual life gets messed up when we’ve been violated by another, but it isn’t the type of topic that goes over well in social settings. Why do you think that more women don’t share with one another about this important topic?
Mary: Because it’s a taboo topic. Yet it shouldn’t be. We share that we struggle with weight loss, or friendships. We might even share struggles in our marriage. I will say, though, that it’s best to start your sharing in this area with your spouse. Open communication will help a lot, particularly if your spouse unknowingly is doing things to trigger flashbacks of the abuse.
Tanya: What hope do you cling to when you feel frustrated that past abuse still scars your present life with the good Christian man whom you’ve married?
Mary: God is always in the process of changing me. Even when it feels slow. I rest in that. I’ve seen enough healing to know that it will continue to happen as long as I yield myself to Jesus.
Tanya: I hate the way the shame of abuse lodges so deeply in our hearts as victims while those who perpetrate such crimes may or may not feel any shame. Have you had any issues with this shame and do you have any Bible verse that has helped you keep a Godly perspective?
Mary: Shame weaves its way through me, so much so, it’s hard for me to pinpoint it. I love this verse in Hebrews: fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus despised the shame too. Yet He learned to endure it because of the joy set before Him. That helps me persevere through today’s shame knowing I’ll be wiped free of it in heaven.
Tanya: On the cover of your book there is a girl hiding her eyes as if in hide and seek, with a grin peeking out and knees smudged from play. They girl looks to be elementary school aged. Is it a picture of you? If so, tell us about the pictures on the front and the back of your book.
Mary: Yes, that’s me. My father took both pictures.
Tanya: In the Psalms, King David did a lot of looking back to remind his soul of all that God had faithfully done. Looking back can help us to see God’s grace. If you could only share one thing about God’s grace, what example would you share from your own life?
Mary: Losing my father at ten, while traumatic, was the impetus for me to search for a Daddy. I found that Daddy in Jesus at fifteen when I heard the gospel at a Young Life camp.
Tanya: God is a major player in your life story. What are two things about Him that have had an especially deep impact on you so far in your life?
Mary: His nearness. I love that God comes near in surprising ways. His love. Yet, I still struggle with really feeling His love.
Tanya: What do you mean when you refer to God’s severe mercy?
Mary: Sometimes God’s mercy comes wrapped in awful wrapping. Sometimes it’s through loss and pain that we finally begin to let go of fear and start to trust the Lord.
Tanya: Pornography has an addictive quality that can be quite destructive to those who have been abused. I applaud your courage in sharing your own journey with pornography. If a reader of my blog struggles with feeling attracted to pornography, what are three things you’d like her or him to know?
1. You are not alone.
2. Hiding it makes it stronger.
3. God will give you the courage to share the struggle with a trusted friend and will deliver you through a journey.
Tanya: I identified completely when you wrote about feeling marked by being a victim of rape. It is a feeling that I think all victims share. It’s as if other perpetrators somehow know… For any reader who is feeling that they are still marked, what encouragement would you like to share with them?
Mary: I wish I could say that the mark goes away. Perhaps it fades a bit. I have to be vigilant when I’m in social situations, especially when men are present. I forget that there are still predators out there, even at my age. My encouragement is that the more you fill up with Jesus, the less the mark attracts others.
Tanya: Is there anything else you’d like to share with those who are in the process of recovering from abuse?
Mary: Prayer is really the key of my own recovery. Not just me for myself, but others diligently praying for me. Pray that God would send you praying friends.
Tanya: Please tell us the details about when and where we can purchase your book?
Mary: You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Thin-Places-Mary-E-DeMuth/dp/031028418X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262712444&sr=1-1
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Mary DeMuth and her ministry as a writer and as a Christian. Please continue blessing the work that she is submitting to you. And please send praying friends for each reader of this blog who is recovering from abuse. Amen.
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