Reading Mary E. De Muth’s Thin Places; a memoir, I wonder if I am reading memoir or devotional. As she bares her soul, searching for thin places, “snatches of holy ground, … where, … we might just catch a glimpse of eternity”(p.11)—as she shares those place in her own life, Mary touches my soul as well. Although I never had the terrible childhood experiences of abuse or losing my father at a young age that Mary experienced, I do make lists of the things I “ought” to do to be good enough. I have been a broken missionary returning from an experience where I thought God owed it to me to bless. “Pursue Me, not perfection,” Jesus told Mary in that thin place. “Follow after Me, not a set of ideals. Grab My hand and walk with Me in adventure.” (p. 178)
Instead of following the chronology of her life, De Muth traces themes: places she has lived, her raggedy image of herself, the repeated pain of multiple parental divorces, pornography, obsession with things, obsession with boys, fear of men and what they can do to you. She jumps back and forth in time. Sometimes the feelings seem to contradict one another, but then life is like that, isn’t it? Messy, painful, real.
Mary is “marked” by her early experiences, but they do not define the totality of who she is. She is a wife, mother and writer, deeply in love with Jesus. The victories she shares and the places she still struggles to see God’s hand will touch readers of all backgrounds who are seeking Him in a messy world.
Given the beauty of her language and the depth of her vulnerability, I look forward to reading Mary's fiction as well. I am sure it will not be inspirational fluff.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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