Are you sick of insecurity?   Or has it been your friend these many years, eating dinner with you, whispering your worthlessness whenever it can? It’s time to say SCAT. Why? Because insecurity does nothing for you. It undermines your confidence. It makes you feel like you have nothing to contribute to the world. It makes you fear and shrink back from what God has called you to do.

And even when you experience success, Insecurity howls at you, tells you it’s probably a fluke.

I’ve been there. I am there.

I recently had a conversation where I let insecurity taint my words <http://www.marydemuth.com/2010/05/approval-money/> . I demeaned my own success, preferring to see what I hadn’t accomplished, forgetting what I had. The person I shared with was shocked. “But when I see you, I see success. You’ve arrived. You’ve made it.”

Isn’t it funny that even when you do find success, insecurity rips away the part of you that can rejoice in it? Instead there is always a need to prove your worth more and more and more until you work so hard, you end up exhausted and unsatisfied.

We need to see insecurity as an intruder instead of a familiar friend. Sure, we’ve come to adapt to insecurity’s presence, become quite comfortable with its mean words in our heads, but that doesn’t mean we can’t realistically look at insecurity and give it the boot.

The opposite of insecurity isn’t security as much as it’s peace. It’s not that war won’t come or pain or hurt. It’s that when it does, we have the peace to be okay with ourselves in the midst of it. When life smacks us down, when we’re more apt to welcome the voice of insecurity, we can instead ask the Prince of Peace to settle our worth, calm our hearts, and give us peace.

Here’s the difference between the two:

  • Insecure folks blame others for their lack. Peaceful folks take blame when needed and deflect when it’s not warranted.
  • Insecure folks belittle others or themselves with harsh words. Peaceful folks look for ways to bolster another and aren’t afraid to say, “I am a wonderful, well-loved person.”
  • Insecure folks wear masks to cover up their shortcomings. Peaceful folks are authentic without fear.
  • Insecure folks hide. Peaceful folks live openhearted lives, risking in relationships.

So where are you in this list? Have you welcomed insecurity as a friend? What do you struggle with most?


 Sue KeddyMay the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5

I spent almost two decades in Asia where haggling for a good price was a sport.  I loved the thrill of going back and forth with the shopkeeper until I wore them down and I was walking away with a bargain.  My parents told me that even as a child if I was convinced of something I would never back down.  My husband agreed.  Some would call that being stubborn but I like to call it being persistent!

Persistence is the main character trait in many a Bible Story which proves to me that God values it.  Matthew records that when two blind men sitting by the road heard that Jesus was passing by they began to shout for mercy.  The crowd tried to hush them but they shouted even louder! As a result Jesus stopped and asked them what they wanted.  They told him they wanted their sight and in the next blink of an eye, they were seeing! (Matthew 21:29-34)  Bartimaeus was a blind beggar who hollered until Jesus heard him.  The crowd told him to ‘STOP!’ but Jesus told him to ‘COME!’  He threw his coat off and ran in the direction of Jesus’ voice.  Jesus opened his eyes and Bartimaeus became a Christ follower (Mark 10:46-52).  A distraught Mom came to Jesus because her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit.  She fell at his feet and begged unashamedly for Jesus to intervene.  He assured her he had and when she returned home her daughter was free of the demon (Mark 7:24-30). Jesus tells a story about a widow who wouldn’t leave a judge alone until she got the protection she needed from an adversary and about a neighbor who continuously knocked on his friends door at midnight until he got bread to feed an unexpected guest  (Luke 18:1-5; 11:5-8).

Desperation breeds either despair or persistence. I choose persistence because the alternative is unthinkable.  Jesus responds to persistence. Blind eyes were opened and demons were cast out!  Justice was granted and provisions were supplied! Jesus wants us to persevere as he persevered for us!  He doesn’t want us to give up or give in.  In fact he honours those who keep asking, seeking and knocking.

My sister, don’t let anyone or anything muzzle your cries!  Start expecting the miraculous!   Be prepared to be amazed!

special-offerThis is honestly one of the most beautifully written books we have read for a long time. Mary was sexually abused and neglected as a child. This is the wonderful story of God’s restoration and redemption of the ‘thin places’ of her life.

Mary was interviewed about her story and about this book on The 700 Club on 5th April 2011 and you can watch that interview here.


In this moving spiritual memoir—Thin Places—Mary DeMuth traces the winding path of thin places in her life, places where she experienced longing and healing more intensely than before. From surviving abuse as a latchkey kid to discovering a heavenly Father who never leaves, Mary’s story invites you to a deeper understanding of your own story. She calls you to discover new ways to look for God in the past so that you might experience him more profoundly in the present.

What if you could retrace your life and discover its thin places—places where the division between this world and the eternal fades?



“Thin places are snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners of our world, where we might just catch a glimpse of eternity. They are aha moments, beautiful realizations, when the Son of God bursts through the hazy fog of our monotony and shines on us afresh. He has come near to my life. I will tell you how.”


You can also watch Mary telling her story very movingly in the book trailer for Thin Places here.



Fiction (Watching the Tree Limbs) and nonfiction (Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture) author DeMuth revisits supremely challenging and emotionally transformative junctures in her life as she reveals the childhood sexual brutalities of which she was a victim, the confounding death of her biological father, and ongoing years of neglect and parental irresponsibility with which she had to cope. DeMuth, whose fiction consistently evokes deep responses from her loyal fan base, has succeeded in offering a comparably powerful memoir by telling her own story with honest courage. At every signpost, the author presents life as it is, even when the offering is ugly. Despite the bitterness and anger that could naturally characterize her, the author clings to her faith in God and his goodness, deriving victory over her circumstances. DeMuth writes, “God sees,” and in this recalling of her early childhood pain, she sees, and is seen by, a faithful divine Father who provides refuge. (Feb.) — Thin Places: A Memoir

“Well known fiction author, Mary DeMuth open her heart in her moving memoir, Thins Places, an unflinching look at her childhood sexual abuse, death of her father, and years of parental neglect that somehow still shows God’s ever-present hand of love and healing. Throughout the messiness of life, Mary continually finds “thin places,” evidences of where God breaks through her pain and brokenness with his love and mercy. Striving to comfort others with the Divine comfort she has received, Mary’s Thin Places shines as a hopeful light for anyone who is struggling to overcome unspeakable wounds from the past” — Significant Living Magazine

Brave, moving, and poignant. An important story, honestly and beautifully told, of pain transformed into hope. The world is in great need of courageous voices like DeMuth’s.” — Tosca Lee, author of Christy-award finalist Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve
“This gifted memoirist writes like a woman at the well: Thin Places reads like rivers of living water. With her incantatory language, Mary DeMuth describes both the burden of suffering and the weightlessness of redemption. If you’re carrying past wounds, read this book. It will change your life.” — Sibella Giorello, Christy-award-winning novelist

“Author Mary DeMuth has lived up to readers’ expectations of exquisite writing from an exceptional author. She has also opened herself and allowed readers to see inside—all the hurts, disappointments, violations—in order to escort the readers on a painfully joyful journey to healing. A rare memoir from one of the best writers of our time!” — Kathi Macias, author of over thirty books, including Beyond Me and Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today

Mary-DeMuth---Embrace-Small-Beginnings (2)Read this article on writing by Mary DeMuth

This article first appeared in the April 2013 edition of JOY! magazine. It has some excellent advice for anyone wanting to start writing. You can read it here.

Live Uncaged

Mary will be speaking at the main Beauty for Ashes conference, Live Uncaged, which starts on the Friday evening, 24 May, and ends on Saturday, 25 May at 17:00. Her story “Dare to Live Uncaged, Free From the Past” is in the May 2013 issue of JOY! magazine, so try and buy a copy.

Write Uncaged

Write UncagedShe will also be speaking at a smaller mini-conference for writers and bloggers, Write Uncaged, during the day on Friday 24 May, 08:30-14:30, at a different venue. Men are welcome to attend this mini-conference. Please book and pay by 17 May.

Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone knows how to tell their story in a publishable way.

Learn the secrets of great storytelling, the ins and outs of writing great prose, how to organize your writing time, and how to market what you’ve written. Author Mary DeMuth has walked the publishing journey for 20 years. She’s traditionally published, blogged (www.marydemuth.com), written articles, self-published, e-published, and done just about everything there is in publishing. She’s passionate about helping you get your words out in the world so lives can be changed.

See our website, www.beautyforashes.co.za, for all the information you need.

write (2)

We’re thrilled to be hosting a conference on writing and blogging! (And, no, you don’t have to be a writer to attend.)

Last year an editor told us that she regularly receives manuscripts and when she asks the would-be authors what their platform is, they don’t have a clue what she’s talking about.

This got everyone at Beauty for Ashes thinking. There are women in South Africa from all walks of life who have something valuable to say, but they’re not writing because they don’t know where to start, or how to go about getting published. We decided that a start would be to invite Mary DeMuth to run a one-day workshop to show us how to find our own uniquely South African writing ‘voices’ and, hopefully, inspire some of us to make a start?

Mary will show you the secrets of great storytelling, the ins and outs of writing great prose, how to organize your writing time, and how to market what you’ve written. Author Mary DeMuth has walked the publishing journey for 20 years. She’s traditionally published, blogged, written articles, self-published, e-published, and done just about everything there is in publishing. She’s passionate about helping you get your words out in the world so lives can be changed.

Date: Friday 24 May 2013

Time: 08:00 – 14:30

Venue: Liberty Church, 401 West Avenue, Randburg, Johannesburg       (please note that this is a different venue from the main conference)

Cost: R280 (includes lunch pack, tea/coffee and notes)

Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone knows how to tell their story in a publishable way.

Learn the secrets of great storytelling, the ins and outs of writing great prose, how to organize your writing time, and how to market what you’ve written. Author Mary DeMuth has walked the publishing journey for 20 years. She’s traditionally published, blogged, written articles, self-published, e published, and done just about everything there is in publishing. She’s passionate about helping you get your words out in the world so lives can be changed.


08:30     (Part 1) The Uncaged Publishing Journey

(Part 2) The I-step Method of Writing Compelling Stories

09:30     Break

09:45     Common Writing Pitfalls

10:45     Break

11:00    10 Things You Need to Know About Writing Your Story

12:00    Lunch

13:00    (Part 1) Manage Your Writing Time

(Part 2) Great Marketing Starts Small

14:00    Q&A

14:30    Conference Ends

Hello Ladies!

December 15, 2012

brochure-cover FBHello Ladies

We are so excited about Beauty for Ashes 2013 and know that you’re just going to love our two speakers, Sue Keddy and Mary DeMuth!  Both these women have known great pain and heartache, but both have found just how much healing and solace Jesus can bring … and they’ll be sharing their stories with us. Don’t get the wrong idea though—they’re both full of fun and humour and you’re going to absolutely LOVE them!

This conference is coming to you at an amazing price (Early-Bird only R280 until the end of February), so perhaps you could even think of bringing a friend.

Please join our FaceBook page, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and read our blog regularly to make sure that you keep up to date with BFA 2013’s information.

With love

Aldyth, Karen, Michelle & the Team

Introducing Sue Keddy

December 11, 2012


Sue Keddy is a real tonic and an intrepid adventurer for Jesus! 

She has enjoyed picnics in a junk boat on the South China Sea, ridden a camel on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Karachi,  Pakistan, and celebrated wedding anniversaries on deserted stretches of  beaches in the Philippines and Guam.  God has taken her into the squalor of Vietnamese Refugee camps; into dozens of cardboard huts in a slum called Rio Mar in the Dominican Republic; into houses made out of cow dung in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan; into hundreds of Chinese Schools in Hong Kong and back to Canada…. to be His Ambassador.

Sue is also no stranger to grief.

In the space of two years she lost her husband, her brother (her only sibling) and her father. She and her late husband, Jim, were missionaries in Hong Kong for 18 years and he died while they were doing devotions together one morning of a heart attack. She stayed in Hong Kong for a few more years before returning to Canada where she now leads women’s ministries.  Jesus has never left her, always provided for her and proven to be all that she needs, which is why her heart pounds to make Him famous!

Full size image

Sue with her two sons and two daughters-in-law, CJ and Ali and Curtis and AmySue dancing with her son, Curtis, at his wedding  Dancing with her son, Curtis, at his wedding

We’re so looking forward to our time together in 2013 and standing in awe at what God is going to do in all our hearts!

PS…some videos of Sue

You may like to see some of the missionary work Sue and Jim Kelly did in Hong Kong at http://vimeo.com/12599808. It was filmed in 1999. You might also be interested in some of the work she has been doing since she returned to Canada where churches work together to bless towns for a day. This video shows the town of Erin, http://vimeo.com/27048575.