THIN PLACES BY MARY DEMUTH          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. Beauty for Ashes will be giving away free copies of Thin Places to all the women who register and pay for the conference between Tuesday 7th and Tuesday 14th May 2013. Your copy will be waiting for you at the registration table at the conference. This is too good an offer to miss ladies!

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.”


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

Women have this intrinsic ability to influence.  We see it in our roles as wives and mothers, and in our friendships.  We see this influence in the life of Timothy, where his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, communicated their faith to him so that he became a valuable member of the Apostle Paul’s team. 

A friend brought me to Beauty for Ashes 2004

A friend brought me to Beauty for Ashes 2004 because she herself had heard about the conference and wanted to go.  She paid for my ticket and promised to be by my side the whole day.  I loved the Lord, but I had lost Him, not knowing how to draw closer and not feeling that I could.   That one day changed my life as Angela Thomas (at her first BFA conference in SA) addressed an area of my life that was both a deep hurt and a stumbling block.   Two sessions later, we had no more tissues, no make-up, but were totally renewed.  As we sat chatting and eating Jelly Tots on the grass outside, we discussed how to apply what we had learnt to our lives.  We agreed to hold each other accountable to change, and determined never to turn away from the Lord again.  We also decided that at the following year’s conference we would each bring a friend for the weekend.

The conference facilitated a 180 degree change in my life!

As time passed after the conference, it became clear to me that the conference had facilitated a 180 degree change in my life.   I realized that I wanted this for others as well, so I decided to bring a friend and pay for her, as my friend had paid for me.  I started looking at my own circle of influence and purposefully invited someone to come to the conference.

The next year our numbers doubled

The next year four of us attended, and again we took what we had learnt at the conference and applied it to our lives – we were changed and our friends recommitted their lives to the Lord.  We were sisters in the Lord, bonded together in our new relationships with the Saviour, a bond that tears, food and tissues seem to strengthen.

And then doubled again

I sponsored four women the following year, then eight the next.  It got challenging after that to always increase the number, but an amazing thing happened.  Friends whom I had sponsored, whose lives had been changed, sponsored another friend the next year and each year the group would change and lives would never be the same again.  I have come every year since then, bringing women from my circle of influence, watching with expectation as God touches their lives. 

I don’t know a single women whose life has not been touched by attending Beauty for Ashes.  And yet, every year I go, God has a message that is just for me.

I cannot explain the excitement I feel, watching and then knowing when He is speaking to her, to be a witness to His power as He brings beauty out of her ashes.

Last year a group of us made a whole weekend of it, finding accommodation nearby, encouraging women to come and experience the conference with us – we chatted long into the night, only leaving on Sunday lunchtime.  It is satisfying to see lives change, to see women find the Lord for the first time, or find Him again

So come on ladies, take up the challenge!

Influence one woman to come to the conference! Pay for her, if you can, and watch God change a life!

So come on ladies, take up the challenge:  influence one girl to come to the conference.  If you can: sponsor her fee to make it easier and then spend time with her at the conference.   Listen together, pray; fellowship and then watch God change a life.  In your whole circle of influence, I am sure there is one woman you can identify.

This article was written by Michelle du Toit.

About Beauty For Ashes 2011

January 10, 2011

Hello Dear Friend,   

We are absolutely delighted to announce Beauty for Ashes 2011! 

We have been frantically working behind the scenes; brainstorming, strategizing and setting the platform for our 26th Beauty for Ashes women’s conference on 20-21 May 2011.

Our goal is to host a life-changing conference with you in mind. The new ‘feel’, never- before- in- South Africa- world-class-speakers (from the USA) and over the top entertainment will set the platform! 

We are thrilled to announce our speakers; Jennifer Rothschild and Lisa Whelchel.

If you really want to be inspired, please take the time to watch Jennifer’s story of how she lost her sight, embraced this challenge and lives a God-filled, happy life (just scroll up the page and you will see it).

Lisa, who started her career as an actress, is a gifted speaker and author.  And what is so amazing to us is that Lisa and Jennifer are best friends and absolutely love ministering together!

Jennifer and Lisa will comfort and challenge you; we will pamper and spoil you and God himself will refresh you and meet your every need!  

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to host the Beauty for Ashes 2011 conference in Cape Town; however, all is not lost!  We are offering a free conference to all our Cape Town delegates who can make their way to Johannesburg and find their own transport and accommodation for the month of February only.

So, diarize the dates (20-21 May 2011) and get ready for the women’s event of the year. We look forward to hosting you.

 With love

Cathy, Karen & Aldyth

 “Lord, here I am, available to do  your work. Use me Lord.”

At the 2007 Beauty for Ashes Women’s Conference, Priscilla Shirer (pictured here with Kumarie Pillay at BFA 2007) spoke on “He Speaks to Me.” This really touched me as I had a misconception of how one can be used in God’s kingdom. I remember thinking that she was the most amazing woman I had ever been blessed to listen to (I still think that).

He qualifies the unqualified

I come from a Hindu background. I thought that someone who was very religious with all the theological knowledge was closer to God and more qualified to do His work and will than I was. I learnt that He qualifies the unqualified. He chooses and uses whoever He wants to as His instruments. 

I had passion, hunger, yearning and a burning desire to grow in Christ and to have a closer walk with Him. I was so excited about being a child of God, but that was all I had. I worked at my relationship with Him but thought I needed to know the Bible inside out, know all scriptures, history, etc, before stepping out to do anything for Him.

The vision God gave me to organise a women’s conference  

As I sat with my two family friends at the 2007 Beauty for Ashes conference, over lunch we discussed Prisicilla‘s previous session.  I was so inspired and thought that if God could use others He could use me. It was during this lunch that I had a complete vision of holding a women’s conference in our little town, Oudtshoorn.  As I shared my vision with the ladies they encouraged me, and as we chatted we discussed some good local speakers who ministered in South Africa and a picture of the venue and the worship group flashed into my mind. The whole idea was to reach out to our local women and in so doing touch their lives, and through this, touch their families.  If a woman can be close to God then she will keep her family close to him too.

A “step of faith” turns into the “Women of Faith” conference

It felt like walking on water! Each step was really a step of faith. Because we went in with nothing but faith we decided to call our conference “Women of Faith” and the theme was “Unveil Yourself.” It was so exciting to see God work among us to make it all happen! I approached a friend and asked her if she would like to be a part of this vision, and she enthusiastically agreed. We had three months to put this conference together. It was the most amazing experience! God worked in and through the lives of the ladies. We came in with nothing but faith. No finances, no resources, no qualifications, no experience…just a burning desire to give the women a taste of God’s love and make them see how special and loved they were.

We had lots of help and support from our husbands, the community, businesses and friends. We held a day of prayer and fasting each week building up to conference, and then had a 24 hour prayer and fast just before conference.

The ladies were touched and blessed beyond their expectations

We received amazing testimonies from women who attended and there was also amazing breakthrough for some of the women who attended. About 125 ladies attended and they will never be the same again.

The ladies really were pampered. The tickets cost a mere R5 (this included a beautiful venue, teas, coffees, cool drinks, lunch, etc) and we had lots of beautiful giveaways worth thousands of rands.

To add to the special pampering that day we decorated the venue with beautiful white drapes and fairy lights and were also blessed with the upper floor of the venue already pre-decorated from a previous function.

The blessings overflowed

We had actually catered for 750 ladies. I am never concerned about over-catering. Too much food left over is always a blessing as there are always hungry people to feed on our doorstep, so the blessings overflowed as we were able to feed some hungry people in our community through this conference.

We were also able to (and still are) assist the community with some of the finances we received for the conference. We received about 100 to 150 Bibles which we gave out to students who had enrolled at the police college in Oudtshoorn. These students come in young and restless and for those who do not know Christ, this is where they grow, so we were glad to help them get the Word.

Thank you to the Beauty for Ashes team

I have been inspired by the Beauty for Ashes conferences and thus attend each year. I’ve started booking for a group of 10 ladies each year and pray that they will impact others as they are blessed at these conferences. I have also received testimonies and feedback from these ladies. I know that their attending is not by chance or coincidence, but they are “God–incidences.”

I thank God for the ladies who have honoured in Him in hosting the Beauty for Ashes conferences! By doing so you may not know the full ripple effect it has had on many lives around the cities, towns and nations of this world. Keep going for Jesus, yours in Christ.

I am constantly thankful for what God has done in and through my life and for what is still to come, and for His love, grace, mercy, favour and blessing upon my life. I treat each day as a new day in Christ and start it in expectation of what He is going to do in my life.

I maintain that if He could use me, He can use you – we are just instruments. It is not about us, but Christ who lives in us. We serve a God of endless possibilities. I’m honoured to be in His kingdom – all praise, glory and honour to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Kumarie Pillay

This was the opening song with backing video at Beauty for Ashes 2010. Sung by Kim Hill. Song written by Paulette Wooten. Visuals by Jane Thomson.