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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.

WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT?

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?

Mary-DeMuth

 

“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.

 

ENDORSEMENTS

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

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_MG_1777 (2) 3Ann Goodfellow Tells Us Her Story

My first book was accepted for publication the year I reached 71. I had begun writing Prayers and Devotions more than 25 years before, through a weekly prayer letter for my church. I enjoyed writing, but never thought of publication. But after I retired God kept prompting me to write books. Yes! Books. Not just one!

The first book took over 3 years to put together – and many more years of rejection after rejection from publishers.

God always has a plan though! I had submitted my proposal to a new publisher, just 1 week after I had been rejected again. Three weeks later I received a phone call from overseas, showing interest, but the book was far too long, and would be difficult to promote from an unknown author. They suggested reducing the 52 weeks of daily devotions to make the book an acceptable length. We worked well together and the first book was received in December 2008.

Most publishers tend to publish only already known and affirmed authors. So God really wanted this book to be out there for people to read and grow to know Him in a deep and personal way, through a daily quiet time.

Now came yet another challenge! Distribution!

I had received 500 books for my own personal contacts and started to promote them to my church, friends, family, and by word of mouth. I have successfully distributed all 500 of the first book – praise God.

Goodfellow_Cover (2)Since then I have written another four books, and they have been successfully published, not only in printed form, but also as eBooks – so they are readily available all over the world. My newest will be available in two months time.

2 Corinthians 8 : 11 says, “On with it, then, and finish the job! Be as eager to finish it as you were to plan it, and do it with what you now have.”

My husband of 48 years died just two months before the first book was delivered to me, but he had always been very supportive. I have since moved into a retirement village, and am glad to be able to fill my days with writing for God. Writing and publication has been a wonderfully satisfying new career, and I give God all the glory as I promote Him to all who desire to read about His love.

Ann’s books will be available at the Beauty for Ashes conference book table. They are also available as eBooks here.

DSC_0181Strength Renewed is a book of 90 meditations based on actual incidents that happened during Shirley’s cancer journey, tied in with relevant scriptures.

During her time on treatment, Shirley spent much time in the botanical gardens near her home. There she watched a pair of Vereaux’s eagles and wished she could rise and soar over the cancer valley. Isaiah 40:31 says “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles.” This favourite verse of Shirley’s became the foundation verse for her book, as well as the title of her website, http://riseandsoar.com, to encourage those in the cancer valley.

Did you experience any unexpected challenges as a breast cancer patient

A number of things blind-sided me. I felt inferior to “normal people” and insecure in company. It was as if everyone looked down on me because of my diagnosis. I think a lot of that was caused by the number of people who felt they had to tell me why I had cancer.

What about after the treatment? Did you face any unanticipated challenges then?

A month after I finished a year’s aggressive treatment, my oncologist explained that the chemo would still be in my system for many months, and it would continue to work in cycles. I wish he’d warned me in advance as I couldn’t understand why I still felt so ill at times. I also grappled with a sense of failure because there were so many things that were still too hard for me.

Today, you’re a published author. How did that come about?

From the age of 14, I wrote songs and skits for the church, and for a period I wrote quite a bit of poetry. I also did a correspondence course in creative writing, although I had no thoughts of being published. During cancer treatment, I started journaling, and a year after treatment I started writing short meditations for The Upper Room and other similar markets, often using anecdotes from my cancer journal.

In 2004 I won a scholarship to attend the Sandy Cove Christian Writers’ Conference in the States.  Following this, I started my first website as well as an online support group for Christian Writers of Southern Africa (http://tinyurl.com/Shirley-CWOSA).

In 2010, the Lord miraculously provided the means for me to attend the Florida Christian Writers Conference. There I met the acquisition editor for Revell/Baker, and as a result, Strength Renewed was published last year.

Where is your book available?

It is in CUM and Exclusive books, as well as bookstores across the globe. It is also available in all the major online bookstores, in print or in all the major e-versions. Oh—and it will be available at the Beauty for Ashes bookstore on 24-25 May 2013. 

Shirley Corder, author of Strength Renewed

Shirley Corder, author of Strength Renewed

One beautiful, sunny African afternoon, my life changed forever.

For two years, I had asked my gynaecologist for a mammogram. For two years, he had told me it wasn’t necessary. Finally another specialist sent me for a “routine mammogram and ultrasound” which turned out to not be as routine as I’d hoped. I had breast cancer. And because it hadn’t been discovered earlier, it had already spread to the glands.

How can I describe the experience? 

It was like when you are tearing along the road, enjoying the scenery and eager to arrive at your destination, and all of a sudden the road turns back on itself. You jam on brakes and grip the steering wheel in an effort to keep the car under control as you attempt to navigate the U-turn you hadn’t seen coming.

It was just like that.

I jammed on brakes, gripped my steering wheel, and sped into battle against what turned out to be an aggressive form of cancer. With the use of a skilled surgeon, an unconventional and courageous oncologist, a supportive family, and a team of praying friends, God pulled me through that dreadful year of treatment. Not only did I survive the U-turn, I found myself travelling, as you do with a U-turn, in a different direction. I went from being a nursing sister to being a published author.

God promises in His Word that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). It took me a while to see it. But I began to realise how many invaluable lessons God taught me during my “cancer year,” and it wasn’t long before He prompted me to share these lessons with others in the form of meditations.

The words of Isaiah 40:31 followed me throughout the whole cancer experience:

“They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” 

StrengthRenewed-3DI wanted so badly to have my strength renewed, but how do you wait on anyone, even the Lord, when you are told you have cancer?

The Lord was ready and willing to teach me. Sometimes I got it right, and sometimes I didn’t. But gradually and patiently He led me through many bumpy experiences, and I emerged from the journey closer to Him than ever before.

Last year, Revell/Baker in the states published Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, telling about 90 of those experiences and the lessons I learned. It is my prayer that my readers will be blessed and helped as they navigate the U-turns in their lives—hopefully with more control over the steering wheel than I often had.

You can read the first seven devotions online here for free. It will be on sale at the Beauty for Ashes women’s conference, 24-25 May 2013. You will enjoy reading Shirley’s informative website, Rise and Soar – above the cancer valley.

Bestselling author, speaker, and singer Jennifer Rothschild, who’s been blind since she was a teenager, encourages others to find the blessings hidden within the most challenging circumstances.

Jennifer’s dreams of becoming a commercial artist faded with her blindness, but words and music have replaced her canvas and palette for more than 25 years.

A health crisis, an emotional upheaval, or a physical disability—none of these is a circumstance we would choose to receive; yet each could prove to be the packaging for a very precious gift—a deeper relationship with Christ. This is a truth Jennifer Rothschild has come to know well. A bestselling author, sought-after speaker, gifted singer, wife and mother, she also happens to be blind. Though navigating life in the dark is not without challenges, Jennifer views her blindness as a gift. “In fact,” she says, “I call it a difficult gift. It is one that I continually unwrap and discover in different ways.”

Walking by Faith

Jennifer first began to unwrap her difficult gift as a young teen. At age 15, she was looking forward to earning her driver’s license and dreamt of turning her love of drawing into a career as a commercial artist or cartoonist. The only bump in the road seemed to be some vision problems, which she hoped could be corrected with stronger eyeglasses. When that didn’t help, she and her parents consulted a specialist at a Miami eye hospital. What they learned was devastating—Jennifer had a rare degenerative disease, retinitis pigmentosa, which would slowly steal her sight and eventually leave her blind. It was a blow, to be sure, but Jennifer and her parents accepted the diagnosis with a quiet grace. In fact, one of the first things Jennifer did after returning home was to sit at the piano and play, by ear, a favourite hymn: “It Is Well With My Soul.”

Learning to live with her encroaching blindness was not easy, and Jennifer was often frustrated by the loss of her autonomy. However, with the encouragement of her parents and her trust in the Lord, she finished high school and went on to college, where she met her husband, Philip. The two have been married for 24 years and are the parents of two sons, Clayton, 21, and Connor, 12. Like most couples, they have to contend with the everyday issues of married life, but Jennifer’s blindness and the interdependence it requires has fostered a rock-solid partnership. Phil has taken on a lot of duties outside the realm of what a typical husband and father might do, such as heading up the carpool, overseeing homework, and even applying his wife’s fingernail polish. An entertainment management professor at Missouri State University, he also manages Jennifer’s ministry career. Jennifer considers Phil to be one of the greatest provisions God has made for her. “Over the years, I have recognized how unusual he is. He has a ‘can-do’ spirit. I like to say ‘where there’s a Phil, there’s a way.’ Just when I think that he’s going to get tired of carrying the extra burden because of my blindness, he amazes me,” she says, noting that their sons have learned much from his example of sacrifice and service.

Sharing her Story

Since her diagnosis, Jennifer says that one of the hardest lessons she’s had to learn is that God uses painful circumstances to refine us. The last book she read prior to losing her sight was Joni Eareckson Tada’s 1976 autobiography, which detailed her spiritual journey after being paralyzed in a teenage diving accident. “She became a hero to me, a hero in my heart, even though I didn’t know I was going to lose my sight,” recalls Jennifer. “During my difficult days, I would think, ‘if she could do it, so can I.’ Sometimes you need to look to someone who embodies faith.”

Today, she hopes that she can provide similar inspiration for others, regardless of the nature of their struggles, through her ministry as an author and speaker.

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.

WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT?

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.”

ENDORSEMENTS

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.

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