Happy birthday to my friend, Mary DeMuth! Today also marks the launch of her crowd-sourced book, Not Marked. Here’s what Mary has to say about it:
I’m humbled and grateful to be here today. A huge thank you
to Sandra for allowing me to share my heart.
A little background: I’ve shared
sexual abuse story in the past few years, but I haven’t always been
so open. Initially I kept it silent for a decade, then over-shared, then went
silent another decade. The healing journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been
sharing about sexual abuse. I wrote “The
Sexy Wife I Cannot Be” on Deeper Story,
which went crazy (so many comments), followed by “I’m
Sick of Hearing About Your Smoking Hot Wife” on Christianity
Today. The overwhelming response [editor’s note: Huffington Post ran a piece that mentioned it] to those two posts prompted me to
write Not Marked: Finding
Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse.
decided to crowdfund it, which turned out to be an amazing success. I
cannot believe that now I can hold Not Marked in my hands,
and also offer it to you. What’s
unique about it: It’s written from the perspective of a survivor. It
doesn’t offer cliche answers. It’s honest. And my husband shared his unique
journey of how to walk a loved one through their healing from sexual abuse.
asked questions I get about recovering from past sexual abuse.
possibly come from the sexual abuse I experience as a kid and as a teen. And
when I share my story, I often wonder if those people have any idea how much I
good can come from suffering?
part of that answer I go back to Job, who lost everything—his children, his
livelihood, his health, his will to live. He heard God at the beginning of his
ordeal, but the scripture says he sees God at the end. That’s what I want. To
see God. Counterintuitively, I see God in the midst of my trials much more than
I see Him in my prosperity. Those trials in my life drove me to God. Not
finding appropriate love made me long for perfect love. Feeling alone helped me
reach my hand to a God who was there. When I think about it that way, I begin
to thank God for the trials because they plunge me back into His embrace.
if I believe God is omnipotent, loving, and omnipresent, I have a hard time
reconciling why He would allow a child to be abused. After all, as a parent, I
would do anything to prevent abuse in my kids. So why wouldn’t God? I don’t
have adequate answers even today. However, I’ve come to the place where I have
chosen to rest in God’s paradoxical plan. The truth is He will redeem it. How
he accomplishes that is different for each person. Please know that these words
I write are not flip or throwing out pat answers. These understandings have
been hard won.
people have any idea how much you hurt? Probably not. Not everyone will
understand your story. Not everyone will have empathy. And it’s unfair to
expect they will. Other victims may come close to understanding your pain. But
the only One who truly understands exactly how you feel is God. So pour out
your pain to him.
if I pray for you?
people’s lives like you do? Help us to wrestle long enough so that we nestle
once again in Your arms. Be the protector we need. Help us to work through the
questions. I pray they drive us closer to You, not further away. Lord Jesus,
redeem these awful parts of our story. Make them sing. Use us to touch many,
many women with Your grace. But we need to be filled with Your grace first.
Fill us to overflowing. Right now. In this moment. Shower us with Your
unconditional love. Help us see ourselves as You see us: spotless, beautiful,
worthy of redemption. Amen.
be considered good. It only makes me feel used. What’s your take?
have to go back to the book of Genesis to see how sex was intended to be very
good. Unfortunately, after the fall of humanity, even the most intimate act
became tainted with power struggles, abuse, and all sorts of darkness. To be
honest, I still struggle with understanding the benefit of sex outside of
procreation. But as I grow in my marriage, in that mutually beneficial place of
surrender, I am beginning to glimpse its beauty. Sex is fun. Sex brings me
closer to my husband in a way nothing else does, binding me completely to him.
Sex means pleasure. It provides release, particularly from stress. It helps us
take our minds off a crazy day. It teaches us servanthood and kindness. It can
even be funny.
being said, I don’t think only sexual abuse victims struggle with sex being
beautiful. In our subculture, we’ve been taught it’s a dirty no-no for so many
years, that turning that switch from taboo to terrific isn’t easy.
many people feel as you do, that sex isn’t good, that it’s an act where one
person takes and the other gives more than she wants. Feeling used is very
normal for a sexual abuse victim, and the shift from used to tolerable to
enjoyable takes a lot of time. Part of that is re-training your mind that God
creates good things—sex included. It’s recognizing that you experienced
violation, and that violation warped sex for you. Pursuing healing and daring
to go to the dark places eventually brings light to sex’s beauty.