She sometimes thinks of herself as Mary, Mary quite contrary, but her heart is to live for Jesus fully, joyfully, wholly. Mary DeMuth is the author of over a dozen books, her most recent, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. She speaks to audiences around the world about living an uncaged, freedom-infused life.
Her own story is a great tale of God’s releasing her from shackles and cages aplenty. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, multiple divorces, death of her father and an unsafe home, Mary met Jesus at fifteen, hoping He’d make everything better. Joy didn’t come instantly, but Mary has experienced a compelling journey of slow, but steady healing. She now lives a life of impossible joy as a mom to three nearly-adult kids, a wife to a terrific husband, and a discipler of high school girls. Find out more at her website marydemuth.com.
Have you ever been in a place where you felt God had abandoned you? Where your dreams felt ruptured and disregarded by the Almighty? Have you ever felt the distance of God so severely you could feel the weight of sorrow pressing down on you?
I sat on our bed in France, teeth gritting, eyes blurring from tears. “Why did God do this to us?” My husband listened, bless him, and let me go on. I rambled about losing our home to a conman back in Texas, about our church planting team dynamics messing with me on the deepest level, about our children hurting daily in difficult schools with abusive teachers and sometimes-mean students, about my dreams of publishing slipping away, about how insignificant, lost and alone I felt every single day. I truly felt like everything important to me had been shattered.
And I had been the good girl, the missionary girl, the one who followed Jesus to the ends of the c’est la vie earth.
Honestly, I didn’t have a revelation when I spilled my anger. I didn’t even feel better in the catharsis. I simply put one more foot in front of the other and persevered and cried and prayed. It would be later I’d finally understand.
Not long after that, we moved back to Texas, feeling the angst of failure.
It took years for me to see the whys of that journey. Years to understand why God would lead us into heartache like that. I used to think that because I’d had a difficult upbringing that God now, henceforth, owed me a better life–conflict free, full of ponies and rainbows. I also naively thought that if we followed God around the world to be missionaries, He’d bring automatic success. Certainly not failure and loss.
I’d forgotten this unpopular verse (that later follows the “Trust in the Lord” verses): “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12).
God disciplines those He loves. And He loves me. And He loves you. And since He does, He walks with us through difficult trials.
Because really, when have you grown the most? Did you grow after a period of three months of pony-rainbow bliss? Usually not. We grow after heartache, trial, and storms. The beauty of the Christian life isn’t that we’ll live trial free, but that we’ll have the hand of Jesus through the trial. We may feel we’ve been abandoned, when in reality God is using that pressing time to grow us.
Watch how others learned this valuable lesson when Jesus became their everything.
Jesus used France to help me get to that place of surrender. He stripped (disciplined!) away everything I relied on (money, meaningful work, family, parenthood, communication) instead of Jesus. From that place of profound loss, Jesus began the long arduous task of rebuilding Mary Mary Quite Contrary so I could come to the place of having deep gratitude for France and what God wrought in me there.
It’s in that soil of loss and bewilderment, then finding more of Jesus and more of life, that birthed Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. The book reflects everything I know about Jesus, everything I know about growth. I learned that control is what prevents us from growing like crazy, and that joy comes in relinquishing it. I learned the power of resilience and the importance of no longer defining ourselves by the past.
Intrigued? I have a free ebook for you: 12 Steps to Impossible Joy, based on Everything. Click here to receive it.
I’d love for you to experience the everything life alongside me. That’s why we’re giving away five copies of the book to those who comment here. Simply answer this question in the comment section.
Q: When did you grow the most as a Christian and why?