Your Story Matters

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By Mary DeMuth | Twitter @MaryDeMuth

A_MaryI recently spoke at a small sorority of older women about my journey toward publication. It’s a long story, full of bumps and bruises that began in my broken childhood and ended with the “nirvana” of published author. One of the stories I shared: enduring rape at the hands of neighbourhood teens when I was five years old. That horror (I can think of no better word) has informed not only what I write but why.

I write and tell my story so others don’t feel alone anymore. I write so they don’t have to suffer in silence feeling marked, crazy, alone or destined for abuse.

A sweet woman raised her hand in the aftermath of my story and asked, “Mary, is it hard for you to share about the rapes, or does it make you grateful to help others?”

“Initially,” I said, “it was hard. Sharing plunged me back into that place of helplessness and utter fear. But now, I actually enjoy it because I know by telling it, others will be set free.”

I went on to share some feedback I’d received that day from a man who read one of my novels, Watching the Tree Limbs, from a hospital bed as he battled for his life with an eating disorder. He, too, had been sexually abused, and the novel had helped him not feel alone. “That’s absolutely why I write,” I told the gathering of women. “It’s why I share my story. If it means hurting or feeling uncomfortable for the sake of others, then so be it.”

Before you think me a heroine, let me assure you that this wandering toward healing has been hard won, fought on many fronts with years of prayers, counsellors, and a supportive spouse. There were times I felt like I would never ever heal. I despaired. I shook my fist at God, wondering why He says He loves His children, and yet seems to stand idly by while I experienced nearly a year of rapes.

These questions are not resolved. But my heart, oddly, became more whole when I allowed myself the grace to share my anger openly.

Here’s what I believe: our stories change the world. But so often we shrink from them, minimizing the redemption, or we fear what others will say or think. We wrongly believe our story is insignificant, or it’s too broken to do any good in this world.

Hear me when I sing: your story matters, friend. And when you dare to let it out of the cage, you will begin to see other people set gloriously free. It’s a risk, yes. A daring risk.  But oh, the rewards. The beautiful, heartfelt rewards far outweigh the fear.

This world is broken. Men and women carry the heavy burden of untold stories. What if our bravery became the key that unlocked their pain?

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NOTMARKEDsmallerI’ve written my most vulnerable book to date, Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse. It’s not only my story, but my husband also tells his story about how he learned to help me heal. It’s for the sexually abused and the friend or spouse of the sexually abused. Already I’m seeing sweet, surprising healing, and I’m grateful.

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About Mary:

marydemuth-headshot-squareMary DeMuth is the author of over twenty books and has spoken around the world. She loves to help her audiences live uncaged, freedom-infused lives. She lives in Texas with her hubby and her growing empty nest of teens. You can follow her writing online at her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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Image credit: Marco Tedaldi

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