Mary DeMuth

Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow. Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005). Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching the Tree Limbs (nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing on Dandelions (NavPress, 2006). Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.

Why I Write

Some people write because we can’t not write. Some write to rant. Some write because they like to hear their own voices on the page. Some write because they feel it a mandate from God. Some write because they have valuable information to share that will help improve others’ lives. Some need to make an income. Some use it as therapy, to straighten out their heads.

Some write because they can articulate so well. Some write to ignite whimsy in others. Some write because they want to feel a part of this world, to engage and be engaged. Some write because of loneliness.

I write for, well, a mixture of reasons. I love to tell stories. I love to tell the truth, the kind of set-folks-free truth that Jesus shared. I want folks to pick up a book of mine or an article and be changed after reading it. To have their perception of God or life or love or forgiveness altered. I want my words to have tilth to them, strength—the kind of words born out of adversity and angst. I am a better writer when I delve into parts of my soul I’m afraid to share.

But that seems to be God’s path for me, to write about hard things like racism and sexual abuse and difficult relationships and Pharisaism.

So, with that as the backdrop, imagine how this e-mail affected my soul, how it fed me like fine, dark chocolate:

“I don’t know where to begin. The words are pulsing through my heart like tiny pieces to a puzzle that are difficult to put together . . . but I will try. [Name of Author] introduced me to your book Watching the Tree Limbs. I purchased a copy this afternoon and just finished reading it a few moments ago. It had a profound impact on me. I wasn’t past the first page when the tears began to flow down my face: ‘My childhood flickers in front of me like a black-and-white movie. Used to be I couldn’t watch more than five minutes of it, as the popcorn dropped kernel by kernel onto my tear-soaked lap. The weight of my story made me shut my eyes and clamp my hands over my ears until the memories faded in gray silence. But Jesus stayed with me, holding my hand while the images assaulted me . . .’ I was compelled to read on. As I met Mara, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was looking in a mirror. I relived all of the emotions of having been through much of what Mara experienced. But I also lived through so much of her—my—healing. I thank God for giving you the courage to write what no one else has written. I thank God that He continues to hold your hand in the midst of it all. And I thank

God that He holds my hand in the midst of it all. That’s how I view this novel: God’s hand reaching down and touching a broken, shaken child. Somehow I’m a little less frightened of taking that Hand now. Thanks for that. Thanks for Mara. Thanks for Maranatha.”

That’s why I write.

When I get e-mails like this, I wonder if I wrote that book for an audience of one, to shed light through my feeble prose. And then I remember the Audience of One I am really writing for—for God’s eyes, for His glory, for His fame.

I don’t make a living off my writing. Perhaps someday. I don’t know if I’ll be famous. Probably not. I am getting used to being treated like a mildly interesting nobody in this business, and to be honest, it’s good for my soul. It reminds me to take the last seat, not the seat of honor. In the last seat, Jesus can bring us closer to the seat of honor anyway, and I’d rather have His promotion than the promotion and wow factor of Important People whom I make money for.

So, yeah, I wrote that book for this gal. And for Jesus. And I’m happy about that. So very happy. Because writing is what God has called me to do, and it pleases me to no end that He allows me to savor a bit of fruit along the way.

Mary DeMuth