Monday, February 10, 2014

Books Read in 2014: Not Marked

One of my goals this year is to make time for one of my favorite pastimes and read at least one book a month. My pre-child self scoffs at such a small number, but now? If I can read one book a month, I will feel victorious. Since one of my other goals is to write on a regular basis, I figured I’d combine the two and write about the books I read this year.

NotMarked by Mary DeMuth

Mary is a Christian author and speaker who shares about living an uncaged life. She has told the story of her sexual abuse before, but in Not Marked, she details her healing journey in a particularly open and vulnerable way. Her husband Patrick contributes his perspective to each chapter as well.

This book is close to my heart. I am a survivor of rape and sexual assault. I was blessed to find a good Christian counselor to help me work through the continuing aftermath, but this isn’t something you simply “get over.” Even after years of healing work, the effects are still with me and always will be. Good Christian resources for abuse survivors are few, so when I heard that Mary was crowd-funding this book, I contributed. The world needs this book, and I am so grateful for her bravery in writing it.

Reading Mary’s words made me feel validated. I breathed huge sighs of relief, realizing that I am not alone in my struggles. Simply knowing that someone else out there gets it, even someone I may never meet, is somehow comforting. She knows what it is to be angry with God, to feel inadequate and helpless, to fight to forgive. She has done and is still doing the hard work and is risking much to share her hard-won insights with others.

I particularly appreciate Mary and Patrick’s handling of how one spouse’s abusive past impacts the current relationship. They acknowledge the sometimes messy reality of being married to an abuse victim and discuss ways spouses can work together to bring healing to the individual and the couple. Patrick’s contributions helped me think about how my past abuse affects my husband, in a way I honestly never quite have before.

There is tremendous grace, freedom, and understanding in these pages. I highly recommend Not Marked for fellow survivors and those who love them.

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