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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review: Beautiful Battle: A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Warfare by Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth is one of my mentors, even if she doesn't know it. After reading her honest and raw memoir, Thin Places (which I highly recommend), I was shocked at how closely my early life experiences so closely resembled those she journeys through in her memoir. Mary's writing ministry is powerful and I pray that God will allow me to encourage and inspire others through authentic writing the way Mary does.

When I dug into the pages of Beautiful Battle: A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Warfare, this same phenomenon gripped me to the book's pages. How did she get inside my head and tell a story about exactly what I went through? In the book, Mary uses the lessons learned in her dark and painful time of service in ministry in France to encourage other women facing spiritual warfare.

As I read about these experiences, my still-raw heart flooded with memories of my time in ministry in Texas, the dark and difficult time of spiritual warfare I endured there, an experience I am now recovering from and resting in God's victory of that battle for my heart, mind, and emotions. My experienced seemed to mirror the one she details of her time in France, and while reading, I wished over and over and over again that I had had this book to help point me to the Truth I needed to rest in during that time.

I have to admit that spiritual warfare is not a topic I enjoy reading about. Like many Christians, I tend to avoid the topic of the Enemy altogether, dismissing evil as mysterious and scary and a terrible thing to waste my time pondering. Still, at some point in every Christian's life, we find ourselves neck deep in warfare, and from experience, I can tell you… Being ill-equipped to handle battle is not the best way to trudge through it.

What I enjoyed most about Beautiful Battle was that Mary did not simplify the intricacies of faith or warfare, nor does she make excuses for why God allows such suffering. She does not present a wham-bam formula or an oversimplified, one-size-fits-all version of how to emerge victorious. She does not focus on the Enemy but rather on the Lord, inspiring us in our darkest hours not to consume ourselves with the how of spiritual warfare, but instead on the who – the One who holds the power over defeat, and what it looks like to protect ourselves with His armor.

Something I appreciate about Mary's writing is that in all her books I've read, she isn't afraid to tell the truth. Mary doesn't sugar-coat things or put on a Holy Holly Christian face that I find hard to relate to, the way many Christian authors tend to do when writing from an authoritative perspective on a spiritual matter. Mary is quick to share her real struggles, bare the rawness of her heart and experiences, admit her failures, and expose her own brokenness that we might see ourselves in her (I know I do) and connect with what she has learned to help us take another step in growth.

Authenticity is what I admire most in a writer, and Mary's got it. As she says on page 86 of Beautiful Battle, "Authenticity is our declaration that we will live in the light." Amen, sister! Another of my favorite quotes in the book appears on page 135, "If I keep my heart in fear's forest, I'll never fly."

Mary urges us to not just read the Word of God, but to claim it in its full power. "What would life look like if you truly believed the words of Romans?" she writes. "To live as if nothing fazed you in light of Christ's amazing love? Not even the demonic can separate you from God's love. Rest in that. Believe that. Live that." (Page 140, Beautiful Battle).

Whether you're currently experiencing the terrorizing emptiness of spiritual warfare, you have in the past, or you're headed there in the future, I highly recommend keeping a copy of this book tucked under your armor. Mary only points to the truth of Scripture as weaponry against evil, but she is a wise friend to keep beside us in battle. You can purchase Beautiful Battle, Thin Places, or Mary's other books through the links on this page. 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your review. I couldn't agree with you more regarding Beautiful Battle or about Mary and her writing.
    I look forward to reading more of your reviews in the future.


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