The Celts define a thin place as a place where heaven and the physical world collide, one of those serendipitous territories where eternity and the mundane meet. Thin describes the membrane between the two worlds, like a piece of vellum, where we see a holy glimpse of the eternal–not in digital clarity, but clear enough to discern what lies beyond.
At her grandmother’s burial in an Ohio graveyard.
On Father’s day–and in every lost father-moment.
In the scent of marijuana–reminder of hiding in her room during her parents’ drug parties.
The memory of being raped repeatedly at the tender age of five–in the healing of that memory, rather.
It’s not an easy book to read, Thin Places. I’ve heard pieces of Mary’s story before–read Watching the Tree Limbs and Building the Christian Family You Never Had. Both books, one fiction, one not, give the reader a privileged glimpse into Mary’s painful past. But Thin Places brings a voice to the grief of a painful childhood; Thin Places paints an intimate picture of the broken little girl who endured far too much.
It is only through looking back in faith that Mary is able to step onto the path of healing. That part of her story is here too…the hard-fought battle for her life that Jesus refused to give up on.
Surely God is in the nooks and crannies of my life, stooping to earth to woo me. Sometimes I recognize Him, but usually I continue on the mundane path, not realizing a breath of a veil exists between the Almighty and myself…
…I live in the midst of holy moments, yet only in retrospect do I really see them. I claw at the seams of life, questioning God’s ways, seldom realizing that if I’d stop clawing, I would capture new glimpses of Him through the thing places. God woos me from behind the veil through the tragedies, beauties, surprises, simplicities, and snatches of my life I might overlook.
Mary has learned–is learning–that lesson we all strive for. Through pain and brokenness she has come to the place that the Celtic people celebrate. That place where the seen and the unseen meet. The place where Jesus breaks through the gauzy membrane between our world and the eternal. He bursts through and pursues our very happiness, longs to give us joy. When we live with this knowledge, the thin places become transparent–every moment Christ-soaked.
When Mary speaks of painful memories now, they are held in a different frame.
The memory is a thin place where I have the painful privilege of extending forgiveness again, to walk with Jesus through the memory with grace-filled eyes. Any time I’m wronged (or, in this case, perceive I am wronged), I have a window to see Jesus clearer by the way I react. If I forgive, I get to experience Him. If I growl bitterness, He seems farther away. Forgiving is the deepest kinship I’ve experienced with Jesus so far…
Bravo, Mary. Your story ushers in healing, makes the path straighter. Your life brings Him glory.
I’d love to share this beautiful story. Leave a comment on this post by Saturday, February 13, and I’ll mail one lucky person my copy of Thin Places. It’s a little thumbed over, as any good book should be, but it still speaks!
And BTW, did you know Mary is a member of High Calling Blogs? Why don’t you drop by and check us out? It’s where all the smart writers are 🙂 We’re starting a really awesome book club tomorrow…
To find out about how you can enter the Thin Places Win A Kindle contest visit Mary’s blogtour site here.