"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
February 15, 2017
The book entitled 'The Hiding Place' documents the true life story of Corrie ten Boom and her family. Here is just a synopsis of her story:
Casper ten Boom owned a clock shop, with the family home being above the shop. During WWII, the ten Booms lived out their Christian faith by making their home a refuge -- a hiding place -- for Jews and members of the Dutch underground who were being hunted by the Nazis.
During 1943 and into 1944, there were usually as many as seven people illegally living in the ten Boom home. Additional refugees would stay with the ten Booms for a few hours or a few days until another "safe house" could be located for them. Corrie became a ringleader within the Haarlem network. Through these activities, the ten Boom family and their many friends saved the lives of an estimated 800 Jews, and protected many Dutch underground workers.
On February 28, 1944, the family was betrayed, and the Gestapo raided their home. Casper and his two daughters, Corrie and Betsie were all arrested. Casper, who was age 84 at the time, died only ten days after being taken to prison. When asked if he knew that he could die for helping Jews, he replied, "It would be an honor to give my life for God's ancient people."
Corrie and Betsie spent ten months in three different prisons, the last being the infamous Ravensbruck Concentration Camp located near Berlin, Germany. Life in the camp was almost unbearable, but Corrie and Betsie spent their time sharing the love of God with fellow prisoners. Many women became Christians, due to Corrie and Betsie's witness to them.
While in the concentration camp, Betsie became frail. One day while doing heavy manual labor, she kindly said to her guard, "Don't give me more to do than I am trying to do already, because I am not strong enough to lift these heavy parts." The guard replied, "You don't decide what you do, I decide." Then the guard proceeded to brutally beat Betsie. Corrie watched and was enraged. When the guard left, Corrie bent over Betsie who now had blood all over her face. Betsie immediately said, "No, don't hate, Corrie. You must love and forgive." Corrie knew that she was unable to do so. That night she went for a walk and told the Lord that she could not forgive "that brutal woman". The Lord reminded her of this scripture: "God's love had been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us." Corrie knew that what she was unable to do, the Lord was able to do. She wrote, "At that moment, when I was able to forgive, my hatred disappeared. What a liberation! Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. What a liberation when you can forgive."
Betsie, age 59, died in Ravensbruck. "God does not have problems; only plans," proclaimed Corrie when a clerical error allowed her to be released from the Nazi concentration camp one week before all women prisoners her age were executed.
Corrie realized that her life was a gift from God, and she needed to share what she and Betsie had learned in Ravensbruck: "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still," and "God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies." At age 53, Corrie began a worldwide ministry that took her into more than 60 countries during the next 32 years. She died on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983. I read this quote regarding that: "It is interesting that Corrie's passing occurred on her birthday. In the Jewish tradition, it is only very blessed people who are allowed the special privilege of dying on their birthday!"
Corrie ten Boom often preached a sermon on God's faithfulness, declaring these truths: We cannot see what He sees. He is always working for our good and His glory. We must resolve to trust God's perspective. She had an embroidered cloth that she would use as an illustration as she gave the sermon. She would show the backside with all the knotted, messy thread during her sermon. At the conclusion, she would turn the cloth to the other side, where a crown was beautifully embroidered. A quote from her was, "Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery.... there is a crown." (The embroidered cloth hangs at the Corrie ten Boom Museum in Haarlem, Holland.)
Here was a woman that truly understood what persecution and hard times really were. Her difficulties weren't along the lines that most of us consider hardships - short of finances, so having to live on a budget and not buying whatever we want; or our car broking down and not knowing how we are going to get it repaired; or someone offends or hurts our feelings; or having to wait in line at the drive-thru for our morning coffee when we are in a hurry; or our kids arguing and getting on our nerves; or whatever it is that we often find annoying or frustrating. Corrie knew what great personal suffering felt like. She knew firsthand what persecution actually was.
Yet, in spite of everything Corrie ten Boom endured, she never lost sight of the love and faithfulness of God. In the midst of brutality and death and harsh circumstances, Corrie and Betsie were both able to love and forgive. That's not something that comes naturally, nor is it easy to do. Only God can help us to be able to do so. If they could forgive their enemies, in the midst of of a concentration camp, surely we can freely forgive those whom we need to forgive.
I love the story of the embroidered picture of the crown. Many times, we see our lives as a mess. It often seems knotted and it's unclear what God is doing. That's where faith comes in! Even though we can't see what God sees, we trust and believe and have faith that He is working His plan in us. God is designing and intricately making us into something of value and beauty. We may not see the crown, the finished picture, until we get to Heaven. But God really is making a work of beauty in and through us!
When I was around 11-12 years old, my Grandma Horton, decided that I needed to learn how to embroider. So she made me a set of pillowcases, hand crocheted red trim on the ends, and ironed on a pattern on them both that had lambs out in a field. I worked on those things for what seemed like months! I think Mama and my sisters showed me the different embroidery stitches; which I cannot remember anymore. I didn't enjoy embroidery work, it was tedious and I saw no fun in it whatsoever; but I persevered, because Grandma had made them for me and I knew that she would likely check to make sure that I had finished them. I would work on them off and on during the evenings, and slowly but surely, I finally got them finished. That was the one and only thing that I ever embroidered; and I still have them after all these years. She probably thought, "All that girl does is sit around and read or plays the piano and sings; she needs to know how to sew and make things!" I just didn't inherit the gene that likes to do any type of sewing or needlework!
The pillowcases that I made did turn out pretty cute; but the backside of the embroidered picture is not pretty! It's messy and you can see the knotted thread and where the stitches cross over, etc. But you have to have that knotted mess underneath, to get the clear beautiful picture on top.
I've heard a saying that says, "Let God turn your mess into a message." Another saying is, "Let God turn your test into a testimony." In other words, whatever messy situation you may need to go through in life, allow God to use it to bring Him glory. Use it to testify of His goodness and how He brought you through. God can take the hardships that we endure, to encourage and help others who face similar situations.
God often has to do things inside of us to create beauty. He often has to take us through tough life situations to build character and strength. We have to go through times of testing to build character and strength, and to increase our faith. While going through those times, we can't see the outcome and it often feels like nothing good will come of it. It feels messy. But God can look ahead and see what we will look like when He is finished, and is creating us to be someone of value and precious.
Corrie found the best in the worst of situations. She didn't find it natural to. In fact, she only did because Betsie pushed her to. She found a way to be thankful, even when she couldn't stand to.
On the other hand, there are many people in the best of situations who are miserable. They can buy all the comforts and safety they could hope for, but still have to go to a therapist the help them through depression.
It isn't always easy or natural, but we can usually choose when to be happy or when to be miserable. Other people can make it difficult or easy, but it's still up to each of us.
Our relationship with God isn't about other people. It's just about Him and me. Other people forced the ten Booms into a horrible situation, but Betsie didn't let that overcome her relationship with God, and she helped Corrie do the same.
The same works in reverse. Parents might give their kids everything they need, but that doesn't overcome their need for a relationship with God.
Chicken and Avocado Salad
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded into large pieces
2 medium avocados, diced
1 Tablespoon + 1 Tablespoon lime juice
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Shred the chicken apart until you have 2 cups of chicken shredded into fairly large chunks. Rotisserie chicken works very well with this recipe. Dice the avocados into medium-sized pieces; mix with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and season avocado with salt, to taste. Thinly slice the green onion and finely chop the cilantro. Mix mayonnaise and 1 Tablespoon lime juice to make the dressing.
Put the chicken into a bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients. Add the sliced green onions and dressing and toss until all the chicken is coated with dressing. Add the avocado and any lime juice in the bottom of the bowl and gently combine with the chicken. Add the chopped cilantro and gently mix into the salad, just until it is barely combined.
Serve right away or chill for a while before serving. This could be served inside pita bread or sandwich bread, or inside crispy lettuce cups; or just eat alone as a salad.
***All ingredients can be adjusted to your personal taste. I preferred more dressing than what it called for, so added more of the mayo dressing. You can adjust the amount of ingredients to make a smaller or larger quantity.
Over the weekend my sister, Janie, had her 6 grandkids spend the night with her. Before bed, she read a Bible story about Noah and the ark. Then she put on some music for the kids to listen to. This conversation with her two oldest granddaughters then happened:
Abigail (age 8, almost 9): "Grandma, I love you so much, I would die on the cross for you."
Jaycee (just turned 10): "Me too.... but it would hurt really, really bad!"
Abigail: "Yeah, but while I was hanging there, I would just think about Grandma and how much I loved her. That would be the only way you could bear it."
Janie told the kids that she was so thankful that they didn't have to die for her, because Jesus already did, once and for all. We get to live in love, instead of die for love.
If God spoke a promise to you, remind yourself that He is faithful! - Christine Caine
We love you!
Loretta & Jon