Archives For Faithful people of the past

Corrie ten Boom has long been one of my heroes. Since I’m taking a bit of a blogging break this week, I thought I’d re-share a story from her life that gave me perspective about how God works in mine. Even if you’ve read it before, may it bless you anew today!

Betsie Willem Nollie Corrie

Betsie, Willem, Nollie, Corrie

From the time she was a little girl, Corrie ten Boom’s godly parents and loving, happy family influenced the woman she would become. The lessons she learned from them have touched my heart and helped me grow, and I’d like to share them with you. In the following excerpt from The Hiding Place, Corrie shares one of the ways God prepared her for what was to come next

In Corrie’s words . . . How long we clung together, listening, I do not know. The bombing seemed mostly to be coming from the direction of the airport. The glowing sky lit the room with a strange brilliance. The chairs, the mahogany bookcase, the old upright piano, all pulsed with an eerie light . . . It was war.

Betsie and I knelt down by the piano bench. For what seemed hours we prayed for our country, for the dead and injured tonight, for the Queen. And then, incredibly, Betsie began to pray for the Germans, up there in the planes, caught in the fist of the giant evil loose in Germany. I looked at my sister kneeling beside me in the light of burning Holland.

“Oh Lord,” I whispered, “listen to Betsie, not me, because I cannot pray for those men at all.” . . . And it was then that I had the dream. It couldn’t have been a real dream because I was not asleep. But a scene was suddenly and unreasonably in my mind. I saw the Grote Markt, half a block away, as clearly as though I were standing there, saw the town hall and St. Bavo’s and the fish mart with its stair-stepped facade.

The Grote Markt circa 1940

Then as I watched, a kind of odd, old farm wagon-old fashioned and out of place in the middle of a city-came lumbering across the square pulled by four enormous black horses. To my surprise I saw that I myself was sitting in the wagon. And Father too! And Betsie! There were many others, some strangers, some friends.

All together we were slowly being drawn across the square behind those horses. We couldn’t get off the wagon, that was the terrible thing. It was taking us away—far away, I felt—but we didn’t want to go . . .

“Betsie!” I cried, jumping up, pressing my hands to my eyes. “Betsie, I’ve had such an awful dream!” I felt her arm around my shoulder.

“We’ll go down to the kitchen where the light won’t show, and we’ll make a pot of coffee.” The booming of the bombs was less frequent and farther away as Betsie put on the water. Closer by was the wail of fire alarms and the beep of the hose trucks.

Over coffee, standing at the stove, I told Betsie what I had seen. “Am I imagining things because I’m frightened? But it wasn’t like that! It was real. Oh Betsie, was it a kind of vision?”

“I don’t know,” she said softly.“But . . . “

Corrie Ten Boom quotes 2a

“If God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know—to tell us that this too is in His hands.” (click to tweet)

This past weekend, I was discussing this story with dear friends. We were bemoaning our “this too” experiences. God used Betsie’s words to change our perspectives. What comfort we received in knowing that God sends us to meet difficult times for our good and His glory!

What life story or wise words have inspired you lately? Has God blessed you with friends—either in your life now or gone before us into heaven—who have changed and challenged you? I invite you to give a shout out to your special ones in the comments below!

Read my previous posts about Corrie or purchase a copy of her book for yourself:

This week I’m linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Miscellany Monday, Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Unite @Rich Faith Rising, The Better Mom, Modest Mondays, GraceLaced Mondays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Just Write, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday Muse, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Tell His Story, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Wednesday Hop @Adorned from Above, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Desire to Inspire,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Faithful Friday Blog Hop, Faith-filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Aloha Friday Blog Hop, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, TGIF, Friday Company Girl Coffee Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Sunday Collective, and Heart Reflected.

I thank God for the women of faith He’s given for us to pattern our lives after. Today is the birthday of one such lady, Ruth Bell Graham. One writer said of her, “Everyone who knew Ruth Bell Graham knew that she loved Jesusand she loved people. In her writing, speaking and simple acts of kindness—to neighbors, friends and anyone who needed a lift—she demonstrated the grace and mercy of the Savior she first met when she was a little girl in China.” Ruth‘s spirit shines through the beautiful poetry she left behind. Here are a few of my favorite Ruth Bell Graham poems:

A poem she wrote at age 13:
Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we’re inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eye be clear,
his shoulders straight, whate’er his state,
whate’er his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness of soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I’ll understand that he’s the man
I prayed for long ago.

The Portrait
As the portrait is unconscious
Of the master artist’s touch,
Unaware of growing beauty,
Unaware of changing much,
So you have not guessed His working
In your life throughout each year,
Have not seen the growing beauty
Have not sensed it Mother dear.
We have seen and marveled greatly
At the Master Artist’s skill,
Marveled at the lovely picture
Daily growing lovelier still;
Watched His brush strokes
Change each feature
To a likeness of His face,
Till in you we see the Master,
Feel His presence, glimpse His grace;
Pray the fragrance of His presence
May through you seem doubly sweet,
Till your years on earth are ended
And the portrait is complete.

Ruth Bell Graham

 Give Him Grace
May he face life’s problems
as he faced
his broken bike
when he was small,
working till he’d traced
each problem to its source,
and fixed it; all
was a challenge he’d accept
with curiosity and then
work night and day.
What’s losing sleep when
interest is involved?
Hobby or problem
he never turned it loose
till it was solved.

Now
he’s a man.
And man-sized problems
stare him in the face.
Interested or not,
Lord,
give him grace.
As this is a problem tough,
and not a toy,
so, too, he is a man now,
Lord
-not a boy.

(Yet in the boy he once was I could see
delightful glimpses of the man that he
would be.)

When I Die
And when I die
I hope my soul ascends
slowly, so that I
may watch the earth receding
out of sight,
its vastness growing smaller
as I rise,
savoring its recession
with delight.
Anticipating joy
is itself a joy.
And joy unspeakable
and full of glory
needs more
than “in the twinkling of an eye,”
more than “in a moment.”

Lord, who am I to disagree?
It’s only we
have much to leave behind;
so much . . . Before.
These moments
of transition
will, for me, be
time
to
adore.

Bio: Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, was born on June 10, 1920—93 years ago today. She was the second of five children born to medical missionaries in China. Ruth met Billy Graham at Wheaton college and married him after graduating in 1943. Ruth and Billy were married for 64 years. The day before she died, June 14, 2007, Billy released this statement, “Ruth is my soul mate and best friend, and I cannot imagine living a single day without her by my side. I am more and more in love with her today than when we first met over 65 years ago as students at Wheaton College.”

Follow this link to read more about Ruth Bell Graham. Continue Reading…

To celebrate International Women’s Day, debut author and blogger Sarah Bessey is hosting a synchroblog to celebrate Spiritual Midwives and Patron Saints, otherwise known as the women who shaped our lives spiritually. Why don’t you write a post about your Patron Saints and link-up with her? (Click here to tweet & invite others!) I’ve written often of three women—the most amazing ladies I’ve never met—who changed my life in a big way. Here are the most lasting lessons I’ve learned from their lives.

One: Do not fear the fire for Christ is with you. (Darlene Deibler Rose)
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As a young bride, Darlene Deibler accompanied her missionary husband to the Baliem Valley of New Guinea in hopes of ministering to the tribal people. Instead she ended up in a Japanese prison camp for the duration of World War II. During those turbulent years, she was imprisoned, beaten, starved, and abused. Yet she cherished a tender relationship with Jesus and never lost faith in His love.

“I was to discover that when I took my eyes off the circumstances that were overwhelming me, over which I had no control, and looked up, my Lord was there, standing on the parapet of heaven, looking down. Deep in my heart He whispered, ‘I’m here. Even when you don’t see Me, I’m here. Never for a moment are you out of My sight.’”

(If you haven’t read her poignant memoir, Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II, grab a copy now!)

Two: Let your life be always shadowed by the cross. (Elisabeth Elliot)
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To me it seems that Elisabeth Elliot has lived through every possible season of life a woman could experience. As an author she’s written about her firsthand experiences with loneliness, longing, heartbreak, passion, purity, and triumphant love. Of course, I loved reading about her courtship with larger-than-life hero Jim Elliot. In one of her books, she shares the details of a difficult parting on the night before she and Jim left Wheaton to go their separate ways, not knowing if God would ever bring them back together:

“Jim and I walked to a cemetery and sat down on a stone slab. He spoke of a story he had read in his Bible study that morning–the story of Abraham’s offering up Isaac. ‘So I put you on the altar,’ he said. Slowly we became aware that the moon, which had risen behind us, was casting the shadow of a stone cross on the slab between us. We were silent for a very long time, pondering this undeniable sign.”

Three: When God’s only answer is “I know,” that is enough. (Corrie Ten Boom)
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God planned for Corrie Ten Boom to become the heroine of The Hiding Place, rescuing Jews and standing for Christ against evil. But when the Nazis first invaded, He gave her not a vision of victory but of the tragedies to come. In her memoir Corri writes of her vision: “‘Betsie!’ I cried, jumping up, pressing my hands to my eyes. ‘Betsie, I’ve had such an awful dream!’ I felt her arm around my shoulder. Over coffee, standing at the stove, I told Betsie what I had seen. ‘Am I imagining things because I’m frightened? But it wasn’t like that! It was real. Oh Betsie, was it a kind of vision?’

‘I don’t know,’ she said softly. ‘But if God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know—to tell us that this too is in His hands.'”

These precious women have meant much to me—though they will never know until Heaven. Who has touched your life for Christ? Who did God use to give you strength? Is there someone who has relived her hurts that you might be made whole? Thank God for that dear sister-in-Christ today!

heroes 2

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As for God, His way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
He shields all who take refuge in Him.
~Psalm 18:30, NIV~

~And from The Message~
What a God!
His road stretches
Straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.

(Click here to Tweet this Jim Elliot quote to your friends.)

Photo Backstory: Missionary Jim Elliot’s short life of service and sacrifice lend credibility to his calm assurance that we follow a God who He always has our best in mind. Jim’s quote seemed fitting to grace these lovely trees from my niece’s yard. That red color had me pulling out my iPhone camera to snap a pic. Of course, this was several weeks ago and pre-Hurricane Sandy!

I wrote about Jim and Elisabeth Elliot here: The Most Remarkable Woman I’ve Never Met.

And here: The Most Remarkable Woman I’ve Never Met, Part II.

This week I’m linking up with Word-filled Wednesday, Thankful Homemaker, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, This and That Thursday, Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Hearts for Home, Legacy Leaver, Beautiful Thursday, Simply Link, Favorite Things, Faith-filled Friday, Weekend WhateverScripture and a Snapshot, Your Sunday Best, Still Saturday, The Sunday Community, Heart Reflected, and Fresh-brewed Sundays.

****And now for some breaking news about COME TO THE TABLE, the blog link up for my wonderful bloggy friends!

When I started a blog link up, I was hoping to create a place where blogs would receive more visibility. So I encouraged folks to visit their link up neighbors and make new friends.

But visiting neighbor blogs takes time, and some folks had trouble visiting around. So I will try the hop one more time—as an END of the MONTH blog hop. I will post the hop during the last week of November. Bloggers can link any favorite post (or posts) from the month.

What do you all think? Any input? If there is not enough interest, I will move on to one of my other blogging ideas!

Oh—and the winner of the Amazon Gift Card from the last hop is Brittany! Congrats!

Thanks for stopping in today! Blessings, Friends!

***Right now my blog theme can’t handle those cute social sharing buttons that make life so easy. But here’s a quick link to Facebook if you want to spread this quote around. And I know you have a Pin It button by now!

Have you ever felt invisible? You wonder if God has put you in a corner and forgotten about you. Your wants and needs seem insignificant to Him. When these feelings build up inside me, I long for reminders that God understands me. That He knows exactly what I can bear. That He is not surprised when I sin and disappoint Him and fall short. That He just . . . loves me.

One of my favorite reminders comes from the Old Testament, Genesis 15. In this chapter, God promised childless Abraham that he would have a son and that his descendents would flourish. God promised the land of Israel to Abraham, warned Abraham about difficult times in the future, but assured Abraham that he would end his life in peace.

And then God made a covenant with Abraham, He made a commitment, that what God says will happen, WILL happen—or else. God instructed Abraham to bring Him a heifer, a goat, and a ram. Abraham sacrificed them, cut them in two and arranged them on the ground opposite each other so that the blood flowed in between the two rows.

My commentary reads, “This was a very common practice in the desert communities of the Middle East. The animals were cut in two and placed opposite each other so that the blood formed a pool, a so-called blood path, in between the pieces as they drained. The two parties then walked through the blood as a way of saying, ‘May what was done to these animals be done to me if I do not keep this covenant.’ The one who failed to keep the covenant paid for it with his life.”

Then God caused Abraham to fall into a deep sleep. In a vision, Abraham saw a smoking lamp pass through the blood path. The lamp represented God, who was basically saying, “Abraham, if I break my promises to you, then may what was done to these animals be done to Me.”

Wow. Pretty incredible that the Creator of the Universe would hold Himself accountable to a mere man. But that’s just Part I of the covenant. Abraham had to know what came next. He, Abraham, was supposed to pass through the blood path. He was supposed to say, “God, if I break my promises to you, then may what was done to these animals be done to me.”

But Abraham knew, he could never keep his promises to God. No one could. I can’t imagine the fear and despair he may have felt in that moment.

So what happened? That was it? The covenant was over before it was even begun? Nope. A flaming torch—representing God—passed through the blood path.

What does that mean? That means that God held Himself accountable for Abraham’s part of the covenant, too. God basically said, “Abraham, I’ll do your part. If you break your promises to Me, then may what was done to these animals be done to—Me. Not you. Me.”

So God was willing to die just to give Abraham a child, a home, and a future? Yup. And no matter what happened in Abraham’s life, no matter how he messed up, he could always remember the powerful promise God made to him.

The promise God made that day wasn’t new, and it wasn’t just for Abraham. It hints at the coming of Jesus, the One who passed through the blood path for us so that He could give us all that we long for. It’s a powerful promise. And each time I remember it, I find peace, reassurance, and hope.

“We are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous ‘descendant,’ heirs according to the covenant promises.” ~Galatians 3:29~

This week I’m linking up with Monday Musings, Playdates with God, Soli Deo Gloria, Call Me Blessed, A Pause on the Path, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesday, Good Morning Girls, Thought-provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home ThursdayYour Thriving Family, and Beholding Glory.

“What a failure her life had been. Would she have lied to God if she’d had more faith, been more righteous? How could she possibly have a son at her age? And yet, if she had believed all along . . .” ~from Sarai~

These lines from Jill Eileen Smith’s novel share the anguish Sarai feels as she realizes how often she has missed God’s favor because she cannot bring herself to trust Him. God blesses Sarai with a very good life—especially for a woman of that time period. She has incredible beauty, an adoring, godly husband, wealth, servants, health. (Who wouldn’t want to look young and lovely at age sixty-plus?) Yet jealousy, fear, and doubt eat away at her happiness. When she compounds this with idolatry and bad choices, she sets in motion events that bring much pain both to Sarai and those she loves.

Though familiar with the biblical account, I found that this book brought Sarai’s story to life for me. I rejoiced with her, hurt with her, worried for her . . . And I couldn’t help but think about heaven. I’ve often wondered how we will relate to other Christian women from cultures and time periods so different from ours. Stories like this remind me of all the sorrows, hopes, and dreams we share with the ones we’ll meet in eternity.

***Rich in historical detail, Sarai is a great read. Follow this link to purchase a copy for yourself. Thanks to Revell for sending the book for me to review.

Need more details? Here’s the book blurb: Continue Reading…

Did you ever wonder if God plays favorites? Have you looked around at the blessings others received and worried that God had forgotten you? Click on the video below to hear some encouraging words concerning “God’s favorites.”

“God leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that [the Christian] is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best . . . He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.” ~C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters~

See Does God play favorites, pt. I? at this link.

This week I’m linking up with Call Me Blessed, On Your Heart Tuesdays, Good Morning Girls, Thought-Provoking Thursday, and Weekend Link Up.

Did you ever wonder if God plays favorites? Have you looked around at the blessings others received and worried that God had forgotten you? Click on the video below to hear some encouraging words concerning “God’s favorites.”

Here’s the whole story from John 11:

6 “So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24 Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.’ 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

So the next time you worry that God has been playing favorites or that God has forgotten you, open your Bible to John 11—or pop back over and re-watch this video!

Follow this link for “Does God play favorites–part II?

This week, I’m linking up with friends at Playdates with God, Women Living Well, Thought-provoking Thursday, Thankful Thursday, Imperfect Prose, and Good Morning Girls.

No Ordinary Blog Hop