Archives For Lessons from Corrie ten Boom

When the world doesn’t make sense, it’s easy to get stuck on asking God why.

I’m thankful for the lives of those who have gone before, wise saints who saw evil close up, wrestled with asking why, and—even though their questions were never completely answered—came out on the other side of their experiences with a renewed trust in the heart of their heavenly Father.

More & more the world around me seems characterized by chaos.

And more & more I’m thankful to know the Source of the peace that passes understanding. 

May we trust our burdens to His capable shoulders & rest in His unfailing love.

Corrie Ten Boom Quotes

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Rick Warren Quotes (Click to Tweet)

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****Follow this link to read more about Corrie Ten Boom, Hero of The Hiding Place.

Corrie Ten Boom Hero of the Hiding Place

Corrie Ten Boom

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God’s Tape Measure

Renee Ann Smith —  December 5, 2012 — 11 Comments

measure of the heart resized 2

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life.” ~Proverbs 4:23~

Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with a free web image and the fun options at PicMonkey. The quote is a favorite from one of my heroines, Corrie Ten Boom.

You can read more about the heart here: Heart-Healthy Living, part one: Trusting God with Our Hearts.

You can read more about Corrie here: Corrie Ten Boom, Hero of the Hiding Place.

“God never measures the mind. He always puts His tape measure in the heart.” ~Corrie Ten Boom~ (Click here to tweet these wise words to your Tweeps!)

This week I’m linking up with Word-filled Wednesday, This and That Thursday, Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Beautiful Thursday, Simply Link, Favorite Things, Faith-filled Friday, Weekend WhateverYour Sunday Best, The Sunday Community, Heart Reflected, and Fresh-brewed Sundays.

Sometimes I feel like I’m riding on a wave of emotions that I don’t understand. I certainly can’t be expected to control this—or can I? According to the Creator who made me, there is a way to control and even change what I am feeling. His Word says to . . . “Put on love. Love one another. Be of the same mind with one another. Do not envy one another. Keep fervent in your love for one another” . . . And those are just a few of the commands related to feelings.

The most helpful truth I ever learned about my emotional state was the maxim: Right feelings follow right actions. When I think the right thoughts and do the right things, the right feelings will eventually follow. Never have I seen this lived out more powerfully than in the life of Corrie ten Boom.

Sisters Corrie, Betsie, and Nollie

Corrie and her sister Betsie were interned in a concentration camp during World War II. After months of deprivation and cruel treatment at the hands of the guards, Betsie died there. Corrie was released alone. When the war was over, Corrie shared Betsie’s testimony of the love and forgiveness she found in Christ with all who would listen. The following excerpt concerns one of those speaking engagements:

The hunger for Betsie’s story seemed to increase with time. I [Corrie] traveled all over Holland, to other parts of Europe, to the United States. But the place where the hunger was greatest was Germany.

Germany was a land in ruin, cities of ashes and rubble, but more terrifying still, minds and hearts of ashes. Just to cross the border was to feel the great weight that hung over that land.

It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there—the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.

Betsie

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. ‘How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’

His hand was thrust out to shake mine.

And I, who had preached so often to the people the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man. Was I going to ask for more?

Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile. I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing—not the slightest spark of warmth or charity.

So again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives—along with the command—the love itself.

Follow the links below for more lessons from the life of Corrie ten Boom.

This week I’m linking up with Soli Deo Gloria, Playdates with God, The Better Mom, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesday, Thought-provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home Thursdays, and Homegrown Families Friday.

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.

Corrie at the hiding place

Not familiar with Corrie’s story? Born in Holland in 1892, she was 48 when the Nazi’s invaded in 1940. Corrie, her older sister, and elderly father risked their lives to take in Jewish refugees and hide them in a tiny room at the top of their house. In the following excerpt from The Hiding Place, by John Sherrill, Corrie shares how God prepared her for what was to come, from the very first day of the war.

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 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.”

The Ten Boom House

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

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.

Though Corrie’s family had little themselves, they sacrificed to give to the needy people around them. Corrie’s mother was often unwell, but on the days she was strong enough, she brought food and comfort to the poor, or as Corrie described them “forgotten old men and pale young mothers.” The children often accompanied their mother on these visits. One such occasion remained vivid in Corrie’s memory even when she was an old lady. Here it is in her own words . . .

“The night before a baby had died, and with a basket of her own fresh bread, Mama was making the prescribed call on the family. Mama went at once to the young mother, but I stood frozen on the threshold. Just to the right of the door, so still in the homemade crib, was the baby.

It was strange that a society which hid the facts of sex from children made no effort to shield them from death. I stood staring at the tiny, unmoving form with my heart thudding strangely against my ribs. Nollie, always braver than I, stretched out her hand and touched the ivory white cheek. For a while curiosity and terror struggled in me. At last I put one finger on the small curled hand. It was cold.

Ten Boom dining room

Cold as we walked back to the Beje, cold as I washed for supper, cold even in the snug gas-lit dining room. Between me and each familiar face around the table crept those small icy fingers. Death had been only a word. Now I knew that it could really happen—if to the baby, then to Mama, to Father, to Betsie.

Still shivering with that cold, I followed Nollie up to our room and crept into bed beside her. At last we heard Father’s footsteps winding up the stairs. It was the best moment in every day, when he came up to tuck us in. We never fell asleep until he had arranged the blankets in his special way and laid his hand for a moment on each head. Then we tried not to move even a toe.

But that night as he stepped through the door, I burst into tears. ‘I need you!’ I sobbed. ‘You can’t die! You can’t!’

Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. ‘Corrie,’ he began gently, ‘when you and I go to Amsterdam—when do I give you your ticket?’

I sniffed a few times, considering this. ‘Why, just before we get on the train.’

‘Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need—just in time.'”

Her father’s words would often come back to Corrie during her difficult days in the concentration camp. His lesson might best be summed up by this version of Matthew 6:34 from the Message:

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Let this truth soak into your mind and heart today, and you will find the strength you need to face any tomorrow! Or have you already experienced this for yourself? Please, share!

Ten Boom House

Not familiar with Corrie’s story? Born in Holland in 1892, she was 48 when the Nazi’s invaded in 1940. Corrie, her older sister, and elderly father risked their lives to take in Jewish refugees and hide them in a tiny room at the top of their house. Their story was recorded in a book called The Hiding Place and recreated in a movie of the same name.

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


This photo is from an ice storm that hit us a few years back. On a normal day, this tree soaks in the sun, uses it for food, and does not reflect the light so directly. But after making it through the storm, the tree shines . . . I’m thankful that God’s love is more than enough to help me weather the storm!

She considered her face and form ordinary, especially when compared to her prettier sisters, and found herself tongue-tied in the presence of eligible boys. Yet Corrie ten Boom did meet one young man who saw her for who she was inside. Unfortunately, circumstances and family demands would conspire to thwart her plans for a happy future . . .

Not familiar with Corrie’s story? Born in Holland in 1892, she was 48 when the Nazi’s invaded in 1940. Corrie, her older sister, and elderly father risked their lives to take in Jewish refugees and hide them in a tiny room at the top of their house. Their story was recorded in a book called The Hiding Place and recreated in a movie of the same name.

From the time she was a little girl, Corrie’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. So I’d like to share them with you here . . .

As a teen, Corrie met her brother Willem’s friend Karel, then a handsome, friendly college student. Years later when she was twenty-one, Karel came for a visit and spent many hours walking and talking with Corrie. For the first time she shared her heart and dared to dream of a future as a wife and mother. Then Willem broke the news that Karel’s family had insisted he marry a girl of wealth and noble birth, and Karel planned to comply.

Nollie, Corrie, Betsie and Willem

Though Karel returned home, he wrote to Corrie, asking for news of her life and claiming that the Ten Boom house was the happiest home in Holland. Corrie refused to believe that Karel would give in to his family’s demands–until the day he showed up at her house to introduce his fiancee. Corrie made it through dinner but later that night retreated to her room to relieve her broken heart . . .

“How long I [Corrie] lay on my bed sobbing for the one love of my life I do not know. Later, I heard Father’s footsteps coming up the stairs. For a moment I was a little girl again, waiting for him to tuck the blankets tight. But this was a hurt that no blanket could shut out, and suddenly I was afraid of what Father would say. Afraid he would say, ‘There’ll be someone else soon,’ and that forever afterward this untruth would lie between us. For in some deep part of me I knew already that there would not—soon or ever—be anyone else.

The sweet cigar-smell came into the room with Father. And of course he did not say the false, idle words.

‘Corrie,’ he began instead, ‘do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain.’

‘There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.’

‘God loves Karel—even more than you do—and if you ask Him, He will give you His love for this man, a love nothing can prevent, nothing destroy.’

I was still in kindergarten in these matters of love. My task just then was to give up my feeling for Karel without giving up the joy and wonder that had grown with it. And so, they very hour, lying there on my bed, I whispered the enormous prayer:

‘Lord, I give to you the way I feel about Karel, my thoughts about our future—oh, You know! Everything! Give me Your way of seeing Karel instead. Help me to love him that way. That much.’”

Here’s a summary of Lesson Two, in Corrie’s words:

“I did not know, as I listened to Father’s footsteps winding back down the stairs, that he had given me more than the key to this hard moment. I did not know that he had put into my hands the secret that would open far darker rooms than this—places where there was not, on a human level, anything to love at all. The Secret? That when we could not love in the old human way, God would give us the perfect way to love.”

Soak in this profound truth as you go about your day today! Many blessings, friends!

She wasn’t young, beautiful, clever, or especially brave. So who could’ve guessed that an aging spinster who had rarely been away from home, would have such an impact on the lives around her . . . and for generations to come?

Corrie ten Boom never married, raised a family, earned advanced degrees, climbed the corporate ladder, won prizes, or even moved out of her father’s house. She was just an ordinary 1940’s woman, who spent her days cooking, cleaning, and caring for the poor and handicapped. She never saw herself as the cunning, super-agent type. But God, who loves to tap ordinary folks to accomplish His extraordinary purposes, used her in a mighty way as part of Holland’s underground resistance during WWII. For me, she exemplifies this truth from I Corinthians:

Corrie, age 80

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”

Not familiar with Corrie’s story?

The Ten Boom House

Born in Holland in 1892, she was 48 when the Nazi’s invaded in 1940. Corrie, her older sister, and elderly father risked their lives to take in Jewish refugees and hide them in a tiny room at the top of their house. Their story was recorded in a book called The Hiding Place and recreated in a movie of the same name.

Actually, The Hiding Place is much more than a harrowing tale of “agents” working for the underground resistance. Within its pages, Corrie shares how God worked in her life to prepare her for a special ministry during and after the war years.

From the time she was a little girl, Corrie’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. So I’d like to share them with you during the next weeks.

Here’s a summary of Lesson One in Corrie’s own words:

“God’s viewpoint is sometimes different from ours–so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things. In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us.”

I’m thankful that someone helped Corrie write her story. Each time I read it, I’m reminded of what God can do with a willing heart. And that gives me hope for me! May her story bring you hope and encouragement, too! Many blessings, friends!