I just finished reading "In My Father's House" by Corrie ten Boom. The author should sound familiar to you. She is the author of my favorite book "The Hiding Place."
Earlier this year, I read a few books by Maria von Trapp, one of my other heroes, and imagine how happy I was to find that my very favorite person Corrie ten Boom had actually written a book about raising children.
Actually it is a story of what it was like growing up in her father's house before she and her family embarked on the trial of a lifetime, hiding Jews in German-occupied Holland during WWII, a decision that later landed her in a concentration camp at age 50. It's basically her life story before The Hiding Place.
Since we were in the process of buying, moving to, and setting up a new house, this title especially drew me in. What I loved about her book was that it was just plain and simply beautiful and hopeful. Her stories of life growing up in the "Beje" spoke of all of the wonderful things that children should be given in a home: love, attention, validation, standards, time, expectations, play, faith. I loved the line that went something like this, "We knew in our home that no children's problem was ever too small for an adult to care about."
Other lines I loved include:
"I believe that a child should be lead, not left to wander."
"Children need the wisdom of their elders; the aging need the encouragement of a child's exuberance."
One reviewer said, "A home soaked with love and faith can produce extraordinary individuals." I love that. But the ten Boom home was saturated not primarily with love just for one another but love for everyone with whom they came in contact, even strangers, and people who would have been considered their political enemies.
Long before they did the will of God in those hellish concentration camps, they were serving him and his children in their daily lives. And they were quite innovative about it, creating something akin to the Girl Scouts in Holland that went to camp and met to do activities every Wednesday night (remind you of anything?) When the group joined up with the Girl Guides, an international organization, Corrie was told not to speak so much of God to the girls, that she should strictly teach good morals without preaching about the Savior.
For Corrie, this was an unacceptable and illogical demand, for how could one, she wondered, teach them good morals but neglect to bring the girls to the One who could safely lead them the rest of the way home? Corrie's group disassociated themselves from the Girl Guides and continued to bring young women and men to Christ for many years.
There is more...oh so much more...like how Corrie started a bible study group for the mentally challenged, and gave of her own time to seek out and visit the disabled.
If you haven't read The Hiding Place....read it first...then read In My Father's House.
I am reading The Hiding Place again. I am sort of asking for it by doing so. Last time I read it, I finished it and was sure that I was a changed person. I was so inspired. Little did I know that the Lord would respond by letting me "try out" my new understanding of forgiveness by giving me some of the hardest trials of my life...tailored just for me!
I can only imagine what's going to happen this time around.
As Corrie says, "This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our path is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see."
Lately, I've been speculating about just what that future that I'm being prepared for might look like...