I love to read. And, I am not picky about what I read. Heck, I will read anything I can get my hands on. This includes magazines, junk mail, blog posts, and even the writing on product labels, even lists of ingredients. But, I most especially love books. I love to collect them and read them. (I have been this way ever since I can remember.) There is just something magical about books, and being whisked away to another time and place. (One of my goals as an adult is to one day have a library like the Beast has from Beauty and the Beast. Plus, I would like to say that I have read every book that lines their shelves. But, I digress…)
So, yes, you can call me a bookworm! I enjoy books of all different types and genres. I tend to go thorough phases; I will read classics for a while, then young adult, then mysteries. (You get the idea.)
However, with all that said, I often find myself reading books on World War II. They can be fiction or nonfiction, but for whatever reason, I am particularly drawn to this time in our history. I think it is because I have an extremely difficult time wrapping my head around the atrocities that took place. For the life of me, I can’t understand how there could be so much hate in the world for one group of people. I have read story after story, account after account, of the concentration camps and the holocaust, and the poor souls who were forced to either die immediately, or die slow, horrible, agonizing deaths. These are hard stories to tell and hard to listen to or read—but they must be told. (Repeatedly.)
This leads me to my latest read: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Published in 1971, this book written by Cornelia (Corrie) ten Boom, a Christian evangelist that I had heard of, but never knew that much about, touched me deeply, not necessarily because of the setting, nor the fact that it is a true story, but because it shows her family and their love of and for God.
If you don’t know me, I must tell you, I’m a pretty emotional person. I cry easily and oftentimes for the silliest things. I cry when I get mad, or sad. And, I often feel both emotions, and many more, as I make my way through the pages of a book. As I mentioned before, I have read a great number of true stories—both war and other happenings—and in the case of this book, I read for the first time ever about finding joy in such a desolate place as a concentration camp. And, this is simply because of God. I can’t begin to tell you what a different light that puts your perspective in.
If you haven’t read this book yet, I urge you to pick it up and read it as soon as you can. I found the 35th anniversary edition at our Ollie’s for only $3.99. (Such a great investment!) The book shares the story of how Corrie and her family helped Jews escape from the Nazis. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will tell you that Corrie and her sister, Betsie, end up at Ravensbruck. They manage to bring a Bible in with them and they share it with other prisoners and have group meetings where they share God’s message of love and they all pray together.
Betsie is such an amazing and gentle person with such a heart for God. To read about her thoughts that she shared with Corrie, and her words and actions—well, suffice it say that she is my new role model. Betsie was thankful to God for the fleas in their sleeping area and often prayed for the souls of the very Nazis that were holding them captive. Talk about giving thanks in all circumstances and praying without ceasing! I want to be exactly like her.
Their father, Casper, was also a spiritual giant who not only read their Bible to his family and the workers in his watch shop every day, but who offered help in any way possible to anyone who needed it, despite their background or social, political, or religious views. In the book, after he and the rest of his family are taken into custody, he tells the Gestapo, “If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door to anyone who knocks for help.” He then goes on to say, “It would be an honor to give my life for God’s chosen people.” What a godly and upright man! It is no wonder that the whole ten Boom family turned out to be the fine people they were.
And, of course, there is Corrie herself. After her life in Ravensbruck, she made it her life’s mission to share the story of God’s love and share her own story and that of her family with as many people as she possibly could. She knew the importance of all of it and in 1946 she started a worldwide ministry that took her to more than 60 countries before she finally gave it up.
The building that the ten Boom’s lived in and that housed their family’s clock and watch shop is now a museum called the Corrie Ten Boom House. If I am ever blessed enough to go on a trip to Holland, I will be visiting. You can learn more about the museum here.
To learn more about the Holocaust, you should check out the fold3 website’s Holocaust Collection. There you can find personal stories from more than 600 individual victims and survivors, as well as information on the concentration camps, looted valuables, and national archives records.
If you have never read The Hiding Place, I think you can learn a great deal from it. There is a great quote from Oscar Wilde that says, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” I think Oscar was onto something! While reading about the dark parts of our history can be tough, seeing how God worked through the ten Boom family during World War II will truly lift your spirits. It also proves that no matter what you may be going through, God is right there with you. One of Corrie’s most famous quotes goes, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.