a love affair with Corrie

Friday, February 17

{me in front of Corrie's house in Haarlem}

" Seek you strength through prayer"

"There is no pit too deep, that God's love is not deeper still"

Nestled in our life, pockets of deep attachment form out of great respect and admiration for those special peoples of courage and conviction. It's true, last summer I fell in love with Corrie Ten Boom. And it goes like this....

She was normal but utterly extraordinary
She was old in age, but young at heart
She faced horrific evil, but chose to live in the light of goodness
Raised in a time of prejudice, her heart swelled with love for all people
And more than that, she was a woman of courageous forgiveness

Corrie grew up in Haarlem Amsterdam, the first woman watch-maker in Holland. Years before WWII, her family prayed for the Jewish people. Naturally, when the Nazi's came after the Jews, Corrie and her family opened their homes to hide Jewish families. They even built a secret space in one of the rooms, called "the hiding place". Over the course of the war, the Ten Boom's saved the lives of hundreds of Jews in Holland.

And yet, they were betrayed. The Nazi's threw the entire Ten Boom family into concentration camps for aiding Jewish people. (For more on the courage of Corrie's father Casper, see another post I wrote here) Corrie learned the art of prayer while in Ravensbruck concentration camp, and saw that her beloved Abba was still with her. One day, Corrie's sister Betsy shared that she had a vision from God that after the war they come back to the camp and paint it, plant flowers, and use it as a place to rehabilitate refugees. Betsy died soon after, and Corrie was heartbroken. She had lost her best friend, and began to dispair. And then without warning, the Nazi's summoned her and let her know she was to be released from the concentration camp. Many years later did she find out that her release was a mistake, but Corrie knew that God made no mistakes:)

Upon returning to Holland, Corrie remembered the words of her dear sister Betsie, who had told her "Corrie, you must travel all over the world and tell everybody who will listen what we have learned here- that Jesus is a reality and that He is stronger than all the powers of darkness. Tell them. Tell everyone who will listen! He is our greatest Friend, our hiding place. We can tell from experience that no pit is too deep, because God's everlasting arms always sustain us. Even in this camp, God's love still stands when all else has fallen".

Corrie had her instructions, and at age 53 set out to bring the message of God's love and forgiveness until she died at age 91. (I'm telling you, the pictures of Corrie from all around the world are SO classic, she was fearless in Christ!) She traveled the entire world, preaching and sharing in over 60 countries. She had no home, and called herself a "tramp for the Lord". She even went back to the concentration camp, painted, planted flowers and helped love and rehabilitate thousands of war refugees.


The most incredible aspect of Corrie's ministry is her testimony of struggling through forgiveness. The Nazi's spit cruelty, hate and violence, and ultimately killed the entirety of Corrie's immediate family. Years after the war, Corrie found out the name of the man who had betrayed her family to the gestapo. He was on trial on murder. Corrie wrote the man telling him of her losses, and yet says "When Jesus tells you to love your enemies, He gives you the love that He demands from you." She sent the man a New Testament and underlined the way of salvation...the man wrote back "That you could forgive me is such a great miracle that I have said "Jesus when you give such a love in the hearts of your followers, there is hope for me. I have read the Bible that you sent me, and I have brought my terrible sins to Jesus and I know they are forgiven. Your forgiveness has shown me what it means, that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ" Corries wrote "That man was brought to death that same week, but he was reconciled to God. And God used me, who hated him, to bring him to the Lord. The greatest of all is love. In 1 Corinthians 13, Pal describes God's love. There are two kinds of love, human love and God's love. Human love fails in the long run, but God's love never fails"

Another time, Corrie came face to face with one of her former prison guards. As she stood face-to-face with him, she found that deep in her heart she still had not forgiven all that had happened in the past. Corrie looked into the face of the man...A coldness came into her heart. Memories of Betsie and the degradation of their sufferings flooded into her mind. There was no forgiveness in her for this man. Then she prayed "Jesus helped me! I can lift my hand. I can do that much..You supply the feeling." With difficultly, Corrie put her hand into the former guards's hand and instantly a miraculous thing happened. A warmth shot down her arm into her hand, the warmth of the healing power of the Holy Spirit. It brought tears to her eyes and she said "I forgive you with all my heart"

I had learned SO much for Corrie's story. I have learned that God's love is where we must center ourselves, where forgiveness must come from. It is true, we must relinquish our right to hold a grudge or avenge a situation. We must lay our pain at our Father's feet, and allow him to be the judge, not us. When we give him that authority, then we pray that His deep love will overflow our heart, because it is ONLY His love that can forgive.

I have found so much treasure and encouragement in Corrie's words. Reading her book is nourishment to my soul. What is incredible is that at the end of her life, Corrie spent a few years living in Southern California. I was shocked to find out that she lived in a house in Placentia, which is where my husband grew up and right where we live now! She called this house her "Shalom" house, and I hope I can find out where it is!! The second incredible thing that happened was that a few weeks ago on my way to the post office, I started chatting to an older woman as we walked. I could tell she had an accent, and so I asked her where she was from. Holland she said. So then of course in my excitement, I asked is she knew who Corrie Ten Boom was. She looked me squarely in the eye, and told me that like Corrie, she too had hid Jews in her house during the war. I couldn't believe it! I felt so blessed by the Lord that I was able to meet such a courageous woman!

I pray that Corrie's story will encourage us that the love of Christ is powerful. The love of Christ helps us forgive. The love of Christ provides the framework for how we should base our life. May you and I pray and ask our Abba for a deeper revelation of HIS love, and may we live from that place of love!

much love....

ps- I'd totally recommend reading one of Corrie's books:) I'd start with the book I read called "A visit to the hiding Place. The life changing experiences of Corrie Ten Boom". It has both pictures and text and is So inspiring!!!

{the actual hiding place}
{where they crawled through to hide}
{me and my beloved after the amazing tour! I had happy tears!}


  1. What a fantastic post, friend!! I have read, and re-read, The Hiding Place many times...always such a treasure to remember Corrie's courageous life. Visiting Amsterdam is on my bucket list! :)

  2. I LOVE Corrie and her story. When I visited Washington DC (I live in South Africa) I went to the Holocaust Museum and her name is etched on a wall of remembrance there. Seeing her name made her experience very real for me. I bought a special copy of The Hiding Place in the gift shop along with a stone with the word "remember" on it. The stone lies on my bedside table and when I look at I remember to be thankful in ALL circumstance.....even to be thankful for....fleas.

    Thank you for the wonderful post and reminder. I think like the writer above I need to add Amsterdam to my bucket list.

    God bless

  3. I forgot to add that if you venture on over here: http://honibun.blogspot.com/search/label/Friendship
    you will see how Corrie recently gave me a precious gift!!!

  4. I emailed her companion at that time, Pam, several years ago because I was also curious where she lived in Placentia, as I spent most of my childhood there. I don't remember the exact address, but I think (?) the house was in the neighborhood east of N. Kraemer and north of Alta Vista, that Goldenrod Park is in.


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