Summer Reading and Faith like Corrie Ten Boom

Required summer reading is being crammed in the Finch House.  If it were me, teachers could assign a book every week of summer and my bleary eyes would press onward and my mind would be delighted by the challenge.  But the finch kids, well; two books a piece are EVEN worse than trying on clothes AND running errands on the same day.

I don't EVEN know how they are my birds.

All summer long, procrastination cradled them like a hammock.  That is until that moment the hook in the delay everything shade tree snapped and dropped them on the hard reality called - two weeks before school starts.

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In order to get the eyes moving left to right along the lines in her book, I've been reading the book aloud to my daughter.  She's not *yet* the strongest reader, (I say "yet" because I listened to a recent NPR TED talk podcast and one of the best ways to encourage your children is to say something like "You're not there "YET" but I respect your effort!" rather than saying things like, "You're so smart you can do it!"  Focusing on the process rather than individual ability will help them see that excellence is a process.) Anyway, my daughter has that little nugget inside of her called perseverance so she will get there!

She was assigned The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.  I've heard about this book all my life but never read it.  It is the true story of a Dutch watchmaker family, who risked their lives working with the underground to help Jews escape persecution during WWII.  Corrie Ten Boom was a true heroine and the only one of her family to have survived unspeakable horrors.  The Hiding Place would be a perfect opportunity to practice her reading as we take turns reading it together, discuss the subject matter and celebrate the life of this amazing woman of faith.

Reading aloud to my daughter has forced me to slow down and experience the story.  I discovered that I concentrate on the words and sink into the story rather than skimming over them to get the synopsis.  Even if you're a seasoned reader, try reading one chapter aloud from your next book selection.  Your throat gets dry, your voice crackles, your eyes get a little more watery and the characters become a wee bit more vibrant when you change the intonation of your voice depending on who's speaking.  It's a completely different awareness.

We are halfway in and I'm committed to Corrie's story.  I feel as if I am there - living on the Barteljorisstraat, in a narrow house with blacked out windows.  We're surviving on ration cards and I can hear every airplane dog fight - leaving the light from the window an orange haze.

Corrie Ten Boom captured our hearts with her unwavering trust in God.  We are in awe of her compassion and selfless acts of bravery, even though she thought of herself as meek and not a leader at all.  But at the end of Chapter 5, Corrie Ten Boom prayed one of the bravest prayers I have ever read.

*Lord Jesus, I offer myself for Your people.  In any way. Any place.  Any Time.*

Corrie prayed that prayer and she meant it with every remnant of her broken heart. She offered everything she had to God and He used her in the most extraordinary way.  She could not fathom that decades later, people all over the world would read her words and be moved closer God.  Even now, years after that prayer was whispered, Corrie's humble spirit impacts millions of people.

Would you pray that prayer and mean it?  With everything that you are?  Honestly, I prayed to God on the way to work this morning and I told Him that I am NOT Corrie Ten Boom and I am not brave enough to pray that prayer.  Selfless sacrifice without question?  It's easy to say yes, please sacrifice me for my children, my family - but for people I don't know?  When their faith is not the same as mine?  I prayed to God to forgive my weakness but I thanked him for the life of Corrie Ten Boom and her inspirational story.

Her story gave me comfort in knowing that we are never as weak and unwilling as we think we are.  The more broken the pieces, the more hopeless the situation, the more dire the news, our God is made perfect in our weakness and women like Corrie Ten Boom remind us of the blinding beauty of unwavering faith.  Her steadfast love of God runs deep in our veins if we are brave enough to dip into His well of unending love.

 

Seeds to Share:

Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.