Corrie’s family holds a glorious party at their clock shop in the first chapter of The Hiding Place. They had no idea that they “in the place of memories were about to be given adventures. …Adventure and anguish, horror and heaven were just around the corner.” Nazis Germany invaded, and the Ten Booms’ faith proved genuine. Casper Ten Boom, when warned about the dangers of his underground work, said, ““You say we could lose our lives for this child? I would consider that the greatest honor that could come to my family.” I hope these 10 other quotes (almost all from The Hiding Place) encourage you as much as they’re encouraging me.

1. “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 that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.” –Casper Ten Boom

2. “In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.”
— Corrie Ten Boom 

3. “Some knowledge is too heavy…you cannot bear it…your Father will carry it until you are able.”
— Casper Ten Boom

4. “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
― Corrie Ten Boom

5. “There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”
― Betsie Ten Boom

6. “Mama’s love had always been the kind that acted itself out with soup pot and sewing basket. But now that these things were taken away, the love seemed as whole as before. She sat in her chair at the window and loved us. She loved the people she saw in the street– and beyond: her love took in the city, the land of Holland, the world. And so I learned that love is larger than the walls which shut it in. ”
― Corrie Ten Boom

7. “And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of Him.”
― Casper Ten Boom

8. “No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still; with Jesus even in our darkest moments, the best remains and the very best is yet to be.”
― Corrie Ten Boom

9. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.”
―Corrie Ten Boom

10. “The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the word of God.”
― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

25 Things I Learned In My 20s

I’m deeply grateful for the layers of discipleship I’ve received from my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, my Sunday School teachers, my college professors, my husband, my husband’s family, my church family, my friends, and my co-workers. What a gift it is to know an “abundance of counselors” (Prov. 11:14).

We’re teaching all the time in how we live our lives, and I’ve learned so much from people who probably didn’t even know they were teaching. Here are 25 things I’ve learned and maybe can encourage another young person.

1. God’s Word brings balance. I’m not that old, but I’ve seen “movements” pendulum swing, as individuals major on the minors or deconstruct their faith entirely. Safeguards and correct alignment come from diligently studying the Bible over time. The more time you spend in the Word (and understanding how to rightly handle it in context), the more balanced spiritual maturity you’ll have. Lord, keep us humble and aligned with truth! 

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

Acts 20:27

2. This statement is true: “What if the passage you study today is preparing you for a trial ten years from now? Study faithfully now, trusting that nothing is wasted, whether your study time resolves neatly in thirty minutes or not” (Jen Wilkin). Learn how to study the Bible.

3. College isn’t necessarily for everyone, but gathering up as many skills as you can with your spare time will equip “your tool belt” with gifts to offer others. And truly it is, “More blessed to give than to receive.”

4. Two impactful books I read in my 20s — Just Do Something (Kevin DeYoung) to demystify decision making.  Also The Transforming Power of the Gospel (Jerry Bridges) to help you understand how we can conquer sin.

5. Save all the money you can, even if you don’t know what it’s for yet. A house? A car? A wedding? A trip of a lifetime? Even if you don’t know, just SAVE!  

6. Don’t ever assume because someone is in the same context as you that you agree on all the heart issues. Always be gentle, don’t haphazardly vent about random topics, not knowing the struggles and temptations your “like minded” friend may have.

7. Don’t say “I could never” say “What can I do?”

8. Ask for advice. Wise people don’t usually give advice without being asked.

9. “You don’t have to feel like it in order to do it” (Alison Lumbatis). Do the next thing, and motivation, and perhaps even momentum will follow.

10. Cooking is not a mathy, strict rule-following thing; it can be art! But learn as much cooking science as you can to build a foundation for your creativity.

11. Health knowledge can seem like a fascinating, overwhelming bottomless pit, but at the end of the day, the best things for you are free. Going outside, moving, drinking water, even praying. Trusting God and living in confession of sin will impact your health. 

12. Love people deeply but hold them loosely.

13. You don’t have to finish reading a book you’re not enjoying or benefiting from — it’s not a moral issue.

14. Long-distance dating is very hard, but certainly worth it.

15. Childbirth is truly amazing. So is motherhood and marriage. 

16. “Acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your path” (Proverbs 5:6). ABSOLUTELY TRUE, and I often thank God for directing my path, even away from what I thought was best at the time.

17. The gospel never gets old. It’s like a diamond ring, you can examine and admire it from all angles and in all different lights. 

18. Your family culture and heritage is something to be appreciated, observed, and learned from. Respect and learn from the different sub-cultures of other families, too.

19. Have an “easy come, easy go” mindset when it comes to possessions. That way you’re not upset when something breaks.

20. Read The Hiding Place every few years.

21. Use teacups as much as possible.

22. “What’s ordinary to you is magic to someone else” (Brian Dixon). Never underestimate how you can learn from a variety of people and how things you may think are obvious are profoundly impacting others.

23. As opportunity arise, travel as much as you can, and let it sharpen what you can bring to home. When you can’t travel, read about faraway nations in missionary letters and books.

24. “We often (conveniently) judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.” Instead, be gracious. 

25. Boldly speak truth to your own heart. Be one who, in Christ’s strength, “walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart” (Psalm 15:2).

Winter Words

In March 2022 we experienced a magic I don’t know if we’ll ever experience again — we bought our first house, first garage, and first backyard. Pink tulips and daffodils sprung up first with friendship. Each outing and walk felt like we were unfolding out of winter into a new adventurous world of home. The ownership we felt of the streets and the downtown and the community is all tangled up with Easter flowers and rainy sunshine. We enjoyed patio parties and a garden that graciously exploded with beginner’s luck.

While I’m dreaming of sunshine, flower seeds, and iced coffee on a quilt in the lush grass — currently, there are splotches of muddy snow and cold winds.

Toward the end of each of the four seasons, I always feel the draw toward the next. Today I’d like to isolate winter and appreciate it, separate from Christmas, even separate from the stirring of spring. Perhaps only to nudge gratitude from my heart. There’s nothing wrong with anticipating the joys of the earth melting into new life, but putting winter into words causes me to give thanks for —-

The way the sun feels like a hug piercing through the car window on the interstate.

Soup and warm bread are always welcome, or a loaded baked potato, or hot blueberry muffins.

Glittery snow dust spraying down off the neighbor’s roof.

Snuggling up to read picture books like, “Owl Moon,””Katy and the Big Snow,” “The Loud Winter’s Nap,” and “The Coziest Place.”

De-icing the plane so we could escape to the sub-tropics of rainy Houston.

A weekend of solid preaching, encouraging believers, worship, and Texas brisket.

Blazing through books, and feeling like there’s not a better place to be than absorbed in a story or reflecting on a truth.

Enjoying seeing the English countryside in All Creatures Great and Small, admiring how Helen is a faithful and creative helpmeet.

This Little Women soundtrack, heavy with triumph, emotion, and girlhood delight.

The last jar of canned salsa, straining to make it to the ground’s thawing when we’ll garden again.

Discussing the account of Ruth’s redemption by the fireside.

The warmth of togetherness and the flame of hunger for God’s Word.

The Refiner’s Fire.

A chunky-knit throw blanket.

Shopping my own house for new home looks, but also leaving and loving white space.

Hopes of a ski day if the snow sticks.

My son scattering a zoo’s worth of animals throughout the house, and often we sit on cows, horses and giraffes hiding in the couch.

Attempting to follow the mantra, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just improper clothing” but staying inside a great majority of the time anyway.

An overcast sky ending in array of brilliant colors.

Taking advantage of the things that can only be done inside…like scrubbing the shower or baking.

The way new goals and habits are tested in the trenches of the January doldrums.

Utilizing my mom’s craft table, creating sparkly hearted Valentines, stirrings of bold pink, chocolate strawberries, and family love in our near future.

Waiting for answers, and knowing Either Way, We’ll be Alright.

Treasuring the most lovely gifts, our faith and our family, neither of which I deserve.

The way winter freezes time, slowly thaws it out, offering day after day to rejoice in.

What would you add about your winter?

2022 Book Review Haul

Here’s a haul of some brief, spoiler-free book reviews on the rest of my reads from 2022 (see part one here). I hope to —

1) help my own mind process and reflect on what I’ve read 2) perhaps recommend something that would be of interest to you 3) hear your thoughts on these books and 4) practice writing.

The Harvester by Gene-Stratton Porter

The Harvester is written by one of my favorite American authors (she wrote Laddie which I adore). This one was slow and just rather weird to me. Henry talks a lot. He’s also lonely living in Medicine Woods where he harvests plants for medicine, so he sets out to find the woman of his dreams, with a specific face in mind (what could go wrong?) It’s old-fashioned and sweet, just didn’t quite hold my interest.

Side note: I have to tell you a cool story of how I own this! I was at a garage sale in my neighborhood, holding a few old classics from a sale a few houses down. The sweet lady hosting a sale noticed my old books, and then we started talking books. She said, “Have you read Gene-Stratton Porter?” I said yes! She asked in I had read The Harvester, and then proceeded to go inside. Upon her return, she GAVE me one of her hardback copies. They’re not in print any more.  

Everyday Faithfulness by Glenna Marshall

Excellent book for a baby believer OR a long-time Christian who just needs the reminder of the profound power in ordinary, every-day faithfulness! We don’t drift toward being prayerful, Word-filled, obedient women. It’s convicting in its pure simplicity and practicality. “Everyday faithfulness requires patience and fortitude that’s desperately dependent upon God’s own faithfulness.” –Glenna Marshall

“To forego the habits of prayer, Bible reading, and church involvement until life is less chaotic will mean that a large portion of our lives is spent largely without attachment to and dependency upon Christ. And one could argue these are the years we need him the most!”
― Glenna Marshall

Heidi – by Johanna Spyri

It had been many years since I read Heidi, and my nostalgia about cheese and goats returned. I love the feeling of actually frolicking in the Alps. The way the color like fire spills across the peaks! “Then Heidi told him of the mountain with the great snow-field, and how it had been on fire, and had, turned rosy-red and then all of a sudden had grown quite pale again and all the color had disappeared.” –Johanna Spyri

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs – by Jean Webster

I read this rather recently but I like enough to put it in a rotation, I guess. A lonely orphan is chosen to go to a boarding school. She writes frequent letters to her secret sponsor. Her education and creativity unfolds in her letters as she pours out her heart over the course of years, but the secret sponsor never writes back! You’ll have to read it to know what happens. This book was first published in 1912. The author’s sequel “Dear Enemy” was a top-10 bestseller in 1916 in America.

Anne’s House of Dreams – by Montgomery

Isn’t it so satisfying to finally have Anne and Gilbert together, building their home in Four Winds Harbor? It’s too sweet! The parallel tragic love story of the gorgeous Leslie Moore (one of Anne’s first friends) adds mystery. There is a lot of weighty realness to match Anne’s whimsical dreaminess in this story. A paradox.

Anne of Ingleside – by Montgomery

And then, our Anne is a mother of five, and growing more sage all the time. Although, she does fall for a sad little misunderstanding with Gil. This book details many childhood incidents and plenty of gossipy neighbors who stop by to drink tea (and spill the tea).

Rainbow Valley – by Montgomery

This was my first time reading this one. The stories about Anne’s five children gave great background for my favorite, most well-read book in the whole Anne series . . .

Rilla of Ingleside – by Montgomery

Rilla is a bit self-absorbed and much the baby of Anne’s family. This story is how a world war shapes her into a woman with responsibility and character. The love story is pretty cute and humorous. It’s packed with WWI history too, thanks to Susan (the hired help and family friend) who is up to her eyeballs in politics and opinions. But wouldn’t we all be, when the headlines are impacting your own sons and brothers? Another book with layers of great grief but beauty, poetry, humor and courage.

The Last Bookshop in London – by Madeline Martin

This is a simple, sweet, wholesome story. For that, I praise the author. We need more books that are charming and innocent! The main character truly cared about doing what was right.
I give it three out of five stars because of the lack of depth in the characters and plot. I think I was just looking for a book with more layers. It may be that I prefer to read my WWII stories by the people who lived them.

The Mysterious Benedict Society – by Trenton Lee Stewart

So strange, but so captivating. I like the Encyclopedia Brown vibes.
I may have to read another one in this series, but for now I need a little break. A voracious reader would eat this up!

Peace Child – by Don Richardson

Prepare to be reminded about the depravity of a godless culture. But then be inspired by the lengths God will take to offer the gospel to every corner of the earth. I was challenged by Don’s faith in the midst of hardship and unfamiliarity. Indonesia is a place I’ve grown to care about, through having friends who are serving there. Don died in 2018, and as of then, there were approximately 275 tribal language groups in Papua and only five have a complete translated Bible.

Prince Caspian – by C.S. Lewis

I believe this is my second favorite one in the series. The plot is just so well done because the stakes are high (the destiny of all lies on the fate of one). BUT the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe still outshines the whole series in my opinion. However, I love the faith analogies in Caspian.

“You have listened to fears, Child,’ said Aslan. ‘Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?”
― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

“Go and wake the others and tell them to follow. If they will not, then you at least must follow me alone.”
― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

All Creatures Great and Small – by James Herriot

This is about a vet in the 1930s serving in the English countryside. I grew interested in these books after watching the new PBS series (beautifully done). Each chapter is a work of art, with writing that paints a clear picture. Just notice his creative and strong verbs. He’s funny, too. I’m not an animal person or a medical person, so I have to squint my eyes (it’s a thing) at the gory animal procedures. But all the people dynamics make up for it. *Note, these books have language.

All Things Bright and Beautiful – by James Herriot

The sequel to All Creatures, I enjoyed listening to this one on Scrid. The actor from the PBS show reads it aloud, so the Scottish accent gives it flavor. Both books are almost like a collection of short stories, each chapter resolves with a punchline.

Jane of Lantern Hill – by Montgomery

Aw, I loved this one! A sad story made happy on the shores of Prince Edward Island. Jane lives in Canada with her manipulative grandma and sweet but easily-influenced mother. She doesn’t realize her father is alive and wants to see her. A transformation takes place when she begins the life-giving endeavor of making a house a home and mending relationships.

Framed! – by James Ponti

Framed! is about 12-year-old Florian Bates who has such a keen eye for detail, that the FBI enlists his help (as long as he is finished with his homework, his mom says.) I think middle graders would enjoy this, and maybe even learn a thing or two about reasoning by paying attention to super small details, like Florian and his pal do.

Suffering Is Never for Nothing – by Elisabeth Elliot

Having Elisabeth Elliot encourage you through trials while you clean up the kitchen? I recommend it. It’s a privilege to hear her wisdom. I’ll leave you with a few quotes from this book (which is actually an audio transcript of some sessions she gave):

“Do the next thing.” I don’t know any simpler formula for peace, for relief from stress and anxiety than that very practical, very down-to-earth word of wisdom. Do the next thing. That has gotten me through more agonies than anything else I could recommend.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

“You either believe God knows what He’s doing or you believe He doesn’t. You either believe He’s worth trusting or you say He’s not. And then, where are you? You’re at the mercy of chaos not cosmos. Chaos is the Greek word for disorder. Cosmos is the word for order. We either live in an ordered universe or we are trying to create our own reality.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

“Faith is not a feeling. Faith is willed obedience in action.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

The Place is a Person

We call it Jump Creek — a thread of water nestling along rocky brush to a pebble-lined pool. At the end of the hike beside the creek, you’ll duck under a boulder and see the source. Stony walls guard a delicate waterfall from all sides. Last autumn, the shielded cove held a hush, a beauty in its hidenness. If you gazed at the unbroken foothilled horizon from afar, you’d never imagine the desert’s secret, cut into the canyon.

Perhaps Jump Creek once shielded someone running from danger. The clear water and rock-chilled shade maybe offered a respite for a moment.

Unlike King David, I’ve never needed to hide in a cave in serious fear for my life. There is a different hiding place I’ve craved. One that would cover what you could not see — my soul.

The immaterial in us doesn’t require something tangible like a waterfall’s chamber. Instead, our secret place is a Person. Simply abiding in His presence archives perfect escape. You remember the discomfort of crouching in a hide-and-seek spot, while your heart beat faster and you breathed louder, as the pursuer counted to ten and drew near? It’s not like being an anxious lump in the curtains as you listen to warnings and the discovering of other kids one by one.

Instead, while hiding here in Christ, you will hear sounds of deliverance. A song with a melody of triumph and a harmony of hope. You could search the earth over and never find the stillness and quietness that fills your soul in the presence of the One who can do all things well.

“You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:7-8

There is no need to strain for footsteps approaching in pitch darkness. No need to fret over the woes of the wicked and the sounds of deceptive threats from the Accuser. Tucked into this hiding place, you will hear sweet instruction. Direction, counsel, and love.

Trouble and bad news can plague our weary bones. But in the midst of evil, injustice, loss, persecution, temptation — our soul waits and rests in love and feasts on promises.

“The sorrows of the wicked are many,
But the one who trusts in the Lord, goodness will surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”

Psalm 32:10-11

Yes, our flesh experiences the corruption of this world acutely. But our soul can never suffocate in prison. We will sing and worship in a hiding place. The soul can’t be destroyed by principalities and powers. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)

The Psalmist in chapter 11 stated the LORD was his refuge. But others advised, “Flee! Flee like a bird to your mountain.” They seemed to think a location change would be the key to avoid the arrows of the darkness.

Often we wanted to flee the physical pain, and escape our obstacles by spending time, money, and every human effort to cope. We indulge in the flesh to feel something physical, but this isn’t true secret refuge.

The refuge is the Lord. Not the absence or altering of a circumstance. Will we not flee to this permanent safety and forever joy?

“One who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

When danger threatens, when heartache throbs, see how the shadow of the Almighty brings shade from the heat. How His shelter brings a bedrock dwelling of security and nourishment. When everything in you says FLEE, God says, “Rest here. Know my protection. My loving eye is on you. Hear my instruction and counsel.”

Therein lies the hope.

“You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.”

Psalm 119:114

Will He not always shield us from all sides with His goodness? Hope waits for you to open God’s Word.

There is a place that is a Person — who serves as our covering, our shelter, our secrecy and protection. God’s enemies will not know how we are sustained by songs of deliverance. They can not understand how His words of instruction prompt deep, otherworldly hope. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but those who are sheltering in the Most High will rejoice. He is the one fighting for us!