There are lots of ups and downs in life.

Especially when you’re a teenager.

Lucy was in the middle of some tricky emotional navigation a little while ago, and I had this undeniable nudge that we should read The Hiding Place together.

You know how some people are filled up with all kinds of inspiration? (Maybe you are one of them.) I am not generally one of those people. Oh sure, I feel prompted to write someone a note or I feel pulled to this or that. But I don’t get specifics like “you should read this book.”


But this was specific.

The book was borrowed from a friend years ago (sorry I still have it, Erin!). It had been sitting in my pile of “to read” books (I listen to so much these days) ever since. And even though I have seen it sitting there a million times, I had really been praying for Lucy and searching my heart for that girl, and it hit me hard: we needed to read this book.

So we did.

At first all those Dutch words were tricky to read aloud and I had to work to get Lucy hooked. But then we were there. Together. That book enveloping us in love and beauty.

I know this is a classic and so many have already read it, but for those who haven’t, it’s a true story of how Corrie Ten Boom, a middle-aged Dutch watchmaker, came to know God in the middle of one of Hitler’s concentration camps.

She is sent to the camp as a punishment for being part of a resistance underground network helping every Jewish person she can. And under those harrowing circumstances, her kind heart is continually turned to God, with the help of her sister Betsie. There are SO many stories within this story that I would love to share, but I’ll just share one:

There is a time where Corrie and Betsie are sent to the depths of Germany after being put in various “holding camps.” They are assigned to sleep in a large barrack with hundreds of other women…five to a bed…filled with fleas (after they have already experienced lice, incredibly horrendous working conditions, starving). When they pray at night Betsie reminds Corrie to thank God for everything. Even the fleas. Corrie is baffled and tells her story in awe that her sister, frail and sick, would still want to be thankful for fleas.

In the meantime, in any spare moments between work shifts the two women are able to spread God’s love to so many other women with the small Bible they were miraculously able to smuggle in. They wonder at the miracle that no guards are on watch, and that they have the freedom to gradually change the whole atmosphere in that dark, cruel barrack with God’s love.

And then one day they have an experience that makes them realize it was the fleas. No guard wanted to enter that infestation. And their gratitude became even more palpable for those fleas.

I don’t want to give away the ending for those who want to read it, but I will say that I always thought this book was called The Hiding Place because it was about how Corrie’s house was situated in such a way someone in the resistance was able make a “hiding place” for the Jews they were helping. But it was so much more than that. It was more about a “hiding place” in God’s love, where cruelty and darkness could not find these women. Where they were able to come out of even the most harsh conditions with their soft, good hearts in tact. Light and goodness as they forgave their oppressors and loved those who used them.

We were at Bear Lake last week and Lucy and I read and read, both of us thirsting for more until we reached the end. I could barely read through the last few words in an addition at the end: “when we seem to have nothing left in the world to make life beautiful–that’s when God says: you’re richer than you think.”

I was teary because of this book. Because of God’s goodness. Because of Lucy. Because of that strung nudge to read all those words with her. How I hope those words will sink in to both of us and stay with us. That we will remember snuggling on that couch, the commotion of pre-reunion going on around us, being grateful for our own “hiding places” where we find God even in the parts of life where we feel forsaken.

God is awake.

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  1. Love the book. Love that you and Lucy could share the experience of reading it together in such a special way.

  2. That is my very very favorite book. I’m so grateful you were able to read it with Lucy. The paradigm shifts it creates are so valuable. Such valiant and brave women. Both in the book and here. ❤️

  3. I remember seeing the movie as a kid – quite sobering.
    It’s sweet to see Lucy in this and recent posts with such nice smiles – hope she’s having the best time.

  4. Thank you for such a sweet post. That book definitely has transformative power. I am inspired that you read it with Lucy while following a nudge.

    I love how Corrie continued to teach about forgiveness after her internment. I really believe that Forgiveness is one of the greatest secrets for a happy life. Wonderful how all healing–for both criminal and victim–is possible through Christ.

    1. I love that Claire got to see some of these places with you Christine!! Her life is changed forever because of that. And yes, it was so incredible that Corrie continued to teach and reach out after all the horrendous things she went though. So awe-inspiring!

  5. One of my favorite stories in that fabulous book is when Corrie went with her father on the train to Amsterdam. She asks him about sex, and his answer was so amazing. I’ve found so many applications in my life from his answer! Just incredible in so many varied contexts – my own children, church, the “mysteries” of the Gospel, and on & on. And what she learned about forgiveness at the very end – would I EVER be able to be like that?!?
    I try to read it every Thanksgiving.

    1. I loved that thought so much as well, thank you for bringing it up. So good to be able to “carry our children’s suitcases” until they are really ready. I too think about that a lot!

  6. I adore this book. I loved hearing your quiet, earnest voice as you read the end of that book together on the couch at the Bamboo House. It was a magical moment in time. If there is anyone who would really get that…it is Lucy, with her deep thoughts and deeper heart!

  7. I just started reading this book with my 12 year old. Can’t wait to dive in deeper. As always thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts!💕

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