Last year, on October 15, I started a "gratefulness jounal." Every day (well, OK, I missed some days, but I always went back and filled in...) I wrote down at least 3 things I was thankful for that day. It is a beautiful thing to read back over all these blessings now. How quickly we forget all that God does for us. How nice it is to be reminded.
I have asked the Lord to continue to grow me in this area. This grateful living. How I struggle living, thankful, in the moment-by-moment. But He has been answering, as only He can. Recently, it's been in the form of books:
(thanks to my grace is sufficient)
Last night I picked up a copy of The Hiding Place, the biography of Corrie Ten Boom. Like me, I'm sure many of you know her story. I had read the book over 30 years ago, and I saw the movie as a child, but as I opened in the middle and read to the end (unable to put it down), I was touched again by the faith of this woman.
Corrie was a Dutch Christian watchmaker when the Nazis began their occupation of Holland. She lived with her sister and father in a small home above the watch shop. As the persecution of the Jews grew worse and worse, Corrie's family contructed a secret hiding place behind a closet in their home, and they took in anyone who needed a safe place. Eventually, the family was caught and thrown in prison for aiding the Jews. Corrie was in her 40s when this happened; her sister older still and her father was an elderly man who died after only 10 days in prison.
The story is miraculous on so many levels, from the way God shut the eyes of so many to the very particular prayers He answered. But what is truly remarkable is the gratitude shown by Corrie and her sister Betsie under the most deplorable, inhumane conditions. At what would be their last concentration camp, Ravensbruck, they were forced out of bed at 4:30 each morning and made to stand in the sleet and cold for sometimes two hours during roll call, with nothing but a thin dress. This was followed by 11 hour days of back breaking physical labor with only a small crust of bread and thin soup. They were women crammed 10 to a row on fetid straw-covered boards stained with human filth, literally crawling with lice and fleas; starving to death, immaciated and sick, they clung to God. They had a tiny Bible (the very ownership a miracle) which they read each night to as many of the 70,000 women who could hear. Betsy would read in Dutch and German and then the other ladies would translate each verse in many other languages. And then they would thank God for it all: the fleas, the cruel guards, the ability to help others.
"Fridays: the recurrent humiliation of medical inspections....we stood, erect, hands at sides, in the freezing hall, naked in front of the jeering guards...stick thin legs and stomachs bloated with hunger....One of those mornings as we stood there, shivering in the cold, another page from the Bible leapt at me, "He hung naked on the cross." I leaned over Betsy's shoulder blades, sharp against her blue-mottled skin, and whispered, "Betsie, they took HIS clothes too." Betsie gasped, "Oh Corrie, and I never thanked Him..."
"I would look about as Betsie read, watching the light leap from face to face. More than conquerors...It was not a wish. It was a fact. We knew it, we experienced it minute by minute---poor, hated, hungry. We are more than conquerors. Not "we shall be." We are! Life in Ravensbruck took on two separate levels, mutually impossible. One life, the observable, external, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory."
Corrie was released a week after Betsy died in Ravensbruck and spent her life telling the story of God's love and forgiveness.
Here's the original 3 minute movie trailer. You can watch the whole thing for free on You Tube, just search "The Hiding Place:"