Ten Boom The Musical > Ink Link Blog > Articles by: Susan Beyer

The Fan | Theater from the Heart

The FanThe Fan | Theater from the Heart, we call it!  Recently, a talk show host asked, “Why did you think to set Corrie ten Boom’s story, The Hiding Place, to music?”

Others have also wondered, until they hear the songs from our play, “Ten Boom the Musical.”

In fact, I and my real-life sister and musical co-writer, Donna Marquean Griggs, pulled material from more than just that one book.

A Musical Family, for sure!

The ten Boom family was actually very musical, like the family in which Donna and I grew up! Many played musical instruments and sang. Corrie’s nephew, Peter van Woerden, was a master organist and music director for a Dutch Reformed church in The Netherlands.

The ten Boom’s were known for inviting musicians to their home, to “jam” on many evenings. Of course, it was mainly classical music. Musicians, coming and going, turned out to be a good cover for people in the Dutch Resistance. Some even carried instrument cases as they entered or left the house at odd hours. For a few years, the Ten Boom’s were able to hide and transport more than 800 Jewish people. And  Nazi’s were none the wiser! Music turned out to be a life-saver for many.

The gift of a new radio was a treasure for “Papa” ten Boom, on the 100th Anniversary of the clock shop. It allowed their much-loved symphony music to “fill the house with joy.”

Donna and I have loved good theater all our lives, although from somewhat different perspectives. Actually, it made our partnership in the writing of the musical work even better. Of course, we grew up singing and loving music, but the theatrics—the “mechanics” of theater—was a challenge.

The Mechanic and The Fan

Of the two of us, I was always the “drama queen,” so to speak; hoping in childhood to become an actress.  Donna was more level-headed, more interested in just enjoying the story and characters in good plays and movies. She was a true fan—one of those people who can make or break a good film or stage play!

While Donna was more apt to be moved emotionally by a performance, I tended to love the technical aspects. I was always into the acting, the script; how it all comes together, etc. Having been on the road as a performer many years, I had trouble just watching other performers without much critique. I admit MY perspective could ruin a good performance for someone just wanting to enjoy it!

As Donna and I came together to bring the script and songs to life, I valued and trusted her thoughts and perspectives, more and more.  As we wrote, if the lines in the script or a song made her cry or laugh or get angry (in character), I knew we were on to something.

Fans and audiences should be touched emotionally, somehow; or something is lacking in a play or film! They are the necessary ingredient in a success or failure in The Arts.

So, in 1997, we two sisters, two best friends, brought our unique perspectives together. We had fun putting music to the miraculous story of Dutch evangelist and Nazi Holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom. And, it made for a wonderful stage play!

We were sharing an apartment in Nashville for many years, as we had shared a room at home as little girls growing up.  Only now, we had our own “big girl” rooms and spaces. It also gave us plenty of time to work on the play.

A Jewish “Fiddler” and a Christian Holocaust Survivor

The play had been on my mind and heart for many years, since coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah in 1984. I had performed in “Fiddler On The Roof,” many years before, portraying Tzeitel, the eldest daughter. Also, I was blessed to choreograph the play for the Maryland Community Theater back east. Now I wondered, “Why can’t Corrie’s story be told in a musical play as big as “Fiddler?”

But, if the idea to write “Ten Boom” was there for years, the project remained mostly untouched until 2009. It was then we took actors into a recording studio to do a read-through of the initial script.  The songs had been arranged and recorded, two years earlier.

Donna and I had sung harmonies with our older sister Judy and another friend, growing up.  Later, we were able to perform in the wonderful, “Passion Play at Two Rivers” in Nashville, for over twenty years. We loved the first century costumes and the majestic choral arrangements. Mostly, we loved sharing the gospel (good news) with thousands, as we portrayed characters who walked with Jesus.

So, How Did We Write the Musical?

Today, when people ask how we wrote “Ten Boom the Musical,” I tell them this. “We took an amazing true story, some said was too sad or dramatic to become a musical. After all, was “Fiddler On The Roof” not also dramatic?”  The Jews suffered much always. And what about musicals like “Les Miserables,” “West Side Story,” “The Color Purple,” even “Beauty and the Beast,” etc.?  Sad things happened in those plays, too; but most ended on a high note.

“Ten Boom” was written to show the heart and joy of a woman and others who found victory, even in the darkest time in history.

I’m a “mechanic,” a singer/writer who loves to put words and pieces of a story puzzle together to touch hearts.  Donna’s musical interests and instincts, along with her trusting heart helped make it all work right. You see, Donna is the perfect “fan”—someone who assesses the worth of a film, a play, a character, in a unique way.

Together, it all worked to make our play, “Ten Boom the Musical,” theater from the heart!

 

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]

 

Christian Stage Play “Ten Boom” | Premier Performance VT 2014

Christian stage play

Ten Boom the Musical

“the PERFECT LOVE story”

Script & Music by Susan Meredith Beyer & Donna Marquean Griggs
Based on “The Hiding Place” book by Corrie ten Boom, with Elizabeth & John Sherrill

 

 

“Ten Boom the Musical,” a Christian stage play, was presented for the very first time, May 2-3, 2014, by the students and faculty of Grace Christian School (GCS) in Bennington, Vermont. [See Cast photo]

Laurie McCaskill, a dedicated GCS instructor, called us in February 2014 to engage the play, as an all-school event to present to the Tri-State community (VT-MA-NY). She hoped “to share the love of Christ through the amazing story of Dutch Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom.” Laurie  had always loved Corrie ten Boom’s true story, and had gone online to find a “short play… something, by or about Corrie’s life.” She found our Website and called for more information.

Never, since we began working on this project, had I heard deeper conviction from anyone so hoping to reach others for Christ, and sure our musical was exactly what the Lord prescribed. Laurie’s deep faith, humility, and genuine heart for others, caused Donna and me to trust GCS to abbreviate the play a bit. Somehow, we had total peace they could do it, and without us coordinating that!

Ten Boom co-writer Donna Marquean Griggs and I, along with my husband Philip Beyer, were able to fly in to see two of the school’s three performances. Philip said he was “dumb-founded” after our trip: “If I had not been here to see this for myself, you would never have been able to describe what happened here; the ways God showed His hand in all of it!”

READ ON, and see if you don’t agree!

Miraculous Christian Theater

We soon realized, God’s hand was in this, from Laurie McCaskill’s first phone call, to our return to Nashville. This amazing experience confirmed for us and others that “Ten Boom the Musical” is meant to touch many lives!

Grace Christian School was established in the fall of 1997; the very same time Donna and I began writing the musical. That was just one of many “coincidences” we would discover there.

Over the previous two years, we had contacted many larger churches, Christian university Theater Arts departments, and certain community theaters. Even as the writers, we thought the play was “too big” for smaller venues. However, the Lord had something else (better) in mind to launch our play. Apparently, He wanted to show us what HE could do with a group of truly committed actors and believers in an unexpected, smaller setting. GCS was a total surprise!

Arriving in Bennington VT

We were given an overwhelming welcome, including large baskets in our motel rooms. Those were full of Vermont specialties (maple syrup, apples, candy “moose kisses”, etc.). The next day, Joyce Lloyd, school founder/administrator treated us to lunch, after giving us the grand tour of their community of teachers and students. The last stop on the tour would be to see the stage and set for the play. Very exciting moment!

Everyone greeted us with genuine excitement—“You’re the ones who wrote the musical!” Handshakes, hugs, thank you’s. It was amazing! With each step on the tour, Mrs. Lloyd told us some of the “miraculous” stories of how the school (a wonderfully-converted former Ramada Inn) had come together. Philip smilingly commented to Donna and me, “You two are rock stars!” The entire school—students, teachers, cast, administration people, parents, even people we ran into in shops downtown—made us feel like visiting celebrities. We were humbled and blessed!

Story #1 | Divine Supply

Mrs. Lloyd was educated as a chemistry professor. So, she was happy to discover, the room that had been a bar/lounge in the former Ramada was a perfect place for a chemistry lab. The Problem was, they had no equipment to teach chemistry; couldn’t afford it, at that point. But, within the first couple weeks, totally unsolicited, they had received several boxes filled with chemistry/lab equipment and supplies. Another school had heard GCS was starting up and thought they might need the equipment—no charge.

Stories like that had Donna, Philip and me on the verge of tears with each step; so strong was the Spirit in that place. We couldn’t wait to see what they were going to do with our play! Over the next two nights, we watched them perform to two packed houses. No professional actors or singers, but people of all ages giving their total heart to a creative, God-honoring performance WE DID NOT EXPECT!  It was stunning, to say the least!

The cast and crew of their presentation (about 60 people) was made up of GCS students, including foreign exchange students from Germany, Korea and China. Also in the cast were some faculty members, and students from the Northeastern Baptist University on the old Ramada’s second floor. They followed the directions we had written into the script, pretty closely, and it came together. Honestly, they had taken some creative license that  made us wish we had thought of some of those things ourselves. They put together surprisingly good sets, props and costumes; even their own media and sound effects. They had done some really nice promo, and worked as the most amazingly cohesive team, in one Spirit.

Laurie McCaskill did a great job directing the play, even as she faced personal challenges, at the time.

Story #2 | Divine Coincidence?

Sadly, Laurie’s mother was in the last stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease; but was being lovingly cared for by Laurie’s brother in nearby NY.

The week before the play was to go onstage, Laurie had called her brother and found him reading to their mother. When Laurie asked what he was reading, her brother said, “The Hiding Place, about Corrie ten Boom.” Laurie was amazed, as she had not told her brother about presenting our play, prior to that. They were both stunned! Laurie said, hearing that, she felt her decision to do the play had been totally confirmed.

Sunday morning May 4, as Philip and I waited to board our plane to go home, Laurie texted me. Her mother had “died peacefully at 10:30pm Saturday night, just as last night’s final performance ended.”  Laurie texted further, “Mama’s gone home to be with Jesus and Corrie.”

More Absolutely Divine Stories

  • A lovely young German girl, a foreign exchange student, did a fine job of portraying a Nazi guard. We were not allowed to take photos of her in that role, as her sponsors back in Germany might not understand her taking that risk. But, she insisted on playing the part, and protected herself to some degree. For her costume, she wore the red armband inside-out so it wouldn’t show the swastika. She certainly didn’t let it hinder her performance. When she shouted in German, “ALLE NASEN GEGEN MAUER!  EVERY NOSE TO THE WALL,” the whole audience came to attention!  Because of her affiliation with GCS, she became a Christian.
  • Then there was the Korean boy, also a foreign exchange student, who spoke almost no English. He took on the singing role of a German Nazi youth named “Otto” with a vengeance, so to speak. The young actor’s brother, who also had a lead role, spoke better English and had taught his brother the meaning of his lines. Our Korean “Otto” had memorized the English words so he could be in the play. He did a GREAT job… what a trooper!
  • One young actor was so dedicated to his role as a Nazi captain, he hand-made his own, authentic-looking uniform.
  • At one point, we visited an art & crafts store called Fiddlehead in downtown Bennington. We met a likeable young man who worked there, who was also a former news reporter. He became very interested in our visit to present our play, and he interviewed/ photographed Donna and me for the store’s Website and Facebook page, to help promote the event. Donna and I were able to share our stories with him; I gave him a copy of my book, and we invited him to the play. Before we left the store, he told us he was actually Jewish. He said, “I went through the bar mitzvah, the whole nine yards, but I no longer believe in all that God stuff.” Still, when Donna went back the next day to buy a gift, he asked to hear more about her faith, about Corrie, etc. We’re praying for him to know his Messiah, Jesus!!

 

Don’t Doubt the Reality of Divine Appointments

There were what we would call other “divine” appointments and uncanny “coincidences” that made our Vermont trip an amazing experience! Moreover, we know now, the Lord is in this musical project, and we’re encouraged to go forward. More than ever, we’re happy to wait totally on His timing and certainly His choice of venues!

The Bennington newspaper sent two reporters to GCS to interview Donna and me that first day. Funny thing—we picked up the paper at breakfast the next morning and began looking for the article, expecting it would be in the BACK pages. We all laughed when Philip turned the paper over and saw that the story took up the bottom third of the FRONT page. We hadn’t expected THAT either!

Everything—every bit of timing for the entire trip, was mind-boggling, including Donna’s iffy “stand-by” return flights to Ft Worth, Texas. It was all she had been able to book, but had her set to depart Albany NY airport some FIVE HOURS LATER than Philip’s and my flight to Nashville. Long stand-by list, yet Donna was able to change her flight back to Texas, at the last minute.  She departed Albany not only near the same time we did, but landed in Dallas at the exact time Philip and I landed back in Nashville.

We came home with a new commitment, and made some strategic tweaks to the script. Laurie McCaskill’s heart for Corrie ten Boom, and a cast of committed young actors in Vermont, made us more sure of how “ten Boom” should be presented. Also, it made us more confident of our original concept.

Exciting New Resolve Back Home

On our return home, we revamped the play’s ending, adding a new song, “Imagine/Perfect Love (medley),” making it much more powerful. Actually, it was more in keeping with the integrity of Corrie’s remarkable true life story. We also eliminated a few characters and condensed the dialogue some.

“Ten Boom the Musical” has been performed in other places now, but that first-ever production will always be a special memory for Donna and me!

We look forward to seeing what the Lord is going to do with “ten Boom the Musical” in the future, and pray many more churches and venues will see the value of performing it!

We pray that this example of God’s involvement in our work will encourage others to know and believe; He is always watching, ever present—He cares about our lives, our work in Him, even in the small details. He does direct our paths.  In Him, ALL things are possible!

 

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble
And surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

Dear Dad: A Long-overdue Love Letter

Dear DadDear Dad,

It’s been so long since that last day we talked and you’re on my heart today.  I miss you, Dad!

Remember that day, Dad? You sat in that room, mostly silent and sober. I think about that day, and all the days and years that led up to it.  It all seems so long ago now.

You were my hero, growing up.  I wanted to be just like you!

I have often told people, “My dad could do just about anything! He was a child prodigy; a fine violinist, and a darned good fiddler! Dad could ballroom dance like a Fred Astaire, and swim like Johnny Weissmuller of “Tarzan” fame. He was also a wonderful sketch artist. My dad could be the funniest, most charismatic person in any room. He was, in fact, the most gifted person I ever knew”—but, maybe the most tragic back then.

That day, sitting next to your bed in that hospital room in Paris, Arkansas, it was so important to me to share what I did, even at the risk of upsetting you. And, by the pained look on your face, as I had to leave you that day, I guess it did.  But, time was running out, Dad, and it seemed too late to talk through all those other things that might have helped heal our family years before.

This letter is not meant to open old wounds, Dad, but to say some things that might be healing for any of us, even now!  I pray you finally understand and have forgiven.  I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness since then. The world could use a lot of it, just now!  I thought you would be proud to know, Donna and I even wrote a wonderful stage play about that.

“Ten Boom the Musical” is based on the powerful true story of a Dutch woman named Corrie ten Boom. She and her Christian family were sent to concentration camps, after hiding hundreds of Jews from the Nazis. But, the heart of the play is about what gave them the courage to endure. Joyful family memories and faith in God helped Corrie and her sister Betsie bring hope to others in those terrible times. Love and forgiveness helped them find victory, even there!

It was because of you, Dad, that I grew up to be a professional singer for many years, and a lover of music.  I remember the pains you took, teaching me and my sisters to sing close harmonies, when we were about thirteen, ten and nine years old. Remember?

Doing dishes after dinner each night was more than a chore for Judy, Donna and me. We would always argue about who got to wash or dry.  Judy always washed, of course, because she was the biggest, and could be pretty intimidating! :o)  Donna would cry about that. I just got mad. So, the jousting went on each evening!

I remember the night you finally laid down the law! You came into the kitchen and sat the three of us down on that redwood bench by our picnic dinner table. “From now on, I don’t want to hear another argument!  If you’re going to make a sound, it will only be to SING!  Doe-Ra-Me,” you sang.  That’s how it began.

Night after night, we practiced musical scales for what seemed hours. Sometimes to the point of tears—mostly ours, “Daddy, I’m too tired” or “I can’t do it.” For you, it must have been like pulling teeth, trying to teach three squirmy girls the discipline of learning and singing music. But, you persisted, as Judy sang the alto, I sang tenor, and our little sister Donna sang the lead.

Eventually, we were so proficient, all we wanted to DO was sing. You taught us mostly “barbershop quartet” songs—“Sweet Adeline,” “In the Evening By the Moonlight,” “Now is the Hour,” etc. No rock ‘n’ roll, as we might have wanted to sing in the fifties. But, we have to admit now, it really was a beautiful blend, those sister harmonies, and we had fun, after all.  Thanks, Dad!

You had long-since given up your dreams of being a professional musician, needing to “get a real job and feed all of us.” You became an electrician then, and it seemed your own personal light went out.  I know mom never encouraged your music, and even seemed a bit jealous of it, sadly. Not to blame her—the years had taken away the heart to pursue your dreams, only to mourn the loss of them.

Even so, because of you, three young girls also learned to dance and swim really well. You taught me to play a ukulele and encouraged my acting in school plays, and singing with school and Bay Area dance bands.  We learned to fish off the pier in Monterey Bay, and to jump the waves and discover seashells on the beach in Carmel. We learned to catch crawfish with bacon, and swing out on a tree rope to drop into a swimming hole at the “big dam” near our riverside home in Boulder Creek. You made a pull-cart to fit our beloved Australian Shepherd, “Duchess,” so we could go for rides behind her. You taught us the ‘art’ of trimming a Christmas tree with cellophane rain; how to pitch a tent, and (at least for me) how to make the best darned pot of spaghetti, or sauerkraut and spareribs with dumplings, ever!  I can even thank you now that you insisted we learn to mow and trim a lawn, and plant vegetables. That would come in handy later!

I so wanted to please you, Dad!  I would like what you liked, and eat whatever you ate, even Limburger cheese on crackers. Although I never acquired a taste for beer, like you!

You were my hero, Dad!  I guess that’s why the hurt came—the deep disappointment!

We were too young to understand “grown-up” things—like being in an unhappy marriage, too many bills and not enough money, or doing a 9-5 job you hated every day. I never understood why it was wrong to talk about “religion” or God at home, although Mom taught us that “Grace” dinner prayer, and let us go to a church now and then.

The hardest thing for us to understand was when you began to stay out late after work on so many Friday nights, only to come in, having drank up your paycheck at a local bar.  After several volatile incidents on those nights, I remember the fear of seeing you come home then.

We never understood how you parked the car in our narrow garage; then barely making it through the back door, you would pass out on the laundry floor.  On more sober nights, you could be jolly, wanting us to sing, or playing your violin—but, only for a while. Those were the nights we didn’t want to sing, but were afraid not to. Inevitably, you and Mom would fight, and the sometimes cruel name-calling came from both of you. You would turn into a raging bull then, and we all feared how it might end.

Remember, THAT night, Dad? The night a distraught friend of yours named “Bill” had gone home drunk one night, and threatened to kill himself. His wife called you to “come help,” and for some reason you took all our family there with you. I was only seven then, and we were all traumatized when Bill shot himself right in front of us.  I wondered, would you do that, too, on one of those Friday nights?

Those were scary times for us. Sad times, when we also learned about shame! Children of alcoholics suffer lasting pain. But, surely you knew that, Dad, being the victim of an alcoholic step-father when you were a small boy.

Do you even remember those nights when you would angrily stand the three of us girls in a row like soldiers, commanding us to, “Stand at attention, and pull in your stomach,” sometimes punching us there! But, the sometimes crude accusations and threats to three young, still virgin girls was the most painful part of it. “Oh, Daddy”… we would cry, fearfully. Maybe you were just mustering up courage to take control of your life. But, alcohol was never the answer, Dad.

The family music had stopped for us then!

When your anger subsided on those nights, and you finally ceased troubling us, you would begin to cry and shoo us out of your sight. Later, hearing you cry alone in the living room, I remember going out to console you, if only with a hug. I was too young to make sense of things you cried out about then. How you had lost your first wife, the real “love of your life.” How you missed her and your two now older children back in Pennsylvania. You missed playing your violin with all those orchestras. Your dreams were all gone.

You never stopped grieving over those losses, and even more so as the years went by.  That was a lot of grief for young girls to bear, too, Dad! Getting it all mixed up then, I felt more sadness for you than I did for Mom, who must have hurt deeply all those years, hearing you call another, “the love of your life.”

I wondered, Dad, why you never went back to see your first family, to resolve any of that—why you couldn’t see you were driving away any of us. And why hadn’t you and Mom sought help somewhere—or, more importantly, given it to God?

It’s been years since I thought of these things, Dad.  So why do I say them now, even for others to read?  Is it that I haven’t forgiven you?  No, Dad—truly I have!  That’s what I want you to understand now. And I pray you’ve forgiven me for any pain I ever caused you in return.

Maybe someone out there can relate to this now. And maybe it will help them resolve some of their own painful memories; and forgive also.  Addictions and dysfunction in families just continues, unless or until someone decides to make it stop.  For me, Dad, Someone did!

That day, as you sat so silent in that hospital room, I couldn’t know it would be the last time we would see you. The doctor told us you might have a few months at best, because of the cancer.

I was desperate that day to share the one thing I finally knew for certain, that had changed everything for me and so many others. I prayed it would dispel all your pain, also.

Remember, Dad?  It was 1984 when my own desperation had come to a head, after years of broken relationships, broken promises and my own failed dreams. My children were growing away from me, as yours did years before. Feeling “old” then, I also felt betrayed by other “saviors” in my life—even my music. The “raging bull” inside of me, found me in a large Nashville church, silent but angrily daring God to “show” himself, if he even existed.

And you know what, Dad?  He did that!

Sitting there in a church pew—my defenses high; pain bottled up to where I couldn’t even cry anymore—the Lord spoke right out loud to me. “You’re going home, Susan.”  Twice, He said it!  There were not enough tissues to mop up the tears then, over years of confused beliefs and memories, losses and pain. It was a Voice that said I was truly LOVED, even so. Tears turned to joy then. I’d never known that!

I thought how He could dry your tears, Dad, if you could only know how much He loved you, too.  I called you so many times, those first months after I heard His voice. It must have frustrated the fire out of you, but I had to try to make you understand. “The confusion is gone, Dad” I cried. “God is real, and He moved time and space to show me!”

I remember calling you one day, and you saying angrily, “I thought you were going to make something of yourself and now you’ve given it all up for religion!”

No, not religion, Dad, but I finally believed God more than any person! Your words that would have hurt me not so long before only made me love you more!

As physically strong as you were, you had often been like a needy, weeping child, trying to do life by your boot straps, yet never seeking what could have changed your life then—all our lives. That was the real tragedy.

That day by your bed, I did my best to tell you all the wonderful things I was learning, that you could know, too. I was happy when you said “yes” to letting me pray with you then. As Donna and I turned to go, that last day, the look on your face was anything but joyful.  But, both of us believed that God would somehow make up the difference—“replacing the years the locusts had eaten” of our lives.  Less than a week later, the call came that you were gone.  I cried that day, too, Dad, but was comforted to believe with all my heart, you were in God’s hands now, and we would see you again one day.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8). I finally learned what that verse means, Dad.

You’re not here to see it, but the world seems to have gone crazy these days! So many people’s hearts have become cold, unloving, unforgiving, and saddest of all, unbelieving in the only One able to set any of us free from our heartaches—our sins.

That’s why Donna and I set Corrie ten Boom’s story to music, Dad; to help others see the power of love and forgiveness.  If anyone should have been bitter, seeing hate-filled people kill millions of others in World War 2, including many of her family, it was Corrie.  But, she chose to love, not hate—her heart and the ministries of her life would always be toward peace. She learned to find joy in others, and to forgive—even a Nazi!

I can only imagine a world where everyone is like that. I’m thankful to believe you’re experiencing that first-hand, even now!

I love you always, Dad.

Susan

 

[Photo above, L to R:  LaRue Parker “Dad” Croop, Susan Beyer, Judy Hunter, our dog Duchess, Donna Griggs, and our mother Mary Gribben Croop, c. 1948]

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]

Wonder Woman—Yet No Superhero

wonder woman no superheroWonder Woman, the latest in a string of blockbuster, superhero-saves-the-world films, is a visual feast for DC, Marvel and other comic book fans out there.  My husband Philip and I grew up when those “funny books” (as some called them) were in every kid’s hands. I had a drawer-full at home.  I loved “superheroes” back then!

So, remembering those times, also the 1970’s TV series starring Linda Carter, Philip and I went to see the new film.

What does this have to do with Corrie ten Boom, you ask??  I believe, if you will read and not just scan my “comparison of heroes” here, it will all come clear to you!

So, please read on…

Movies are a powerful medium for changing hearts and minds, as many would agree who saw “The Hiding Place” film years ago. What we allow ourselves to be influenced by, good or otherwise, generally determines our future!

Being a life-long movie buff, I just enjoyed the film for what it was; a fanciful, action-packed romp, pitting good against evil, allowing the good guys to win the day. I like that!  For all the over-the-top high jinks and mythological blabber in the film, actress Gal Gadot is the quintessential “Wonder Woman.” Moreover, the film actually has some worthy messages.

My sister Donna Griggs saw the film and reported back. “Wow! I saw all kinds of wonderful things about relationships… unselfish sacrifice. Strength… love overcomes evil!”

I remember loving the character, especially when I was too young to understand any of the political or social implications. It seems now Wonder Woman has come full-circle since her inception in the early 1940’s!

The Wonder Woman Character

According to Wikipedia, the fictitious Wonder Woman character was created by American writer and psychologist, William Moulton Marston, with artist Harry G. Peter. The character first appeared in All Star Comics in October 1941. Caution: Marston drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, and especially from birth control pioneer, Margaret Sanger. She was founder of the American Birth Control League, later known as Planned Parenthood. As the Feminist Movement grew, in 1971 Gloria Steinem placed her concept of Wonder Woman on the cover of Ms. magazine.

Identified in the film as “Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta,” Wonder Woman is also known (in her street clothes) as Diana Prince. In the Carter series, Diana identified herself as “the daughter of Isis.” Hmm!

As the film begins, Diana is introduced as a feisty little girl with a secret not yet known to her. She’s the only child on an isolated island of warrior women (not one man), known as Amazons. Hiding from the evil war god Ares, these female descendants of mythical gods have tired of war—and MEN, whom they blame solely for all the world’s ills.

Wouldn’t you know, along comes a World War I pilot, played by actor Chris Pine [latest Captain Kirk, Star Trek] who crash-lands into the sea near Paradise Island, later proving to Diana’s heart that, “Love is the only thing that can defeat evil.” 

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere!

Maturity Changes Our Heroes

Having added some years since my “funny book” days, plus a more realistic outlook on heroes, and “gods”… I had to wonder…

Why is it that human beings (especially us women), ever-longing for love and rescue from life’s enemies, turn to fanciful “heroes” for comfort?  Yet so many reject the very real Father God, the Eternal Superhero, who created and loves us! To all our detriment, many choose instead to believe fiction over Truth. Yet, His Book assures us that, GOD is love!

In ancient times, when mankind began to multiply on the earth, we soon proved to have a fatal flaw—PRIDE.   Created in God’s image, and provided for in every way, we decided we could just “take it from here.” We could be our own persons—no thanks to or respect for the One who gave us the earth under our feet. By the way, He also gave us the air we breathe, and the promise of the love and covering we innately desire.

Enter Abraham, a nomadic leader, long since venerated for proving himself true to God. Later came Moses, born a Hebrew, but raised as an Egyptian prince. At age 80, he was chosen of God to deliver the Hebrew people out of Egypt and slavery. Great men of faith!

But Abraham and Moses were not Superheroes, just men who obeyed the One they recognized as the one true God!

Wonder Woman and Other “Heroes”

The Diana Prince character is portrayed as empathetic, courageous, loyal, compassionate! Not to mention, able to throw tanks at will!  Personally, I liked Diana, but then, I liked Superman, Captain America, Tarzan, and Mighty Mouse. I also liked some less-superhuman characters such as Atticus Finch, Indiana Jones, and, oh yes, “Uncle Tom” (often given a bad rap). ALL heroes, and yes, all MALE figures, but surely fictitious!

Someone wrote, “A hero can be just about anyone, from a steadfast politician working to secure world peace, to an average man or woman who demonstrates remarkable bravery and giving.”  I’ve been blessed to meet many of those—soldiers, cancer survivors, foster parents, teachers, firemen, police officers, pastors, stay-at-home moms, over-comers, truth-tellers…

History lists some extraordinary people who were or are heroes to any of us. Sadly, for many, those “heroes” have replaced any veneration or regard for the one true God.  Could any of those help us reach heaven?

More “Wonder Women”

My personal list of heroic, real life women includes: Mary, Ruth and Esther of scripture. Also, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Margaret Thatcher, Gladys Aylward, Rosa Parks, and Madame Curie.

But, one special woman stands out for meCorrie ten Boom, a true wonder woman, yet no Superhero… just a woman who loved and trusted God!

Raised in a Christian home, Corrie ten Boom was never known to lie, she never betrayed a friend or a neighbor. She was also fiercely loyal to her family. She never married, yet taught many children and youth how to live uprightly and courageously. Risking their lives, she and her family rescued and hid Jewish people during the Nazi occupation of Holland. For that, they were later arrested and taken to concentration camps. Corrie survived three such camps, in the meantime sharing the hope and love of Christ the Savior with many. She wrote many books and visited 60 countries, telling virtually millions that, “No pit is so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Corrie was a true and humble woman of faith, who proved herself heroic in the face of great evil during WW2.

Corrie, Wonder Woman and Mere Mortals

I wonder what Corrie would have thought of the “Wonder Woman” character, who was conceived in Corrie’s era (1930s-40s). Corrie—certainly not a “feminist,” nor one who would have espoused Margaret Sanger’s views—was a woman of real character and strength. She also extended true compassion and grace to others different than herself.

My guess is, Corrie would have liked “Diana” for the courageous character she was, if only a writer’s fanciful creation. And, I’d like to think even a Wonder Woman would have loved and been humbled by the powerful faith of a very real woman named Corrie ten Boom, who always gave the Lord any credit for her victories and accomplishments.

The First Commandment says, “I AM the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before Me.” Not even “Superheros”! And Christ Jesus—the Word, and Almighty God in the flesh [John 1:1-4, 14]—revealed, “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Superheros are characteristically “immortal.” Not so, human beings! When I was younger, I came out of many a film visibly moved, inspired, disappointed, exhilarated, even depressed, at times. That’s what movies are meant to do—touch us where we live! Superheros give fans the sense that they can “fly,” when life may seem to be holding them down. However, trusting our emotions and romantic notions to fictitious or even real-life “heroes” can be problematic, if not fatal.

TRUTH IS, we mere mortals must find our hope and assurance in the Truth. After all, the Lord actually DID come to save the world!

As Corrie would say, He’s the one who died and rose again that, trusting Him, we might also.

Now THAT’s a Superhero!

# # #

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]

 

 

What in the World is Out There?

whats out there in the world

Sitting high on a sandy cliff, gazing out over what seemed an endless sea, I remember thinking, “What’s out there?”

A favorite print that hangs on a wall at home shows a little blond-headed girl sitting on a sandy beach, reminiscent of a place our family lived long ago.  The child in the print, maybe six, is dressed in a white blouse and blue shorts; tiny deck shoes lying beside her in the sand.

I had found the old print among the dust and clutter of an antique shop in Tennessee some years back and was struck by my own memories at about that age, sitting high on the dunes of Carmel by the Sea, now far away, playing with grassy reeds and shells; watching the waves roll in to shore, and seagulls noisily doing fly-by’s.

Unable to see beyond the vast Pacific Ocean, I couldn’t imagine the infinite possibilities. “What’s out there?” I wondered.

Did one of the many Carmel artists take time one day to capture the little dreamer I was on canvas? Even the Dutch boy haircut on the child in the print was the same as mine back then.  I’ve never stopped wondering about life, and asking questions about it.  My mother would tell you it was one of my most annoying attributes.  It’s also what led me to seek after God.

Is God real?

“No one can know God!” Mom said that many times when my sisters, Judy and Donna, and I were still wearing her out with our many questions and some shrill tattling.  Our parents never went to church, but sent us alone occasionally, maybe to give them a quiet Sunday at home.  The rule in our house was, never to discuss religion or politics. And—except for saying a memorized “grace” prayer before dinner now and then—we never did.

My siblings and I were pretty much left to our own fancy as to what God was about. For me, it only prompted a deep curiosity about what was written in a dusty old King James Bible that sat neglected on the shelf at home; sneaking peeks into that Book more than a few times. Unfortunately, meeting head-on with the “begats” (and not understanding this was NOT like other books that offer a plot, a story and a certain ending), I soon gave up trying to make sense of it.

It would be forty years, and a lot of looking for love and other answers in many wrong places, until I would seek answers beyond my mother’s understanding that, “No one can know God.”  Thankfully, I would discover the opposite was actually true… that the answers to all my most important questions had been right there in that dusty old Book all along.

Finding answers

It began one night when I was on the road, touring with my band out of Nashville, Tennessee.  Our front man, Butch, was driving our oversized van and watching me out of the corner of his eye, as I sat in the “shotgun” seat; my stocking feet against the glove compartment, engrossed in a nondescript novel.  Butch finally asked, “Susan, why don’t you read the Bible?”

Suddenly, inexplicably irate, embarrassed even, I shot back with, “Why don’t you mind your own business!”  He had just driven on then.  But, for days after that I couldn’t get his question out of my mind.

“I’m an intelligent person,” I assured myself. “I’m always curious about things… doing, seeing new things… reading all kinds of books.  So, why haven’t I read THAT one?”  Up to that point, I’d had a (bad) habit of using a book, even a Bible, in any of those on-the-road motel rooms, as a prop for the lid of my makeup case… its contents still neglected.

Strange, that a few days later, arriving at another venue where we would perform, I would find a paperback book in my motel room! The cover read, “FREE, take this copy with you.”  The inside title page read, Good News For Modern Man.  About that time, so many things were going wrong in my life, and mostly I missed my children back in Nashville.  I needed some “good news!”

A most important question

After our last show that night, in the quiet of my room I settled into bed with the FREE book. Jumping right past the Table of Contents and the Introduction, I began to read.  “What IS this?” I wondered cynically, “the Dick and Jane version of that dusty old King James Bible back home?”  But, by the time we packed up to drive on to the next venue, I had read several chapters, still not really understanding.

Not long after, back on the road, Butch was again driving the van as I sat on the passenger side, this time reading the “Good News” paperback.

I had just one question for Butch:  “Who did this guy think he was, anyway…” I asked facetiously, “…God or something!?”  Butch’s wordless, half-smiling shrug, in response to my question, was the beginning of a whole new life for me…

Over the next several years I would find myself singing a new song; spending time with my children and family in more meaningful ways; finding friendships I’d also never known were out there.  I was soon hosting/producing Christian television programs, and working with a radio media agency.  I was blessed then to marry my best friend, who encouraged me to write my first book.

Called to write a Musical

A few years later, my real sister, Donna Griggs, and I were led to write a full-sized musical stage play about a Dutch woman and her family who had been imprisoned for hiding Jews from the Nazis during World War 2. Corrie ten Boom and her real sister, Betsie, brought hope to prisoners in three concentration camps then, sharing that same “Good News.”  Our hope is to continue to do the same, by way of this musical telling of Corrie’s powerful story, “Ten Boom the Musical.” 

Remember that little girl in the print? The one sitting high on a sandy hill in Carmel by the Sea, now far away from my Tennessee home, wondering, “What’s out there?”

I’m thankful, over many years since, to have seen much of the world.  And I’m eternally thankful that, when I had lost the wonder of childhood, and even the will to keep trying, in one stunning moment the Lord had changed my life.

So, what is out there?

I know now, it’s the beauty that God made… the ugliness that sin has wrought… and a world of people out there who need assurance of the love of the Lord who gave His life to redeem us all, on another hill far away.

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]

 

Phantom of the Opera Goes to Church

the-phantom-goes-to-churchSince Donna Griggs and I began writing the “Ten Boom” project, friends have been great to recommend certain venues to contact. They named various churches, Christian universities, and theater groups. Also,  community playhouses they thought would “love to present Corrie ten Boom’s powerful story, especially with the music.”

However, as we began making contacts, we discovered something different.

 

Many church drama ministries preferred to present some better-known Broadway musicals as a way of “reaching out to unbelievers.” Some quoted 1 Corinthians 9:22, as to the “WHY” of their theatrical ministries. It seems, they just hope to “get them in the door first.”

A few thought presenting original plays (like ours) might be “Too Jesus-y.” After all, they explained, “Some people come to church just needing encouragement.”

Paul wrote that 1 Corinthians 9:22 verse… “I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some.”  But, of course, his whole heart was, that all people should come to saving faith in Christ Jesus. He told of the peace and hope found in Him, not just a momentary distraction.

Montage of Broadway Musicals

A few years ago, a friend suggested we contact a certain music director at a large area church here. We were enthusiastically invited to see a special montage of Broadway musicals they were presenting.  We were curious and accepted the invitation.  After all, we also love good theater!

When we arrived, the church was nearly filled to capacity, and the spirited fellowship seemed to hint at a revival of sorts. The Broadway “montage” unfolded with scenes from four entertaining (if not really faith-lifting) musicals.  Finally, a scene from the fifth musical began. Lights were dimmed in the large auditorium, as probably the most familiar of all overtures began, dramatically. Loud gasps mixed with cheers, especially from the young people there, filled the auditorium.

Suddenly, our host, the music director, took to the stage dressed in black, masked in the role of The Phantom of the Opera.  The church erupted!  To be sure, he had the voice, and did a convincing job of portraying the dark Phantom. Entertaining, yes… but a purveyor of peace and hope!?

After the performance, the young director told us he had “always wanted to play that lead role.”  He “loved the music” and now was able to “kill two birds with one stone.”  After all, shouldn’t becoming all things to all people that by all means I might save some apply here, too? Hmm!

Let me think…

The Phantom character is an unforgiving, vengeful, enraged, hate-filled figure. He goes to great lengths to seduce a young virgin girl, confusing and twisting her mind through dark, lustful deception. He hopes to share his dank, be-candled underground world, and together find love, peace and even joy. Happily ever after, right?  By the way, he also terrorized and murdered several people in his pursuit of her. Most notably, causing a massive chandelier to plummet down on many!

Yes, I’ve seen the Broadway touring performance, even the spectacularly-produced film, at one point.  But, one thing I’ve noted about “The Phantom of the Opera” that would seem to disqualify it from a Church outreach program. It has a mesmerizing appeal to many theater goers. Certain young women are captivated by the tragic (“he just needs love and I can fix that”) character. Many think it a romantic story, as the Phantom beguiles the leading lady (and, in this case, much of the church). Surely such lyrics as, “You can’t resist, the Phantom of the opera is there inside your mind,” give way to some kind of ministry!? Uh… maybe NOT!

As the talented, no doubt well-meaning, young music director finished singing the Phantom’s sad, seductive song… the (mostly) young girls in the church screamed and cheered.  Captivated… enraptured!?

What Are We Teaching Our Youth?

Is this what we want for our youth, or ourselves?  Do we not get way too much of that from our more and more secular culture now?  Proverbs 14:12 says,“There is a way that seems right to a [person], but the end is destruction.”.

When someone has been sifted by whatever life has thrown at them, even of their own doing, and they finally walk into a church seeking truth they haven’t found in the world… as they come needing peace and hope, not just another ‘Band-aid’… isn’t it our Commission as the Church to help them find that hope in Christ Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life… the One we say we believe?

Donna and I wrote “Ten Boom the Musical” to share the life-inspiring, true story of an extraordinary woman who found victory for herself and others despite the darkness of the Nazi Holocaust.  Who would argue that evil is alive and thriving in this world?  It seemed to us, the example of a real-life hero, someone with deep faith, personal integrity and courage is a more compelling outreach for our youth or anyone else.

But, lest we forget the Phantom…

Should even the darkest of “phantoms” (and there are many of those out there these days) become weary of their ways, and come to the Church to find that peace, hope and genuine concern for their lives… what will we offer them that will prove to make the difference?

We would love to hear from you as you consider presenting this uplifting, musical telling of Corrie ten Boom’s powerful true story, “Ten Boom the Musical.” She overcame the real phantom, even through the Nazi Holocaust.

 

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]

 

Corrie ten Boom and the Tennessee Vols

corrie-ten-boom-and-tennessee-volsI think Corrie ten Boom might have appreciated American college football, especially the Tennessee Vols!  She loved and worked with youth, and she was well-acquainted with hard work, discipline, coordination and team work, given her early experiences and later profound ministry to others.

Last Saturday night, I enjoyed watching my husband watch college football!

 

Philip can take or leave the pro’s, he says, but he loves seeing young people at these schools. Loves all the color, energy and excitement that goes with them sharing the best years of their youth together.

The Tennessee Vols football team had lost to the Florida Gators for the past eleven years, and Philip and I looked forward to cheering “our team” on to victory in this latest matchup. In our (also) eleven years of marriage, Philip has taught me a lot about football and the strategy of the game. I’ve learned to really enjoy football. So, popcorn popped, pizza in mind, we snuggled on the couch to enjoy the match.

Sad to say, watching the first half of the September 24th game was less than inspiring, with Tennessee dropping the ball six times, and fans in the bleachers looking as if the Rapture had happened, and they had missed it. At the half, the score was Florida 21, Vols 0.

It made me think how… as we run our personal “race” in life… it often happens that, when things seem to be going “south” (no pun intended), we give up as if its game-over, before we wait to see the final score.

Philip was disappointed, “How do you drop six balls that even I could have caught?”

“Well, the one thing we haven’t done is prayed!” I said, not trying to sound pious. He smiled, “It’s a football game!!”

“You have not, because you ask not, somebody said somewhere… in ALL things!” Hmmm! I prayed!

So what happened? If the Tennessee Vols team had left the field at the half looking down in the mouth, they bounded out of the locker room with new resolve. In fact, you might have thought it was a whole new team… like maybe Alabama had donned the Vols uniforms and hit the field!?

But, no… play after determined play, the Vols fought the good fight to claim a 38 to 28 victory over their long-undefeated Florida foe. Odd thing was, Florida… the team that could do no wrong in the first half, seemed to be unable to move the ball in the second half.

Philip smiled again about my prayer, “Really?” But, he had that high-five look all over his face.

For me, watching the explosion of cheers and tears on the faces of 100,000 Tennessee fans, then seeing them, arms linked, swaying to the strains of “The Tennessee Waltz” was a touching moment in time for those of us who hoped for Tennessee’s victory. I thought, “Would that so many would gather together to cheer the One who laid down His life to allow us the greatest victory of all… eternal victory!”

Corrie ten Boom’s true life story is a lesson in victorious living! Life well lived… love of family and others… faith in the One she had learned was trustworthy always… ups and downs, but never taking her eyes off the goal… deep personal assurance, even in the face of the fiercest enemy in world history. As I said earlier, I think Corrie might have liked American college football!

Our hope is, as the next generations live out their lives… dreaming their dreams, even if their world might seem at the point of “game-over”… that they will not let negative input, “political correctness,” or anything else rob them of Truth, and the most important goal possible for their lives: eternal victory in Jesus Christ. “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

 

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]

Gramma Jama | Corrie’s Work With Youth

gramma-jamma-party“Gramma Jama” parties… a great way to make lasting memories with your family!

Did you know Corrie ten Boom spent many years organizing Boys and Girls Clubs, even clubs for young servicemen and women, during the worst days of World War 2?

Here was a single woman who gave much of her time and herself, encouraging and teaching young people in her hometown—Haarlem, Holland.

What an extraordinary person she was, who always surrounded herself with loving family and friends, making wonderful memories that, as she later said, “would hold us like an anchor in the storm when the time came for us to walk into hell itself!”

I believe it’s why Corrie ten Boom maintained a giving and joyful spirit, even as the Nazis took over her homeland, and she and her family were arrested for hiding 800 Jewish people who were being hunted for extermination then.  You wonder, could that happen again?  Could a powerful political force take over the lives of so many others like that again?

Corrie ten Boom never married, and never had children of her own, yet she took time to make memories for, and speak into the lives of many of them then, during the most important years of their lives and one of the scariest times in world history for people of any age.

Honestly, many of the memories I had made, raising my three children (having spent many of those years on the road performing and thinking I was affording a better life for us), were that I had not really been at home enough to make the most important impact on their lives.  Years later, coming to faith in Jesus Christ, it became a priority for me to be near my children, if they would want that now, and especially to get to know their children.  I wanted to make new memories that might carry me and any of them through the years ahead.  Maybe even through events like Corrie and her family had endured, if it ever came to that!

So here’s an idea, for those who have young people to love, that you want to impact positively:

“Gramma Suzna” (that’s what the first of many grandchildren had called me) was having trouble finding time to keep up with all of them.  Being a modern grandmother—working full-time with my business-owner husband; a busy writing schedule of my own, managing our home, and a seeming million other details needing attention—it seemed impossible to coordinate with other family members’ schedules!

But, I know now, more than ever, good family memories are SO very important!  Children grow up way too fast, and they’re gone.  So, years ago “Gramma Suzna” had to come up with a plan, while the children were smaller, not so mobile themselves, and still interested in what “Gramma” was about.

“YESSSSS! I know what I’ll do,” I thought.  “How about planning a wonderful time for ALL the grandchildren to come to the house and take part in a special day together… no, TWO days!”  Sisters, brothers and cousins all together for an overnight stay… what used to be called a pajama party.

“Yes, that’s IT!” We would call it a GRAMMA JAMA party, and make some memories together!  After all, how hard could it be to bring four, six… oh dear… how many of these little people could I handle by myself!?  What would Corrie do?

If you’re thinking to throw your own “Gramma Jama” parties, here’s how it went for me:

Now, let’s see… First, we need to coordinate everyone’s schedules for a specific weekend, and send out invitations to each child (in care of their parents, of course).   How about they come on a Friday, about 5:00 pm, for about 24 hours of fun together?

Planning “Gramma Jamma” – What to do?  Make a list… crafts, games, music, picnic, trip to zoo, aquarium, maybe the beach, a boat ride?  How about we bake and decorate cookies or candy or pumpkins?

How about FOOD!  Friday night:  Everyone loves Pizza, sodas, popcorn, junk food?  But, then I thought about healthier munchies their parents might approve:  maybe veggy burgers on wheat buns with yummy bean sprouts, slices of cucumber and tomatoes; sweet potato fries, and non-fat yogurt for dessert topped with slices of kiwi?  Sounds like something I would eat, alone, while my grandchildren rolled their eyes.  Nahhh!  It’s just for one or two nights, so…

Pizza AND frankfurters stuffed with mashed potatoes, topped with cheddar cheese, Nacho chips, salsa, and fudge brownies with ice cream.  Now we’re talking!  Saturday breakfast:  how about waffles with strawberry syrup and slices, ringed high with whipped cream smiley faces, with bacon and orange juice.  Later, picnic lunch somewhere… yep, more planning to do!  Just how much can you cram into a 24-hour “Gramma Jama” party?

What should they bring with them?  They’ll stay overnight, so do we have enough beds for them all?  No, that’s no fun… they’ll want to be together in one big room… so SLEEPING BAGS or blankets.  And PILLOWS. Yes, lots of pillows!  PILLOW FIGHT!!!”

I couldn’t wait then to send out special invitations to my grandchildren, to “COME, enjoy a special time with all your sisters, brothers and cousins!”  We made “Gramma Jama” memories for the next few years after that.

I think now about Corrie ten Boom and the boys and girls clubs she organized those years before the War.  Were they all just about food, family and fun fellowship?  That was probably a great part of it, but I know from reading Corrie’s heart in her books, that she also took quality time to read to them and teach them about the most important message she could speak into their lives… about the God who loves them SO much, the importance of getting to know and trust Him, and the power of prayer that would get them through the best and even the hardest events of their lives.

How about making your own “Gramma Jama” memories!?

[Pictured above: Tarah, Olivia, Autumn, Gramma, Amber, Rebekah and Ryan]

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]

The Faith of Corrie ten Boom – By Jeanne Doyon

[We recently found this article by Crosswalk.com contributor, Jeanne Doyon, that shares her personal insights, regarding the amazing faith of Dutch holocaust survivor and Christian evangelist, Corrie ten Boom. We pray this reprint has the blessing of Jeanne Doyan, and will bless others on her and our behalf   …Susan Meredith Beyer & Donna Marquean Griggs, co-writers, “Ten Boom the Musical”]

Corrie ten Boom faithCorrie (Cornelia) ten Boom is one of my heroes of the faith.  She was the daughter of a Dutch watchmaker living in Holland during WWII. She and her family hid Jews in their home to protect them from being sent to the prison camps. One day the Nazi officers arrested Corrie and her family for hiding Jewish people in their home and they were sent to prison. Corrie and her sister Betsie were eventually sent to the Ravensbruck death camp. Corrie is the only one of her family that survived, and her story is written in her book called “The Hiding Place.”

What I love most about Corrie is her simple wisdom and devotion to the Lord. She endured such evil, including seeing her family die in the horrid camp conditions. Yet she radiates with the light of God’s love and peace. In her book “Tramp For The Lord” she tells the story about how years after her release from the concentration camp, she came in contact with one of the most brutal prison guards and extended forgiveness to him. Her life is an example of how God works in and through our lives, carrying us through the hardships.

And she is an amazing testimony to His faithfulness and how His light can shine even in the darkest places.

Corrie’s story prompts me to ask some probing questions about my faith walk.

What Message am I Leaving Behind?

Corrie ten Boom’s story of faith is inspiring and timeless. Her legacy lives on through her penned words. Lives continue to be touched even though she has been gone since 1983. It is words like these from her books, that fill my sails with hope to continue on life’s journey:

  • I soon discovered that man’s importunity is God’s opportunity. He uses our problems as building materials for His miracles.
  • God has plans—not problems—for our lives.
  • Before she died in the concentration camp in Ravensbruck, my sister Betsie said to me, “Corrie, your whole life has been a training for the work you are doing here in prison—and for the work you will do afterward.”
  • Whether I am walking in the bright light of His presence, or abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, I know that He is not only with me, He is in me.

What a treasure trove of encouragement! This inspires me to think, every believer is leaving behind hope for the next generation. What will your message be? What will mine say to future generations?

Am I Trusting God to Lead?

In “Tramp For The Lord,” Corrie tells of her adventures of feeling led by the Lord to go from country to country to tell her story after her release from the Ravensbruck death camp. She boarded planes without hotel reservations, scheduled speaking engagements, or details, trusting the Lord to lead her when she arrived. And the amazing thing is that He did lead her.

Corrie’s adventures make me realize how much I play it safe. I look at my world with two-dimensional reason rather than three-dimensional faith. There is a part of me that wants to be like Corrie—totally trusting—completely surrendered—and in tune with the voice of my Father. There is a desire to understand Whittier’s words that say, “The steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath.”   WOW!

So, What Hinders Me?

The strongest hindrance I have is myself.  I second guess my impressions and come up with reasons why I shouldn’t take them seriously.

Corrie tells a story about when she felt impressed by the Lord to go to Argentina. She replied, “Yes, but…” and then remembered that serving the Lord should always be answered with, “Yes, Lord.”

I think I use a lot of ‘buts’ in my thinking. But, what if I take on too much? But, what if I’m not hearing correctly? 

The other reason I struggle is that I have burned out so many times. When burnout happens, it’s usually because I have been depending on my own ability, thinking I have got it covered. It sneaks up like a stealth fighter and in an instant, I find myself on my face crying out for help—His help. He’s been there all along but will allow me to take the reins in order to show me how much I need Him.

He is my strength when I am weak… The truth is—He is my strength all the time. Unless I am depending on His Holy Spirit power, I am kidding myself. There is nothing of Kingdom value I can accomplish on my own. But, I find when I am plugged into His power source I accomplish more with less effort. It isn’t me. It can never be me unless I am surrendered to Him each day.

Corrie passed through the fire during her time in the concentration camp. I think there is a dependence that develops when we have nothing left, but Him. In my humanness, I don’t want to face hardships like that, but I do want to learn more about the deep trust she found in her Heavenly Papa.

How about you? Is ‘but, Lord’ in your vocabulary too? What might the Lord be asking you to do?

Discover the Rich Resource of Corrie’s Life

If you have never read Corrie ten Boom’s books, I encourage you to look for them. You will be blessed by her stories. I pray I never have to endure what she went through, but part of me wants a relationship with God like hers. She was an amazing woman who was sold out to obedience to her Heavenly Father. Her story and her example continue to inspire others to this day.

Corrie died on her 91st birthday in 1983.  There is an interesting Jewish tradition that says, only very blessed people are allowed the special privilege of dying on their birthday!

She has certainly blessed me.

[Article by Jeanne Doyon, Crosswalk.com Contributor, Sep 6, 2013]

Corrie ten Boom – April 15, 1892 Haarlem, Holland (The Netherlands) – April 15, 1983 (Santa Ana, CA)

[Ten Boom the Musical shares the true and powerful story of Corrie ten Boom. To present this musical at your church or venue, contact us at 615-425-2652, 615-300-8591, or email us at susanmb@tenboomthemusical.com]