Category: Inspirational books

“The Hiding Place” Book Review

Today is Kindness Matters Monday! And today, I’m doing another book review. I want to share with you the true story of one of the kindest, most inspirational families I have had the privilege to read about.

(I’m going to warn you about this book. IT IS SAD. It’s a true story of the Holocaust. If you’re looking for a sweet, pleasant story, this is not a book for you to read right now. But if you’re looking for a story of exceptional courage, bravery, and compassion, it’s time to read The Hiding Place.)

Father's Secret

In the very first chapter of the book, as Corrie ten Boon is describing a family party, come these chilling words:

“It was a day for memories. A day for calling up the past. How could we have guessed as we sat there – two middle-aged spinsters and an old man – that in place of memories we were about to be given adventures such as we had never dreamed of? Adventure and anguish, horror and heaven were just around the corner, and we did not know. Oh Father! Betsie! If I had known would I have gone ahead? Could I have done the things I did?

“But how could I know? How could I imagine this white-haired man, called Opa – Grandfather – by all the children of Haarlem, how could I imagine this man thrown by strangers into a grave without a name?

“And Betsie, with her high lace collar and gift for making beauty all around her, how could I picture this dearest person on earth to me standing naked before a roomful of men? In that room on that day, such thoughts were not even thinkable.”

(Um, Kimber … It’s Kindness Matters Monday. What the heck??)

I know. This book seems like the very farthest thing from a Kindness Matters post.

But it’s not.

And this is why.

“Suddenly the chief interrogator’s eye fell on Father. ‘That old man! he cried. ‘Did he have to be arrested?  You, old man!’

“Willem led Father up to the desk. The Gestapo chief leaned forward. ‘I’d like to send you home, old fellow,’ he said. ‘I’ll take your word that you won’t cause any more trouble.’

“I could not see Father’s face, only the erect carriage of his shoulders and the halo of white hair above them. But I heard his answer.

“‘If I go home today,’ he said evenly and clearly, ‘tomorrow I will open my door again to any man in need who knocks.'”

For that answer, he was sent to a concentration camp.

Ten days later, he was dead.

This man – a Christian – was arrested for harboring Jews. And he gave his life before he gave up his humanity.

Could the same be said of me?

Of you?

This strength – this courage – haunts me, and it inspires me. This was just one ordinary old man. But his quiet fortitude reaches out to me, decades later, and it makes me stronger. His story, his name – they deserve to be remembered.

Casper ten Boom, I remember you.

This man’s story is just one example of the faith and courage you will find in this book. I’d love for you to read it, and to let me know what you think. What character resonates with you? Casper, with his gentle mightiness? Betsie, with her ability to make anywhere – even a concentration camp – a little bit more beautiful? Or Corrie herself, with her extraordinary story of faith, hope, and ultimately, forgiveness?

Come discover The Hiding Place.

And remember.

In this house

This post is not sponsored, but does contain an Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support of this website, and thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts on this story, I’d love to hear them.

Rhinestone Jesus – Giveaway Winner!

A big thank you to all who participated in our book giveaway! And thanks to random.org, our winner has been chosen. The winning comment is #7:  “Well, you really sold that book! I want to read it now! LOVE inspiring books.” I’m so thrilled that you WILL get to read it now! 🙂

Giveaway winner

 

 

Celeste, please e-mail me at [email protected] with your mailing address, and your book will be on its way soon!

 

Again, thank you all for entering! If you’d like a copy of the book, you can check your local library, or you can find it here on Amazon. If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can even go to the Mercy House store and get an autographed copy. Even if you don’t ever read it, I hope you can take away this lesson from the book: Big or small, your yes – it matters.

Rhinestone Jesus - Just Do Something

Disclosure: I was not paid for this review or giveaway, and all opinions are my own. Tyndale House Publishers have graciously provided a copy of this book to give away. This post contains a referral link to Amazon. Thank you so much for supporting this site!

Rhinestone Jesus – Book Review and Giveaway

It’s time for another book review! If you haven’t already, feel free to check my first review – Kisses from Katie.

So, I’m going to be honest.

The first time I saw the title of this book, I was a little taken aback.

“Rhinestone Jesus? Uh – what?”

But for years, I have admired the author, Kristen Welch. I cried as I read of her visit to Kenya with Compassion International. I rejoiced with her as she established The Mercy House, a wonderful program designed to help pregnant Kenyan teenagers living in desperate poverty. I have wept as I’ve heard bits of the stories of the girls that have been rescued, and I have continually been inspired by Kristin’s faith and courage. So I ordered the book – and from the first pages, I was completely hooked.

“I trembled from more than fear. There was hopelessness everywhere I looked – endless tiny tin shanties where hundreds of thousands of people were crowded, “homes” with no electricity or running water. Plastic bags full of sewage floated in a green stream, and the ground wasn’t made of dirt at all – it was just a mountain of trampled garbage. The stench nearly gagged me.

A majority of the residents were small, unsupervised children. They called out to us, “How-ah-you? How-ah-you?” hoping we would put something into their upturned hands. We could see by their swollen bellies that they were malnourished. Their faces were filthy and covered with flies, which they didn’t bother to shoo away.

It was a hellhole, not fit for the living.

I began to cry and couldn’t stop. I wanted to shut it all out. I was angry with God. Where are you? How can You allow so much suffering?

Then I shopped and closed my eyes. I saw God’s finger pointed at my as He asked my spirit the same question: “Kristen, how can you allow this?

In that exact moment, I knew my life would never be the same.

I was a long way from home and my family. I was “just a mom”. But my faith journey that started in high school had brought me to this point. Standing in this wretched place, I realized only He knew where it was going to lead.”

Chills. And tears. As I read this prologue, it went straight to my heart. And I couldn’t put the book down.

Rhinestone Jesus is the true story of a woman who begins her Christian journey as an enthusiastic teenager who walks around the halls of her high school proudly wearing a rhinestone Jesus lapel pin. As she grows older and faces the challenges of life, she realizes that Christianity needs to go much, much deeper than the jewelry we wear. It needs to change how we act. It needs to change US, to the core.

She boldly shares the good moments of her life, as well as the bad. The pain of infertility, the near-ending of her marriage and the rebuilding of it, the heartbreaking trip to Kenya, and the realization that being “just a mom” is enough.

Rhinestone Jesus - Just Do Something

Her “yes” is enough.

So is mine.

So is yours.

Reading this book woke up something in my heart. As I finished, I was crying and praying. I didn’t know at that moment that a few of my “yeses” were about to begin.

Starting this website – that was my first yes.

What is YOUR yes?

I’d love for you to give this some serious thought and prayer. What is your yes? What can you do, right now, in this stage of your life?

NOTE: Giveaway is now closed. The winner will be announced Wednesday, January 14th at 9 am. Thank you for your interest!

I have some wonderful news for you. As I began writing this review, I truly wished I could pass my copy around to all of you. I want to hear your thoughts and read your notes in the margins and sit around my fireplace and talk about it. But that’s not very practical, so I contacted Kristen’s publicist at Tyndale, and she has so graciously offered to give one of my readers a copy of Rhinestone Jesus. I am so tickled for this opportunity, and I hope this book blesses whoever wins it!

Rhinestone Jesus - Giveaway

There are three different ways to enter this giveaway. Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry (you can leave up to 3 comments).

* Leave a comment here saying why you’d like to win the book

* Share this giveaway on Facebook

* Pin this article on Pinterest

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, January 13th at 9 p.m. (Central), and the winner will be announced by Wednesday morning. Thanks for entering!

Note: I was not compensated to do this review – all thoughts are my own. Tyndale House Publishers has generously provided a copy of this book for me to give away.

 

Book review: Kisses from Katie

Recently on my Facebook page, I asked my readers if they would be interested in some sort of book club. Several of you commented that you like the idea, but rather than a formal discussion, you would prefer occasional book recommendations. In honor of today’s weekly service challenge, and because … well, it’s my favorite … Here is our first book suggestion.

(Now here’s the thing about me. I DON’T LIKE SPOILERS. I don’t like it when people give away the ending to books or movies. But I also know that most people want to know what a book is about before they read it. So here we go: my attempt to review one of the best books I’ve ever read, giving you a glimpse into what it’s about without giving anything major away. Wish me luck.)

Kisses from Katie

I’d heard about Kisses from Katie several times before I decided to read it. Who is this Katie girl, and who is she kissing? But finally I checked it out of the library. I opened it and began reading the introduction. I had only made it in a few pages when I read this and froze.

“During the first few months I lived in Uganda, in fall of 2007, I wrote, ‘Sometimes working in a Third World country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper.’ Today, it still feels that way. I have learned to be okay with this feeling because I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for fourteen little girls and for four hundred hungry schoolchildren and  for a sick and dying grandmother and for a malnourished, neglected, abused five-year-old. And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for.”

Have you ever felt like that? Like there is so much need in the world that it’s like emptying the ocean with an eyedropper? I have. Many times. It’s hard to even know where to start. But these words of Katie’s went straight to my soul, dug deep, and planted roots.

I don’t know exactly what I am going to do to make a difference in the world. I am figuring it out, one day at a time. But if you are looking for a book that will inspire you, touch your heart, make you laugh and cry, and restore your faith in humanity, I’d recommend Kisses from Katie. How much do I love it? I checked it out from the library last year. Then I bought it, because I wanted to be able to share it with friends (which I have). Then I bought more copies to give as Christmas gifts. And just this past Halloween, I attended a “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” party, and I dressed like Katie.

I really, really want to be like her.

Her book chronicles her journey, beginning with as the girl who goes on a mission trip to Uganda, and continuing through her amazing story as the young woman who, in a quiet but powerful way, begins to change an entire community. I was only halfway through the book when I frantically put it down, ran to my computer, and googled Katie Davis. I wanted to know how she was doing. (She’s doing great.) I wanted to see if she was able to help the children she was serving. (She absolutely did. She has transformed their lives.) I wanted to know if there was any way I could help. (There was.)

If you can borrow this book from a friend or from your library, I would highly recommend it. If you’d like to purchase it, you can look at Katie’s website. Or you can purchase it on Amazon: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption.

“Many days, I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and the incredible number of people who need help. Many days I see the destitute, disease-ridden children lining the streets in the communities I serve and I want to scoop up every single one of them, take them home with me, and feed and clothe and love them. And I look at the life of my Savior, who stopped for one. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian. I can do only what one woman can do, but I will do what I can.”

I cried the first time I read these words. And today, as I type them, I’m crying again.

I would love it if you’d read this book and then come back and tell me what you think. In a few weeks, I’ll share a few ways that you can support the amazing work Katie is doing, especially as you’re doing your Christmas shopping. Because I can’t go to Uganda today. I can’t work by her side as she feeds hungry children. But from here in my home in the United States, I want to do a my part to support this wonderful mission.

Let’s all be like Katie.

Let’s “keep stopping and loving one person at a time”.

Let’s do some good today.

 

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