Friday, January 4, 2008

A Heroic Woman

In my small group Bible study, we were discussing fairy tales and how they related to our own lives (thanks to John Eldredge). We spent an entire week talking about our favorite movies and how we related to the main character and why. I was struggling with finding a female heroine that I really admired. I enjoy a good chic flick, but I can’t say I really admire the women characters in such films. I wanted to think of women who were truly heroic – who saved others by their selfless acts.

As I recollected favorite stories, fiction and nonfiction, my thoughts turned to Corrie Ten Boom whose powerfully moving story can be found in The Hiding Place. This true story of a woman’s faith surpassing the most tragic of circumstances stood out above any other tale of female heroism and so Corrie Ten Boom became my role model. Corrie’s family sheltered Jews during the German Nazi occupation of Holland, her homeland. The Ten Boom home was a hiding place and a refuge for many people suffering great persecution. Their family provided protection from evil and a place of peace. They even created a hidden room for their guests so they could not be discovered by the Nazi police.

Their home became a refuge for many and because of the family’s heroism, many were saved. The Ten Boom family was exported to a concentration camp and Corrie continued to live out her faith as she watched her sister die there. Corrie’s life provides so many examples for me to follow, but I was drawn especially to the use of her home.

I felt the Lord telling me that He wanted to use my home as a refuge for hurting people as well. There aren’t many people in my neighborhood who need a secret place to hide from an evil regime, but there are many people who need a place to hide away for a while from the unseen Evil ruler of this world. Could I provide a home where my family and friends are safe for a while from their enemy who prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)? I want to have a home (and a life) that welcomes those who are being persecuted by the world and by Satan. I long to provide a home of peace and a refuge to the hurting - protection for those under attack.

After I began to hear this call from the Lord, I ran across a quote from Elizabeth George.
“In our Father’s house we can come in from the cold…to the heat of a hearth.
Come in from loneliness…to fellowship.
Come in from war…to peace. Come in from darkness…to light.
Come in from danger…to safety.
Come in from famine…to feast.
Come in from enmity…to friendship.”

My home is not just a shelter from the rain; it is a shelter from the challenges of life. It begins with my family when we create an atmosphere in our home that is warm and inviting. The kids want to be around because they are not getting constantly criticized. There is much laughter in our home – there’s not much room for loneliness when you are surrounded by people. We often have friends over and host Bible studies in our home to extend a welcome into our fellowship. My children have friends whose homes are not always safe, light or happy. I want my home to be a refuge for my kids and husband, but also for our neighbors, friends, extended family and anyone God brings our way.

I have seen how God is practically answering my prayers to make my home a refuge for the hurting. I invited several women to a small Bible study a few years ago. There are five of us now who meet regularly to study God’s Word and encourage each other through prayer. My home (and the small group) has been a refuge for these women. We have prayed over deep emotional wounds and ministered to each other because I welcomed these women into my home and into my life (1 Thessalonians 2:8). We have shared in each other’s struggles – we’ve prayed for two marriages to be healed and have seen God minister through our prayers. Each week as we honestly share our battles with loneliness, depression or other struggles, we find hope in a place of refuge.

Hospitality may not be your spiritual gift, but your home can still be a place of refuge. If peace and love are core values in your home, others will notice and be drawn to it. When we built a swing set in the back yard, all of the neighbor kids felt the magnetic pull to our yard. Honestly, I don’t think it’s the swings that pull them in. Kids who don’t have a healthy home life see our place as a refuge – a place to be loved and find peace. I really hope to see this trend continue as my children grow into teenagers. I want to create a place that draws in the kids like flies. Let them come in to a place where Jesus is present and to a home where they can see God at work.

Have you been thinking about what epic story, what fairy tale provides a framework for your life? I'd love to hear!

*This picture is not my home, but it sure looks cozy!
Join Lori for more "details" each weekend.


lori said...

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE that quote...never have heard it...but its getting written down...
I could not agree with you more..our homes should be sanctuaries for all that is good...not perfect, but GOOD...supporting, loving, caring...
I am going to reread this one in a bit....really hits my heart! It speaks to what has been on my mind too....creating a place of welcomeness for those who need such a place...
thank you for this! It's really beautiful!
hugs to you girl!!

Denise said...

This is such a beautiful post, thank you.

Heather said...

I love opening my home to others. I want to be the home where all the kids hang out after school. I want to provide a safe place, not only for my daughter, but for any kid in need of refuge.

Lynn said...


I could so see your home as a refuge. Your home here online feels like that to me. Neat post.

Kathy S. said...

Heather, as I read your post I have7 teenagers around my diningroom table laughing and enjoying one another. Truly the Lord blesses us to be a blessing. I have also hosted Studies here and we have a small group. I feel so overwhelmed with the privelege and freedom we have to nurture one another in our home- growing and delighting in God. I love the Hiding Place. I would pick Corrie Ten Boom too:)

Anonymous said...

First, let me say that "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom is my favorite book-ever.

Our home has become a refuge for the children of the neighborhood. There are days when I will have 7 children from various homes that have all gravitated towards our home. However, I am still praying and desiring for their parents to be drawn as well. I have a desire to start a Women's group in our home. I have for some time, but I have yet to take the leap. I would love to hear more about your path of getting started..I am going to browse your blog more now.


SharonB said...

Heather what a wonderful post! "A Heroic Woman"? I agree that would be tough to come up with one that I truly identify. You've chosen a very godly heroic woman!

I'm going to think about this one.

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

I love the HIDING PLACE. It is a great story. I love the piece about when Corey is complaing about the fleas. Betsy tells her to thank God for them because they are the reason that the guards don't come in and they can have their Bible study.

I need to learn to be that thankful.

Have you ever studied about Denmark during WWII. They saved about 90% of their Jewish population. They smuggled them out in false bottoms of fishing boats.

Have a great day.


Susan said...

Great post Heather...

I'd have to say Corrie Ten Boom would be my role model too. What an incredible woman!

I had the honor of going to her home once and sit and listen to the story being told right in her living room.

I felt like I was sitting on "holy ground".

Blessings to you as your open your home and your heart to so many.

Mel's World with Melissa Mashburn said...

I love husband and I have always tried to be the home that all the kids want to come to. Our youngest has a Christian Rock Band (he's almost 12) and they meet at our house every Saturday for a couple of hours of band practice, snacks, swimming, and games. I pray that more kids (and friends) will feel welcome to hang out in our home and feel God's grace while they are here...we are not perfect, but we love and serve a perfect God!

NYC said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! I just started reading "The Hiding Place." I'm sure that it will be as riveting as you outlined in your post. I previously read "Night" by Elie Weisel which left me in tears.

It is great that you have opened up your home to those in need. May the Lord continue to use your home as a refuge.

Lelia Chealey said...

Thanks so much for your comment. I've been to your site before & I loved it & I think I saw yours on Lysa T's too. :)
Anyway, I love this post. I'd have to say...and this is a fictional character, but Julie Roberts' role in Pretty Woman, except Richard Gere's role is God instead because just like Richard Gere did with Julia's character, God is my hero. He has rescued me from one ugly past!!! :)
Many Blessings~

Anonymous said...

Heather, you have described the true heart of hospitality. Desiring and seeking God's presence in your heart and home so that it would fill to overflowing and others would be touched. I have been blessed by your hospitality.

It has long been a desire of my heart for my home to be such a refuge, for my own family as well as others. It is a seemingly endless battle with the enemy for peace in our home. I continue to pray that my own children would one day receive only love, laughter, rest, and peace in this dwelling place.

Elizabeth George's quote is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!