“When We Fall Apart” – Songs of Hope

While driving to work I heard this song playing on the radio: “When We Fall Apart.” I don’t recall hearing it before, but the words caught my attention. A portion of the lyrics:

“When We Fall Apart” by Ryan Stevenson, songwriter, musician

You were 43 when you got the news
Life will be changing, nothing we can do
The clock is ticking now
All I can think about
Is knowing I have to move on without you somehow
And I just can’t believe
That you’re the one whose keeping it together
As you hold my hand and say

It’s okay to cry
It’s okay to fall apart
You don’t have to try
To be strong when you are not
And it may take some time to make sense of all your thoughts
But don’t ever fight your tears
‘Cause there is freedom in every drop
Sometimes the only way to heal a broken heart is when we fall apart

Ryan Stevenson penned these words ten years after the death of his mother. His personal testimony:

I remember the last words my mom spoke to me. She said on her death bed in our last conversation, ‘don’t ever think that you need to have it all together. Don’t ever think that you need to fight back your tears because sometimes the only way we see clearly is when we look through our tears. Sometimes our greatest act of strength is really our weakness. It’s in our surrender. And sometimes the only way we heal is when we just let go, crumble and fall apart.’” – Ryan Stevenson

To listen to this song, “When We Fall Apart,” see the  video at: https://youtu.be/xUPgzd3nwMo

Following nine years as a paramedic, Ryan Stevenson signed an exclusive agreement with Gotee Records in 2013 after capturing TobyMac’s attention by co-writing the No. 1 and Grammy-nominated single “Speak Life.” In 2015, Stevenson’s full-length album “Fresh Start,” featured the RIAA Gold-certified single “Eye of the Storm.”

“The Eye of the Storm” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sx8wTnnfSc

“I’m so thankful that songs sneak past us and our boundaries and penetrate to the heart. I just want to encourage everybody to be bold, speak out about your brokenness, speak out about things that are actually going on in your life because that is what makes what we are doing special and sets people free – that is our testimony that truly starts revival.” – Ryan Stevenson

Arriving at work, I began to research more about Ryan Stevenson. Wow! I’m not sure why I hadn’t learned about this Christian music artist before, but I have heard many of his songs on the radio. Some which include: “Eye Of The Storm,” “Speak Life,” Amadeo.” Each one has an amazing story behind it.

TobyMac and Ryan Stevenson

God took a tenderhearted little boy from Bonanza, Oregon, and shaped his yielded spirit to follow Christ…through various means. Childhood and teenage insecurities, seeds of faith planted by his parents, church attendance and his youth pastor, as a caretaker for his mom who was diagnosed with cancer during his sophomore year in high school, a ‘chance’ encounter with a woman struck by lightning while working as a paramedic, the death of his mom, his wife’s miscarriage of twins, and a special unexpected meeting with TobyMac.

Without going into detail of each one, I encourage you to listen to the amazing God-filled testimony of Ryan Stevenson on the Billy Graham Association website: https://billygraham.org/audio/how-ryan-stevenson-found-peace-with-god-in-the-eye-of-the-storm/

Abbreviated testimony of Ryan Stevenson talking about his songs, by CCLI – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQPQcy9nzJk

Each of us will encounter storms in life…death of a loved one, job loss, cancer diagnosis, divorce, infertility, wayward prodigal, financial hardship, and the list goes on. And some of us may face more and even greater hardships than others.

Because we live in a fallen world (Genesis 3), because of sin, we will all face difficult and painful circumstances. However, there is good news for those who have placed their trust in the LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“One glorious future day, the curse of corruption and decay will be lifted for all eternity: “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:19–21, NLT; see also Revelation 22:3).” (To read more see: Got Questions, What Does The Bible Say About Corruption? https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-corruption.html  

During our women’s Bible study, our teacher wrote on a dry erase board all the bad things we could think of. It was quite a list! But then she added: Starvation, the Rwanda genocide (where Hutu extremists murdered at least 800,000 Tutsis over the course of 100 days), mass shootings where gunmen shoot and kill children, youth, and adults. Then she said, “And, yes, God is still the comfort for ALL those who mourn.” Our feelings may tell us otherwise, especially in the moment of great despair. Just like our Bible study teacher tearfully recalled, “There was a time when I didn’t believe God could comfort me, when my daughter passed away (from a very rare illness caused by a waterborne amoeba that attacks the brain).” She went on to say, “But God understood my pain, and He was and is faithful to be my comforter.”

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

I pray that these testimonies and songs of hope will encourage you today. And for those who are going through a difficult journey, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).

With the love of Jesus,

Charmé

“Wildest Dreams” Album

Ryan Stevenson –  https://www.ryanstevensonmusic.com/

“Eye of the Storm” book

 

Ryan Stevenson and his family

 

Fleas and Lice a Blessing? Overcoming Hate Through Christ

Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom – Holocaust Concentration Camp Survivor,  Humble Heroine, Vessel of Forgiveness

Cornelia Arnolda Johanna “Corrie” ten Boom was born April 15, 1892 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, near Haarlem. Carrie’s grandfather, William ten Boom, opened a watchmaker’s shop in Haarlem 1837, and led prayer services to pray specifically for Jewish people who were being discriminated against in Europe. William passed this faith tradition onto his son, Casper ten Boom, Corrie’s father, who inherited the watchmaker shop.

Mr. Casper ten Boom
Ten boom Family

 

 

 

Ten boom Legacy of Faith in Christ

Mrs. Cornelia ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom House — Kevin & AmandaThe ten Boom family (Casper and Cornelia ten Boom, Corrie, her brother Willem, and two sisters, Nollie and Betsie) lived on the second floor, above the watchmaker shop. Mrs. ten Boom nurtured her children’s faith, teaching them to love and obey Christ. Mother ten Boom made a ‘blessing box,’ instructing her children and their friends to drop coins into the box to help the poor and missionaries. And as her children matured, she instructed them how to lead Bible studies for their neighbors. Corrie’s mother died in 1921. Throughout the years (1920s – 1930s), the ten Booms cared for many refugee children and orphans.

World War II

On September 1, 1939, World War II began. And in less than two years, on May 10, 1940, the German army invaded the Netherlands and within five days of fighting, the Nazis occupied the Netherlands.

Corrie, who was 48 at the time, helped her family turn their home into a safe haven (Hiding Place) for people trying to escape Nazi tyranny. Mr. ten Boom and his daughters, Betsie and Corrie, risked their lives hiding Jews and others in their home for a few years. The ten Boom family helped save the lives of an estimated 800 Jews and other refugees.

Large wall clocks camouflaged a false wall that opened up to a secret hiding place. The secret room was only about two feet deep by eight feet long, but could hold six or seven people. The hideout was very successful, but on February 28, 1944, a traitor led the German police to the ‘hiding place’ and thirty people, including several of the ten Boom family were arrested.

Betsie and Corrie

Corrie, her father, and her sister, Betsie, were taken to Scheveningen Prison, where Corrie’s dad died ten days later.

Ten months later, Corrie and Betsi were shuttled to Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin, the largest camp for women in German-controlled regions. Thousands of women were executed there.

The living conditions were harsh, with little food and severe discipline. Betsie and Corrie led secret prayer services in their barracks, using a smuggled Bible.                                                                    The following story is one of my favorite ‘faith over fear’ narratives. 

Ravensbruck Concentration Camp Women’s Barracks

Fleas and Lice a Blessing?

When Corrie and Betsie entered the filthy flea invested Ravensbruck prison and they were starving, they cried out to the Lord to help them.

While laying on a bunk with several other women, Betsi turned to Corrie and shared these words, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Corrie asked, “What on earth can we give thanks for?” Betsie said, “We are together in prison and we have a Bible that wasn’t confiscated.”

Then, Betsie prayed, “And thank you, Lord, for the fleas.” Corrie told her sister that she could never give thanks for fleas, but Betsie reminded her that it is God’s will to give thanks in all circumstances.

Betsie Ten Boom and the Key to Making a Lasting Impression
Betsie ten Boom

While lying on their flea-and lice-infested beds, they gave thanks for the fleas. After several weeks passed, they noticed that the soldiers rarely came into their barracks. Initially, Betsie and Corrie did not know why, but it allowed them time to share the love of Jesus with other women. One day, Betsie asked a supervisor to come to the barracks for assistance. Betsie told Corrie, “‘The supervisor wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the other guards. And you know why?’ Betsie boasted of their unusual blessing: ‘Because of the fleas!’ That’s what the supervisor said, ‘That place is crawling with fleas!’”

On December 16, 1944, Betsie died at Ravensbruck of starvation and lack of medical care. Corrie recalled Betsie’s last words:

“… (we) must tell them what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”

Two weeks after Betsie’s death, Corrie was ‘mysteriously’ released from the prison due to a “clerical error.” Corrie always referred to this as a miracle. Shortly after her release, all of the other women in her age group at Ravensbruck were executed. 

Remembering her sister’s last words to go and tell, “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still,” Corrie spent the rest of her life sharing their story and the gospel of Christ and his forgiveness around the world. During one of her speaking engagements, she recognized one of the guards who had cruelly mistreated her, Betsi, and the other prisoners.

Corrie Retells Meeting Her Enemy

corrie ten boom - The Tiny TwigIt was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear.

The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947. People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room.

And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones.

It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbrück concentration camp where we were sent.

My Memes of Corrie ten Boom's Quotes » The Faithful WandererNow he was in front of me, hand thrust out: “A fine message, fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!”

And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course–how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?

But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. It was the first time since my release that I had been face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

“You mentioned Ravensbrück in your talk,” he was saying. “I was a guard in there.” No, he did not remember me.

“But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein”–again the hand came out–“will you forgive me?”

The Word For The Day • For if you forgive other people when they sin... |  Forgiveness quotes, Corrie ten boom quotes, WordsAnd I stood there–I whose sins had every day to be forgiven–and could not. Betsie had died in that place–could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it–I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality.

Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion–I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

“Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”

It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.

It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown.

“When we confess our sins,” I said, “God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever.”

Louie's Lair: LOVE, FORGIVENESS, AND BLESSINGIn our deepest pain and suffering, God reaches out to us with His love and compassion. How can I do less, to those who Jesus died for on Calvary. The only true enemy we have is satan. As Jesus died on the cross, His last words stick in my mind, every time I’m tempted to withhold forgiveness to someone who has hurt me. “Father, forgive them…” (Corrie ten Boom)

Inspired by Betsie’s example of selfless love and forgiveness amid extreme cruelty and persecution, Corrie established a post-war home for other camp survivors trying to recover from the horrors they had escaped. She went on to travel around the world to 64 countries as a missionary, preaching God’s forgiveness and the need for reconciliation.

Jay Hicks on Twitter | Inspirational words, Corrie ten boom quotes, Faith  quotesCorrie ten Boom died on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983. She was buried at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, California.

 

 

You will find these stories and many other inspiring incidents from the life of Corrie ten Boom in her own book, The Hiding Place, released in 1971. And later, the book made into a film in 1975 by World Wide Pictures, Billy Graham Association. https://www.christianbook.com/the-hiding-place-corrie-ten-boom/9780553256697/pd/56696?event=ESRCG

Other Favorite Resources:

Tramp For The LORD, https://www.christianbook.com/tramp-story-begins-where-hiding-place/corrie-ten-boom/9780875089867/pd/089867?event=AAI

Torchlighters DVD, The Corrie ten Boom Story: https://www.christianbook.com/torchlighters-series-corrie-ten-boom-story/pd/015385 and for other Torchlighter resources for kids: https://torchlighters.org/