Sunday, February 28, 2010

Not an ordinary birthday...

After sharing about Corrie Ten Boom last week, it reminded me of another story from my past...

When my mother, who was born in Norway, married my dad, and moved to America, her family all still lived in Norway. During the war, Hitler moved troops into the part of Norway where they lived, she had no contact with her family as a young bride in America during those months...and one of her sisters, my Aunt Maren, was taken to a concentration camp after it was discovered that her family was active in the resistance movement, helping others.

I remember this story particularly, but it has taken on so much greater value as I've gotten older. My mother told us about My Aunt Maren, her youngest sister...


And as I was reading in Harold Sala's devotional book, "TODAY COUNTS", one of the daily readings was about my Aunt Maren, from her time spent in concentration camp...


"Maren would have starved in the camp but she had access to the garbage that came from the kitchen. She would steal potato peelings, hiding them until the matron who guarded her barracks was asleep."...

In the concentration camp, they scrimped and tried to share bits of food. When she returned to the barracks after working in the kitchens, she would 'fry' them in the tiny little heater, to share with her mother in law who was too weak and sick to go and eat the meager fare...

The starving women in the barracks had all cooked and baked in their own homes during happier days. In the camp, they would share with each other their recipes... cakes, cookies, roasts, and all the things they remembered that were denied them here. They shared in detail to help keep each others spirits up...

My aunt had a birthday during those days, and her friends in the barracks each took a tiny sheet of the toilet paper they had saved, wrote their favorite recipe, a recipe they dreamed of in that dark place... and put those thin sheets together and created a little book, and gave it to my aunt for her birthday. She will treasure it to her dying day. It still makes me cry to think of it...

And yet... Aunt Maren was never bitter. She knew, like Corrie Ten Boom said... "There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still"..

Living life with that level of faith is so much stronger than any words I know how to write. It challenges me and makes me want more...

more of knowing God...

more of taking Him at His word...

more of living in this kind of obedience...

more of faith that trusts Him completely...









14 comments:

Sassy Granny ... said...

I'm reading a book, Angel of Orphans, about a Jewish man (Yona Tiefenbrunner) and his family that rescued children left orphaned by Hitler's diabolic rampage. I'm totally unhinged by their grace in the face of horror.

Thank you for sharing the heritage of grace you treasure. I pray I have a fraction of such nobleness in my life & testimony.

Blessings,
Kathleen

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I can't believe she was in your living room! I'm not surprised; you've got some depth in your background sister. No wonder you're the woman you are. LOVE knowing you.

peace~elaine

Shirl said...

Wow! What an awesome story!

Godsgalnj said...

Oh wow. It's stories of faith and hope in tough times like this that just completely blows me away. They had all the reason to sulk and bemoan their situation...but they didn't. They uplifted each other. That's just...amazing!

Thanks for sharing this!

God bless you!

TRUTH SHARER said...

Amazing and I loved your last lines here! So powerful!

Choosing JOY, Stephanie

Rita said...

I have read several books of people who lived through those terrors and it makes me shudder to think of what they went through and how very strong they were. Sometimes we think we are going through very difficult times, but thankfully we haven't had to go through that. If we had to, I hope we have the courage those like your aunt had. Thanks for sharing!

Rose said...

I love stories about people rising above their circumstances. What a present....one of a kind. Gosh this made tears in my eyes. It is so beautiful when you see the hand of God so clearly in situations like that.

GWENDOLYN said...

Dear Sonja,
Reading this brings tears to my eyes. I read Corrie's book a few years ago and I know the horrors of the camps. To think that any woman , let alone a relavtive of your's was there is so sad. I cry because I cannot believe how evil some men can be..... if they only knew....


I am glad to be back home and with my computer so I can visit you and the others here in blogland. love to you!
Gwen

Cathy said...

There were enough treasures at Antique Elegance to fill Aladdin's cave ten times over and gorgeous antique gowns--yet I'd far rather sit and eat potato peels with your aunt than own it all.
Her birthday recipe book is a priceless reminder of love conquering evil. How wonderful that all these years later, the sweet sentiments linger and the ugliness is over. Now remain faith, hope, and love.. and the greatest of these is love.
As a Christian author, I'd love to speak with you and your aunt. We need to learn from the past and honor the faithful women who now stand witness to the truth of God's Word. I'd like to suggest a tribute to her friends by mentioning one in each of my books, crediting her with her recipe. That way, her legacy can be shared. I'm deeply touched by the miracle of how friendship turned scraps of toilet paper into a beautiful treasure. Surely, God can shine through even the worst circumstances.
Cathy@CathyMarieHake.com

Debbie said...

Oh Sonja, what a legacy your family has! As you know I've read so many of Corrie ten Boom's books and was thrilled how you shared that you met her. Now your Tante Maren; another woman of faith. How it puts things into perspective when I complain about my circumstances. I have food to eat and a roof over my head. And I WILL praise God. Thank you for sharing this timely post.

BTW, one of our relatives adopted a baby who was the byproduct of a rape of a Norwegian woman by the Nazis. Grethe is a wonderful woman of faith now. I met her when I went to Norway.

Love you friend and thank you for all of your encouragement and great perspective. I'm keeping my eyes on the Lord.

Love you,
Debbie

Felisol said...

Dear Sonja,
A mighty story about your aunt Maren.
A mighty wish, to be more like her.
I sincerely hope I will avoid being tried like her.
I see and experience my own weakness every day.
Especially when I'm into a prayer campaign. It's like the evil starts campaigning against me every time I try.
I need a shield of faith to put oout the burning arrows of the fiend.
Indeed I do.

Crown of Beauty said...

What a legacy your Aunt left behind! What a moving story!

Hearing that story makes me agree with what you wrote:

It challenges me and makes me want more...

more of knowing God...

more of taking Him at His word...

more of living in this kind of obedience...

more of faith that trusts Him completely...

How your mom must have longed to hear from her family during those years.

Can you share the story of how your Aunt Maren got out of the concentration camp?

Love
Lidj

Debra said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. What a very special aunt she must be!

Without a doubt that is one of my favorite quotes. I quoted it often to myself as I went through chemotherapy. It brought me much comfort during those trying days.

Blessings!

joy said...

THis really made me cry and inspired at the same time. It is really gold!